PDA

View Full Version : tips for picking now and brewing later? --> apricots



Geoghegan
07-29-2008, 01:39 PM
Hi there,
I'm looking for tips on picking/processing apricots to brew melomel few weeks from now.

I'm considering making a very large batch of apricot melomel which hopefully will be ready for a wedding next year. There is an apricot tree near my house that is free of pesticides and is falling over with fruit -- easily 50 lbs on the tree, though I probably won't pick that much.

I do not have a recipe yet, though my goal is to make something champaign-like (a little sweet, a lot tart, some sparkle in the finished melomel).

Any suggestions for how to process the fruit now when it's ripe? Beyond the obvious steps of washing and pitting -- is it better to freeze pitted halves or juice it? Better to sanitize now or later if I freeze it?

And lastly, I have access to a Champion juicer rather than a press that holds back pulp. I saw a recipe where a guy juiced the fruit, froze it for a year, then thawed it in his fridge and let pulp settle out of the juice. Any wisdom in that?

Thanks,
Michael

wayneb
07-29-2008, 03:34 PM
Hi, Michael! Welcome to the "GotMead?" community!!

When I'm prepping fresh large-pit fruit (apricots, peaches, etc.) for eventual use in meads, I wash them thoroughly, then give them an immersion bath in a pot of cool water that has some Potassium Metabisulfite and citric acid dissolved in it (thereby releasing SO2 that has a sanitizing effect), then I split them with a large sanitized knife (while I'm wearing sanitized nitrile gloves) and pit them, and drop the fruit halves into a large Ziploc bag that will eventually find its way to my chest freezer. More sanitization than that is generally not necessary if you start from whole, sound fruit (i.e. with no obvious skin breaks or mold growth). When you thaw and add them to your must, as long as you pitch your yeast fairly quickly (within a couple of hours) afterward, you should be fine.

I'm not sure about the juicer. I don't use one, and I generally like to have my fruit in full contact with the must in order to maximize extraction of flavor, aroma and sugars. If my fruit halves are really large, I'll split them into quarters before freezing. Once the fruit are thawed I find that all but the largest segments are pretty well macerated by the action of the yeast during fermentation, so pre-pitch, no processing other than the initial freezing is necessary.

I will either press the fruit, or toss segments into a mesh bag and give it a good wringing out to maximize extraction of juice after the fruit has been in contact with the must for 4-7 days. Proper "cap management," i.e. mixing the fruit that rises to the surface back down into the bulk of the must at least once or twice a day, is necessary while the fruit is in the must.