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capoeirista13
09-18-2008, 07:45 PM
When using fruits in a melomel, what precautions need to be taken before they are added to the must?

I assume that they need to be washed, just like when you eat fruits normally, in order to get off any pesticides or dirt that may be on them. But what else needs to be done? I understand that if they have 'pits' in them they need to be pitted. This means removing something such as a nectarine core right? Does that also mean removing seeds from fruits such as apples? And what about berries, they are full of miniscule seeds right? So how are you to get rid of all of those?

Medsen Fey
09-18-2008, 08:58 PM
You've asked a very broad question, and I may not be able to give you a specific enough answer because different fruits and different meads may require a different approach. On top of that, the mead maker's preference plays a big factor.

With berries, for example, if they are fresh, I like to freeze them to make the juice (and flavor) extraction easier. I usually throw them in whole, and when I rack, I try to keep the seeds out. I may use a nylon stocking for that purpose. Other folks may say to crush the berries or blend them (that can give more bitterness from broken seeds), or run them through a juicer. Some folks like dried berries which you can rehydrate with water (or juice). There's always more than one way to skin a cat, so you have to decide what works easiest and which gives the best results.

When you have a specific recipe with a specific fruit in mind, ask, and folks here should be able to give you some good options. The one consistent rule, as you mentioned, is that you want clean, pesticide-free, preservative-free fruit.

Sorry if the answer is too vague.

Medsen

Teufelhund
09-19-2008, 09:48 AM
Hi Cap,

Always do research on the fruits/berries that you want to use until you know the effects that the seeds and skins might possibly have to the taste. Apple seeds and other drupe pits are often very bitter and the seed hulls themselves can be toxic, such as peach pits.
My perspective: If you can't rack it through the cane, don't add it. :laughing7:

:cheers:

DD

capoeirista13
09-19-2008, 03:59 PM
I was thinking of making a 5gal batch of mead using equal amounts plums, blueberries, and blackberries, which is why I'm asking this question.

I'm not sure if I should put them in boiling water to cleanse them, or just wash them off. I am a bit confused on the whole 'pectin' subject. I was reading the Compleat Meadmaker last night and he did a lot of talking about pectins setting if you heat up fruits, but for my blueberry batch I just washed them off and froze them.

I am also not sure if I should freeze them or not, Ken Schramm says in his book that freezing thins the walls making it easier for the yeast to get to the juices and such, but he also says that plums are already a bit fragile and experience a change when frozen.

Ah also, I know this is a lot of stuff I don't know about, but I like to buy my honey from a local homebrew place, and their only options are currently blueberry, clover, wild raspberry, and wildflower (if i recall correctly) so which do you think I should use? I'm gonna use Lalvin 71B for my yeast.

Tyred
09-20-2008, 05:10 AM
In my opinion the berries should just need washing off and then freezing.

I haven't done anything with stone fruit, so I'll jest leave that alone. I will say that in general if fruit is not for sale frozen, then it's probably best not to freeze them. I don't recall seeing any stone fruit for sale frozen.

As for your honey, I would use the wild raspberry. No real reason apart from the idea that it sounds nicer. Blueberry could also be a nice option.

Wolfie
09-20-2008, 06:32 AM
You do not have to freeze fruit for melomels, but often I find it helps. Cutting or mashing the fruit is works fine as well. Freezing will make it softer, so for some firm fruits (as said above, the sort you can buy frozen) freezing may help.

If your fruit has pits in it, get rid of them before you add them to your mead. Small seeds like those in blackberries and strawberries I would not worry about too much.

No need to cook/heat/boil the fruit before you put it into a batch, a cool water wash is fine. Just make sure that if you use frozen fruit it's sat out long enough to come back to room temp. If you do cook/heat/boil fruit you will probably want to add pectic enzyme. Pectic enzyme isn't needed for fruit that has not been exposed to high heat.

Personally I'm casting my vote for blueberry honey, I have used it very little, but I love the stuff!
71B will be a nice match with this too.

Sounds like your on your way to a good recipe, best of luck.

/wolfie

capoeirista13
09-20-2008, 02:57 PM
ah well thanks a lot for the help you two! I was thinking either wildflower, blueberry, or the wild raspberry, hmm I'm not sure! This is why I wish I had an unlimited supply of time, space, and carboys!

skunkboy
09-20-2008, 08:11 PM
ah well thanks a lot for the help you two! I was thinking either wildflower, blueberry, or the wild raspberry, hmm I'm not sure! This is why I wish I had an unlimited supply of time, space, and carboys!


Sounds like you need a Tardis... ;-)