O Merriest J O Y ! Have you heard? Chocolate and Marmalade Tea’s garden just hatched its first blueberry of the season! In celebration of this auspicious occasion and in anticipation of more “blue” to come, I opened Gemmama’s pantry cupboard to find her sister Driven’s one contribution to the family recipe box ~~that I might share a special, timely recipe with Ms. Michelle (and any other berry pickers about to have an abundance of blueberries at their fingertips and who are wondering what “delicious” they can do with them).
My Great Aunt Driven long, long ago came up with this marvelous mead and named it after her second ex-husband, Eduard, who claimed until the very end that it was all his idea.
Not Ed’s Blueberry Mead
Starting with the Primary Fermentation ingredients list, which includes:
~ 10 lbs wildflower honey (or clover, if honey is unavailable–-but wildflower is much thicker, making it the more agreeable choice)
~ 5 lbs frozen blueberries, slightly thawed or 5 pounds fresh blueberries (About fresh blueberries: Use the low-bush kind if you can; they are inexplicably tastier. Also know: fresh fruit used in brewing should be frozen and then near-thawed before using. Supposedly, it allows the yeast to get at more of the sugars.)
~ 4 gallons of bottled spring water
~ Wyeast Dry Mead Yeast ~ 3 to 4 packets (Because it is the best! Home meaders will find it at their local beer and wine making shop.)
and, later, using the Secondary Fermentation ingredients:
~ 5 lbs wildflower or clover honey
~ 5 lbs frozen blueberries,
this recipe asks you to proceed as follows: Allow 3 ½ gallons of boiling bottled spring water to cool to 160ish degrees, then steep the lightly crushed fruit (A cheesecloth pouch works fine.) for 30 minutes . Very, very carefully remove the bag (Blueberry stains are a nightmare!) and let it drip till no more drops. Return the “must” (the unfermented juice) to the stove, this time heating it to 140 degrees . Remove from burner and dissolve 10 pounds of honey into it. Chill to 65 degrees, then expose to the circulation of air (“aerate”) by stirring, and throw in the yeast. (Do not skimp when it comes to the amount of yeast, as it truly is the magic ingredient!)
Ferment for one month in a large five-gallon or so, glass jug or other suitable, clear container. It’s nice to be able to see what’s brewing! ~~you’re going to just love the end color, I promise you! To this primary brew, add the rest of the honey (5 pounds), stirring till it dissolves. Also add the final batch of blueberries (5 pounds). Let the fermentation take off again. After another month or two, rack off the dregs. Ferment another four to six months before getting out the goblets. Unless, of course, patience escapes you completely, because not to worry. Your palate will find Not Ed’s to be quite enjoyable even at the 3-4 month mark!
Spit-spot with you then! You’ll want to start your blueberry mead now for next Midsummer pouring.
The perfect image to affix to your blue mead bottle labels!