I’m attempting my first 5 gallon batch of mead tonight. Several weeks ago, our local grocery store ran 3lb bags of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) on sale, but also a part of a buy 5 save $5 promotion on top of that. I want to say they ended up being about $10 a bag instead of the normal $15. I only had 3 participating items from the promotion by the time I got to this aisle (the last aisle), so I grabbed two and they’ve been sitting in the freezer since. I’ve been wanting to brew for a while, but it never feels like I have time or that I want to actually work ingredients into the budget. I originally wanted the berries to go to a mead. I’ve been wanting to do my own big batch since falling in love with Schramm’s Raspberry a couple of years ago when it came to Ohio. It’s one of my favorite drinks of all time – but it also costs about $20 for a single 375ml bottle.
Cue Whole Foods.
I was at Whole Foods to pick up some veggies for some ferments earlier, since non-organic veggies have likely been somehow treated with something that stunts or spoils or rejects the process, and I stumbled upon 80oz containers of honey for $20. I had done the math before and figured that about a gallon of honey would be enough for a 5 gallon batch, and I had seen gallon containers online for anywhere from $50-$100, and then shipping on top of that, so this seemed like a steal. I’m opting for a more “natural” fermentation with this mead than the last time I made some. I’m not adding my own yeast this time. I’m going to completely rely on the yeast in the honey itself. An added bonus was that this particular Whole Foods location actually had juniper berries for me to add to my second round of kraut, after failing to find it in at least 4 grocery stores and one home-brew supply store.
Last week feels like a blur. Sleep deprived nights, cold gloomy weather, lots of playing with James, and lots of leftovers. The soup cleanse lasted exactly one day (not the recommended two), and was broken by the convenience of fast food. Most days felt uneventful, and it felt a little nice to not bother with the camera and laptop for a while. I got and idea for Valentine’s day and ordered it (I wanted to make sure they shipped in time, and didn’t sell out). They came at the end of last week and I have them to Chris early, since the site put some emphasis on eating them fresh; I ordered her 3 sets of chocolates from Art Eatables (Willett, dark chocolate Angel’s Envy, and dark chocolate Four Roses). They taste fantastic. The Willett is the most “bourbon” tasting one, while the Angel’s Envy just tastes like biting into a super rich brownie. We hope to swing by the store in person whenever we get around to doing the other half of the Bourbon Trail, having done the East side of the map last year for her birthday.
This weekend I also tried my kraut and hot sauce. I decided they were both ready to move to the fridge. The kraut went straight in, the peppers made a visit to the food processor first. Next weekend we’re heading to some friends for sort of a late “Christmas” kind of event and the food theme this year is “vikings” (sadly the mead will not be ready in 7 days), so I plan on taking both items there to share.
Today was busy. We got some home shopping done, tried out a new church, came home long enough for me to make a grocery list, then I went to several stores around town to get groceries & ferment supplies, came home, cooked dinner (amazing bratwurst & pretzel buns that were an unplanned Whole Foods purchase, topped with my homemade kraut), emptied the dishwasher, reloaded it, made a batch of pickles and 2 more jars of kraut (red cabbage this time) to ferment, and started the mead, all while drinking a previous project. A couple of months ago we had some extra blackberries from a sale, and I decided to put them in a tiny mason jar & pour (cheap) vodka over them to essentially make a liqueur, and tonight i decided they’d aged long enough (and I wanted the shelf space back).