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Frances 08-05-2008 02:40 AM

Mead made with wild yeast
I still think we need a place to put threads about beverages... brewing, destilling, wine making etc. Admittedly, you can't do them in the oven, but you have to drink something with your pizza after all...

Anyway, I came across this recipe for mead which has no added yeast, the idea being that it picks up the yeast from the air - like a sourdough starter.

Besides being completely enamoured of wild yeast by now, and anything that can be made from it, another advantage to my mind would be that you don't have to filter the finished product. And apparently can drink it right away (?)

You mix water, honey and spices, bring them to the boil, let them cool down and leave it all on a bowl covered with a cloth for 30 days until there are no more bubbles on the surface.

And if this works for mead, why not for other things such as blackberry or dandilion wine as well?

I also thought if I added a small spoonfull of sourdough starter to the mix I might give the resident yeast strains a head start, you know, so they could beat the molds to it.

So, does anybody have any experience with making mead? Tips, favourite recipes? What do you think, would this work?

Frances 08-05-2008 02:44 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
One more question, are there any known health benefits from eating (or drinking) things made from resident yeast strains?

I know that eating local honey made from the flowers surrounding you is said help against pollen allergies - so has anyone ever heard anything similar about yeast at all?

sarah h 08-10-2008 09:19 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
I've never heard of any specific benefits, however I think there are lots of benefits, generally, to dietary diversity so bring on the mead! I've often thought that would be a fun thing to make but never knew how. Sounds like a good winter project as I have enough on the go these days!

Frances 08-11-2008 01:20 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
That's about what I thought as well (apart from the winter bit that is). We bought a bottle of mead at a middle age fair recently - Delicious stuff!

So far all I've got going is what I hope will turn into blackberry wine... one teaspoon of sourdoughstarter stirred in with some blackberries, sugar and water. It certainly smells as if its fermenting :).

If I come accross a killer recipe for mead I'll be sure to post it.

The current bee in my bonnet (:rolleyes: ) would be to get some bees, so I could make my own honey for the mead...

egalecki 08-11-2008 06:29 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
Oh geez, Frances, we must be twins separated by geography! I have a yen for bees too! Although I don't think they'll work very well here in town. But someday, when we have a place with more space...

I want ducks too- ever since I read Elliott Coleman's book on gardening nearly year round. He uses ducks for most pest control in his garden and gets lovely eggs too!

I haven't told my husband any of this yet- I suspect he'll have something to say about it..:rolleyes:

Frances 08-11-2008 08:11 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
Ducks, now there's a cool idea! I'd like to keep hens in my garden, but we have a nasty noise-allergic neighbour. :(

I dunno though, plants in a town need pollinating too, don't they? If you got some it'd nearly be a public service. I'm still trying to convice my husband there's enough space for some bees in our garden...

Alfredo 08-11-2008 11:12 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
Elizabeth, Frances,

The idea of beekeeping in an urban environment is not as impossible as it might seem. One of the premier hotels in downtown Toronto started up an apiary this year in order to provide fresh (and, I'll bet, very pricey) honey to its guests. And when I say downtown, I mean really downtown - it's opposite the railroad station, on the fringe of the financial and entertainment districts, in a city of 3,000,000. | GTA | Royal York rooftop garden a hive for bees

Here's a link to the Toronto District Beekeepers Association mentioned in the article: Toronto District Beekeepers

Frances 08-12-2008 02:26 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
Interesting, thanks for posting that Alfredo.

Do you happen to know how much space you'd actually need for installing a bee hive?

Alfredo 08-12-2008 07:50 AM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast

Let me quickly warn you that I have no experience in this matter whatsoever. However, I have been fascinated by beekeeping for a very long time and have accumulated a fair bit of "book" knowledge about the subject.

For a hobbyist, not an awful lot of room is required. Here's an example: my apiary. In other words, an ordinary back yard will satisfy a family's needs.

BTW, if Google charged for searches, I would be broke - it is an astounding resource, and I use it for everything. Try Googling "Beekeeping in Switzerland" and let us know how long it takes you to get throught the 74,000 returns! The point is, there are a lot more folks doing this than we might otherwise suspect.

If you are interested in more of the Royal York Hotel's effort, you can listen to the podcast on "Radio Royal York": Radio Royal York. You'll have to excuse the corny puns, though:p


sarah h 08-12-2008 07:46 PM

Re: Mead made with wild yeast
Wow, perhaps we WFO builders are even more of a certain breed than we knew!

I too have always wanted to keep bees ... along with a goat or two, some pigeons, chickens (some neighbours did that a few years ago), ducks or geese and, lately, I've thought I'd like a donkey too (complete with those big baskets on it's back). I'm sure living in the wrong place for most of these!

Alfredo, I read about the Metro bees a while back and thought it was a really cool idea. Actually, with the new focus on local foods and the rising cost of food, I think there might be a return to a lot more backyard agriculture, even in urban cores.

An aster plant in my yard always attracts hordes or bees every autumn and I've often thought "If only I could find the hive"!

So who's going to be first to take on a bee hive? Frances, you could always tell your neighbour that you're performing an important ecological service to combat the colony-collapse that's occurring in so many places ... I can't remember, is it a problem in Europe too?

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