I decided to buy extra chest freezers and keep them full over 10 years ago. After a few years of seasonal fruit harvests, a few containers of peaches and bags of raspberries end up at the bottom or line the freezer doors. With more fresh fruit showing up at the markets to eat and process, I have been brewing mead with local honey and old fruit. Even fruit that is freezer burned and not fit for jams and jellies has worked out to be refreshing mead with a nose of fresh fruit.
My evolved method is with a 5 gallon food grade bucket. Fill the bucket half full with any combination of fresh or frozen fruit. Add one gallon of local honey and seal the lid. Shake the bucket a couple of times a day for 3 days. Remove lid and strain fruit pulp into a 1 gallon glass jar to make vinegar. Top the bucket off with filtered water 2 inches from the top. Add yeast or 1/2 liter of the previous batch of mead. Install a $1 interlock into the lid to release carbon dioxide (CO2) pressure and seal lid on tight. Store in a cool place for 6 to 8 weeks until it stops bubbling and “choogling”. Bottle and drink or age for 6 to 12 months for best results. A 5 gallon bucket should yield 18 liters of 13% ABV.
My favorite meads are usually mixed with sparkling water over a jumbo ice cube, rimmed on the inside of the glass with a drizzle of honey. My favorite combinations are:
Cherry Chocolate Red Chile ~ Port
Cherry Lime ~ Dry
Pomegranate Elderberry ~ Port
White Grape and Green Chile ~ Champagne
Meyer Lemon Pucker ~ Extra Dry
Grapefruit Raspberry ~ Dry
Blueberry Blackberry Marionberry ~ Sweet
Cleaning last years fruit out of the freezer makes room to defrost as needed and/or fill back up with half a hog, half a case of salmon or a quarter beef. We’re harvesting New Mexico Pasture-Finished Grass-fed Beef on a regular basis this summer and have a hog harvest date scheduled for late July. Our Alaska Wild Salmon supply is in excellent shape and the boats are fishing now! Please let us know if you’d like to place an order or review your freezer and pantry needs.