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Caldwell Home Cheesemaking

Making your own cheese. Think about for a moment — romantic right? Visions of unwrapping a cheesecloth — swathed bundle revealing that perfect creamy dense alchemy that takes place in the pot between milk, rennet and bacteria.

The reality is that without proper guidance this nuanced process can quickly go from dream to frustration.

When we brought our first dairy goat in home in 1999 my own Little House vision was within my reach. I would be Ma, pulling perfect cheeses from the press while my wide-eyed children gazed in wonder at the marvel before them. I, of course, had no clue how to make cheese. In 1999, there were no local folks making cheese, old-timers or back-to-the-landers. There were no classes at the extension and there was only one book for the beginning home cheesemaker.

The one how-to book gave recipes and instructions but it was not instructional. I did not learn what I was doing. I just followed along. More importantly, when things went wrong I had no clue why, and therefore no clue how to fix it. My determination to create our homespun life outweighed the frustrations. Meanwhile, cheesemaking was becoming a thing. I bought each new book and gleaned a little more knowledge from each. After a few years I had a mostly successful cheese routine, but not without disappointments — some edible and some horrible. I made some delicious amazing cheeses — enough to keep me going.

So when I read, and I mean read every page, of Gianaclis Caldwell’s new book Mastering Basic Cheesemaking: The Fun and Fundamentals of Making Cheese at Home, I couldn’t get over how much I would have loved this book back in my own early days of cheesemaking.

Gianaclis skillfully escorts the fledgling cheesemaker through the craft in an accessible fun manner. She has set up this book not as another how-to but as a progression through the process. Her writing and presentation is clear and informative as she leads you through making cheese beginning with understanding the ingredients and the tools. She also makes it clear that you can make cheeses without all of the expensive equipment and explains the options. In other words this book makes this culinary art accessible in your very own kitchen—you can buy the book and be making cheese in the same afternoon.

I have spent time next to my cheese pot poring over a lot of beginning books. Some are too scientific, overwhelming, and hardly approachable. Others don’t move the reader beyond dabbling in vinegar cheeses and other unripened fresh cheeses. Mastering Basic Cheesemaking is different and it is as the title suggests — Fun!

Each of the cheeses is set up as a lesson; each type of cheese is designed to build skill, confidence, and knowledge. Gianaclis includes what is happening with the milk as it acidifies with each of the processes so that the new cheesemaker is learning the art. The first cheeses are simple with acidification happening through added acids such as vinegar. The student is then moved on to cultured soft cheeses, fresh cheeses, semi-firm cheeses and finally aged hard cheeses. Each lesson clearly outlines what you will need, the process in a nutshell, then the step-by-step instruction and perhaps the most useful detail—a recap and trouble-shooting. With all the encouraging instruction you will not stare at your aged Gouda, so beautiful on the outside and then upon opening, full of small holes and splits. Instead you will know what happened, whether it is safe to eat, and how to not make that mistake again.

I see this book as becoming the new classic in beginning cheesemaking. In my opinion it is the best beginning book yet. You won’t be disappointed in Mastering Basic Cheesemaking: The Fun and Fundamentals of Making Cheese at Home if you have visions of cheesemaking dancing in your head. It is only available until this fall and is in the ebook format. But then watch for a print release spring of 2016. 

Kirsten K. Shockey is a post-modern homesteader who lives in the mountains of Southern Oregon. She writes about sauerkraut and life—but not necessarily in that order. She’s written a complete book of Fermented Vegetables and maintains the website Fermentista’s Kitchen.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


 water mint

What is the association of mint and lamb? The past months have been a creative process of discovering how to cook lamb meat since the fall’s harvest (read From Farm to Table: The Sacrifice of Eating Meat to hear more about our experience.) In researching recipes, the reoccurring theme is lamb and mint. Is it the overlap of season, to help mask the strong flavor, or a digestive aid? The case was inconclusive, but my taste buds agree that mint and lamb simply belong together.

Mentha aquatica, water mint, grows wild behind my house. It will truly be a culinary pairing as the lambs grazed in the same field--mint infused lamb? To add sophisticated flavor, I plan on serving the savory meat with mint jelly. The following recipe is from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving.

Mint Jelly

Yield: about 4 half-pints


• 1 cup firmly packed mint leaves
• 1 cup boiling water
• 4 cups apple juice
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 3 cups sugar
• Green food coloring (optional)


1. Put mint leaves in a bowl and add boiling water. Let stand 1 hour.

2. Strain mint leaves and press to extract juice.

3. Measure 1/2 cup of the freshly made mint extract and combine with the 4 cups of apple juice and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a large saucepot.

4. Add the 3 cups of sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

5. Cook to gelling point (when jelly drips from a spoon in one big “glob” — technically the word is sheet but glob is more descriptive). Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Stir in a few drops of food coloring, only if desired.

6. Ladle hot jelly into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

To continue with a mint-themed meal, chop the leaves to add zest to salad greens or decorate fruit. The sprigs of the plant can be used to decorate plates or even infused into water or tea. Below is my recipe for lightly sweetened mint infused tea, a perfect companion for a hot summer day.

Sweetened Mint Tea

Yield 1/2 gallon


• 6 tea bags (Green or Black)
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1/3 cup sugar, honey or sweetener substitute
• 1/2 gallon pitcher of ice


1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.

2. Steep 6 tea bags in the boiling water for 15 minutes to make a strong concentrate.

3. Add sugar, honey or sweetener substitute.

4. Stir to dissolve and let mixture cool.

5. Pour over ice and add water to top off.

Savory or sweet, find refreshment this summer with mint.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 


garlic scapes at market

Fresh easy garlic—all of the flavor and none of the peeling—sounds too good to be true I know. It’s in the scapes, also called garlic whistles, that we can make some wonderful “convenience food” garlic. This processed garlic is alive with flavor and literally alive with nutrients and probiotics.

If you haven’t yet met a scape, it is the stem and immature flower head sent up in early summer by hardneck varieties of garlic. Some scapes are long and lean, like asparagus. In fact for years I thought of scapes as garlic-flavored asparagus and cooked them accordingly. Other varieties produce scapes that are very curly, almost like ringlets. Either way, when harvested early garlic scapes are excellent fermented.

Concentrated Instant Garlic Flavor

I promised easy and convenient. My number one fermenting choice for garlic scapes is making a fermented garlic scape paste. This simple ferment can go from garden to fermenting vessel in just a few minutes. Once fermented it lasts for months in the refrigerator and with a dip of a spoon you can add mild fresh minced garlic flavor (and bonus live probiotics) to any dish. As summer heats up and the energy for cooking evaporates, this paste can quickly turn the garden vegetables into delicious dishes. Mix the paste with a little olive oil to drizzle over fresh tomatoes, stir a spoonful of paste into yogurt and cucumbers for tzatziki, or into a pasta salad. Mix garlic scape paste into a burger to add a gourmet touch or rub garlic scape paste into vegetables such as summer squash, or meats, that are headed for the grill.

Pickled Garlic Scapes 1 


The immature flower heads are a delicacy, as they have a gentle garlic flavor. If you have young shoots they are delicious pickled whole in a brine. The garlic alone has enough flavor to make a great pickle but I like to add a few peppercorns and fresh herbs to the ferment. Arrange as many as you can in a jar. Take your time and have fun with this part and you will be rewarded by the beauty of these pickles. The curly ones can be twisted into little knots and stacked. The straight ones look great lined up with sprigs of fresh herbs tucked between them. Submerge in pickle brine—use ¼ cup salt to every half-gallon of unchlorinated water and ferment on the counter for two to three weeks; monitor the brine level to make sure everything stays submerged. Top off with fresh brine as needed. You will know they are ready when the verdant green has changed to a dull color. The brine will be cloudy and they will smell distinctly sour, like pickles.

In Sauerkraut or Kimchi

Scapes can also be used as an ingredient in other ferments, especially when the garlic heads are not quite ready. Often our first fresh krauts and kimchis of the season use the scapes as a substitute for garlic cloves since the bulbs are not fully developed and the over-wintered garlic is gone, dried out, or sprouting. They have a smooth garlic flavor that mellows a bit with fermentation, so if you are using scapes as a substitute for garlic cloves don’t feel shy about the conversion. You can use 1 to 2 scapes for every clove you are replacing. If you are creating your own recipe have fun with the flavors. Quick and easy is again the theme. Chop the stems and flower heads into bite-sized pieces and add to a ferment. Here are some guidelines for fermenting in small batches.

Shopping for or growing scapes: a little more information

If you buy your scapes at the farmer’s market you can assume that the variety that the farmer is selling is good for fermenting. The main thing you want to know is that the scapes were harvested early in the season. These will still be tender. The more the scapes have matured the more fibrous they become. While cooking will break down these scapes, fermenting won’t. These scapes will stay quite chewy if pickled whole or in chunks, but they will be perfect for a paste.

If you grow your own garlic it is important to know that not all varietals make great scapes, in fact soft neck varieties don’t make scapes.  The curly Rocomboles and Turbans are the first scapes of the season, the Rocomboles being a favorite for flavor and texture. The Creoles have slender curled scapes and are nice for chopping. The Porcelains make rather tough scapes, which should be harvested soon after they sprout. If you find they are tough you can make them into paste as they will be finely chopped in a food processor. The Asiatics have super long stems and "beaks"; this is a bulbil pod instead of a flower pod and is not as fibrous as the Porcelains. If you are like me you have long since forgotten what variety you originally planted—don’t worry as long as you harvest the scapes soon after they pop up you will make great ferments.

Kirsten K. Shockey is a post-modern homesteader who lives in the mountains of Southern Oregon. She writes about sauerkraut and life—but not necessarily in that order. She’s written a complete book of Fermented Vegetables and maintains the website Fermentista’s Kitchen

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 


Home Cured Bacon 

Bacon is popular as ever. A perennial favorite, we like it on the side, on the burger, on our salads - really, we like on everything. Whether fried, braised, boiled, chopped, smothered or smoked, bacon is the ultimate comfort food. From basic bacon to exotically global flavors, nothing taste better than bacon.

If you really love bacon like I do, you should try your hand at curing your own. The basic process is really simple and can quickly evolve into a world of bacon flavors that you’ll rarely find at the local meat counter. Salt, sugar, occasionally some curing salt, herbs and spices, sometimes smoke and a little time, combine with pork belly (or lamb or duck) to make a preserved meat that’s both tasty and sustaining.

Fresh Pork Belly for Bacon

Here are the basics: Order a five pound fresh, uncured pork belly from a local butcher or farmers market meat seller. Get your hands on some pink curing salt at a butcher supply place like Butcher & Packer. Curing salt is cheap and will last for many bacon projects. Bacon doesn’t always need curing salt, but it does provide that “hammy” flavor that we know and love. Other main ingredients include kosher salt, brown sugar and black pepper. After that, it’s time to improvise. Pink curing salt, kosher salt, sugar and pepper are sprinkled over the fresh belly (see recipes for amounts). Put the belly and cure into a big Ziplock bag, pop it in the refrigerator and flip it daily for a week until the belly is stiff. Rinse the cure off the belly. At this point it’s technically bacon! Amazing, no? Cook it as is, or for more flavor, slowly roast it, smoke it, BBQ it or dry cure it. Each technique will yield a different flavor.

Here is a wrap up of a few of my favorite home-cured bacon recipes that will take your bacon up to eleven.

Warm Spiced Bacon

Home-Cured Bacon Recipes

Home-Cured Bacon, Michael Ruhlman
Basic bacon at it’s best from the author of Charcuterie.

Ventreche, Hunter, Angler, Gardener
A French bacon, this smoked version is from Gascony.

Fresh Herb Bacon, One tomato, two tomato
Fresh herbs and smoke make a deliciously tasty bacon.

Tuscan Pancetta, Hedonia
Garlic, black pepper, thyme, rosemary and sage combine in this classic Italian bacon that flavors sauces, stews and dishes across Italy.

German Bacon, Hunter, Angler, Gardener
Mustard and caraway create a distinctly savory bacon.

Italian Guanciale, One tomato, two tomato
The fatty jowl of the pig makes wonderful meaty bacon. Dry cured jowl has an intense porky flavor.

Lamb Bacon, Smoke Cure Pickle Brew
Smokey sweet lamby goodness describes this unique bacon. Yum.

Sichuan Canadian Bacon, One tomato, two tomato
Sichuan peppercorns, ginger and star anise make this Canadian-style smoked bacon. Try it in your next stir fry!

Duck Bacon, Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Those fatty duck breasts make amazing bacon!

Warm Spice Bacon, One tomato, two tomato
Perfect for winter and a pot of baked beans, this bacon uses classic spices of pepper, mace and allspice.

Guanciale Bacon

Tammy Kimbler is the blogger of One Tomato, Two TomatoA cultivator at heart, Tammy’s passions lie with food, preservation, gardening and connecting to her local community through blogging and urban agriculture. She eats well and love to feed others as often as possible. She currently resides with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


 dill spears IMG_3543

The long history of the word “pickle” tells you all you need to know about making pickles at home.

The word first appeared in English during the obscure centuries before Chaucer, and it likely originated from an even older root word meaning “a thing that pricks or has piquancy.” By Shakespeare’s day—roughly 400 years ago—“pickle” had developed its modern usage. In Anthony and Cleopatra, the queen threatens to have a servant whipped with wires and thrown into a vat of pickling brine, which she promises will be a stinging punishment. The poor guy was about to find himself “in a pickle” as we would say today—thrown into an uncomfortable situation.

The takeaway is that a pickle’s tangy taste—its pleasant, mild sting—is caused by acidity. At the most basic level, a pickle is nothing more than a vegetable submerged in an acidic liquid. From a food preservation standpoint, acidity is what preserves the vegetable, and as mentioned in my last post, acidity is also the silver bullet against botulism and other food-borne disease.

This Universal Pickle Recipe uses vinegar for acidity, and it’s one of a class known as “vinegar pickles” or “quick pickles.” In addition to the familiar cucumber pickles, you can also use this recipe to pickle sturdy vegetables including green beans, zucchini, carrots, celery, onions, beets, and even some greens, as described below. 

The technique is safe, very easy, and flexible enough to adapt to almost any taste.

The Basic Brine

According to USDA guidelines, the key ratio for making pickle brine is one part vinegar to one part water. Note that the vinegar must have at least 5% acidity. (Most do, but check the label to verify.) Always use the best vinegar you can get, comparable to what you would use to make salad dressing, because the vinegar will be the most pronounced flavor in the jar. The quality of the pickle is in the brine.

My favorite vinegar for pickling is mild white wine vinegar, followed by lightly sweet apple cider vinegar. Red wine vinegar works well with beets. Malt vinegar is good with onions. (Balsamic vinegar can also work with onions.) The only vinegar I avoid is white vinegar with its harsh, tongue-stripping flavor and cleaning-product smell. Note that rice vinegar is usually 4 percent acidity.

Seasoning the Brine

So long as you stick to the basic ration of one part 5 percent vinegar to one part water, you can season your pickling brine to taste. Salt is always a key component, both for flavor and because the salt helps to crisp the vegetable. Almost all pickles also contain spices, and you can add any combination of black peppercorns, dill seed, coriander seed, cumin seed, mustard seed, allspice, mace, cinnamon, cloves, saffron, etc. (Ready-made pickling spice, available at the grocery store, pre-mixes some of the above.) I often use aromatic fresh herbs for flavor, such as dill weed, tarragon, basil, Thai basil, etc. Feel free to also add a clove of garlic, a slice of shallot, or a few cocktail onions to every jar. Dried red chilies or a slice of jalapeño pepper give heat. Finally, some pickles benefit from a touch of sweetness: for pickled ramps, I stir in a bit of honey or sugar.

Again, as long as you stick to the basic 1:1 ratio, you can flavor the brine with any of the above seasonings. Go wild with your creativity.

green beans IMG_5801

Vegetable Pro Tips

Wash and trim the vegetables as you would for making a salad or a vegetable side dish. Cut them into whatever bite-sized shapes you like—spears, sticks, chunks, rounds, or wavy-cut chips. I always spend a little extra time to cut the vegetables neatly: pretty counts. You can pack the vegetables into yours jar raw, blanched, or cooked.

Here are a few specific pro tips to get you started.

Cucumbers: The varieties sold as Kirby or pickling cucumbers will give you the best crunch, but other types work as well. Generally I don’t peel cucumbers. For the best texture: trim and cut the cucumbers. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of kosher salt, and toss to distribute the salt. Place the cucumbers in a colander, cover with two trays of ice, and set aside for two hours. Rinse quickly in cold water, then pack raw.

Green beans: Before packing, blanch the beans lightly in salted water for 90 seconds, then “shock” in an ice-water bath to arrest cooking.

Summer Squash, including zucchini: Zucchini make wonderful pickles. (My secret ingredient is a pinch of saffron in the brine.) Slice yellow crookneck squash into rounds. If you wish, salt and drain any summer squash, as for cucumbers.

Carrots: Before packing, blanch for two to three minutes in salted water. Shock in an ice-water bath.

Onions and garlic: All the allium, including ramps and garlic scapes, make delicious and useful pickles. Garlic cloves will sometimes turn bright blue or green from chemical reactions: don’t worry, they are still safe to eat.

Beets: Before packing, boil or roast whole beets until tender, 30-60 minutes depending on size. Slip them out of their skins and cut into manageable pieces.

Greens: Chard stems, trimmed into sticks and lightly blanched in salted water, make good pickles. Purslane, a succulent wild green, is one of my favorite pickles—flavor the brine with lots of whole coriander seed.

Herbs: If you have an abundance of tarragon or Thai basil, fill a jar with a several fronds of fresh herbs, and cover with straight, undiluted vinegar. The resulting aromatic vinegar will last indefinitely.


Vinegar pickles can be canned for long-term shelf storage, if you like. (More on that in an upcoming post.) But for the best flavor and crispest texture, I store the sealed jars in the refrigerator, where they will keep for weeks.

ramps IMG_7083

The Universal Pickling Recipe

Yields two quarts

Like a one-size-fits-all garment, this recipe may require minor adjustments to fit your needs. In testing the recipe yesterday, for instance, I found that I needed a touch over two pounds of cucumbers to fill two quart jars, but two pounds of small, tender green beans fit exactly.


• 2 pounds fresh, firm vegetables, such as cucumbers, squash, green beans, etc.
• 2 cups 5-percent vinegar
• 2 cups water
• 1 tbsp kosher salt (or half as much fine sea salt)
• optional: 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
• 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
• 4-6 three-inch fronds of fresh herb, such as dill weed, tarragon, Thai basil, etc.
• 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
• 1/2 tsp whole-seed spices, such as coriander or mustard
• optional: a very few "woody" spices, such as four whole cloves
• optional: two small dried red chili or slices of hot pepper
• optional: two thick slices of shallot or a half-dozen pearl onions


1. Trim and slice the vegetables as if making a salad or vegetable side dish. (See above for suggestions.)

2. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar or honey, if using, in a small pot. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat.

3. Pack the vegetables snugly into two clean quart jars. As you work, add the garlic and fresh herbs. At the end, add the peppercorns and whole-seed spices. Add the optional woody spices, chilies, hot pepper, shallot, or onions, if using.

4. Bring the vinegar brine back to a boil, and ladle over the vegetables to fill the jar. Seal the jars. Allow to cool overnight, and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Next up in Home Canning 101: the Universal Fermenting Recipe.

Click here for previous posts from Home Canning 101.

Click here for more information on blogger Kevin West.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


Cherry Mostarda 

It’s sweet cherry season, which means the first trip of the year to the local fruit farm – ‘cause I like to buy in bulk. Sweet cherries are one of my favorite snacks, and every year I hunt for new ways to keep them for the long winter. Usually I freeze several gallons of purple Bings and yellow Raniers. Sometimes I make cherry almond butter or cherry preserves. Some are dried for snacks and I also make Candied Cherries to use in fruitcake. But this year I decided to make mostarda.

What Is Mostarda?

Mostarda, also known as mostarda di frutta, is a fruit-mustard concoction from Italy’s Piedmont region. It is basically a relish-like combination of fruit and mustard. In my research though, I came across all kinds of mostarda recipes.

Some recipes used whole fresh fruits in a clear syrup. Some recipes called for dried fruits and were similar to chutney. Some recipes took days to complete while others were made in a matter of minutes. The recipes called for dried mustard or prepared mustard or mustard seeds or sometimes all three.

This recipe is based on the very easy-to-prepare recipe found in Paul Virant’s book The Preservation Kitchen. The Preservation Kitchen is one of my favorite preserving books, and one I pull from the shelf when looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary.

Cherry Mostarda Recipe

Although many mostarda recipes call for whole fruit, I halved the cherries here for a more relish-like texture. Also, you can use all red wine or all red wine vinegar, or half and half as I do here. Use a good quality red wine vinegar to give the cherries a more full-bodied flavor, or follow these directions to make your own Red Wine Vinegar.


• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp red wine
• 1 tbsp stone ground prepared mustard
• 1 tbsp powdered mustard
• 1 tsp crushed brown mustard seeds or ½ Tbsp whole mustard seeds
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 3 cups pitted and halved Bing cherries


1. Combine all ingredients except cherries in a small saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil, add cherries, reduce heat to medium, and cook until cherries are soft and the syrup has slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

3. Pour into two 1/2 pint jars. Mostarda will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or the freezer for up to a year.

How To Serve Mostarda

Top everyday grilled frankfurters, hamburgers with spicy-sweet mostarda for extra tang. Cherry mostarda also adds a crowning touch to veggie burgers or veggie dogs. Use mostarda spooned over a round of brie or as a pretzel dip. It is also good spread on a turkey sandwich or brushed over grilled zucchini and eggplant.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



Boy did I screw up -- or did I? I started my first batch of mead after all these years back in October-November. You all may remember my post about the mead. Well, I had trouble with getting the damn thing to start. I tried adding more yeast, I tried energizer, I tried damn near everything...and no bubbles out the airlock.

Thinking Failure

I gave up and made another batch of must (that’s the raw ingredients that ferment to turn into mead) and put it in another primary fermenter (I have two). This time, I started the yeast in a sanitized half gallon milk container about 12 hours ahead of time before adding it. It seemed to be going smoothly. So, I cracked open the original batch still in its primary fermenter and was greeted with an alcohol odor. I took a sanitized spoon and tasted the must. WOW! THAT'S STRONG! A powerful mead with strong overtones of the orange I put in. Somehow, it fermented without bubbling through the airlock, even though I'm pretty sure I kept it airtight.

Getting Advice

So, I have a very strong, but unfinished mead. I spoke to the brewer supply store and a mead group on Facebook; they all said that I should rack it. Racking involves syphoning off the top layer of the must and leaving the chunky stuff behind to throw out. Which means I had to pick up some racking tubes. And a second gallon container, called a gallon carboy. And probably lose my mind in the meantime.

Rack ‘Em

So, I pretty much blame hunting season and the holidays for the lack of care. But it seems like I have a mead that needs to be taken care of now. Racking used to require syphoning using your mouth to get it started and letting it drain from one container to the other. The one you’re racking to should be lower than the one you’re racking from. Nowadays, the brewers have a handy little self-racking device where you pump it a couple of times and it does the rest. Easy-peasy.

So, I racked the must and came up with a gallon and a quarter that will sit in my office for a while. I’ve been told that the longer you wait, the better the mead. Right now it is too dry and strong, which means it needs time to mellow.

Stay Tuned…

You could probably get high off my laundry room because I put the leftovers in the trash and am soaking the primary fermenter to get the orange gunge out. More on the mead-making as now I have a primary fermenter and an itch to get another must started.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 

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