Mead: what is this drink, useful properties and recipes
In the old days, long before the appearance of vodka and other strong alcoholic beverages in Russia were common heady drinks made of honey. And although the word "mead" itself appeared relatively recently, the traditions of preparing this drink go back to antiquity.
- What is mead
- Composition and calories
- Useful properties of mead
- For Women
- For Men
- In Pregnancy
- When breastfeeding
- For children
- For gout
- With a cold
- Mead in folk medicine
- Harm and contraindications
- How to store mead
- How to drink mead
- How to make mead: Recipes
- What you need to know about mead making
- Spicy mead: two recipes
- Mead without boiling
- Monastic mead
- Cherry Mead
- Interesting facts about mead
What is mead
This drink is considered the ancestor of wine, but it is not made from grapes. The fermentation of mead produces a mead-like drink with a delicate flavor.
Today, of course, it is rarely made according to ancient recipes. More common are those that were created in Veliky Novgorod more than 200 years ago and have since been adapted to modern conditions. However, this applies to home mead making. It is also produced industrially according to approved formulas and specifications. There are solid honey enterprises not only in Novgorod, Suzdal or Kolomna, but also in Altai and in some other regions, where there are high quality raw materials for this drink.
There are many varieties of this drink. The main differences between them are in the method of preparation. For example:
- Depending on the strength and time of aging. This is young mead (2 weeks of aging) and ordinary (in the old days it was aged for three years, now, especially in industrial conditions, it takes much less time - about a month). It is also strong and stale mead (i.e. cooked without boiling).
- Depending on the additional addition of alcohol. Even non-alcoholic mead is distinguished, in which there is no alcohol at all.
- Depending on additional fillers. Honeydew can be berry, it is also prepared with the addition of juniper, rose hips or a standard set of spices for such a drink - cinnamon, ginger, cloves, etc. In the latter case, it is called spicy.
In former times, stale honey was considered the most valuable. Not only hops were used for its fermentation, but also various sour berries - lingonberries, cherries, currants. The product had to ferment at a temperature of around +5°C. Such requirements still exist today. But, of course, no one pours the drink from one oak tank into another several times and buries it in the ground for 40 years. By the way, even for those times it was too long and expensive process.
Eventually a hot fermentation technology emerged, meaning that honey was brewed, various fruits, herbs and spices were added, and yeast began to be used as a starter. Of course, connoisseurs asserted that stale honey had a more refined and intense flavor, but boiled honey was cheaper and much quicker to prepare. As for the other options described above, there are many recipes, it all depends entirely on imagination and willingness to experiment.
So every host can choose the recipe for mead that he likes best, or cook several variants - for example, both classic young and spicy.
Composition and calories
Despite all its useful properties, mead is quite a caloric drink, which should be consumed with caution. The fact is that the energy value of the drink is almost 94 kcal per 100 ml, and most of it is carbohydrates (after water, of course) - 13%. That is, one may consider that a person drinks candy in liquid form, albeit a healthy one. So if your blood sugar level is high, you will have to give up mead.
As for the chemical composition, it includes:
- Ascorbic acid - has a positive effect on the condition of blood vessels.
- Tocopherol - is an antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is also necessary for women to improve the function of the reproductive system.
- B vitamins (thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and others) - ensure normal functioning of the nervous system and are also responsible for metabolic processes.
- Biotin, which plays an important role in digestion and metabolic processes - improves hair and nails.
- Beta-carotene is another antioxidant that has a positive effect on vision.
Also, mead contains a large number of minerals that are originally present in the raw material used for its production. For example, it is necessary for hematopoiesis iron, potassium and magnesium, which play a crucial role in ensuring the health of the heart muscle. It even contains such rare elements as vanadium, rubidium, and molybdenum.
The substances listed above are present in any mead, regardless of the recipe. But in each case the chemical composition will be unique, because other ingredients can be added to the drink - for example, berry juice, lemon juice, spices, hop cones, and yeast. And they also contain a lot of essential oils, vitamins and minerals.
Useful properties of mead
This drink has many useful properties. Quality mead made from natural ingredients:
- Clears the body of toxins.
- It contributes to strengthening the immune system.
- It is an effective preventive agent against cardiovascular disorders.
- It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
- It has a mild sedative (calming) effect, is considered a good remedy for stress and its negative effects, as well as for neurosis.
- Improves metabolic processes, which helps to get rid of extra pounds.
- Relieves swelling and improves blood circulation.
- Eliminates muscle pain.
- Has an antipyretic effect.
A small amount of mead is prescribed in the postoperative period, to bring the body into tone and restore strength. It is believed that its regular use increases physical endurance and the body's ability to better tolerate high mental and psycho-emotional stress.
It is recommended for the fair sex to drink mead. It improves blood circulation and anti-inflammatory effect - which allows to use it in the treatment of pelvic diseases. In addition, mead strengthens the walls of the uterus, more precisely - its smooth muscle, which later helps to carry a healthy baby.
In the old days the newlyweds were given mead for their wedding. There is a theory that this is why the month is called honey month. Newlyweds consumed a good drink, matured for several years, which guaranteed healthy offspring. Modern medics believe that the use of mead to a greater extent affects the reproductive health of men. The fact is that a small muscle located at the very base of the genitals is responsible for this. It plays the role of a valve, which regulates the inflow and outflow of blood that fills the cavernous bodies. The workability of the muscle largely depends on the trace elements that mead contains. First of all, it is zinc, which also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Mead normalizes blood circulation, which, like the properties described above, helps to eliminate erectile dysfunction and give strength.
Regarding the benefits of mead during pregnancy, doctors have no consensus. The only thing they agree on is that the alcoholic version of the drink should not be consumed by future mothers, it can have a negative impact on the health of the fetus.
As for the non-alcoholic version, it can be useful, because mead contains many vitamins and trace elements. It helps to restore the mineral-salt balance and normalize digestion (and after all, during pregnancy constipation often occurs, including those caused by disorders of intestinal peristalsis). But honey and herbs can provoke an allergic reaction, so drink with caution.
As is known, bee products have a positive effect on lactation. But use even non-alcoholic mead during this period is not worth it - it can cause allergies in the child.
In the classic version, mead is an alcoholic beverage, even at a low strength of 5-7 ° C. It is clear that it should not be given to children, even when treating colds. But the non-alcoholic version can be given to children for therapeutic and preventive purposes, but no more than a glass a day and provided that the child is not allergic.
On the one hand, mead in gout can be useful because it quickly removes salts from the body. On the other hand, like other drinks with a high content of sugars, it can have a negative effect on the state of the kidneys. So at gout it can be consumed only if the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks.
This product will be very useful for colds. After all, this disease itself is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Mead has a diuretic effect and the ability to increase sweating, which helps to remove toxins, viruses and the results of pathogenic microbes from the body.
In addition, mead increases pulmonary ventilation, so it is useful to drink it when you have respiratory diseases - for example, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Medovukha warms, but in addition, it is drunk to disinfect the nasopharynx in case of angina or tonsillitis.
One of the characteristics of this drink is that it can be used by itself or in combination with various natural components that contain beneficial oils. For example, it can be rose petals (but you should take varieties that contain more essential oil), dried thyme herb or even horseradish. In combination with such components, mead is an excellent remedy for a runny nose.
In the Internet you can find recipes in which mead is used to wash the nose when you have a cold. But just this is better not to do - so you can burn the mucous membranes.
Mead in folk medicine
Mead in folk medicine is used for other diseases. For example, when the pathology of the cardiovascular system is recommended to use it in combination with red dry wine (70 g mead and 30 g of wine drunk once a day before lunch).
A glass of non-alcoholic mead in which fresh mint leaves are added and heated slightly plays the role of a sedative. It has a calming effect and normalizes sleep.
In some liver diseases drink mead diluted with water (70 grams of alcoholic drink without additives in 2/3 of a glass of water). This is done once a day during any of the main meals.
A mixture of mead and cagorne taken in equal proportions (50 g each) helps against spring vitamin deficiency and loss of strength.
In addition, a glass of strong mead mixed in equal parts with red wine helps fight intestinal infections. Some experts even consider it a good remedy for both constipation and diarrhea, as it helps to normalize the digestive process.
Harms and contraindications
Despite the fact that mead is a drink on a natural basis, it has a number of contraindications. It should not be consumed:
- in case of diabetes - because of the high content of sugars;
- pregnancy and lactation - because of the impact on the baby's health;
- The presence of allergic reactions to honey and other components;
- Liver and kidney diseases.
It is also not worth getting involved in mead for those who suffer from chronic gastritis and pancreatitis (and in the acute form of the disease this drink is completely contraindicated).
Of course, in each case it is worth consulting a doctor, so that in the future there will be no unpleasant surprises.
How to store mead properly
One of the characteristics of mead is that it requires a special approach in terms of storage. Thus, the material of the container in which it will be kept plays an important role. Metal is not considered the best choice, because it can react chemically with the substances that are contained in this drink. Therefore, keeping mead in a metal beaker is definitely not worth it.
In the old days, oak barrels were used for this purpose. Of course, this type of wood is considered ideal for most low-alcohol beverages because the substances it contains are involved in creating their unique flavor and aroma. However, oak barrels are expensive, and they are rarely used in home brewing. Their cheaper counterpart is linden wood barrels. It is believed that this species can even speed up the fermentation process.
However, if mead will be stored in an ordinary city apartment, then it is worth opting for glass bottles. This is a more practical option for home mead-making, especially if the finished product will not be too much. Glass does not react with mead. This is basically an inert material. But it is better to choose dark glass, especially if the drink will be stored in the refrigerator.
It is important that the mead does not fall on the sunlight. Firstly, because ultraviolet rays directly affect the composition of the drink, destroying useful substances. Secondly, with prolonged exposure, the sun heats the bottle, and this is undesirable.
For the storage of mead the temperature regime is important. As for other low-alcohol beverages, the optimal conditions are considered +5 ... 10 ° C. They can be provided by keeping mead in the basement or in the refrigerator.
Plastic containers are also suitable for short-term storage and transportation. But do not keep the drink in it for a long time - it will spoil.
In closed form, properly prepared mead can be stored for years. Moreover, with age, it can even get better.
How to drink mead correctly
Many believe that mead is better to drink on an empty stomach. Of course, such low-alcohol beverage can play the role of aperitif, that is, it is needed to improve appetite, stimulate digestion and at the same time speed up the metabolism.
It is better to drink mead chilled. This variant is especially good for the summer heat, but you need to open such a bottle carefully, without shaking. At the same time in winter it can be heated a little, but not too much, because you should not boil the drink - this will destroy the useful substances it contains.
Although mead is not a strong drink, it is better to drink it in small sips, taking your time, from small shot glasses. It is not customary to snack on it.
How to make mead: recipes
Making mead at home is quite difficult, especially if for this purpose to use the ancient technology, which implies the presence of a cellar and an icehouse with a constant temperature regime, oak barrels, etc.
What you need to know about mead making
Properly cooked mead should be almost transparent, without sediment. Its color depends on the shade of honey, that is, it may vary from pale yellow to amber-brown, reminiscent of a sweet soda. In general, it is very important to choose the right raw material for such a drink. The honey must be natural and aromatic. Experienced mellitarians advise to buy pale varieties of this product (especially white is highly valued). But in fact, this does not affect the taste, and this choice is largely due to tradition.
If you want, you can also choose dark varieties, such as buckwheat honey. This variety has a delicate flavor and a bit of bitterness. But it is also more healthful than the lighter varieties, since they contain more iron.
The quality of honey should be paid special attention. For example, liquid honey in the fall - it is quite acceptable. But in the spring it is an evidence of unscrupulous seller. For example, some people melt honey in a water bath, which makes it more attractive, but partially deprives it of its useful properties. Not to mention the fact that such a product can be a surrogate.
Choosing the type of honey is not enough; you also need to take care of the equipment. Since the fermentation process is supposed to take place here, you will need a gas outlet. For this purpose, a tight lid is put on the glass bottle, so that it can be sealed hermetically. But then a hole is made in the lid, through which a thin hose is passed. One end of it is left in a container so that it is above the surface of the drink, and the other end is lowered into a cup with water. Many owners prefer a simpler option - they use a thick latex or rubber glove instead of a lid, which fits well to the neck. In this glove they make a hole.
To check the fermentation process in this case you can do the following: light a match and bring it to the hole in the glove. If the fire has not flared up stronger, then the fermentation process is generally complete, because no alcoholic vapors rise from the drink. But this is quite a dangerous way, you need to be careful with it.
Spiced mead: two variants of the recipe
Lovers of adding spices to alcoholic beverages can use the following recipe: for 2.5-3 liters of water about 1 kg of flower honey. This mixture is brought to a boil, while constantly stirring it. Then add a pinch of various spices - allspice, ground cinnamon, cardamom, dried and crushed ginger, the zest of one lemon, and bring to a boil. If you can find hops, you can add 5 g of this ingredient.
During boiling, foam forms on the surface, which is regularly removed. After boiling, strain the broth, cool it, add 100 g of yeast (it is better to take beer yeast, but ordinary yeast will do). Put the mead in a warm place so that the fermentation process begins.
It is ideal to have a container with a water trap. You can buy a ready-made one in stores, but there is also a simpler option - a rubber glove put on the neck. After a few days the ready mead is poured into glass containers and left to mature in a cool place for another 2 weeks.
There is another recipe for spicy mead. For the same 3 liters of water take 0.75 kg of honey, 10 g of dry yeast, a few cloves, 1 tsp of powdered nutmeg, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 egg white.
Mix honey with egg white until a homogeneous mass is formed, then pour water, stir again and put on fire. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring regularly, then reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. After that, add the spices, stir again and leave on the fire for an hour, without covering with a lid. During this time, the mixture should become clear, homogeneous and boiled to half of its original volume.
Then the drink is removed from the fire, carefully filtered, poured into a glass bottle, and only then add the yeast.
But here there are two important points. When boiling honey, foam forms. It is imperative to remove it. Before adding the yeast to this mixture, the drink must be cooled. The fact is that yeast contains bacterial cultures that die at high temperature.
All this is stirred again, covered for 24 hours with folded gauze, a lid or an improvised water trap made of a glove, and left to ferment in a warm and dark place for 2 weeks.
Mead without boiling
In order to prepare this drink, 400 g of flower honey, 3 tablespoons of good raisins, 2-3 fresh lemons, 1 tsp. yeast are needed for 5 liters of water.
Raisins are washed, lemons are also washed and cut into slices, not forgetting to remove the seeds. All this is mixed with honey in a large saucepan. In a separate container, boil water, then cool it a little and pour the prepared raw material. It is constantly stirred until the honey is completely dissolved. When the composition will resemble steamed milk in temperature, yeast diluted in water is added to it. This mixture is left somewhere in a warm place without access to light for 24 hours. You can tell that the fermentation process has begun by the fact that bits of lemon and raisins will start to float up.
When the process has started, you can pour the mead into bottles, having previously passed it through gauze. These bottles are corked tightly and stored as described above, in a dark and cool place. It is believed that after 2 weeks it will be ready for consumption - this is the young mead described above.
If you can get hold of dried hop cones, you can make monastic mead. For 3 liters of water take 1 kg of honey and stir thoroughly. Then put the drink on low heat and gradually boiled for 3 hours. After that, take 2 tsp. dry crushed hops, wrapped in gauze, making a semblance of a bag, cook for another 1 hour. After that, mead is removed from the fire, passed through a filter and poured into a prepared container (just fill it not completely, but 4/5 of the volume). Then put the drink in a dark and warm place for another 1-2 days to stimulate fermentation. If you put a glove on the container and make a hole, you will hear a hiss - this is the fermentation process. When the hissing stops, pour another 100 ml of unsweetened, but strong black tea and pass it through a folded three layers of gauze. Ready mead is poured into bottles and corked. It is recommended to insist it in a cool place for 1 year.
This mead is made without any yeast. Every 1 liter of water has 4-5 kg of sour cherries and 2 kg of honey. First boil honey syrup, diluting the raw material with water and transferring it previously in an enamel pan. In a glass container with a narrow neck pour cherries (pips previously removed). Honey syrup cool and pour it over the cherries. Acid contained in berries, starts the fermentation process - it will last 3 days, after which the drink is filtered, poured into bottles, closed with caps or corks and put in a cool place.
Similarly make cranberry mead, but add more water and fewer berries. If you do not insist it for 3 days, and drink almost immediately after cooling, then there will be no fermentation, and you will get a non-alcoholic drink.
Interesting facts about mead
- In the old days, mead was kept only for special occasions. And this is not surprising, because in those days the drink was prepared for a very long time. The so-called staked mead was left in an oak barrel, buried in the ground, for 15-40 years (and some sources indicate that up to 50). The hop honey was made more quickly by adding hops, but it still took at least three years to brew. There was also what was known as boiled honey - it was made like beer - first the mixture was brought to the boil, then leaven was added, such as black bread.
- Mead was made in barrels. And the expression "a spoon of tar in a barrel of honey" comes just from those distant times. In that era, black resin was used to make the wooden containers. Quality barrels had boards that fit together very tightly. But if it was made poorly, a bit of tar could get in through a crack in the boards, and even a microscopic amount of this liquid with a pungent taste was enough to spoil the whole volume of the drink. And it took many years for it to mature.
- Expensive stale honey was gradually supplanted by other beverages. The fact that the state and the church monopolized production also played a role here. And then vodka appeared and overshadowed less strong drinks in the harsh Russian climate.
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