Originally Posted by Stout Man
Do the tiny little seeds on the outside of the strawberries contribute to the final taste of the mead? I am asking because I am trying to decide to blend the strawberries and then add or if I should just chop them up a couple times and put them in a straining bag of some kind. And should I add them after the honey in the pot, or put them in the carboy before the must? I've read as much as I can and haven't found anything about actual techniques to use when adding fruit. Just to make sure to freeze it before use and make sure it is "safe".
Just chop them, the seeds on strawberries either don't contribute or they are so small they don't. I have made lots of strawberry wines and meads and haven't notice any bitterness and I just chop and freeze, then add when thawed.
There are two schools on adding fruit. The first is to add to the primary and squeeze the bag on racking to the secondary, always make sure the honey is mixed first then add fruit. The second school is to add the fruit to the secondary. What I have seen is that the secondary additions tend to produce a stronger fruit flavor. It could also be that the fruit is in the must a bit longer. I left my blueberries on the lees for two months on the last batch and it has really surprised me how much more intense the flavor is. I did not put them in a bag just added to the initial carboy.
Please keep in mind that you cannot do this with just any yeast either. The way I did it was mixed the honey, water, 1/3 of the total Nutrients needed and the Campden. In 24 hours made a starter for the yeast and pitched it. Stired the must well and then aded the fruit. I covered this with a towel and had to end up draining some off(about a gallon) as the fruit tends to expand massively. I also stired at least once a day until I put the airlock on. In two days I added 1/3 of the total nutrients again. About an hour after this it was fermenting very, very strong. In 10 days I added the final 1/3 of the nutrients, stired and slapped the airlock on. I did not touch it for 50 more days. I then racked to a secondary 5 gallon carboy. What was in the 1 gallon topped off the 5 gallon nicely. Most of the fruit had dropped to the bottom and the lees were nice and tight. I would also add some pectic enzyme when adding any fruit.
I have seen this done with Apples also. The Cyser with the apples in fact won at the California State fair. I believe he left the apples on the lees for 6 months. Anyway this is the newest method for getting the best flavor from your must. The yeast to use for this is Lalvin D47. Hope this helped give you a bit of direction. Either way is okay but I try the new stuff to see if there is a difference. Sometimes great and other time not a big change.