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How Do I Add Strawberries?

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bmulhern

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I'm making a strawberry mead for the first time. I have 8 lbs. of frozen strawberries and my mead has been fermenting for 1 month. It is time to add the strawberries. I read through numerous sites to get this answer and can't find a solid one so here I am posting.


Do I boil the strawberries for 15 minutes or add them frozen?

If I boild them, do I do this in a mussling bag?

Do I food process the strawberries or add them whole?

Thank you.
 

TipsyDragon

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well the freezing should of killed anything that was living on the strawberries. you can boil them if you are worried about contamination. and yes definitely use a bag. the berries will turn to mush in your fermenter and can be a pain to clean up. either way it doesn't really matter of you add them hole or diced. but i would think cutting them up would help in getting their taste into the mead and make it easier for the yeast to use them as a food source .. which is the point. just be sure to use some pectin enzyme (i think that's how its spelled) or you will never get the mead to clear.
 

Tusch

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Personally, I would not boil or process them, boiling them will set the pectins and give you some nice strawberry jam. I would throw them in your secondary carboy and rack your mead on top of them. First I would let them thaw out completely, then refreeze them, and thaw out again before adding them to the carboy. This will help break down the cell walls allowing for better extraction of flavors, colors, and sugars. If you are concerned about their sanitation, use campden tablets. Add one or two crushed campden tablets to the strawberries, once they are in your already sanitized carboy. Wait 24 hours and then rack your mead on top of the fruit.
 

merddyn2002

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I've done a few batches of strawberry. I used fresh strawberries and pulverized in a mesh (not muslin) bag.

The real key to using any fruit and getting the real flavor is to get a good breakdown on the cellular structure on the fruit so the fruit releases juice. Frozen fruit will do this better than fresh fruit but really only if the fruit is frozen SLOWLY. Slow freezing results in larger ice crystals which results in more damage to the fruit cell walls and more juice release. Most commercial freezing is "flash" freezing which is not what you want. If you're going to use frozen stuff I would thaw in the fridge and then very slowly freeze it and thaw again in the fridge.

Otherwise you could use pectic enzyme which will break down the fruit while it ferments. I always do that with any fresh fruit wine.

Boiling the strawberries probably isn't a bad way to go either and would sterilize any other beasties living on them if they're fresh. Frozen stuff you wouldn't have to do that with.
 

Yooper

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I would NOT boil the fruit. It'll set the pectins in the fruit (think strawberry jam) and make it nearly impossible to clear.

Freeze/thaw is a perfect way to break them down, and then I'd do what another poster suggested and put them into a carby and rack the mead into them.
 
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bmulhern

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Thank you all. Following the thaw-freeze-thaw cycle, should I do an additional freeze-thaw step or is that going too far? Also, should I chop the strawberries before the first freeze or after the last thaw?
 

Yooper

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Thank you all. Following the thaw-freeze-thaw cycle, should I do an additional freeze-thaw step or is that going too far? Also, should I chop the strawberries before the first freeze or after the last thaw?
Just thaw/freeze/thaw is sufficient. It doesn't matter if/when you chop them. If you do the freezing/thawing, and put the strawberries in a sanitized mesh bag, and mash them up, they'll be plenty smooshed up.
 
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