Sunday, December 13, 2009
Mead. The word evokes romantic connotations in my mind, but honestly, I did not know exactly what it was until last week. I did know that it is a drink, and an ancient one. I did know that it plays an important part in literature. After all, where would Beowulf be without the Mead hall?
Now, I also know that it is the ideal homesteader's wine, made from fermented honey, sometimes called honey wine. It is simple to make and offers endless flavor variations, not to mention health benefits. Does that not sound marvelous? I have dutifully added it to the long list of things to try when we finally get our bees established. By that time we will be well-practiced cheese makers, and we shall picnic in the hayfield, savoring fresh blackberries, raw-milk cheese, and mellow Mead. . .
I was surprised to find that Mead is gaining popularity. I found YouTube videos on how to make it, and Mother Earth News just featured it in this article.
In my research into its history, I saw several mentions of its possible use in wedding customs. About.com sums it up this way:
"In Celtic cultures, Mead was believed to enhance virility and fertility, while also contributing supposed aphrodisiac qualities. As a result, Mead quickly found its way into Irish wedding ceremonies. In fact, the term “honeymoon” is believed to have stemmed from the Irish tradition of newlyweds drinking honey wine everyday for one full moon (a month) after their weddings."
What a great wedding custom! If the goal is to promote fertility, this makes a whole lot more sense than throwing rice at the newlyweds. I wonder if there is a wedding registry with "A Month of Mead" as a gift choice?