Medicinal Herbal Meads

Date: May 11-13, 2018

Location: Elderberry’s in Paonia, CO

Mead is a mild, flavorful, naturally fermented “honey wine” that has been made for generations in many cultures around the world. Pottery vessels from northern China dating back at least 9,000 years show traces of mead! Some historians believe that the word “honeymoon” comes from the old European practice of drinking mead during the month after a wedding. There’s something very special about this magical transformation of the golden gift of the honeybee …

Come join us at Elderberry’s and learn how to make traditional honey extractions of various medicinal herbs and berries, then turn them into exquisite semi-sweet and dry meads using the cold, slow-aging process that preserves delicate aromas and flavors. We’ll work with herbs and fruits like Elderberries, Cherries, Cacao, Ginger, Peaches, Spruce tips, Juniper berries, and other medicinals. You’ll get to experience all of the stages of mead-making, including extracting the herbal honey, selecting and pitching the yeast and the stages of fermentation, racking, aging, and bottling … We’ll also sample the herbal meads we started last May! With Lisa Ganora, Director of the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism. Lisa, who has been making medicinal mead for 27 years, combines her knowledge of herbal pharmacy and phytochemistry with a love for the magic and mystery of honey and traditional fermentation.

Our workshop begins with a Friday night opening circle, talk and potluck that is free and open to the public! Come learn about the traditions of medicinal honey extraction and herbal mead-making. Bring your favorite dish to share (please label ingredients). We’ll also talk about the composition of our herbal honeys and the medicinal actions of their fascinating constituents.

On Saturday, we’ll start an herbal extraction with honey, and we’ll use a different honey that we made earlier to learn the steps of starting a new primary fermentation. You’ll also learn the sanitary techniques necessary to keep your meads from going “off” or turning into vinegar. We’ll also introduce the process of racking, where you use a siphon to transfer the mead from the primary fermentation vessel into the secondary vessel where it will settle and clear. Saturday night includes mead sampling and a campfire circle down by the creek.

On Sunday, we’ll start another mead with the honey we made Saturday, practice racking and bottling, and learn all about how to store and age medicinal meads for optimal flavor development. By the end of this workshop you’ll know how to make some delicious meads that preserve many of the medicinal qualities of your herbs and fruits!

Camping (we have platforms now!) and meals are included in the regular price. Please email us if you’d like to reserve a tiny house for the weekend.

Download the schedule here.


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