Hmmm. Maybe Figs?

Experiment #1: Junk at the Bottom

Well, my first attempt at fermentation (Raw Honey with water) has not been successful to this point. I expected bubbles, movement, something…but nothing. Except maybe some cloudy wispy-ness that settled to the bottom.

So, since I was highly suspicious of whether the water had chloramines (which, if you recall, won’t evaporate or boil out like chlorine), Monday evening I made up another batch along similar lines, this time with distilled water rather than boiled tap. So far, nothing still.

Experiment #2. Still as the Grave

So now I’m wondering if my “raw” honey doesn’t actually have the yeast that raw honey should…thus yielding my poor results to date. Enter the fig tree in my back yard.

We’ve been daily picking figs, as they are ripening rather piece-meal. But many we are missing and watching in horror as yellow-jackets swarm our tree. I rushed into the fray, pulled a whole bunch, and preceded to mix up Experiment #3, in hopes of more success.

Experiment #3 is sugar and distilled water (leaving the honey out this time), with a good measure of figs added to provide both flavor, color and yeast. If figs are anything like grapes, the white powdery coating on the outside should be yeast that should kick this whole process off. So as for recipe, rough as it may be…I mixed about 2L of water with 1 3/4 cup white sugar, until fully dissolved. I then chopped up my figs (2 cups chopped) and added them, stirring vigorously.

Once again, now we wait. Oh, pictures of Experiment #3:

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About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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2 Responses to Hmmm. Maybe Figs?

  1. Matt W says:

    glad you switched to figs – sorry to burst your bubble, but honey is one of those few things that doesn’t really ever go bad, it just crystallizes. on a side note, my cousin tells tells me that dandelion blossoms work very well.

  2. George says:

    Hey, Matt!

    I’m reading Sandor Katz’ book The Art of Fermentation. There he states that fermenting honey is one of the easiest ferments of all (oh, well…): “…first we’ll start with the most utterly simple ferment there is, mead, which simply requires that you dilute raw honey with water. Raw honey contains abundant yeasts…The yeasts are inactive so long as the honey’s water content remains at or below 17 percent (as it is in fully mature honey). But increase the water content just a little bit beyond that and the yeasts wake right up. According to the US Department of Agriculture, ‘above 19 percent water, honey can be expected to ferment even with only one spore per gram of honey, a level so low as to be very rare.'”

    I used his suggested proportions – 1:4 honey to water ratio. Not sure now whether 1) temperature is inhibiting things (I have no knowlede that this should stop things, though I could imagine it slowing things down), 2) the honey is not raw (though the seller said it wasn’t pasteurized, maybe it was still cooked to some point), or 3) water is still an issue (maybe distilled water is still chlorinated? It only says that is is “filtered and ozonated” on the jug).

    I wanted to avoid using Campden tablets (sodium and/or potassium metabisulfite) at this point, though it seems like lots of people use this to sterilize water and equipment. Does your chemistry know-how make any other suggestions/issues obvious?

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