Mead and beer are ceremonial and traditional drinks. Mead, midus
is the oldest and noblest drink, served during banquets and special occasions.
Travelers and chroniclers wrote about the manufacture and use of mead by
Lithuanians and Prussians as early as the eleventh century. Good conditions
existed to make mead because Lithuanians since early times took honey from
wild bees in tree hollows. Today people have several hives on their farmsteads,
to satisfy their family needs. Mead ten or more years old was the landlord's
pride, for mead's quality increases with age.
True mead is made with natural, light honey. In Lithuania and neighboring
countries home made mead varies because of different seasonings used.
10 k (20 lbs) honey
Pour honey into stainless steel or enameled pot, cover with spring
water, mix well and bring to a boil on low heat. Place hops and juniper
berries into a linen bag and drop into boiling honey-water solution. Skim
off scum and continue to boil until no more scum forms, about 1/2 hour.
Cool solution to 85F/30C, add yeast, mix well and pour mixture into a glass
carboy. Close bottle with cork, run a small hose or glass tube through
the cork, one end of which is placed in a jar with water. This will allow
the release of fermentation gases. Keep the fermenting carboy in a warm
spot for about 3 weeks. As fermentation comes to an end, a deposit will
form at the bottom of the carboy, decant mead into another carboy, stopper
and keep at same warm temperature for about 3 months. Decant again and
pour into an oak barrel. Close barrel and set in a cool spot. To obtain
strong mead, age up to 5 years.
1 tablespoon caraway seed
Pour hot water over caraway seed, boil for 5-10 minutes, then let
infuse for several minutes. Strain and pour into cups, add sugar to taste.
LINDEN BLOSSOM TEA
15 linden blossom branches
Cover linden blossoms with boiling water and boil for 3-5 minutes.
Strain, add honey and preserves and mix well. This tea is drunk on bitterly
cold days and at bedtime.
1 l (1 quart) acorns
Dry freshly picked acorns at room temperature for a couple of days.
Shell and cook in milk until soft, about 45-60 minutes. Remove acorns from
milk and blot dry, saute in a dry skillet until golden brown. Grind scorched
acorns and store in a tight container.
1/2 k (1 lb) carrots, peeled and grated
Spread grated carrots on baking sheet and dry in oven, at low heat
until carrot gratings turn dark brown, but are not burned. Cover dried
carrots with hot water, boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let infuse
for several minutes. Strain, warm if it has cooled, pour into cups, whiten
with cream, sugar to taste.
1/2 k (1 lb) dried, black rye bread
Cover bread with boiling water and let sit for 24 hours. Strain,
add yeast blended with sugar, and remaining sugar, mix well and let ferment
for 1-2 days in a warm spot.
CARAWAY SEED KVASS
2 cups caraway seed
Cover caraway seed with cold water and boil for 15-20 minutes. Strain,
add sugar and cool to 105F/40C. Add proofed yeast, raisins. Set in a warm
spot to ferment for 2 days. Pour into bottles, close tightly and keep in
cold place. This will be ready in 2-3 days.
1 k (2 lbs) barley; 1/2 k (1 lb) sugar
Saute barley in skillet until golden brown. Pour barley into a pot,
cover with cold water, add hops and cook for 30 minutes. Strain, mix in
sugar, cool and add proofed yeast. Let ferment in a warm spot for 48 hours.
Pour fermented liquid into bottles, close bottles and store in a cool place.
Barley kvass tastes best when 3 days old.
1 k (2 lbs) cranberries
Pour sugar and cranberries into a pot, cover with water and cook
for 10 minutes. Put everything through a food mill and wash down pulp with
berry juice. Cool and add proofed yeast, mix well. Set in a warm spot to
ferment, for 3 days.
1/2 l (2 cups) honey
Place honey in hot, boiled water, stir until honey melts. Cool. Add
proofed yeast and let ferment for 24 hours in a warm place, until liquid
begins to foam. Remove scum, add raisins and lemon juice. Pour into bottles
and store in cool place.
2 cups beet juice, made from raw beets
Dissolve starch in 1 cup cold water. Bring remaining water to a boil,
mix in starch solution, vanilla bean, sugar, beet juice, juice of 1 lemon.
Bring mixture to a boil.
Towards the end of March, before leaves appear, maples and birches
are tapped for their sap. Maple trees are tapped more often because their
sap is much sweeter than birch sap.
FERMENTED TREE SAP
Fill a wooden barrel with maple or birch sap. For extra flavor add
black currant, cherry or birch branches. Cover top with oats. Oats are
light and remain on the surface and sprout creating a 5 cm/2 inches thick
cover. This method of covering the sap creates a flavorful fermentation.
Such fermented sap can be kept for several months in a cool place and be
available to satisfy summer thirst. Cut a round opening in the oat cover
to allow a ladle to enter the barrel. Replace the cut out round when enough
drink has been ladled.
POPPY SEED MILK
1 cup poppy seed
Process poppy seed in food processor until a thick mass is formed.
Using a meat grinder it will take 2 grindings of scalded poppy seeds to
make a thick mass. Pour boiled but chilled water over poppy seed mass,
add sugar and mix well.
HEMP SEED MILK
1/2 l (2 cups) hemp seed
Saute hemp seed in skillet until crisp. Process seed in food processor
or grind in meat grinder until powdery. Pour powdered hemp seed into hot,
boiled water, add salt and pepper and mix well.