Mjød or Mead is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash; the mash is strained off immediately after fermentation. Depending on local traditions and specific recipes, it may be flavored with spices, fruit, or hops. The alcoholic content of mead may range from about 8% ABV to 18%. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling, and it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
Mead is known from many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, although archaeological evidence of it is ambiguous. Its origins are lost in prehistory. "It can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks," Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has observed, "antedating the cultivation of the soil."
The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of mead dates to around 7000 BC. Pottery vessels containing a mixture of mead, rice and other fruits along with organic compounds of fermentation were found in Northern China. In Europe, it is first attested in residual samples found in the characteristic ceramics of the Bell Beaker Culture.
Mead was popular in Central Europe and in the Baltic states. In the Polish language mead is called miód pitny, meaning "drinkable honey". In Russia mead remained popular as medovukha and sbiten long after its decline in the West. Sbiten is often mentioned in the works of 19th-century Russian writers, including Gogol, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.
In Finland a sweet mead called Sima is still an essential seasonal brew connected with the Finnish Vappu (May Day) festival. It is usually spiced by adding both the pulp and rind of a lemon. During secondary fermentation, raisins are added to control the amount of sugars and to act as an indicator of readiness for consumption; they will rise to the top of the bottle when the drink is ready.
Ethiopian mead is called tej and is usually home-made. It is flavored with the powdered leaves and bark of gesho, a hop-like bittering agent which is a species of buckthorn. A sweeter, less-alcoholic version called berz, aged for a shorter time, is also made. The traditional vessel for drinking tej is a rounded vase-shaped container called a berele.
Mead known as iQhilika is traditionally prepared by the Xhosa of South Africa.
Mead can have a wide range of flavors, depending on the source of the honey, additives including fruit and spices, the yeast employed during fermentation, and aging procedure. Mead can be difficult to find commercially. Some producers have marketed white wine with added honey as mead, often spelling it "meade." This is closer in style to a Hypocras. Blended varieties of mead may be known by either style represented. For instance, a mead made with cinnamon and apples may be referred to as either a cinnamon cyser or an apple metheglin.
A mead that also contains spices (such as cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg), or herbs (such as oregano, hops, or even lavender or chamomile), is called a metheglin.
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Mjød: Mead, amagervegetar.blogspot.com
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