Our Bee Hives’ Bounty Transformed into Mead (an Ancient Elixir)


Uncover ancient techniques as Chef Jayson ferments garlic in honey and explains the process of crafting mead. From selecting the right yeast to monitoring fermentation, Chef’s innovative and historical practices bring nature’s bounty to your table.


0:03 Welcome Back!
0:25 Our Garden Bounty
1:49 I’d give a Fig
4:22 Honey Meade me do it
5:29 Lactobacillus is hard to say
7:13 Do you like Garlic, Honey?
8:18 Armenian Cucumbers
9:30 DIY Garlic Powder
10:08 Don’t waste, Dehydrate
12:15 Our Outdoor Station
13:43 Thank You for coming along!


Chef Jayson (00:03):

Welcome to the kitchen. We are back here. We are gonna talk about a few different things today. We were harvesting chickens this morning and it ran a little long. I wanted to do a couple things, but I just didn’t have time to prepare. However, I do have enough stuff to show you. So I just want to kind of show you our little garden bounty here. We’ve got some jalapenos. They’re red because we let ’em just sit on the, sit on the vine for a while. These are wax peppers, banana peppers that we will turn into peppercinis. We’ve got our bell peppers back here. These beautiful purple, purple bells. These are awesome. I throw these in salads and stir fry’s. We’ve got some more jalapenos. These are lime quats. These are awesome for just garnish, especially like salads, shrimp, things like that. They’re wonderful. They’re super thin skin. There you go. That’s what it looks like. See how thin that skin is. So, I mean, you could eat this if you wanted to. But love ’em. These are great. We’ve got some beautiful little tomatoes back here. These are, you know what, I’m not sure what kind of pepper this is. Are we going to, let’s do our pepper test where I just stupidly eat the end of the pepper to see if it’s hot?

Chef Jayson (01:27):

Mm, no. I think this is an Anaheim. It’s very, it’s not spicy at all. So I know usually anaheims are about this big. It’s so hot where we’re at right now, that nothing is really growing, growing, it’s just kind of surviving. So we figured we’d pull these off before they dried up themselves.

Chef Jayson (01:49):

And speaking of figs, I mean this is, this is fig season right now in Arizona. We got a ton of ’em. We have white figs. We have these beautiful black figs and we’re drying ’em out. We get these little teardrops. We put ’em in our our dehydrator, which I’ll show you here in a second. And we just set ’em there and let ’em go at 135 for about 24 hours. And then turn it off. Let ’em sit for another 24 hours and they kind of dry out. And you got these beautiful, beautiful figs. Check that out nice and dried out on the inside, these little sit on a shelf, I mean, until they kind of just dry it into, into nothing.

Chef Jayson (02:26):

This is kind of like my go-to jar when we have just handfuls of peppers. This is a one-to-one vinegar to brine that is just kind of my catch ’em. So I get handfuls and I just chuck ’em in there and I’m just gonna let this sit in the fridge and do its thing for a couple of months. And by the end of it we’ll have some nice pepper, some nice pickle peppers that we can, I’m not even gonna so <laugh>.

Chef Jayson (02:54):

Anyway. another cool thing, these are all I’itoi onions. I’itoi are a native desert onion. Kind of looks like a shallot. Tastes like a shallot. We actually get a lot of these in winter and spring. I mean, pretty much the summertime is the only time that we don’t have ’em. And I actually say that I did see some popping up where the big patch was already. So they’re really resilient and they’re like a walking onion. That means that they will just kind of spread out and spread out and spread out. And your onion patch will just get bigger and bigger and bigger if you leave them in the ground. So I like green onions ’cause you could just click the top and and they’ll grow right back.

Chef Jayson (03:38):

We’ve got honey. Now, you know, we’ve got bees on the roof, so we harvest our own honey. This is, so this is crystallized already and I did a little digging and found out why it crystallizes. And it’s because it doesn’t have water content. And I’ve noticed that with the honey that we have here at the property is that it’s really thick. You know, like when you try to pour it, you can almost go like this and wiggle it back and forth like taffy. And it doesn’t break. It’s really thick. So this is from the very first batch that we harvested. I want to say it was March, maybe March or April. And so it’s been sitting for a few months and it’s had the time to crystallize. But this I would use for mead.

Chef Jayson (04:22):

So if you’ve ever made mead or ever had mead or you don’t even know what mead is, it is honey wine. This is what the Vikings drank. It is three ingredients. It is honey, water and yeast. Now there is yeast naturally present in honey. So a lot of times you could just put honey in water if it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized like heat kills the yeast. So you would want to get raw honey. But I’ve made it before with just honey and water. Now as I do, I like to do a little research and find different and better ways to improve the process. And so I found this yeast, this is a special kind of yeast specifically for mead and white wines. There’s a lot of different kinds of yeast that you can use for different flavored effects. So you can see that this one, there’s a little, it’s working right there. That’s the yeast working. You can see up here in the airlock, those bubbles are pushing the CO2 that’s building up inside here. It’s just letting it out so the bottle doesn’t explode.

Chef Jayson (05:29):

You could see down here at the very bottom, there’s like a thin layer of white stuff and that’s spent lacto, lactobacillus, I think that’s right. Lactobacillus, I’m, and I’m not a doctor, so don’t crush my pronunciation. So when the yeast has eaten the sugar and turned it into alcohol, this is called the Lees, l-e-e-s. The lees is the spent lactubillis… Lac, I think that’s right. Lacto debil dis. Anyway, it’s yeast crap basically. And what we’ll do is when this finally settles and starts to turn clear and this stops bubbling, that means the fermentation is pretty much stopped. Then we will take a siphon and we will siphon this out to right about here and we’ll just leave that in a jar. We’ll put this into a new jar. And then we’ll kind of let it do the same thing where it will start to turn clear. We’ll put an airlock on it and you whole process, I mean you could really drink it in about two months. We started this one last Friday, so we’ve got about a week on it. But I’m gonna let it do its thing until it stops doing its thing. You know, that’s the fun thing about these kind of living, breathing food projects is you gotta pay attention to ’em. But they’re kind of done when they’re done. You know, it’s all based on time and temperature and the amount of sugar, the batches of honey, the, you wanna make sure you use the right kind of water. If you’re using tap water, it’s got chlorine in it. Chlorine’s definitely gonna kill your yeast. So I do recommend using spring water. Like go to the store, buy bottled spring water. Unless you have your own spring, then you’re styling.

Chef Jayson (07:13):

So the other honey thing that I wanted to show you is this. So this is just like kind of a mini project, but this, I wanna ferment garlic in honey. Has anybody ever heard of this? It’s like an old school Chinese thing. But you could see that the top of this is like bowing out. I actually pulled it off the shelf and there was honey kind of spilling out of it. So check this out. Let’s see if we can hear something. Ah, there it is. Yeah. So that’s how we know it’s working. So what I’m gonna do is actually get an airlock lid for this jar so I don’t have to worry about it exploding over the weekend when I’m not here. We’ve got some garlic fermenting. You see how thin that is? That’s because the water content in the garlic is actually coming out and fermenting itself. It’s given, its just enough water to allow that, you know, honey is naturally antimicrobial. So it seems kind of counterproductive to be able to ferment something in there or grow bacteria, but it’s a pretty cool technique.

Chef Jayson (08:18):

So, so continuing on, I’ve got pepperoncinis back here. You could see ’em kind of doing their thing. We’ve got Armenian cucumbers back here doing their thing. These Armenian cucumbers were huge. So we took out that middle kind of fleshy seed part of it so it didn’t cloud up this brine. And then here we’ve got some more Armenians. We just kind of cut into quarters. And then those are some Boston pickles at the top. Boston cucumbers. We got plums, love our plums over here. In fact, I’m making some plum tarts for a dinner tomorrow night.

Chef Jayson (08:52):

And then dehydrating. So you can save your garlic peels your garlic holes and dry them out and grind them up into garlic powder. You can mix it with onion holes. Same thing like when I save when I cut an onion and I’ve got the top and the bottom and it’s got that bit of onion flesh. Throw that in the hydrator and then crush it up. You’ve got onion powder, like that’s where it comes from. It is a little bit labor intensive but the taste is great. It’s awesome if you like, like garlic, but you don’t like garlic to overpower everything. This is a great alternative for you.

Chef Jayson (09:30):

So check this out. Here’s some of that garlic hole powder. You can see that down there. So what I actually learned is that a lot of companies that make garlic powder, they don’t hold the garlic. That’s how I learned how to do this. They just throw the garlic in there, dehydrate it all and blend all of it up. That’s why some stuff tastes more garlicy than others because some people have different processes. They’re some the cheaper stuff. They’re trying to throw more, more hole in there, I guarantee you more filler. And then the more expensive stuff there. It’s definitely garlic here.

Chef Jayson (10:08):

The last thing really I wanted to show you is, you know, we were, we’re working on, we have so much fruit that we want to work on our dehydrator or use our dehydrator. So these are basically the same company put out two different models. One of them this one on the top, will stay on forever. You can turn it on and it will just stay on. So if you wanted to do 72 hours you wanted to do a whole week, you could put it in there and let it go a whole week. What’s cool is on the very top you actually have a drying guide. You know, this is a basic guide, it’s really up to you. But this is a basic guide for all your different herbs. Herbs, you want ’em to keep the color. The more, the more heat you add, the more color unfortunately gets drained away. The one on the bottom is a 24 hour. So you can set this one. You’ll see it’s, you know, different color, but it actually has the temperature gauge and it has a timer gauge. This is in hours, so it actually does go to 26 hours. But for things like figs and plums and you know, bigger fruits that you want to dehydrate or you know, take down to whatever content, water content you want to, it’ll turn off.

Chef Jayson (11:24):

And that way you don’t accidentally do this. These are some figs that that got left in there. And I mean I could probably kill a squirrel in a slingshot with these things. They’re ridiculous. So what’s funny is I was like trying to save them and they do rehydrate, believe it or not. I threw ’em in a cup of water, left them there overnight, came back in, they were blo plumped up again. So even if you do go over, you can always add water and plump ’em back up. We’re gonna run to the garage on the other side of the property. ’cause I wanted to show you guys our drying station. This is our open, not open air, but our outdoor drying station. So come on, let’s check this out. See if you can keep up.

Chef Jayson (12:15):

Ah, dude, what take you so long. So this is our outdoor drying station. This is a fan. You know what a fan is? This rack is called a metro rack or a speed rack in the restaurant world. This is what they use, or even a bun rack depending on what you’re doing. But this is, so you can put your trays right in here. Now this, I’ve got trays on order. Please don’t judge. These are plums that we put in here about 10 days ago. So check these out. So these are pretty much done. You can see when you tear the tear it open, how wet it is inside. So they do need a little more time. ’cause If we put these in a jar, they’re just gonna mold. But some of these, like that one actually does look pretty good. You could tell it’s like kind of flat. It’s like a big raisin. See that doesn’t look as gooey in there, right? So that one I think is just about done. So I’m gonna go through these after we’re done here. I’m gonna go through these and pull out the ones that I think are done. But yeah, this is another way to do it. And these are so sweet and tart. They are amazing. But I do have the pits in ’em, which I don’t mind. Just like eating a cherry pit. Check it out.

Chef Jayson (13:43):

So thank you for joining us today. I hope you saw something cool. I hope you’ve got some learned something new. If you have any questions or you have any ideas, hey Jason, you should do that with those plums. Let me know. I’m open to ideas and we’ll post it up. So hopefully we’ll see you soon.

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