I'd like regular ancestral cooking emails!
Heather is a traditional addition to mead and beer in the UK. When I saw that my local herbalist stocked the dried flowers (called Erica in Italian), I knew I wanted to add some to my wild fermented ancestral beer.
I’ve used local spelt grain for this batch of beer, as it’s milder than my usual rye and I want to see what the flowers bring to it. As usual, I malted half the grain and made the other half into small par-baked loaves. Both of these go in the ferment, along with water and some home-created yeast from a previous beer batch.
I don’t have any special equipment – this ferments in the ceramic part of a slow cooker, inside my turned-off oven which has a home-made proofing set up in it (that allows me to keep it at 22C). I just guessed the amount of heather flowers.
I (and my hubby and son) are used to eating and drinking whatever comes of my experiments. Thankfully, they are usually good :-)
Do you want to experiment with traditional wild fermented beers in your kitchen? Several people have asked me about a potential ancestral beer course. I am still experimenting, but hope that in the future, I would be able to pass on what I’m playing with in a way that would see more beer made this way in more kitchens!! For now, back to the stirring…