Make Mead at Home
 
 
Fruit can be added to mead (or must ) to create cysers, pyments, and melomels.  The taste and character of the mead can be greatly influenced by the tannins, nutrients, sugars, and acids present in fruit.  Here are some basic tips on adding fruit to mead along with information regarding the sugar and acid content of fruits commonly used in mead making.
Tips for Adding Fruit to Mead

If you use heat to sanitize your fruit, make sure that the fruit is not over heated.  Heat can set pectin which may make your mead cloudy.  Tannins are primarily contained in the skin and seeds of fruit.  You do have some control over the amount of tannins added to your recipe by choosing to include or exclude the skins and seeds of the fruit.

Consider freezing your fruit before adding it to your mead or must.  Freezing breaks cell walls which allows for better juice extraction.  Mashing and pulping your fruit also helps to release the greatest possible amount of juice.  Put the fruit into a cloth bag before adding it to your mead.  This keeps the fruit particles together which makes removal and cleanup quick and easy.

Reduce the amount of yeast nutrients in a recipe if you decide to add fruit during primary fermentation.  Nutrients present in the fruit will make the must more inviting to the yeast, so additives may not be necessary.  If you add fruit with a high acid content, you may not need to add an acid blend to the recipe.

You can achieve different results by adding fruit at different times during the fermentation.  The sugars in fruit juice are more accessible than the sugars in honey, so if fruit is added during the primary fermentation those sugars will likely be converted into alcohol.  If fruits are added during secondary or tertiary fermentation, the sweetness and the character of the fruit are more likely to be prominent in the final product.

Cysers, pyments, and melomels all taste wonderful, and I enjoy the fact that I made them with fewer manmade store bought additives.

Sugar and Acid Content of Fruits
Fruit % Sugar Acid Level
Apples 10.39 % low
Apricots 9.24 % medium
Blackberries 7.70 % low
Blueberries 11.00 % low
Grapes 16.25 % low
Honeydew Melons 8.12 % low
Kiwi 8.99 % high
Lemons 2.40 % high
Limes 1.69 % high
Mangos 14.80 % low
Oranges 9.14 % medium
Passion Fruit 11.20 % high
Peaches 8.39 % low
Pears 9.80 % low
Pineapple 8.29 % medium
Plums 9.92 % low
Raspberries 4.42 % medium
Strawberries 5.10 % medium
Watermelon 6.20 % low

Sugar content information was obtained from the USDA website.  Acid content is estimated:
low = less than 1%,  medium = greater than 1% but less than 3%, high = greater than 3%