hist-brewing: Gruits: Fresh or Dried?

Renee Peterson polrena at hotmail.com
Sat Jan 13 04:03:22 PST 2001


Hi, I like your question, because I've been pondering the same thing for my 
herbed meads. If you'd like my two cents, here it is:

If I have enough recipes from the same person, I try to read all of them to 
see if the author ever indicates one or the other, in particular.  If one 
recipe calls for "2 ounces parsley root, dried" and then another one calls 
for "3 ounces sweet marjoram,"  I generally presume that indicates the 
marjoram should be fresh.  If not, here are some other clues I have found:  
if the recipe calls for "sprigs" of rosemary, etc., I take it to mean fresh. 
  Same for "slices" of herbs, as dried herbs would normally, I'm guessing, 
be whole.

For gruit specifically, I found this in "Sacred and Healing Herbal Beers" by 
Stephan Buhner:

For Myrica, "this plant grows of the moors, close to some of the lakes.  It 
was gathered in the autumn, and the leaves were also taken.  When this plant 
was used the ale was strong...-Odd Nordland, 1969"  Later, Buhner says, "The 
branches containing the nut cones should be gathered in fall and used fresh 
or recently dried.  The older they are, the less vasodilating effect they 
possess, the resins deteriorating with time....some of the fresh heb should 
be hung in the fermenter to work with the alcohol that the yeasts produce 
during fermentation."

For Rosemary: "the traditional use of the fresh flowering tops of wild 
rosemary..."

For Yarrow:  "The aromatics are especially strong in the flowering 
plant...to preserve the aromatics, which will boil off, the plant should 
both be boiled and added to the fermantation to infuse over time...or else 
simpoly steeped in the hot wort as it cools."

My humble, amatuerish guess is, fresh.

Katla in Mikla

>From: NeophyteSG at aol.com
>To: hist-brewing at pbm.com
>Subject: hist-brewing: Gruits: Fresh or Dried?
>Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 18:57:12 EST
>
>
>Does anyone have a sense of whether gruits in ales and meads were usually
>fresh or dried?
>
>Shawn

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