This was a fun little experiment. Butterfly pea blossoms occasionally make their way into tea mixtures. Not for any real flavor reasons, but rather for the striking color that comes out of them when steeped. Butterfly pea blossoms happen to be one of the few sources of a naturally occurring bright blue. Even more interesting, is this coloring’s ability to shift hue based on the acidity of its surroundings. The more acidic it is, the more the color shifts into a bright violet/purple. So, if you’re looking to turn some heads, give this little additive a try.
For my first test of this, I wanted a simple, plain mead to add it to. I made a small one gallon batch.
- 3 lbs wildflower honey
- Water to one gallon
- Yeast (I used Lavlin 71B)
- 1/4 cup butterfly pea blossoms (secondary)
- Enough water to cover the pea blossoms (secondary)
Once your primary has finished, you’ll want to add your pea blossoms to a small pot, with enough water to just barely submerge them. Heat until it is just about to simmer, then remove from the heat. You’ll immediately see the blue coloring begin to seep out of the petals. Give this a few gentle stirs to make sure you get as much color out as you can.
You could probably get away with less of the blossoms. You end up getting a lot of color out of it. I re-added some water to the petals I had just used and got enough color to seep out that I could add to other batches in the future – which I saved in a jar.
Add the now blue water to your mead. Most meads tend to be somewhat acidic, so this will immediately start to shift to that bright violet hue. There are ways to make your mead more basic, but it can be difficult to keep it tasting good. I have not heard of much success from other brewers who have attempted it.
You will probably want a lighter colored honey to be your base, in order to better show off the color. I used some honey that I’ve had around for a while, and it has darkened a bit with age. So this experiment was not the best showcase of the brilliant color that can occur. It ended up a rich, dark burgundy color, which is still pretty interesting.
I did add a splash to a glass of my peach mead, which is a very light color, just to show off what it can look like.