Homemade spirit!

in #homesteading3 years ago (edited)

Homesteading is practically a lifestyle that leads to self sufficiency. When I joined steemit, a few months ago, I wasn't familiar with the term although I was very familiar with the practice. Homesteading was the lifestyle of the majority of the people in Greece until the end of World War II, when a large immigration wave started towards either the cities or abroad. Almost 2/3 of a century later a lot of people (including me) are making the choice to turn their backs to urban life and seek a different way of living but the knowledge of self sufficiency has faded away. A few fragments of it can be found in the memories of the elders while tradition has preserve some others.

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My intention is to find and document what is left from the traditional practices, in the modern world. I'll begin with something that is not essential for survival but it is very important for the social life of the region and has been source of comfort for the population during a lot of stressful eras in the past.
Raki is an alcoholic drink produced by distillation of grape pomace. The word is Turkish, originated from the Arabic "arak" and variations of the same drink are popular all over the Balkans, Turkey and Iran, although each region has its own "recipe".

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I'll describe the way it is done in Crete, where I live. The first material is, of course, grapes which are squeezed by feet inside a built container. Most of the juice goes for winemaking (that's another post) while the rest along with the stems and the skins are kept into barrels for, at least, two months for brewing.
The distillation is done in wood fired copper alembics, usually on a field where there is a built base and a rough shelter (in case of rain). Since it takes all day long or many days, depending on the quantity of the stems and the capacity of the alembic, it is a great excuse for people to come over and have a small fiesta with plenty of food and fresh "raki".

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Opening the alembic.

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And removing from the fire.

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Emptying and cleaning the pot.

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Putting a bush in the bottom to avoid any sticking.

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And filling up for the next round.

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Putting everything back in place and we are good to go!

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The percentage of alcohol has to be monitored since in the beginning it is extremely high and inappropriate for consuming and at the end you have to stop the distillation before it gets too watery. I imagine that before alcoholmeters this part was done by experience or by tasting :)

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And of course all the leftovers will go to the vegetable garden after cooling off!

All the pictures and the words are mine.

Thank you for reading and if you want to know more about me you can check out my introduction post.

Commenting, upvoting and resteeming are highly appreciated!

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Thank you for your support :)

Amazing piece of art.

Thank you @onyemacourage, I am glad that you liked it!

stunning shots!

Thank you @highonthehog, really glad you liked it :)

This is an awesome post! I've nominated it for the #dailyspotlights by @pixresteemer. Seems there's a big community of homesteading on Steemit. It's fun to see the whole process of how Raki's made in Crete. I still remember when I traveled through the Balkans, many restaurants offered a small glass of Raki for free, but it's too strong for me, haha...

Yes, you have to consume it in small glasses and in caution!
Thank you for your support and for nominating me, really appreciated!

Wow what a fascinating process! :) I don't drink alcohol, but still appreciate this very much. Well done and fantastic photos as well. :)

Thank you @mrchef111 for your words of encouragement :)

Of course! You are very welcome!

wow, this is an amazing post..Really .. so detailed and I love the process. I would definately want to try 'raki' some day!! Hopefully soon

When you do just have in mind that it is a really strong drink :)
Thank you for stopping by!

I will remember that :)

Great article fotostef

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Congratz, your post has been resteemed and upvoted. Check out the The Daily Spotlights of July 14 2018 to see who nominated you…

Thank you for your support!

@fotostef I don´t drink alcoholic drinks but you made an excelent post, congratulations

Thank you @ladyfont, I am glad that you liked it!

That's really interesting!
I bet the wine tastes delicious when it's all done!

Thank you @squirrellyma!
Actually it is not a wine. Although it is made out of grapes it is more like vodka, transparent and very strong (around 40% ABV), but with it's own unique taste. You should try it if you ever have the chance :)

Do you sell it in the US? I'll have to research and find where it's sold if so! I'd love to try it!

I would be glad to send you some but I really don't know if it is possible (with a reasonable cost).
I asked at a mail office and what they charge is 4 times of the value of the package itself, not to mention that they don't accept liquids. So if you know a more realistic way please let me know.
Otherwise if you ever visit Crete look for me and I promise that you and your husband will drink as much as you can, for free :)