Author Topic: Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)  (Read 267 times)

Offline erockrph

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Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)
« on: June 10, 2022, 12:58:31 pm »
Over the past few months I've been seeing posts and articles on some of the "foodie" accounts and pages I follow talking about Mugolio, which is a syrup made from green pine cones. Traditionally, this is made in Italy with unripe cones from the Mugo pine (thus the name). From everything I had seen, the process is pretty simple, and pretty much any species of pine, spruce, or fir can be used (different species = different flavor).

A couple of days ago I went fishing and I noticed an interesting pine tree on its own near the middle of the parking area, calling to me like a beacon. Upon closer inspection, it was loaded with fat, green pine cones that looked very similar is size/shape/color to the Mugo pine cones I've seen pictures of. I didn't come home with any fish, but I did snag about a pint of cones on the way out.

The basic recipe is a 2:1 ratio of sugar to cones by weight. I used a 50-50 mix of dark brown sugar and turbinado. You simply combine them in a mason jar and let it go for a few months. The cones supposedly release a bunch of liquid, which dissolves the sugar to make a syrup. This syrup then supposedly ferments. I'm saying supposedly because A) I have a hard time picturing the cones releasing enough liquid to dissolve most of the sugar and B) I have a hard time picturing microbes being so active in a fairly saturated sugar solution. But hey, it's a cool experiment anyways.

After a couple of months of macertaion and fermentation, you remove the cones, boil the syrup and package it. I'll try to update here as I go. So far after 1 day I can see the brown sugar looks a lot darker, like it had gotten wet. I'm still having a hard time picturing the cones giving up that much liquid, though...
Eric B.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2022, 03:36:45 pm »
I don't think a lot of liquid is extracted which is why that stuff is so expensive. I also share your suspicion about fermentation. It might ferment a little but I would be surprised if it gets very far.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2022, 10:40:06 am »
That sounds cool; I'd like to see some pictures.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2022, 11:04:19 am »
That sounds cool; I'd like to see some pictures.
I only snapped one picture before I added the sugar. It's in an amber glass jar so I don't know how well pictures will come out as it progresses. It does seem to be putting out a decent amount of liquid after 2 days, but nowhere close to dissolving much of the sugar yet.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2022, 11:07:38 am by erockrph »
Eric B.

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Offline fredthecat

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Re: Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2022, 01:56:23 pm »
i used to salt ferment(?) and sugar soak green asian plums for many years. different thing im sure, but they were very hard plums.

i used to use weights to press down on the salt ones, and for sugar i read it was recommended to just stay on the safe side by adding more sugar rather than less.

your 2:1 ratio sounds good, but is the sugar under them in the pic?

Offline erockrph

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Re: Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2022, 03:36:27 pm »
i used to salt ferment(?) and sugar soak green asian plums for many years. different thing im sure, but they were very hard plums.

i used to use weights to press down on the salt ones, and for sugar i read it was recommended to just stay on the safe side by adding more sugar rather than less.

your 2:1 ratio sounds good, but is the sugar under them in the pic?
The pic is from before the sugar was added. I did make a poor choice by adding the dark brown sugar before the turbinado. Since the brown sugar is pretty sticky, it tended to form a clump over the top of the cones. If I had added the turbinado first, I could have shook it down to flow in between most of the cones. Now that a bit of moisture has seeped out of the cones I have been able to shake some of the sugar down to form a slush in the bottom of the jar. It does look promising as of day 3.
Eric B.

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mugolio (fermented pine cone syrup)
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2022, 07:34:04 pm »
Day 9 update. The sugar is mostly dissolved and it is definitely taking on a syrup consistency. For reference,  the sugar was packed to the top of the jar on top of the cones when I first filled this up. No obvious signs of fermentation yet, but since this is thinning out by the day I now think that it may be in the realm of possibility eventually. Aroma is just molasses and pine resin at this point, which is good enough on its own, but it would be cool it the flavor develops a bit over time.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer