Sunday, July 18, 2010

Backyard Beverages

Call it a hippie clichĂ©, old fashioned, backwater brew or what have you, but we decided to try a batch of dandelion wine.  Of the many stories I've heard about it, I've never known anyone who has actually confessed to making or drinking dandelion wine.

We did our best to follow a "Pennsylvania German" pre-prohibition recipe we found randomly on the web. Warning: this recipe calls for a lot of sugar.

We had a really hard time getting the yeast to start and were about to start over when it quickly fermented the dandelion syrup into something passable as an adult beverage/cleaning product.

Almost ready to bottle. We'll give it another week or so in the secondary fermenter.

This hasn't been the only experimental drink we've been working on. Inspired by a post over on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook we tried a bit of homemade root beer last night.

We took the easy track for the first attempt by making it in the common form as a non-alcoholic soda.

Luckily we have a sassafras tree in our back yard so collecting a bit of root was as simple as pulling up a few of the saplings surrounding the main tree and cutting off the roots.

We made sure to hang on to the leaves in hopes of making filé powder for gumbo. We'll let you know how that goes.

Cutting up the roots before boiling them was a good bit of fun.  It was the first time we've had a need to use our loppers in the kitchen. The pint jar there is full of root beer syrup.

We've also been in the habit lately of using our mixer (with attachment) to make ice cream.  I couldn't resist having a root beer float using a bit of our last batch of vanilla ice cream.

Words can't describe how good it was. I'm tempted to head to the kitchen for another one right now.