Homemade Sarsaparilla {ROOTbeer}

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There’s nothing more beautiful than home brewed sarsaparilla… truly. The best part was that this was so incredibly easy, especially since I already had an active ginger bug to use. This specific batch was made using sassafras root “flavoring”, but next time I will be using only sarsaparilla root in addition to the other ingredients so that is the recipe I will post here.

Sassafras root and bark have been banned for consumption in the U.S.A. since the 1960’s when it was found to have carcinogens present in the oils of the root and bark. Carcinogens = cancer. Sure, it is a small amount of risk, but why bother when sarsaparilla root is just as flavorful? In any case, sassafras is now only sold as a topical bark and it is difficult enough to find a sassafras “flavoring” not to mention safe extract. So this recipe will only include the easy to find ingredients and thus, will exclude sassafras completely.

How to Home Brew Sarsaparilla Rootbeer
All herbal ingredients can be found online at Mountain Rose Herbs and brewing bottles can be found in our Amazon affiliate store.

Bring the following ingredients to a boil in a very large pot:
* 1 1/2 gallons of water
* 1/4 cup sarsaparilla root bark
* 1/8 cup wintergreen leaf
* 1 Tbsp. licorice root
* 1 Tbsp. ginger root
* 1 Tbsp. wild cherry tree bark
* 1 Tbsp. dandelion root
* 1 Tbsp. hops flowers
* 1/2 Tbsp. birch bark
* 1 tsp. juniper berries
* 1/2 crushed cinnamon stick
* optional: 1/4 of an orange peel

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Bring the water, herbs, barks, and roots to a rolling boil and then reduce heat until the mixture is at a steady simmer. Simmer the mixture for 20-30 minutes until the liquid is dark. Take a sip of the liquid to make sure the taste is strong enough (to your liking). Remove from heat and add to dissolve:
* 2 cups rapadura (or 2 cups unrefined sugar with 3 tablespoons molasses)

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At this point you may strain and transfer the mixture to a large glass or ceramic jar. Once the mixture is cool to the touch, add:
* 4 Tbsp. vanilla extract
* 2 cups strained ginger bug liquid (or water kefir culture) (or fresh whey)

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Let the inoculated (creepy word huh?!) brew sit at room temperature –unsealed– for 24 hours. If you used a ginger bug, you can even bottle immediately to retain some sweetness.

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Now bottle that mad brown brew! Let your sarsaparilla sit at room temperature –bottled in sealable brewing bottles– for 48 hours. Then refrigerate and enjoy!

Mama’s Gunna Make Some ROOTbeer!

After a brief water kefir kick, I have switched back to using a ginger bug for natural sodas. Mostly because I liked how absolutely explosive fizzy the ginger bug makes drinks. Kefir grains just weren’t my favorite. So I have re-started my ginger bug.

Somewhat unrelated, Trevor’s mother was visiting us from Portland, Oregon this last week for Trevor’s birthday. While she was here, I took her over to Columbia Historic State Park for a visit to see our famous gold-rush local history. For anyone who hasn’t been, Columbia is a teeny tiny town off of CA-Highway 49 and is full of shops selling leathers, furs, moccosins, old fashioned sarsaparillas, gold-rush memorabilia, 1800’s inspired clothes, and….

sassafras tea.

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Of course, this has a sassafras “flavoring” because true sassafras root is illegal to consume in the United States. The original Sassafras root was banned in the 60’s because it contains a substance called saphrole, which was found to cause cancer.

But anyhow— the whole house smells of glorious rootbeer because of this one little bag of sassafras tea! So my plan is to boil some of this sassafras tea with some sugar and then cool it and add in some strained ginger bug to make a homemade rootbeer. Since it smells so much like old fashioned rootbeer, I don’t see how it couldn’t work. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it tastes pre-bottling.

I will also post a recipe and sources for ingredients tomorrow!

If only someone would invent smell-o-vision…

Summertime Farm Tours

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If you are somewhat local and would like to participate in one of the “Frühlingskabine Farm Tours” that we are hosting this summer, we will be discussing how we feed, care for, breed, and generally raise our rabbits along with the bees, quail, chickens, and garden.

If you have been curious about the nitty-gritty here in our backyard farm or have been dying to ask a billion questions about what we do, consider joining us for an in-depth look at rabbits, bees, chickens, and dirt. Our garden should be beautifully lush by then as well! We are hoping to fire up the cob oven too.

Take a peek at this brief run through of our Rabbitry!