homemade root beer version version two

Time for a second version to test out and see how it is.  This one is lighter on the roots and includes more herbs for flavors.

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tablespoon sarsaparilla root bark
  • 1 tablespoon sassafras root bark
  • 1 tablespoon birch bark
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried spearmint
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/8 teaspoon yeast
Herby goodness.  I am glad there is a local company that has all of these.
Herby goodness. I am glad there is a local company that has all of these.

what to do:

  1. Combine water, sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch, mint, star anise, ginger, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. The remove pot from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 hours.
  2. Strain the root beer tea through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into large pot. Add the brown sugar and molasses. Stir until mixture is integrated, then cover.
  3. Let cool to 75°F, then stir in yeast and let it sit for 15 minutes. If you don’t let it cool you can kill the yeast when you add it to the root beer.  Fill up some cleaned and sterilized plastic bottles with mixture, leaving 2 inches of space at top. Screw on caps. Keep bottles at room temperature for 36 hours, then open a bottle slowly and carefully to see if it is carbonated (or squeeze to see how firm the bottle is).
  4. Place bottles in the refrigerator for 2 days before drinking. This will allow the yeast to drop to the bottom of the bottle.

rating for this batch:

  • Color: Nice dark color,  just a little lighter then commercial root beer
  • Aroma: Smells great, not as rooty as batch one i tried
  • Flavor: Delicious, I should have made a bigger batch
  • Rating: This is the best so far.  5/5

This is going to be a keeper recipe.  Staci thought it was good and she only tried it while it was still warm and not carbonated.  Next will need to be a big batch, bottle them to carbonate, and then heat pasteurize so they don’t blow up on me. My 7 year old might even like this one.

Sauerkraut part 2 canning it up

It has been just over two months since the purple cabbage and mix went into the crock and started its journey of fermenting into something delicious.  And now we get a taste test before it is canned up.

The purple color from the cabbage stayed nicely after it was fermented
The purple color from the cabbage stayed nicely after it was fermented

Flavor profile:  not as sour as a lot of kraut I have had.  I think this is actually much better.  You get the kraut flavor at the first bit then a touch of spice from the peppers that we threw into it.

Spiciness: Not to spicy but enough that you can tell there is some peppers in it.  It will be great on sausages.

And now on to the canning part.  Of which I had no part in doing.  All of these pictures and the actual process was done by my sister Nikki.  All part of a trade for some of my cheese.

The first part of canning is to add it to the jars.  Make sure that when you are packing the jars to fill it loosly and leave a one inch headspace.  It will expand a bit while it is cooking.
The first part of canning is to add it to the jars. Make sure that when you are packing the jars to fill it loosely and leave a one inch head space. It will expand a bit while it is cooking.
Jars all packed and ready for lids and spacers.
Jars all packed and ready for lids and rings.
Add jars to boiling water canner and process for 20 minutes for pints.
Add jars to boiling water canner and process for 20 minutes for pints.
After its is canned remove and let sit for the jars to fully seal.  If they dont seal you can reprocess for 20 minutes or refridgerate and eat.
After its is canned remove and let sit for the jars to fully seal. If they don’t seal you can reprocess for 20 minutes or refrigerate and eat.

Homemade pork sausage

A spiral of italian sausage that we made at the same time as the copycat Jimmy dean
A spiral of italian sausage that we made at the same time as the copycat Jimmy dean

One of my favorite memories as a kid was my parents cooking some Jimmy Dean sausage for breakfast.  Now as it was then it is still my favorite sausage.  This will be my first attempt at a copycat recipe for making my own version of this sausage.  This recipe is for the normal version of their sausage.  I prefer the sage sausage but it was requested that I make some that has less sage in it.  Maybe i will do a little of both. Since I have a nice picnic roast that I got on sale I will be grinding it up to make my sausage.  This recipe can be adapted for wild game also just mix a little pork into your game meat to add some more fat to the blend.  I usually do a 3:1 ratio of wild to pork.

Regular sausage:

  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh course ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander

Hot sausage:

  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh course ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander

Homemade Jerky

With hiking and fishing season starting it is nice to have a good high protean snack to take along with you. And it is a good survival food to know how to make. In the most basic form jerky is lean salted meat that has been air-dried. In the olden times many a traveler would put meat under the saddle of their horse as they traveled. The salt from the horse sweating was enough to preserve the meat for a short period of time. Since I don’t have a horse or a reason to ride around the countryside I use two different types of salt to make my jerky. It is plain salt or soy sauce. Soy sauce has more than enough salt in it to provide all you need.

For this recipe I am using soy sauce as the salt source for this batch of jerky. Jerky is extremely easy to make with little effort. The main thing you want in making jerky is a good quality lean meat. This same recipe works great with wild game also. This recipe is for two pounds of meat. You can increase the amount if you want to do more at a time. This is about all that my dehydrator will hold also. After you get your meat cut it across the grain into strips about 1/4 inch thick. If you do not cut it across the grain it will make it much chewier. I don’t like mine to take 30 minutes to chew one piece. Put all of your sliced meat into a glass or ceramic bowl. Do not use metal because the marinade will dissolve some of the metal and change the taste of the meat. This is true with almost all marinades.

marinade :

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • and a little water to cover the meat

Mix up the marinade and pour over the sliced meat. Mix up well then add as much water as you need to just get to the top of the meat. For this batch it was only 1 cup of water.

Meat sliced up and marinade added
Meat sliced up and marinade added

Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and pat dry the meat after it has marinated, Then lay the strips out in a single layer and let dry in the dehydrator until the meat bends but doesn’t break. In mine this takes about 24 hours. After it is done let cool back off and put into ziplock bags. If you are not eating it within a week or two you can put it in the freezer. With little to no water or fat in the meat it will last a long time before it goes bad. I tend to eat it quickly so none of mine lasts more than a month before I have to make more.