Show 138: Sarsaparilla, fish and potatoes and real men


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,633 admin

    The name “sarsaparilla” sure does cover a lot of plants. My local “sarsaparilla” is Aralia nudicaulis. It’s usually referred to as Wild Sarsaparilla or False Sarsaparilla.

    I haven’t managed to get a batch of scratch root beer on the go yet. I think it will be a project for winter when I have more time, although I didn't manage to find time this past winter.

    I have made a batch of root beer bitters, though. Its amazing!!! I didn’t add any of the molasses cause I’m not a sweet kind of gal (except for good chocolate, lol). I’m really glad I didn’t cause its sweet enough for my taste without it. I think it is the vanilla bean that is adding so much sweetness. I used brandy cause I prefer it to bourbon for making bitters.

    I’ll leave a link to the recipe here. You have to scroll down on the page a bit cause it’s an article about burdock.

    I purchased the ingredients but now that I have made it, I am going to substitute some of the ingredients for local species and see what I come up with. So I’ll be using Aralia nudicaulis for the sarsaparilla root. I would like to do the same for root beer when I get around to it. Purchased ingredients for the first batch and then I will experiment with local for the next.

    You mentioned pulling up local plants as weeds. I was on a walk recently and pulled up a pigweed plant to identify for people and show that it was safe to eat. One of the participants said “I pull that up every day in my garden”. So now she has another vegetable source to harvest in her garden. So many people overlook anything that hasn’t come in a seed packet. I found some wild violets and pulled a leaf, popping it in my mouth after explaining its properties. Same participant asked “How do you know an animal hasn’t peed on it”. I heard a friend who had come with me say to someone next to her “I guess the “salad” is already dressed”. It was all I could do to keep from bursting out into laughter.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,457 admin

    I have marked a couple of sassafras plants so I can send you a root this fall/winter. As soon as the leaves drop, I'll harvest a couple. In regard to what you said about weeds, I had cut my grass last week and I hated to do it! I ate as much dandelion, plantain, red clover, yarrow, mint, henbit, dock and self heal as I could while I did it.... but still, I wasted sooooo many valuable herbs! Unfortunately, if I don't cut the grass we get a lot of snakes and mice. I need guineas again!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,633 admin

    Awesome! Thanks, Judson.