My test batch of Pine & Dandy Ale has been bottled! Not bad tasting straight out of the bucket. A bit higher alcohol content then I wanted… 8.27% ABV. Taste test after if ages in the bottle a bit.
I am stating to add some of my designs to my Zazzle shop and this Retro styled Eat Local t-shirt design is the first to get listed. The design is currently available on several darker t-shirts such as black, blue, green, red, purple and more! You can also choose from several t-shirt brands such as Hanes, American Apparel, and both mens & women’s as well as a women’s tank top.
This week I started working on some poster design ideas that I had for some time. Many of them are local foodie or eat local types of designs, and some are a sort of zen meditation inspirational motivational quotey types of designs. Oh, the occasional single speed mountain bike design too. All stuff that I enjoy.
I’m offering these poster designs as downloadable & printable files on Etsy so you can print your own. The benefits of this model are many: Affordable – you’re not paying for me to make a high end print, and not paying for shipping. You can also print a copy for your house, your office, and mom too if you want. (I just ask that you don’t share the digital files with others, or resell it.) Eco-friendly – yes, I’m using that term because there is no packaging waste and no fuel waste for shipping. Instant – Etsy’s instant download lets you get the file as soon as you’ve paid for it! Woo, no waiting for the mail to arrive. Easy – download, print, and stick it in a frame… or be fancy and clothes pin the print to a line .
The other neat thing about affordable printable art like this is that it is easy to buy a few designs, print them, and change them out every now and then. Maybe this month you want the Chalkboard Pork Cuts design in the kitchen, and next month you want the avocado green Eat Local design instead.
Check out my printable poster designs on my Etsy Shop. I can guarantee that a percentage of each purchase will go towards supporting my local farmers (as in my buying direct from them!)
As I anxiously await my first batch of Nettlesweet beer to be ready to taste, I’m getting ready to start a new batch of something else today. I’m feeling drawn to yellow dock root and perhaps dandelion leaf. What better way to make alcohol consumption a little healthier for you than with these liver supporting herbs?
Update: I decided to go with dried dandelion leaf and pine needle for a new ale I’m calling “Pine & Dandy“! I just finished brewing it and it is in the fermentor. It is a pretty dark looking brew and it will be interesting to see how it comes out.
Since beer making is new to me, I took an intro to beer making class up in Milwaukee yesterday. It was for regular beer making of course but it helped me with some questions I had with this herbal beer making I’m doing. I had mentioned what type of beer I’m making to a couple of people who work at the brewer supply store and was met with an utterly confused look. Even when I mentioned nettle beer it seemed the idea of a non-malted, non-hopped beer was foreign to them. Not that I’m surprised that no one there has tried making such an ale, but I was more surprised that they didn’t seem to know a little about the history of brewing. Nettle ale alone has centuries of history. Then again not everyone is interested in learning the history of things.
Maybe it is just my interest in herbalism and a desire to forage and wildcraft that lead me to find these more historic beer recipes. While I’d love to make a great IPA or Stout, I seem to be finding it more exciting to be experimenting with these healing herbal beer recipes. There is more of an adventure to it. Not just opening packages of pre-measured stuff and following firm directions. These ancient recipes I’m finding are more like rough ideas to get you started and then you refine the process with each batch. I’m sure that can be done with regular beer making as well, but for now I think I will focus on the herbal beers, and maybe try an IPA here and there.
After two weeks in the fermenting bucket, I’ve now bottled my small test batch of herbal beer which I call Nettlesweet. I used nettles, meadowsweet, and agrimony (all dried herbs.) I know traditionally fresh nettles are used, but hey, it is the middle of winter so I tried dried nettle.
I modified my recipe from one in Stephen Harrod Buhner’s Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers and will post the recipe here once I’ve tasted the final aged beer in a couple weeks.
Buhner’s book didn’t provide much info on how long to ferment, and I had yet to buy a hydrometer, so I did more of a visual check. I let it ferment for two weeks and the it looked like the fermentation had slowed down since there was not much foamy action on top of the liquid.
For the bottles I opted for the 16 oz swing-top style. From the gallon I brewed, I ended up with 6 pint bottles, one being a little shy of the normal fill height.
Since there was a little left in the bucket, I poured some into a glass to give it a taste. I’m still trying to place the smell and taste, but I’m thinking it is a bit cidery. It is a really pleasant smell and taste, considering it is straight from the bucket. I’m looking forward to trying a bottle once it has aged a bit and gotten some carbonation. The recipe I based this on said to age for about 10 days, so I’ll try my first bottle in 10 days and report back with a review and the recipe!
This past weekend we made cultured butter from the cultured cream we made the week before, and a by-product of making butter is buttermilk. (We also used some of the buttermilk as a starter culture for our feta.) So with fresh homemade butter and buttermilk on hand, I thought it best to make some pancakes!
I use a fine ground whole wheat flour for my pancakes and they are actually fairly light and fluffy. This recipe was just for two big pancakes, you can readjust as needed.
Mix ingredients. The batter should have small to medium lumps. Avoid mixing to vigorously otherwise you might get a tougher pancake.
Heat pan over medium to medium-low. The pan is ready when a drop of water dances on the surface .
Pour or ladle batter to make your desire size of pancakes. When pancakes have bubbles on the top and are slightly dry on the edges, flip them over. Cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute.
If you will be making a bigger batch of pancakes, heat the oven to 175° ahead of time, and keep the finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the over to keep them warm.
Last weekend Jessica and I took a two day cheese making workshop with Linda Conroy down at the Resiliency Institute in Naperville, Illinois. It was a great workshop and now we are hooked on making our own cheeses. I had made some bloomy rind cheese back when I had a raw goat milk share in Colorado, but never tried any other types.
Today we went nuts on the urban homesteading DIY thing and since we live in Wisconsin now, we made several dairy products. First we made cultured butter. Wow! Homemade cultured butter is really incredible, and I’m sure we’ll never go back to store-bought butter again. Next we took the buttermilk that was leftover from making the butter and started a batch of feta cheese, then with the whey that was left over from the feta we made ricotta cheese!
On top of all of that I began a batch of herbal beer. I’ve never tried beer making and oddly I decided to start with a purely herbal beer and not a traditional malted hopped beer. What is an herbal beer you ask? It is basically a fermented herbal tea. Herbs, sugar, yeast. Ferment, bottle, age, drink, repeat. I’ve been wanting to make nettle beer for a while now but never had access to enough fresh nettle tops. So I finally got dried nettles and other herbs and am trying a brew from dried herbs. This first batch is nettles and meadowsweet with a handful of agrimony. It smells good so far and I can’t wait until it ferments, ages, and is ready for a tasting! Once I’ve had a taste I will write up a post about how I made it and my review on it. Check back in a couple weeks if you are interested.