Dandelion and burdock root beer
Not listed Cooking time:
Dandelion and burdock roots are available all year. It is important to ensure you only collect them when the leaves are visible so that you do not confuse them with something poisonous such as hemlock water dropwort. Spring or autumn when the roots are at their fattest is the best time to search them out. Burdock has large, heart shaped, furry leaves and a tiresome reputation for providing those burrs that accompany us home after a country walk.
Method of preparation / cooking
Scrub and finely slice the roots then boil them with half the water (and the carragheen if using) for half an hour. Experience the aroma of an unpromising vegetable stew.
Take off the heat, add the remaining cold water, the sugar, treacle and lemon and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Strain the liquid into a clean fermenting bucket and cover.
When your brew reaches room temperature add the yeast, keep covered for up to a week then bottle in strong swing top bottles. Another week and it will be ready to drink, though it is well worth easing the top off of a bottle every now and then to check for potentially explosive levels of fizziness. Once ready it is a good idea to keep the bottles in the fridge to prevent further fermentation.
The bottle pictured above was quite sweet with a low alcohol content and a touch cloudy because I did not use finings. The flavour is mildly bitter and aromatic with a now pleasant hint of that vegetable stew.