Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How to Make Nourishing Herbal Infusions

Susun Weed started the Wise Woman Series and Ash Tree Publishing. She teaches classes at the Wise Woman Center in Woodstock, NY. My introduction to Susun Weed began with her book, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.

From an article by Susun S. Weed.

An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.
I make my infusions at night before I go to bed and they are ready in the morning. I put my herb in my jar and my water in the pot, and the pot on the fire, then brush my teeth (or sweep the floor) until the kettle whistles. I pour the boiling water up to the rim of the jar, screw on a tight lid, turn off the stove and the light, and go to bed. In the morning, I strain the plant material out, squeezing it well, and drink the liquid. I prefer it iced, unless the morning is frosty. I drink the quart of infusion within 36 hours or until it spoils. Then I use it to water my house plants, or pour it over my hair after washing as a final rinse which can be left on.
My favorite herbs for infusion are nettle, oatstraw, red clover, and comfrey leaf, but only one at a time. The tannins in red clover and comfrey make me pucker my lips, so I add a little mint, or bergamot, when I infuse them, just enough to flavor the brew slightly. A little salt in your infusion may make it taste better than honey will.

Roots & barks: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per pint (500 mL) of water for 8 hours minimum.
Leaves: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per quart (liter) of water for 4 hours minimum.
Flowers: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per quart (liter) of water for 2 hours minimum.
Seeds & Berries: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per pint (500 mL) of water for 30 minutes minimum.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

"Fat Tire Amber Ale" - recipe

So, I grew up in Nebraska, right next door to Colorado, and when I discovered Fat Tire Amber Ale, and all the other New Belgium Brewing Co. brews, I fell in love! So, the Amber Ale recipe that I stumbled upon made me giddy! I can't wait to try this one!

From "Beer Captured," by Tess and Mark Szamatulski:

Fat Tire Amber Ale by New Belgium Brewing Co.,
Fort Collins, Colorado

Heat one gallon of water to 160 degrees F.

8 oz. US 80 degree L Crystal Malt
6 oz. German Munich Malt
4 oz. US Victory Malt
3 oz. Belgian Biscuit Malt

Remove the pot from heat and steep at 150 degree F for 30 minutes.
Strain the grain water (tisane) into the brew pot.

Sparge the grains (pour water through the strainer of grains) with 1 gallon of 150 degree F water.
Bring water to boil, remove from heat, and add:
4 lb. Alexanders Pale Malt Extract Syrup
2.5 lb M&F Extra Light Dry Malt Extract
1/3 oz. Yakima Magnum @ 15% AA (5 HBU) (bittering hop)

Add water until the total volume in the brew pot is 2.5 gallons.
Boil for 45 minutes.

1/2 oz. German Hallertau Hersbrucker (flavor hop)
1 tsp. Irish Moss

Boil for 10 minutes.
1/4 oz. Willamette (aroma hop)

Boil for 5 minutes.
Remove pot from stove and chill wort for 20 minutes.
Strain cooled wort into primary fermenter (6 gallon plastic bucket) and add cold water until the total volume is 5-1/8 gallons.

When the wort temperature is below 80 degrees F, pitch the yeast:
1st choice: Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II
(ferment at 70-72 degrees F)
2nd choice: Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale
(ferment at 70-72 degrees F)

Ferment for 7 days or until fermentation slows.
Siphon into secondary fermenter (5 gallon glass carboy).

Keg, or bottle, when fermentation is complete, target gravity is reached and beer has cleared (approximately 3 weeks).
If bottling, mix with:
1-1/4 cup M&F Extra Light Dry Malt Extract
that has been boiled for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water.

Let prime at 70 degrees F for approximately 3 weeks until carbonated, then store at cellar temperature.

Yield: 5 gallons
Starting Specific Gravity: 1.048-1.050
Final S.G.: 1.010-1.013
SRM = 13 (Amber color)
IBU = 21
Alcohol by volume: 4.8%

SRM = Standard Research Method scale of color.
IBU = International Bittering Units = (oz) x (% alpha acid of hop) (roughly)

Helpful Hints:
Belgian yeast strains are very temperature sensitive. You must keep the fermenting beer above 65 degrees F to avoid a stuck fermentation. This beer peaks between 1 and 4 months after it is carbonated, but will last for up to 8 months at cellar temperatures.

Serving suggestions:
48-50 degrees F in a footed goblet glass
Onion soup with grilled French bread, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and Gruyere cheese.

DRM anyone?

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a technology used to control access to and usage of digital data or hardware, and is often used to prevent people from copying their music to share with others.  But, at times, it also prevents you from accessing music that you purchased (like if you wanted to switch from a Zune to an iPod, for example).
    There have been arguments throughout history for restricting access to music:

From DigitalFreedom.org...

" I foresee a marked deterioration in American music…and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue—or rather by vice—of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines…"
- John Philips Sousa on the Player Piano (1906)

"The public will not buy songs that it can hear almost at will by a brief manipulation of the radio dials."
- Record Label Executive on FM Radio  (1925)

"But now we are faced with a new and very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the videocassette recorder…"
- MPAA on the VCR (1982)

"These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it.  So it's time to get paid for it."
- Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Doug Morris, November 10, 2006

Now corporations are trying to manipulate copyright laws to protect their bottom line, while restricting our access and taking away our freedoms.But check out this...