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Old 21-06-2010, 04:44 AM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Sassafras (Was: Gumbo file' &/or/vs. rootbeer)

On Fri, 11 Jun 2010 00:55:31 -0700, "Bob Terwilliger"
wrote:

Sky wrote:

Since both gumbo file' and rootbeer are derived from sassafras, can they
be substituted for each other?


Root beer has more than just sassafras flavor. (Note that the FDA banned
sassafras in root beer quite a few years ago.) You can REALLY taste the
wintergreen in some brands of root beer. Birch beer and sarsparilla are
similar to root beer but not much like gumbo fil. Of course you don't have
ANY natural flavors in the cheap root beers. (Hmmm... Given that wintergreen
flavor flavor I mentioned, I wonder how root beer would be as the braising
liquid for lamb.)

So the bottom line is no, they really can't be substituted for each other;
they're not very much alike.


Interesting (and frustrating) topic.

About a year ago, I looked into making my own 'root beer', and after
doing considerable research ended up more confused than when I
started.

No two recipes are the same - and seem to contradict each other one
way or the other - then there's the small matter of sourcing some of
the ingredients!

Proper Sassafras is likewise banned here in Australia. Impossible to
find. I *did* find a couple of sources for Wintergreen - but after
doing some reading on wintergreen... I'm not so sure I want to use it.
It doesn't seem to take a lot to reach toxicity levels.

I also really wanted to make a big batch in one of my fermenters -
much like I do with ginger beer, ciders and plain old beer. All the
recipes I've seen call for brewing it in bottles.

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Old 21-06-2010, 07:56 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Sassafras (Was: Gumbo file' &/or/vs. rootbeer)

Jeus wrote:

About a year ago, I looked into making my own 'root beer', and after
doing considerable research ended up more confused than when I
started.

No two recipes are the same - and seem to contradict each other one
way or the other - then there's the small matter of sourcing some of
the ingredients!


That's because root beer was originally a tonic made from locally
available roots and which species were available varied region to
region. I've tried recipes a couple of times and I had to go to a few
herbalist shops to gather the roots in those recipes.

Proper Sassafras is likewise banned here in Australia. Impossible to
find.


In the US it is banned for human consumption. That means it can be sold
for the aroma so it was available at some herbalists for use in popouri.
When I bought it at an herbalist shop the owner glanced at the other
ingredients that I had and asked if I had read the label that it is not
for human consumption. "Oh yes, I read the warning. I want that
sassafras to make some popouri". Before buying it I had spent several
hours in the botany section of the nearest large state university's
library reading up on each ingredient.

Based on the smell I suggest skipping "spikenard" if it's in your
recipe. Near as I can tell that was responsible for the main wierdness
in the flavor of my second batch.

I *did* find a couple of sources for Wintergreen - but after
doing some reading on wintergreen... I'm not so sure I want to use it.
It doesn't seem to take a lot to reach toxicity levels.


I thought wintergreen was just another type of mint and as such not
toxic? Birch beer is a regional drink in the US that has some national
availability. Souix City brand sells in various stores nationwide and
they have okay Birch beer. Otherwise it's regional centered maybe in
Pittsburg. It was available in Niagra Falls when I was a kid and I get
a few bottles of the Souix City brand per year these days.

I also really wanted to make a big batch in one of my fermenters -
much like I do with ginger beer, ciders and plain old beer. All the
recipes I've seen call for brewing it in bottles.


Somehow its fermentation makes also all CO2 and almost no ethanol. I
don't know how much ethanol is actually produced in the brew but it is
below my ability to detect it.

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Old 21-06-2010, 10:21 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Sassafras (Was: Gumbo file' &/or/vs. rootbeer)

Rane at Arabian Knits wrote:
Jeus wrote:

I also really wanted to make a big batch in one of my fermenters -
much like I do with ginger beer, ciders and plain old beer. All the
recipes I've seen call for brewing it in bottles.


Can you plant your own sassafras?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras

It's a tree that grows across a lot of zones in the US. They are common
enough that their leaves are used to make file' powder so they should be
available at least through special order from ag supply places.
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Old 22-06-2010, 09:27 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Sassafras (Was: Gumbo file' &/or/vs. rootbeer)

Doug Freyburger wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras

It's a tree that grows across a lot of zones in the US. They are common
enough that their leaves are used to make file' powder so they should be
available at least through special order from ag supply places.


For some reason I tend to picture sassasfras trees mixed with sumac
trees at the edge of woods especially at the side of the road. The two
types don't look similar but they seem to like similar growing
conditions so they mix and compete in the same places.

I've had sumac as a mild spice in Armenian food. I wonder if it's the
same tree that I see on the roadside.
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Old 23-06-2010, 05:33 AM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Sassafras (Was: Gumbo file' &/or/vs. rootbeer)

Doug wrote:

I've had sumac as a mild spice in Armenian food. I wonder if it's the
same tree that I see on the roadside.


Wikipedia implies that it is, but there are around 250 different plants
which are called "sumac." Some might be better-suited for culinary uses than
others.

Bob





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