You can tell by the wind
By fresh cut wood
All stacked to dry
That autumn’s here
Autumn has arrived. The sweaters are out, the garden is being put to rest, and deep down, my instincts are telling me that it’s time to prepare for
I’m always amazed at how my cravings and instincts work with the seasons. When April comes, it’s all about salads and leafy greens. Now that the days are shorter and the leaves are falling, every cell in my body is yearning for root veggies. Part of me always expects to lose this sense, living in a city, but thankfully, those basic instincts have so far remained in tact.
I’ve had a new book on the go this week – Radical Homemaker: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes. I’ve got a lot still to read, but the piece that my mind has settled on is the notion that in North American society, the family unit has shifted from being one of production to one of consumption. In my own life, I’ve been surprised by the vast increase in consumption that’ s happened since I’ve arrived back in an urban setting, and have been thinking about this a lot. 52 Projects has helped to stay in more of a production mode, but certainly my surroundings continuously tempt me to consume. There have been lots of thoughts floating around that I’m sure will be shared in posts to come…
For now though, this scattered introduction is a way to explain the set of projects that have arisen this week. Making home-made ginger ale, and vast quantities of homemade granola. Getting ready for a week of preserves for the winter. A desire to get my wool out and start felting, knitting and crocheting a winter’s worth of warm things.
So beware. It’s time for hunkering down, cozying up, re-analyzing my life style and consumption in the world, and getting ready for the season to come.
And for today… How to Make Ginger-Ale
- A two-litre bottle, emptied and cleaned
- A funnel
- A fine grater
- 1/2 – 1 cup of sugar
- 1/4 tsp bakers yeast
- 1-2 Tbsp grated ginger root
- 1 lemon
- Clean out a 2 litre plastic pop bottle. I used one that we had just emptied, and gave it a good wash and rinse. I’m not 100% about issues of bacteria growth/sterilization with a project like this. If you’re using an older bottle, I would do some more research to see about ways to ensure the best sterilization – I wouldn’t want any illness derived from this project! Also, after some research, I decided to go with plastic over glass because I wasn’t sure about the possibility for explosions with the fermenting process. I generally prefer glass over plastic in my life, but I also don’t like exploding glass in my fridge, so I decided to play it safe.
- With a funnel, put 1/2 – 1 cup of sugar in your plastic bottle. The recipe I found called for 1 cup, but that seemed pretty sugar-y so I went for about 2/3 cup. The sugar is used in the fermentation process, so I wouldn’t reduce it by too much, but I think there’s room for experimentation. Next add the yeast (I used the same yeast that I use to bake bread with), and toss the sugar and yeast together in to bottom of your bottle so it’s well mixed.
- Finely grate your ginger root. Finely is the operative word here. I have a wee little grater that my mom gave me for garlic, and that is what I used. The pieces of ginger will be in your ale, so the finer the grate, the better. Put the ginger to one side.
- Juice your lemon and add the juice to the ginger in a measuring cup. Mix them together to get a nice sludge of lemon/ginger. I should note that the recipe I used said the lemon was optional and gives a more tart taste (which I prefer). I haven’t made additional batches, so I’m not sure the difference, but feel free to experiment.
- Add the lemon/ginger slush to your bottle. Then fill your bottle with water. Don’t fill it all the way though. Just to the point where the bottle starts narrowing near the top (leaving about 2 inches of air at the top).
- Screw the bottle cap on and turn it upside down and right side up many times to help the sugar dissolve.
- Leave it in a room-temperature location for 24-48 hours. You want to wait until the bottle is quite firm and can’t be indented with your thumb. (This is another reason why using plastic is handy – you can’t check the pressure with glass). Once it’s reached this level of firmness (for me is was within 24 hours) stick the bottle into the fridge overnight. Make sure you don’t leave the ginger ale at room temperature for more than 48 hours. This gets into dangerous explosion territory.
- Carefully open the bottle, releasing the pressure slowly, and enjoy your ginger ale!
I should note that I’m now on Step 7 – the bottle is firm and in the fridge. Tomorrow is test day, and I’ll report back to let you know how it goes!