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Cameron Harris
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Cameron Harris

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You know, I really miss the side column with the list of my video chat partners that are currently on-line. I wonder who was asked about the new "features" before they were implemented.
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I was asked for the ginger beer recipe that I use. I decided to post it here so it will be archived (kind of) and I can send on a link to the post.

You need a large, glass jar that will hold all the liquid and has a cover. I like the old sun tea jar as it's not airtight and I don't have to futz-around much with it. Wash and go. The lid is important as this process will attract and drown fruit flies if you have any around.

To get started I add 2 pints of room temp tap water to 2 tablespoons of powdered ginger (any cheap ginger will do so don't think you have to spend a lot of money on frou-frou ginger, find the cheap 1 buck bulks), a small amount of any yeast you have around (bread yeast is fine as it's just a jump start, I only used 10 or so granules), and 1 tablespoon of white sugar.

I usually get this started on Sunday so I can bottle the following Sunday. So, Monday thru Friday add 2 tablespoons of ginger and 1 tablespoon of white sugar. Not to worry, microorganisms will be doing the stirring so you don't have to. On Saturday you do nothing as you want to slow the microorganism growth and settle the solids.

On Sunday you drain or siphon off the clear liquid and add it to 8 pints of slightly warmed tap water (80 to 95 degrees is fine, it's not rocket science :) ) 2 1/2 cups of sugar (I've used white sugar, turbinado, demerara, but white seems best), 16 ounces of lime juice. Stir till the sugar is completely dissolved and bottle.

Almost any bottle with an airtight screw cap will work. Originally when I first did this, lime juice still came in an 8 ounce glass bottle, so I just saved them all as I went. A pop bottle or anything clean will work. Let the bottles sit for a week before opening any (you won't the first time, you'll get antsy about 4 days in, but ...).

Now, back to the leftovers. I'm not sure if this is best labeled a wort or a must or starter or what. All that wet powdered ginger and microorganisms. Take half of it and discard it, keep the other half as the starter for the next week. In your washed jar put that starter, your 2 pints of water, 2 tablespoons of ginger, and 1 tablespoon white sugar. On with the merry cycle for another week.

Originally this recipe was half of what I described, but I found that when I make it, it wasn't enough. But it will work cut in half.

Now for some observations. I've started this from scratch 3 times and the pattern of what happens is pretty predictable. The bottles from the first week taste a bit "bready" as the primary microorganisms were bread yeasts. The carbonation is good but not overwhelming. After that first week, you pick up more "native" microorganisms from your environment (yeasts of all kinds, acetobactieria, and many more) and the carbonation in the bottles gets to be too much and causes it to foam out of the bottles. Be ready with a cup over the sink to pour out. After couple of weeks the microorganisms settle into a different pattern and the bottle carbonation will settle down. A lot depends of what community results in your starter.

There is a chance that you pick up a bacteria in your sour fermentation process that is not what you want. I've just gone with "if it smells good, it must be ok". I've never had the problem of it smelling bad or "skunky". If I did, I'd toss it all and start over.

Another thing is the water. The local tap water is not heavily chlorinated and they don't use chloramines. Hence, I haven't had to do much about using the tap water. If I had to worry about too much chlorine, I'd just let the water sit in a glass container for 24 hours. It would dissipate. Chloramines are a bit different and I'm not sure what I'd do Maybe boiling would break the ammonia bond?

The resulting ginger beer supposed to be considered non-alcoholic, under 1 percent. I've never tested it for content, so I can't vouch for that. But I can say that as a cocktail, it's great. Ginger beer with bourbon and ginger beer with a good, floral tequila are both good combinations. I suspect ginger beer and rye whisky would be good as well.

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C Harris's profile photoCameron Harris's profile photo
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I should have mentioned that when the bottles have been sitting for a week, refrigerate them. The refrigeration will slow the bacteria to an almost stop. Drinking it warm might be a bit intense regarding actively growing microorganisms (also I think the carbonation is under better control when cold).
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It was a couple of decades and 400 miles further south the last time I grew sweet potatoes. I don't remember getting blossoms, but we have had a lot of rain and heat this year.
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Given the quality of major party candidates for US President, every US voter should consider alternatives. You can then:
1. Vote for a third party on your state's ballot.
2. Or write in a name that is not on the ballot (available in most states).
3. Or go and vote, but leave the selection blank. I have done this in the past when I thought the choices were poor.

Do not opt out. Selecting at least option 3 above at least shows that you are interested and paying attention without committing you to the lousy major party candidates. If the portion that doesn't vote at least showed up and selected no one, it would be a big wake up call.
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Cameron Harris's profile photoDaniel J. Stern's profile photo
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+Cameron Harris, I'm looking at it from the view of a realist. I don't like having my voting hand forced, I don't like feeling like the choice is between bad and worse, I wish the United States would hurry up and outgrow its mouthy-dumb-teenager-on-drugs phase, and it's deplorable that the American system is how it is, but it is, and kicking and screaming and throwing a temper ballot tantrum would accomplish worse than nothing. This notion that a slightly lower popular vote count will make the resultant presidency look questionable isn't realistic; its practical effect (if any) is not more than a couple brassy screeds on the internet and maybe a few placards held aloft at a protest nobody pays much attention to. Sort of like the idea that Bernie Sanders somehow magically pulled Hillary Clinton to the left in a meaningful way: nice to imagine, but not realistic.

It's kind of baffling that you lecture others on this subject, given that you've apparently chosen to shrug and glibly call the two candidates equivalent rather than doing the easy thinkwork to clearly see the enormous differences between them. Seriously, c'mon; that's barely a half a baby-step above the smug, ignorant Libertarian's babble about "Demopublicans and Republicrats".

There are reasons why I'm not overjoyed to be voting for Clinton, but I feel the grownup thing is to respect the demarcation between working toward the world of my dreams and optimizing the world as it is. Much though I wish that line weren't there, it is, so rather than discussing thoughtless ideas on how to waste a ballot, I think time is more productively spent reading and considering the likes of https://goo.gl/cBxCdJ .
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Oh! Damn. It's almost Winter!
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I've returned to making a version of ginger beer. Quite simple sour ferment. Seven days left for the first batch ....
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I was making sauce for another reason and got a bit goofy. It ended up better than I thought.

I made blueberry sauce for pork later this week.

1 pint blueberries
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/4 t salt
1T honey
1T minced cilantro
Cook on low till there is enough liquid to turn up the heat to a simmer to cook off some of the water. Cook till you think it's as thick as you want (test a small amount on the side of a glass custard cup).

The meal in the picture is a locally made polish sausage, my own homemade rutabaga sauerruben, with the blueberry sauce as condiment. It was mighty fine.
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One of the advantages of not managing a grassland too closely is that you get surprises. This is a type of goldenrod I'd never seen before that showed up this year. Hard-leaved/stiff-leaved goldenrod. The flora of the grassland and timber has changed substantially in a decade. It makes me wonder what it would look like left undisturbed for a century.
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Interesting story on BBC this morning: immunologically caused depression.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37166293
Can treating the immune system lead to a revolution in treating depression?
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Cameron Harris's profile photoCassandra Field's profile photo
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There are also techniques being developed for specifically measuring brain inflammation.
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We make these horseradish dill pickles that have a somewhat complex brine: water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic cloves, bring to a boil. As alliums are dangerous to home can, the garlic is not put in the pickle jars. The usual instructions are to "discard the garlic cloves".

Hah! What a wrong-headed way to think about a food that has just been treated in a way to make it a delicate morsel! Here's my recent use as it fit with making pickles. I scooped out a small cucumber, laid in a bit of anchovy (Wild Planet water canned anchovies), put on a bit of olive oil, black pepper, and a piece of sliced up "discard" garlic clove.

I "discarded' down my throat.
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The easy way is to set up two freezer bags for bits of scraps (one for veg, one for meat).  Then, when you have accumulated enough to cook, you can make meat or veg stock.
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Even though we've mostly gone to a no gluten, no dairy, fresh vegetable and meat diet, I still have one thing that continues to be an occasional indulgence. Homemade pizza with the works (no fruit, don't even suggest it).
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Saw this on another chat:
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