Make Root Beer & Soda At Home With Natural Ingredients – How To Get Started
Making root beer at home is becoming increasingly popular. It's a great way to enjoy an old-fashioned beverage with natural ingredients, and it can be healthier than store bought soda. But before you get started, there are some important things to consider.
Star Anise is an essential ingredient in root beer, but it's not something you'll want to grow yourself. Too much space and time, and it's not hardy enough for most climates. Burdock root adds a nice smoothness to the flavor of root beer, and it can be grown easily. Wintergreen oil is another common ingredient that adds a unique flavor; however, it's easier just to buy it rather than trying to grow your own.
Safrole contained in sassafras root is a carcinogen, so it has been banned from commercial foodstuff since the 1960s. There is no medical evidence linking safrole from sassafras root to cancer, so this restriction may have been politically motivated. As a result, A&W declined in taste and popularity as Big Cola companies began cutting costs by using artificial flavors and corn syrup instead of sugar.
Fortunately, many brew stores sell soda flavors made with natural ingredients, which can be used as an alternative to cooking up your own. Cherry soda and root beer are both popular options that can be made with these flavors. If you don't want to risk using sassafras root, there is also a safrole free sassafras tea available on Amazon or through local stores.
Birch beer is another option worth researching if you're looking for something similar to root beer. Some recipes call for Sassafrass and Sasparilla root, which are two different plants; Sassafrass can usually be found east of the Mississippi River while Sasparilla may need to be ordered online. Ginger ale is also relatively easy to make; all you need is ginger and a "ginger bug" starter culture.
Whether you choose to use natural ingredients or purchase pre-made flavors, making your own soda can be fun and rewarding experience. You'll know exactly what goes into each batch, and you won't have to worry about any artificial colors or sweeteners. So why not give it a try?
What is Star Anise?
Star Anise is a seed pod from an Asian tree. It is not suitable to be grown in the local area due to its space and time requirements, as well as its lack of hardiness.
Is Safrole contained in Sassafras root a carcinogen?
The FDA requires safrole to be removed from commercial foodstuff and has since the 60s. There's no medical evidence linking safrole from sassafras root to cancer.
Where can I buy Sassafras and Sasparilla root?
The Arbor Day Foundation sells sassafras, but you propably have it growing near you already since you're east of the Mississippi. You might check them for sasparilla too.
What is the easiest "soda" to make?
Ginger ale is the easiest "soda" to make. Start by planting some old ginger and making a "ginger bug" to get it going.
Are there any alternatives to cooking up my own sodas?
Most brew stores sell soda flavors that are made with natural ingredients. If you're not willing to risk sassafras root, there's a safrole free sassafras tea you can buy on Amazon if you don't have a local store that will order it for you.