Other sugars

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by gypsysue, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    There's another thread on here about making birch sap syrup, by SonnyJim, and it's useful to know, because it's another way to make sweetener if TSHTF, but I just read about another, too.

    Larch (also called Tamarak): "The sap and gum contain galatan, a natural sugar with a flavor like slightly bitter honey. The Flathead and Kootenai Indians hollowed out a cavity in a Larch tree, allowing about 4 liters of sweet syrup to accumulate. This substance could be evaporated to make it even sweeter." (Plants of the Rocky Mountains, Kershaw, MacKinnon, & Pojar).

    With either larch or birch sap, I'd think a person wouldn't even have to boil it down to syrup thickness to use it. We could make tea right in the sweet water, even using locally available plants like rose hips, mint, dandelion, etc. It could be added in place of plain water in some recipes to reduce or replace the use of other sweeteners.

    Until we're lucky enough to get set up with bees/honey, I've been looking for other options. I'd prefer to be able to have a continueing supply rather than many years' worth of stored sugar.
     
  2. CulexPipiens

    CulexPipiens Still waiting for the zombies.

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    How about Beet Sugar?

    I've researched them and the process and it's fairly simple. Take sugar beets. Shred them into a pot. Add water. Boil for awhile. Remove beets. Boil the water down to either a syrup or if you're lucky you can get it to start turning to crystals and then scrape them out for use.

    This is the industrial method SKIL - How Sugar Beet Is Made.

    Here's the home method How to Make Sugar From Beets | eHow.com.

    Similar to the previous URL How to Make Sugar From Beets.

    Wikipedia's notes Sugar beet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    And I'm going to try making this myself this summer using these Albino Beet.
     

  3. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Sorghum grows really well in our area and can be crushed and the sap boiled to make a nice molasses too.
    I just bought seeds of the popping sorghum for popping- supposed to be like mini popcorn.
    I also have seeds for stevia and if you baby them they will live thru the winter as a house plant. Sure not much nutrition but sweet is sweet!:D
     
  4. Frugal_Farmers

    Frugal_Farmers Good ole country folk

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    Let bees do all of the work to make your own sweeteners. Beekepping is smple.
     
  5. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    simple?!!?!?? lol, not the way I end up doing it... :lolsmash:

    yeah, I think honey is by far the best, but it doesn't hurt to have alternatives :2thumb:

    anybody tried growing stevia?
     
  6. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Yup simple- till I get stung by a bee and die of anaphylactic shock.!;):D
    While I love my honey and use bee's wax in some of my home made stuff- harvesting would be quite tricky.

    I have grown stevia and dried it for several years- just the tiniest pinch of dried stevia will sweeten a whole pot of tea or your coffee. Seed starting can be tricky but the plants can be propagated by cuttings once you get one going.
     
  7. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    Stevia. If you have the thumb to make it grow, it's an amazing sweetener, and has some small medical uses as well. Next time you're in Wal-Mart, go to their greenhouse. Walk up to the Stevia. Break a leaf off and chew it. You'll thank me.
     
  8. wildone_uk

    wildone_uk Active Member

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    thanks guys makeing notes of all this
     
  9. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Yes, in your climate in Tennessee beekeeping is simple.

    In NW Montana it's not so simple. We have a short growing season and extremely cold winters. We had frost every month of the year in 2010, including 5 nights in July. Most nights drop below 50 all summer. Kind of hard on the bees. We still intend to give it a try one of these years, it the world holds together.

    Meanwhile, we're looking for other ways to make sweetener. I also just read that the purple cloverheads have a drop of a honey-like substance that can be eaten, and wondered if there's a way to "harvest" that. We have tons of it in the summer.

    Most of the greenhouses and garden centers here sold Stevia plants the last few years, so I'd say give it a go, those who want to try. I can grow just about anything outside, but houseplants...just never had much luck. And I don't think it's a good outdoor plant up here.
     
  10. CulexPipiens

    CulexPipiens Still waiting for the zombies.

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    Do you have a greenhouse? If it's large enough perhaps the bee hive could reside in there during the coldest months? Which from your report, sounds like September through June!
     
  11. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Hmmm....I don't have a greenhouse at the minute. I had one, a 10' by 20' greenhouse, that was destroyed in a microburst wind a few years ago, and hasn't been rebuilt.

    But it's got me thinking that I might be able to make some sort of protection for the bees, like a shelter or something around and over the hives, with entry/exit places for the bees, and protect them from the worst of the cold. It's worth looking in to.

    Thanks for the idea!

    :)
     
  12. sunny

    sunny Well-Known Member

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    Here's a recipe and I was wondering...

    Homemade honey
    2 1/2 cups white clover flowers (No green parts)
    1 cup red clover flowers (No green parts)
    Petals of four wild roses
    10 cups sugar
    1 teas. alum
    3 cup water

    Directions:
    1. Wash blossoms and drain well.
    2. Bring all ingredients except alum to a boil and stir slowly.
    3. Add alum and stir 60 times (no more, no less). Turn heat off
    Allow to streep for 3 hours.
    4. Strain mixture through cheesecloth, reheat to boil and pour into clean sterilized 6 oz containers.

    Now what if a person used a lot more sweet edible flowers like fireweed, honeysuckle, more and different kinds of clover, etc. and then used stevia leaf or licorice fern root instead of sugar? If you boil sweet sap long enough it sugars maybe that could be used. Then it could be canned for winter use.
    I might need to play with this a little inbetween building a rabbitry and figuring out how to use up 2 gallons of goats milk a day this summer.
     
  13. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Sunny, those are some great ideas. If you get time to play with them, keep us posted!

    Don't know if anyone else has heard of this, but white clover flowerheads can be dried and mixed with flour as an extender. In post-SHTF times, it could be a good way to stretch out whatever flour we have stored. I read that during the Irish potato famine they did this.
     
  14. sunny

    sunny Well-Known Member

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    All true clovers are edible and clover root is yummy and very good for your heart. Just remember to always leave enough plants to grow the next year.
    The flour that the natives used here is cat tail pollen. It is big and mixed with the pig weed seeds...I need alot more time, can someone slow things down just a little?
     
  15. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    While I have never tried it- I have read that the nasty grass that grows into my garden with the long white thick runners is supposed to be good for flour- you harvest the roots and clean them well, dry them and then grind them to make a flour with them. I know that my chicken love eating them when I pull it all from the garden.
    I get a few nice big red clover plants that grown in the field behind me and I have carefully harvested the flowers in full bloom and pulled only the flower from the green(aka the pink and white petals) and dried them and used them in my chamomile tea and they added a very nice light sweet floral note to the tea.
     
  16. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    what about Kefir or yogurt or farmer's (cottage) cheese, I think those are the least labor-intensive milk derived products, besides drinking it straight ;)