DIY Beverage Books (non-alcoholic)

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I am fascinated by the process of fermentation and brewing and in fact early on in my career spent some time working for Toohey’s (an Aussie brewer) but the fact remains that I don’t like beer! Also, while there is planty of books on DIY booze there are not so many on the boozeless kind of drink, so let’s talk about some books on non-alcoholic beverages instead!

The Complete Book of Herbal Teas – Marietta Marshall Marcin – William Collins & Sons (UK) 1983 ISBN 0 00 411255 5 – This one is a pretty comprehensive little book with chapters on the history of tea, cultivating herbs, drying freezing and storing them, planning your garden, how to brew herbal teas and creating tea blends. There is also a large section (over half of the book) devoted to a compendium of 70 herbs. Each entry gives the history, a description of the plant, how to cultivate it, the parts used for tea and the methods of brewing for that individual herb. No photographs, but there is a line drawing for each herb in the compendium and a few other scattered about the book.

Drinks from the Wilds – Steven A. Krause – Stackpole Books (US) 1996 ISBN 0 8117 2733 5 – The book covers the history of using wild plants for food drink and flavouring and Identifying and harvesting wild plants. The following sections cover how the plants are used including wild fruit drinks, beers, cold drinks, coffee substitutes and teas. At the last are chapters on saps, syrups and gums; vinegars, oils and chocolate substitutes and finally on herbal seasoning. Each entry gives a discussion on the plant, as line drawing and how it is used to make a drink. This is an American book so some plants are limited to North America, but others have worldwide distribution. The only illustrations are line drawings of the plants.

Homemade Soda – Andrew Schloss – Storey Publishing (US) 2011 ISBN 978 1 60342 796 8 – This book contains 200 recipes for making fruit soft drinks, sparkling waters, root beers and cola brews, herbal and healing waters, sparkling teas and coffees, shrubs and switchels (whatever the hell they are!) and cream sodas and floats. There are three types of production processes described – mixing homemade juices and syrups with soda water, using a soda syphon to carbonate homemade essences and brewing from scratch, in this case root beers and colas. This is American so some of the suggestions may seem somewhat nauseating initially but there are lots of good ideas. The book contains the odd line drawing and colour photo.

The Green Smoothie Garden – Tracy Russell (Ed.) – Adams Media (US) 2014 ISBN 978 1 4405 6837 4 – While I find them revolting myself, this is a hot topic at the moment. This book is about growing your own ingredients to make your green smoothies, but you gotta start somewhere and the book does have over 60 recipes for green smoothies. Part 1 covers from garden to smoothie and is basically how to grow the plants, making the best of your space, tools needed, pests and diseases etc. Part 2 covers the requirements for individual vegetables and is divided up into leaf vegetables; brassicas and roots; peppers herbs and others. Part 3 is a whole stack of recipes for the vegetables you’ve grown divided up into the same three sections as part 2. Almost no illustrations.

Homegrown Tea – Cassie Liversidge – St Martin’s Griffin (US) 2014 ISBN 978 1 250 03941 5 – The book covers teas and tissanes, with a short introduction about standard black tea. The book is then divided up into a number of entries under the parts of the plant used to make the tea: leaves, seed, fruit, flowers and roots. Each entry covers a different plant and has a general introduction about the plant, what medicinal benefits it has, how to grow it, how to harvest it and how to make the tea. There is also a list at the end of each entry of which other plants can be blended with it to give different flavours. It is a glossy book with lots of colour photos.

A Garden of Miracles – Jill Davies – Frederick Muller (UK) 1985 ISBN 0 584 11108 8 – This book has an introduction on why you might want to consume herbal drinks, followed by a list of herbs you may wish to cultivate (and of course, consume!). This is followed by a section on how to grow them in large and small spaces and how to brew the teas once grown. There is then an extensive table giving the herb, parts of the plant used, the colour of the material once it is dried, what the resulting tea tastes like and what it smells like. The final two chapters contain a series of recipes, the first is herbs for health, beauty and body maintenance, and the second and final chapter is on recipes for herbal drinks. The book has almost no illustrations.

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