Ginger Bug Soda: Ginger Cherry Apple Cider

Wow, what a whirlwind of a holiday. I ended up going on an unplanned road trip for nearly a week, one of those “pack now” things, and I managed to grab my toothbrush but didn’t have time to even contemplate what to do with my kitchen pets. Thankfully though, I only came home to a very hungry sourdough and only lost some sprouts.

My ginger bug was fine, it was actually still bubbling though it hadn’t been fed in almost a week. I had some ginger cream soda (ginger ale with a vanilla pod thrown in) in the refrigerator that I was worried might explode, but that turned out to be okay as well. I was going to post about my cherry ginger cider last week, but I left my computer. Had a lot of fun on the trip though.

Also, sweetie gave me Wild Fermentation as an eBook and Art of Fermentation as an audio book :). Audio books are great when you do chores, during kitchen time, or when you don’t have a car and an errand can take from two to five hours. Right, ginger bug soda now.

A recipe for Cherry Ginger Cider, an all-natural soda that I just love. Ginger bug sodas are a great introduction to probiotic foods and wild fermentation. This is a way to make sodas with decreased sugar and artificial additives, plus you get to customize your drink to your personal taste preferences. Ginger is also a great remedy for digestive complaints and nausea, and it stimulates circulation for warming the hands and feet during winter. From Dryad In The Elm at www.dryadintheelm.com

If you don’t know what a ginger bug is, it’s basically a starter like sourdough, only for drinks instead of bread. You can use it to make your own lightly carbonated sodas without all the artificial additives and you control the sugar content. In fact, you can make a health tonic for it, as right away you are including ingredients with medicinal value. Ginger root itself has a number of healthy properties, and the lactobacteria within the root offer probiotic benefits. Even if you don’t care about probiotics and additives in your food, just the fun of mixing up your own flavors is worth it. I dare you to find a ginger cherry apple cider (with allspice) on the supermarket isle. Not gonna happen.

There are many potential soda ingredients that could work together as far as flavor is concerned while giving your body whatever therapeutic boost you might need. Just think of all the fruits and vegetables that are praised for their nutritional and therapeutic value: cranberries, blueberries, carrots, lemons, there are a ton of possibilities here. I have indeed added carrot juice to one batch of my soda hoping to increase my son’s vitamin A… Well that didn’t work for him but maybe you’ll like it. I loved it.

How to Make a Ginger Bug

It’s super easy. You get a jar and put in equal parts (I use 1/8 cup, many people use 1 or 2 tablespoons) of fresh ginger root, sugar, and water. Stir it up, cover the jar with something that can breathe (a loose lid or a cloth with a rubber band) and feed it this same amount every day. Don’t use a tight lid, the build up of carbon dioxide needs to escape so you don’t have a small and sticky explosion. In a few days, your ginger bug will start to bubble. If you want to take a break from feeding it, a ginger bug in your refrigerator only needs to be fed once a week.

I run my ginger root through a food processor and keep a processed root in my refrigerator, taking out a bit of it each day. That way I don’t have to cut it up each time. I’ve seen people use thinly sliced root, but when I was using a knife still I preferred to mince it as small as I could, exposing as much surface of the root as possible. Use organic; conventional ginger root may have been irradiated to increase shelf life, and the yeasts and bacteria naturally found in the root will have been damaged. Yes, I confirmed myself that I got better results with an organic root than a conventional root.

The sugar can be refined, but I use unrefined sugar. Brown sugar can also be used, just don’t use an artificial sweetener. The sugar feeds the yeast and lactobacteria in the root, so low-calorie sugar substitutes will not work. After my trip though, I’m starting to wonder if perhaps I might be able to use half a measure of sugar, since the bug was still going after so long and my sodas have been a little too sweet for my taste. I’ll play with that and get back to you on how it works. I’ve heard you can’t use honey because of antibacterial properties, but I’ve also heard that once it is diluted with water honey will work just fine (we can see this in mead). I’ve yet to try that, it’s on my “see what happens if I…” list.

For water I use filtered water. Tap water has chlorine in it which may interfere with bacterial growth. It might be possible to still ferment in it, but you may get decreased results. I’d also like to try different waters, to find out for myself if the minerals in my filtered tap water will benefit or damage my bug when compared to pure distilled water, or if spring water might be worth the cost. I do know this though: measure out your water every day. I read some recipes that had a set amount of water where you only measured out ginger and sugar every day, but I did not get results that were as good as measuring out the water along with the ginger and sugar. Besides, it would be harder to calculate how much sugar was in your mixture, by the time my bug was bubbly I ended up with something way too sweet and for some reason my bug wasn’t getting as bubbly as it does when I measure out the water as well. I think the mix got too thick and syrupy for the bug to bubble properly. Measuring the water daily means your bug is consistent in its flavor and thickness.

How to Make Soda From a Ginger Bug

When your ginger bug is nice and bubbly and you have about a cup or two of it (I’d use two cups in a gallon), simply strain the ginger out and add the liquid to whatever juice you would like to turn into a soda. If you are using juice from a store, make sure that it does not contain anything but fruit juice and water. It can be pasteurized, and doesn’t have to be organic (though that is preferred), but should not contain any additives or preservatives. Just fruit juice and water. Glass is the best container, if you use plastic go for a milk jug with a number 2 on the bottom and not the clear plastic with a number 1, number 1 plastic is not intended to be reused and is the plastic that leeches chemicals that may potentially mess with your hormones. A milk jug with a cap that screws on well will make the pressurizing step less dangerous (no explosion) and will be more air tight than with a cap that snaps on. Plastic is evil though. It makes baby dolphins cry.

You will likely need to remove some juice to make room for the bug, so pour out a glass and drink it. Funnel the ginger bug into the juice, cover lightly with a cloth or a loose lid, and wait a few days. Soon it should be bubbly. If you wish, you can then cap it tightly so the pressure builds and the soda is more carbonated. Careful, if the pressure builds up too much it may explode. This may be a good time to use that milk jug, you can squeeze it to see how the pressure is doing. If you’d rather use glass, you may wish to put it in a safe container. I had mine in a stock pot with a paper bag placed over it in the refrigerator when I was on vacation. You can “burp” it daily to release some of the pressure to prevent explosion. Best case scenario for a larger batch of soda: bottle the soda in reusable glass bottles and store in a cooler (that will contain explosions). Keep one plastic bottle, you can squeeze it to test how it is pressurizing and assume the glass bottle sodas will be comparable.

If you leave your soda on the counter longer, you will end up with something mildly alcoholic. Technically the soda is alcoholic as well, but in such small amounts that it’s comparable to many shelved fruit juices at the store, something so miniscule that it isn’t even required to be mentioned by the FDA. If you want to encourage alcohol growth, just leave it out on the counter until the bubbles start to decrease a little, indicating that either the alcohol is raising to a high enough level to start to kill the yeast, or that the sugar levels are decreasing (or both). Wild yeasts don’t tend to make a highly alcoholic beverage, they die off when the brew is about beer strength. This is a bonus for me personally (not looking for my daily healthy soda to make me all woozy), and even better it doesn’t need stuff like an airlock or sanitized equipment.

So, back to the recipe for this particular soda. Once upon a time, I had just filtered out my ginger bug and added it to a gallon of organic apple cider. I wondered what to do with the leftover ginger in my hand and had just decided to make tea with it when someone came by and gave me a giant bag of dried cherries. I quickly chopped about two cups of them up just a tad and threw them into my saucepan along with the ginger tea I had just made. I also decided to throw in about a tablespoon of ground allspice and 1/2 a cup of sugar (to offset the heat from the ginger being even more extracted than the simple bug).

A recipe for Cherry Ginger Cider, an all-natural soda that I just love. Ginger bug sodas are a great introduction to probiotic foods and wild fermentation. This is a way to make sodas with decreased sugar and artificial additives, plus you get to customize your drink to your personal taste preferences. Ginger is also a great remedy for digestive complaints and nausea, and it stimulates circulation for warming the hands and feet during winter. From Dryad In The Elm at www.dryadintheelm.com

Then I simmered it, covered, about half an hour on medium low. I believe the boozemakers call this a mash, and the resulting filtered liquid is a wort. So I strained the mash through some cheesecloth and simmered the wort uncovered to condense it (making a syrup) and let it cool before adding it to my jug of cider with the ginger bug in it already.  Finally I covered it with an old clean tee-shirt scrap and a rubber band, let sit a few days and then:

A recipe for Cherry Ginger Cider, an all-natural soda that I just love. Ginger bug sodas are a great introduction to probiotic foods and wild fermentation. This is a way to make sodas with decreased sugar and artificial additives, plus you get to customize your drink to your personal taste preferences. Ginger is also a great remedy for digestive complaints and nausea, and it stimulates circulation for warming the hands and feet during winter. From Dryad In The Elm at www.dryadintheelm.com

A wonderfully spicy and sweet gently bubbly treat. Of the sodas I’ve made so far, this is my favorite, and not just because of the flavor. It’s also because of the leftovers.

When I was done, I still had a handful of ginger root to wonder what to do with, only now there were also some cherries in it. Thankfully, inspiration struck and it was magnificent. I can’t quite yet compost in my apartment (worms are on my wish list) and while I could cook with my leftovers (cherry gingerbread muffins sounded tempting) I thought of something better.

A recipe for Cherry Ginger Cider, an all-natural soda that I just love. Ginger bug sodas are a great introduction to probiotic foods and wild fermentation. This is a way to make sodas with decreased sugar and artificial additives, plus you get to customize your drink to your personal taste preferences. Ginger is also a great remedy for digestive complaints and nausea, and it stimulates circulation for warming the hands and feet during winter. From Dryad In The Elm at www.dryadintheelm.com

Yay food dehydrator! See, I’ve started a rejuvelac habit as well. It tends to be my breakfast, or the last thing I eat for the day (still haven’t decided which habit to keep). When I finish the drink, I just eat the sprouted grain (so far I’ve only tried wheat and rye). While I don’t mind the flavor, I don’t exactly look forward to it either. But if I powder things I strain in my ginger bug sodas, and add perhaps a tablespoon of flax seed (I’ve heard flax is more beneficial if not cooked) I can add this to the rejuvelac. I still get some sludge at the bottom that I spoon out to eat, and I’m sure I’ll come up with a smoothie type recipe soon, but for now this is working quite well :).

Next time I wish to add fruits to my ginger bug sodas, I’ll likely add the cooled mash to the jug for at least a couple of days so the probiotics can colonize the mash. Alternately, I might skip the mash part and just add all fruit ingredients to the ginger bug itself. Then when I strain out my flavorings, they will also be infused with probiotic bacteria. I can put my dehydrator on the lowest temp (which is 95°F, not higher than body temperature so safe for probiotics) and my rejuvelac flavor powder will contain even more beneficial goodness. If I manage to get into the homemade yogurt thing and use that as a smoothie base, I’ll have an even more diverse set of microbes and probiotic strains to my breakfast.  That’s a work in progress though, and something I’m still thinking through. In the meantime, I’ve managed to figure out a great way to use instead of waste my leftovers from the ginger bug.

Update: It turns out that throwing a vanilla pod into your bug, or your fermenting soda (or both), works out very nice indeed for a Ginger Cherry Cream Cider. Also, I’m out of dried cherries and they don’t carry them at my local store. Sigh.

Related Posts:

Probiotics: Now I get to have fun watching it all rot.

Fun stuff of interest by other people:

I’ve been collecting other people’s fermentation posts on my Pinterest. There’s lots of ginger bug stuff scattered throughout, including several soda recipes.

A Life Unprocessed shares the tidbit that ginger that has been frozen does not produce bubbly ginger bugs, and you probably shouldn’t use ginger that has been peeled. That’s good to know.

Holistic Squid shares a strawberry soda that I’m so going to try when they come back into season.

Sustainable Eats has a great article on different flavorings and methods from steeping to syrups.

Misadventures in Homemade Butter

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

I can’t think of a more satisfying feeling than biting into warm, buttery, homemade bread. I love my bread, and I should. I spend a couple of years developing my mad bread-making skills. Every bite of my bread is a reminder of my hard work and success, and my family knows this effort has been out of love. Even when a loaf fails miserably, we still manage to love it somehow, like a family pet that’s all wonky in the brain. Something has been bothering me though. Why do I work so hard and then turn around and smear regular “whatever was on sale” butter on my bread? This must be stopped.

Thankfully, The Magic Teaspoon has some great suggestions for herbal butters, and simple instructions on making your own butter with a blender. I had that, and I also had a brand new little butter bell that hadn’t even been taken out of the box. Butter bells keep your butter fresh while out on the counter at room temperature, allowing you to have spreadable butter whenever you want it. The butter is kept fresh with an air tight seal of water when the bell is closed. I don’t know why it took me so long to get one.

If you like it when newbies post about their clumsy attempts, you are going to love this.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

My first attempt was a pumpkin spice flavored butter with the blender. With the cold weather, I love this spice to help soothe my joints and help me face the horrors of chilly air when out running errands. So, I added 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Next I added some cream (1 cup), and some filtered water straight from the refrigerator (1/2 cup).

After a couple of minutes of blenderizing, I lifted the lid and smoothed it down with a spatula then blenderized again. I also figured out that if I kept the lid tipped ever so slightly and lightly used the spatula to smooth the butter as it was spinning, I could keep he butter churning more easily and the process went much more smoothly. This is how I ended up with butter in my hair.

Next step: drain out the buttermilk.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

I had my pretty little butter bell all clean and waiting, and I ended up with fresh buttermilk. Once it drained for a little while, I smoothed it in to my happy little bell, and it promptly fell out. This made me sad. A look at my recipe showed me that I wasn’t supposed to put the water in until the cream was whipped. Oops. I think I ended up whipping a bunch of water into my butter. Sigh.

Later on, browsing for other blender butter recipes on the web showed me that The Magic Teaspoon uses a method where the blender washes the butter for you, which is very convenient. (When I made the mason jar butter, washing the buttermilk out with that chilled water was not very nice to my winter-tender joints.)

Next time I try making butter, I think I’ll use this method again only I’ll do it right this time, and see if I can get my butter to stay in the bell. It might be that the entire method of washing in the blender isn’t right for my butter bell, but I’ll certainly give it a try.

Once chilled the butter was quite firm, though it does dent with a finger pressed into it a little more easily than my store-bought butter.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

In the meantime, I had in my hands the first real buttermilk that I had ever seen. Even better, it was pumpkin spice flavored. I saved it for pancakes the next day. This buttermilk was a little watered down due to adding water before draining; recipes that call for buttermilk may need to be adjusted. I used it instead of water in a pumpkin pancake recipe that didn’t call for any buttermilk, and they turned out very nummy and fluffy. You can wash blender butter in a later step and still get buttermilk out of it just like you can with mason jar butter, that just wasn’t the process I used.

By the way, The Magic Teaspoon had several recipes for herbal butters that you can make with store-bought butter, none of them were pumpkin spice but I’ll keep this chapter in mind when playing around with different flavors. The easiest way to make an herbal butter would be to put your ingredients into a blender or a food processor with a stick or two of butter and then blend it all together (or mash the herbs in with the back of a fork), I’m sure I’ll try this as well when I don’t have time to whip up my own butter.

If you want cultured butter (the cream is cultured first with healthy probiotic bacteria), I don’t know if I would add spices. I know that cinnamon and some other spices or herbs with antibacterial properties  may interfere with yeast rising (this is why cinnamon breads have the bulk of their spices swirled in the center, so the areas between the swirls are able to rise more). If bread yeast doesn’t like it, probiotic bacteria might not like it either. Who knows though, I’ve seen sourdough starter recipes that include antibacterial herbs and people say they seem to work fine, even though lactobacteria are a part of a sourdough culture. Experiment and see how it goes for you (and maybe let me know).

My next adventure was the cardiovascular muscle toning exercise of mason jar butter. I made butter by shaking a jar and I didn’t even smack myself in the face with the jar. This is a proud moment for me.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

I gotta say, this was a lot of fun. Then again, maybe that’s because I loaded some Harry Belafonte onto my mp3 player and danced to the tune of “Jump in the Line”. This had the added bonus of annoying my son by singing “Shake, shake, shake, señora” while he was trying to play video games. It is the right of every mother to annoy their child, and I take my rights as a duty to perform with utmost enthusiasm.

It didn’t take very long before the cream stopped sloshing. I peeked at my whipped cream.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

A couple of verses of Belafonte later, my fat began to separate from the buttermilk.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

It might be a little tricky to see here, but what I had appeared to be a smooth island of butter floating in a milky pond. I thought it was supposed to look more broken up than that, so I kept shaking, hoping to get little clumps of butter and lots of buttermilky goodness.I was really looking forward to that buttermilk too, seeing as how it wouldn’t be thinned out by the cold water like it was with the blender method I used.

But that is not what happened.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

Instead, the buttermilk ended up being whipped right back into the butter. Live and learn. I think I must have shaken for half an hour trying to get my little clumps of butter (and my biceps are a little bit bigger for the effort).

Now I know; when the fats start smacking together and the butter falls from the cream, the time is right to drain and wash even if my butter doesn’t look all clumpy. I might use a bigger jar next time, or leave more room at the top, and see if that helps everything go more smoothly. The next step is to strain out the buttermilk, but mine was all mixed in so I went straight to washing.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

All you have to do is pour in some chilled water then squish the water around through the butter with your fingers, and work the butter in a way that is similar to kneading bread. Pour out the milky water, then add more. Repeat this until the water is clear.

Get all the buttermilk out, or as much as possible, as it might make your butter turn rancid more quickly. I had to repeat this step a lot from my newbie clumsiness, but I did end up with clean butter eventually. This time my butter stayed in the bell.

How to make butter with a mason jar or blender, including homemade cultured butter or culinary and healing herbal butters for a butter bell, and how I did it wrong from Dryad In The Elm at dryadintheelm.com. This was a lot of fun and I loved it, the butter tastes great, and thankfully we all learn from our mistakes ;).

I did have to smooth it level after each use for it to stay in the bell properly, but I was able to use this nice soft butter on my bread for a few days. I had enough to put some in the refrigerator as well.  It was light and tasty, and very fun to make (even if things didn’t go exactly as planned).

Somewhere in there, somewhere around when things started becoming solid and started shaking less, I suddenly looked at my jar in amazement. Wait a minute, what magic is this anyway? I know that friction causes heat, and heat can sometimes help certain things dissolve, but I wasn’t trying to make two substances combine in a solution, was I? This was an entirely mechanical process with only one ingredient. How could this be happening? So, I Googled.

It took me about three seconds to find The Science of Whipped Cream and Butter from Food Retro. Apparently butter is made by smacking fat globules together until they stick, and then the water gets pushed out.A little less simplified: water repelling phospholipids surround the fat triglycerides in a layer, keeping the fat in a water repelling bubble. Agitation causes the phospholipids to release their hold on each other (in my head I see something similar to the kid’s game of crack the whip, only the poor phospholipids are screaming in abject terror as they are ripped apart from their friends and loved ones).

As the layer is broken, the fat (triglycerides) in the center break out and seek other fat molecules and cling together for dear life (they so saw what happened to the phospholipids, I don’t blame them for sticking together one bit). When they cling they do so tightly, and the water molecules are forced out.

Serious Eats gets even more nitty gritty, with molecule diagrams and discussion of colloids, and happy or sad faces where the science books usually put a boring positive or negative symbol instead. Man they make science look cute. Also, I didn’t even think about the fact that chemistry might be involved in the process of making a foam for the whipped cream stage, I just chalked it up to mechanical incorporation of air. But oh no, it’s all about the triglycerides.

Hopefully soon I’ll try this again, only I’d like to try culturing my cream first for a probiotic butter. I’m still learning about probiotic cultures, and I’m trying a few things that I’ll share when I’m ready. My first ginger ale didn’t quite turn out like I thought, but my son has frequent stomach issues and last night he tried some. About half an hour later, he said he felt great. I am encouraged, and might be looking at a few methods for getting more healthy bacteria into our diets. Maybe it was just the ginger goodness and its marvelous effect on the digestive system, but I’m hoping that the bacteria can help prevent him from getting so many stomach upsets in the future. Time will tell.

Plus, if I can keep this butter-making up (cultured or not) that’s another area of my life where I’ll be skimming out some preservatives and additives. Also, most of the time when you cut a machine out of the process, you end up with a more sustainable option. It’s a busy world though, and time does get frittered away. I bet though that I find the time every now and then to make a special flavored homemade butter.

There are butter churns that you can put on top of a mason jar, then you spin a crank instead of shaking. I was really tempted to put one on my wishlist and and then drop hints to my man, but looking more closely at the reviews I thought that the ones that hold up well are likely the ones that are way out of the budget. Actually, the less expensive ones were also out of the budget. I suppose if you made a large amount of butter on a regular basis one of these might be a nice tool (perhaps if you owned the cow it came from), but I think I’ll stick to my low-budget options.

There are also molds for homemade butter, both the shape we are familiar with (the rectangle sticks for putting in a butter dish) and cute little shapes like lambs and hearts. Candy and soap molds can be used too, as long as they are food safe materials. Those can be adorable and perhaps one day I’ll get one, but I’ll stick with my butter bell for now.

And some more buttery goodness from other fabulous people:

Karen made an awesome video of mason jar butter making on The Art of Doing Stuff. She seems like a fun kind of lady.

Dana Velden at The Kitchn has a wonderful article with lots of tips, it’s so worth the read that many of the pages I read referenced her.

Here’s a straight from the cow cultured butter kind of article from the lovely people at Mother Earth News. It was a sad day when thrift meant I had to cancel my magazine subscription, but I still enjoy their newsletter emails.

Jill Winger at The Prairie Homestead mentions that the reason store bought butter is so hard is due to a high water content (which also means that you’re buying less butter than you think and spending money on water, but I guess it also means less calories per tablespoon) and uses raw milk from her own cow for her cultured butter. One day I aspire to be so hard core. Very worth the read.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys reading the first few chapters of cookbooks, where they keep the history and interesting bits about the food (a kindred spirit), you’ll like the article by Jonathan S. White about Churning Cultured Butter at Home.

Ris Lacoste at Fine Cooking has a great looking recipe for Three-Herb Butter. The recipe calls for store bought butter, but of course you can use your own homemade goodness.

Leigh Anne at Your Homebased Mom has a few suggestions for flavored butters, including gift wrapping ideas for the holidays. She’s made some very pretty butters, this is a popular post on Pinterest.

Sonia at The Healthy Foodie has a run-down on making ghee or clarified butter. Besides lasting longer and being easier to use when a recipe calls for softened butter, ghee has a higher smoke point than regular butter. This is important to me because I use a cast-iron aebleskiver pan. When I was using regular butter to brush the wells, my pan got kind of gummy and sticky over time. Switching to ghee made my skillet more clean, and my aebleskiver browned better as well. I’m sure it is also superior for sautéing, I just tend to grab olive oil for that.

I love Lehman’s, and you can find some very old-school supplies in their online shop (not an affiliate link). Their catalog makes great browsing.

If any love of my life might be looking at this and contemplating a special gift for me sometime in the future, those wooden butter molds with the little carved decorations sure do look fun… They’re currently out of stock so you’re likely off the hook for now.