The Wildcrafting Brewer by Pascal Bauder is enriching my foraging life. He uses foraging for brewing as a way to study, interpret and appreciate the local wildlife. He talks about the magic that is lost in contemporary mass produced products that replace the biologic ingredients that had medicinal and symbolic importance with synthetic flavors- that replace wild fermentation, a living process with mechanical carbonation- and sweeten them with mass produced, subsidized corn syrup. Grocery store soda pop is dead but wild fermented sodas and beers and wines are living brews, one of a kind nuanced experiences that strengthen and celebrate the local wildlife an our relationship with in.
His writing style is easy to read, exciting and repeats the parts that you need to read over again. The text works just the way a foraging obsession works. And he’s all about figuring out how to express the non monetary value of a plant or place. He explains the magic of knowing the wildlife around you so well.
I’ve been foraging for 4 big medicinal tea projects since spring. I loved drinking my forest tea every Sunday last winter and wished I could make it a daily practice. I quit fermenting Kombucha, because I didn’t need the large quantity of sugar in my diet and didn’t love the commercial products I was using but I miss the process…. Duh. The answer is simple. Ferment the medicinal teas I’ve been working so hard to collect. Use wild yeasts. Throw my own fermenting pots. Taste everything!
I’m very happy that my Underworld Tea is now Root Beer from the Rhyzosphere! My Forest Tea is now Marlborough Mead. I’ve got Monalulu Scrumpy and Blue Finger Fox Wine fermenting. And Sumac and Rosehip Pop. And my Moon Tea will be medicinal menstrual beer! It’s taken no time to get all this going. The book is beautifully illustrated and makes me feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit.