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Ale Plant (drink)


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Does anyone have the recipe for an Ale Plant ? I remember my mam grew hers in a glass sweetie jar and added some ingredient to it every day . I think the main ingredient was yeast . I don't think it was very potent as I remember drinken it when I was peerie 

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I found this in an old cookery book

 

The old name for it is Bee Wine - so called because it makes a faint humming noise. It was the basis of ginger beer when flavoured with ginger root, or it could also be flavoured with garden herbs.

 

To Make - put a 'bee' (a small bit of fresh yeast) into a jar of water and set on a sunny windowsill. Feed it with small quantities of sugar or honey. When the water has become clouded and yellow, drain it off, flavour, and bottle it. Fill the jar with fresh water and sugar and start again.

 

It says that to make ginger 'bee' add the rind of one lemon and a root of bruised ginger to the bottle of strained-off bee wine - cork till "up" (time depends on strength of solution and temperature of store)

 

I assume 'up' means fizzy! I also think that the ginger root mentioned is dried root, not the fresh stuff from the supermarket.

 

If anyone tries it...let us know the result :)

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Some confusion here. Ale plant and the Ginger drink are not the same thing. Waariegeo is minding the right stuff, it rose and fell in the jar as it grew, but as I recall, you could not start an ale plant from scratch, you had to get some of the 'seed' from someone who had a plant underway.

I seem to mind Mary on Radio Shetland asking if anyone still had an ale plant, but without success. Someone also had a letter in the Times asking for the same thing, but I don't know if they had any luck. Seems we are all to willing to drink fizzy bottled stuff !

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Some confusion here. Ale plant and the Ginger drink are not the same thing. Waariegeo is minding the right stuff, it rose and fell in the jar as it grew, but as I recall, you could not start an ale plant from scratch, you had to get some of the 'seed' from someone who had a plant underway.

I seem to mind Mary on Radio Shetland asking if anyone still had an ale plant, but without success. Someone also had a letter in the Times asking for the same thing, but I don't know if they had any luck. Seems we are all to willing to drink fizzy bottled stuff !

 

Yeah, da wan am heard of, didna have any ginger i dunna tink, it was something dat used to sink an rise in da jar, an it used to be fed on treacle. I wid love to ken whit it was, would love to try wan.

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Yes, it certainly rose and fell in the jar, and it multiplied. If you had too much it seemed to get a bit strong. That was when you spooned some out and either gave it away or dumped it. The 'bits' that rose and fell in the jar looked like tiny nobbly sponges and I suppose they were of a yeasty nature.

As to feeding it, I never actually did that but I think adding the treacle is correct and it had to be in a reasonably warm place or it stopped 'working'.

We used to run it through a tea strainer before drinking and it was about the colour of a medium strong tea (without the milk).

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^^^^

The recipe inside the quote box above is the plain 'ale' one, the yeast in the jar does rise and fall.

 

It only becomes ginger ale after you strain the liquid off the yeast base and bottle it with ginger. You do not have to add any flavouring if you do not wish to.

 

You can start it from scratch using a small piece of fresh bakers yeast.

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I don't think it was very potent as I remember drinken it when I was peerie .

 

I think the strength could vary a bit. Remember my grandfather telling a story about when he was in his teens or so and the auld eens had one, it was past use for humans so somebody just poured it away outside. The handful of ducks they had at the time came running, thinking they were being fed, and drank as much of it as they could salvage.....and spent a chunk of the day totally pissed. Whenever they tried to waddle off there was a manic flapping of wings and webbed feet going in all directions, then they just bellied up again looking very confused. :lol:

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  • 11 months later...
  • 5 years later...

Hi

Can anyone remember the ale plant that folk used to grow in a glass jar?

You had to feed it and top it up with water.

Every so often then you would be able to take a glass of the liquid and drink it.

I think it is something that has long died out in Shetland and can't find much information out about it.

Can any of you remember it?

Do you have any idea if you can still get it? I believe it was some sort of fungus.

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