Sassafras grows wild all along the Eastern seaboard and gathering the root can be a difficult but rewarding task. Once you have properly identified the plant, a sharp knife or ax will assist in chopping up the root into manageable pieces. (I am fortunate enough to know a kind young man who has done this for me!).
Sassafras has been used medicinally for hundreds of years by American Indians and is well known as a traditional spring cleansing tonic in the South. Its familiar pungent, strong aroma can be found in homes simmering on a back burner of the stove. Sassafras has been said to have the properties of antiviral, antibacterial, antirheumatic and analgesic. (I am not a medical professional and these benefits listed are based solely on my own research).
Sassafras is often used in tea, but I find this homemade root beer is much better! This is not the typical syrupy root beer you find packaged in liter plastic bottles at the grocery store. Making your own root beer creates a unique natural flavor that may need to “grow on you”. But if you are a lover of homemade beverages such as our recipes for Ginger Beer and Homemade Ginger Ale you will probably want to try this sweet and salty, pungent drink!
Homemade Root Beer from Sassafras Root
- 3 cups of chipped/shaved sassafras root
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- Simmer the root pieces in 4 cups of water for 2 hours.
- Strain and measure- you should have about 1 cup of what
- is now Sassafras concentrate.
- When cool, mix the concentrate with enough water
- and the remaining ingredients to make 2 quarts.
- Cover tightly and leave undisturbed at
- room temperature for 2 days.
- Put in the refrigerator and leave for
- 2-3 weeks prior to enjoying.
- This root beer can be mixed with a little sparkling water to make it carbonated.