Today is Nov. 6, 2021

Published 11:46 am Saturday, November 6, 2021

Learn to Home Brew

The rise of craft breweries and niche wineries has probably caught the attention of those who like beer or wine.

The Brewers Association says two breweries open per day in America and three-quarters of Americans of legal drinking age live within 10 miles of at least one brewery. Establishments have popped up in neighborhoods across the country, and many inspire a new crop of enthusiasts who want to try crafting their own brews and vintages at home.

Home brewing has been done for centuries. In fact, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were home brewers. Just a few years ago, home brewing – particularly of beer – started surging across the United States. The American Homebrewers Association reported the number of U.S. homebrew shops peaked at 820 in 2016. As more people discover the ease and creativity involved with brewing their own beer and wine, there’s a strong chance more home brewers will be born.

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Anyone looking to jump into home brewing will find there are many resources at their disposal. Brew shops are now in many towns, and they can provide space, equipment and resources to help novice brewers get on track.

For those who find local resources are limited, brewing supplies and advice can be located in abundance online. Retailers such as Northern Brewer, for example, provide items that can be purchased a la carte or in specially designed beginner kits. As individuals become more experienced with brewing, they can vary the ingredients and experiment with their own flavors.

Both beer and wine are fermented using yeast. There are many different varieties of yeast that perform well in beers and wines. Temperature and sanitation are very important to the brewing process. To ensure quality beverages, all items need to be thoroughly sanitized to prevent natural yeasts and contaminants from impacting taste. Ambient temperature can influence how fast the product will ferment and the final flavor.

Brewing wine or beer at home can be a rewarding hobby. People can learn how to turn ingredients into flavorful alcoholic beverages, socialize with others who share the same interests and produce beverages that align with their individual tastes.


Preparing for Thanksgiving: Healthy Substitutions for Baking

An ability to adapt is one of the most important skills to have in the kitchen. Following a recipe can give home cooks the cursory knowledge they need to make a delicious meal, but an ability to tweak recipes allows individuals to put their own spin on foods and customize meals so they fit with their particular lifestyles.

A person may have to change an ingredient to avoid a food allergy, or he or she may swap something out to make a dish more nutritious. Some substitutions can change the texture or even taste of the overall recipe, as no substitution can mimic the original ingredient exactly. However, a home cook will often find the results are acceptable, and may even prefer them to the “real” thing.

Original ingredient: White flour

Substitution: Whole wheat flour, nut flour

White flour lacks many nutrients because the grain has been largely stripped of its most important parts before being ground. Whole wheat flour has extra fiber that aids in digestion and can lower risk for certain diseases. Those with a gluten intolerance can use nut flours, like almond flour. Whole wheat flour and nut flours are denser than white flour, so you may need to experiment with 3/4 cup to 1 cup of white flour ratios in recipes.

Original ingredient: Sugar

Substitution: Applesauce

Sugar is the foundation of many baked goods, but too much sugar provides empty calories and can contribute to various illnesses if eaten in large quantities. Swapping one cup of unsweetened applesauce for one cup of sugar can provide sweetness with more health benefits, such as added fiber and vitamins.

Original ingredient: Oil or butter

Substitution: Fruit or vegetable puree

Try adding pureed carrot, banana, pumpkin, or apples to recipes to boost moisture. These ingredients also add extra flavor and nutrients. The ratio is generally one-to-one for the replacement. However, cooks may want to experiment to find the best ratio for their recipes.

Original ingredient: Buttermilk

Substitution: Milk and lemon juice

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand or if you feel that it is too high in calories, mix enough milk (low fat if desired) with enough lemon juice or light vinegar to reach 1 cup.

Original ingredient: Water

Substitution: Stock

Make a batch of vitamin- and nutrient-rich vegetable stock to use with foods that are boiled, such as pastas and rices. The stock will add flavor and nutrition.

Original ingredient: Egg

Substitution: Vinegar, baking powder and liquid (baking) or egg substitute (cooking)

When baking, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder plus 1 tablespoon vinegar plus 1 tablespoon of a liquid can replace an egg in the recipe if you’re avoiding eggs.

Original ingredient: Sour cream

Substitution: Plain Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt, with its natural helpful probiotic bacteria, can be a healthy substitution for sour cream in dips, dressings and other recipes that call for sour cream or even mayonnaise.

Food substitutions can help people customize recipes to fit their dietary needs. People can experiment with various ingredients to develop delicious meals.