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Country Discussion Topics
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Mulberries Sassafras ~ Anybody got a recipe?
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Cricket    Posted 02-14-2002 at 23:31:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have tons of mulberries and sassafras each summer. Does anybody have a recipe for anything I could use these for? It seems like such a waste to let them ALL go to the birds!

Thanks! Cricket


Cris Bretfe    Posted 10-25-2004 at 12:21:55       [Reply]  [Send Email]
U know , I saw a lot of sassafras... on the net , because I can not have at least one , to be mine and alive. I live in Europe where is no sassafras .I just love this plant. In 24th of october was my birthday and someone promissed for me a sassafras ( to plant it and symbolically represent my age) but unfortunatelly he couldn`t have it for me.
So do U want to be my hero , to make very , very happy? Just send me some seeds of sassafras in an envelope by mail.


June    Posted 09-05-2002 at 07:28:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The best use for mulberries is to keep kids and birds away from the cherries, but if they are anyplace near the house chop them down cause the birds get flying purple diarrhea which can ruin a paint job on a car and mess up a good laundry something fierce if you hang it outside.
I still drink root beer on occasion so what's your point.Consider the lives of the people who tell us this. They wouldn't have anything to do if they didn't try to scare us to death. Do you want more people on the welfare rolls. How long did our ancestors live when they didn't know these things. Ask some of the 90 year olds that you know. Mostly what they didnd't have then was the superrefined stuff in the grocery stores now.
At one time rootbeer was made with honey, not white sugar which is not good for any body's pancreas or liver. So instead of giving up sassafras give up white sugar.


Dennis in Ma    Posted 02-15-2002 at 19:08:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've got hundreds of sassafrass trees around me and they have no berries. They do have a very fragrant root that smells like root beer. We occasionally boil the roots and make sassafrass tea. When my kids were in scouts, we had them make some tea on a caming trip. One of the kids REALLY liked it, gulped lots of it. He got sticko'd. Giggling out of his head. Couldn't standup. We had NO idea that there was some kind of intoxicant in it. I've never heard of anyone else reporting that it was intoxicating but it appears to be.

When I was having my land cleared to build my house, so much sassafrass was being cut and uprooted that you could smell the rootbeer smell going by on the street several hundred feet away. The dozer operator liked the smell for the first few hours and then complained of having to much of a good thing.

These things are the most prolific trees I've ever come across. They grow like weeds ! Usually straight and not too big around - most I have are less than 4-6 inches in diameter. You can tell them by their leaves. They look like a mitten.


June    Posted 09-05-2002 at 07:37:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Sounds like a good reason for living by MODERATION IN ALL THINGS. I wish I could find Sassafras trees here in SD. It was one of the first trees my dad taught me to identify back in NJ long before NJ became one long city. I loved the idea of four different kinds of leaves on one tree. Baby mittens (no thumbs), right handed mittens, left handed mittens, and mittens for clumbsy people with two thumbs.


OW - nasty stuff    Posted 02-15-2002 at 19:27:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Found something on the side-effects of sassafras -

"No one really knows just how harmful it is to human beings, but it has been estimated that one cup of strong sassafras tea could contain as much as 200 mg [milligrams] of safrole, more than four times the minimal amount believed hazardous to humans if consumed on a regular basis." (Tyler)

"In concentrations of 1% of the diet, safrole is toxic, producing weight loss, testicular atrophy, and bone marrow depletion. It also induces hepatomas (liver cancer)." (Homburger)

"It is estimated that a few drops of sassafras oil are sufficient to kill a toddler and as little as one teaspoonful has proved fatal in an adult.


jd    Posted 07-24-2005 at 15:04:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Safrole - and distilled water - are both compounds which have caused cancer in laboratory mice.

...then again, after reading a few experiments, I don't really trust "lab mouse" experiments anymore - I swear, they're bred for cancer... so it's a "grain of salt" thing, I would imagine.

As for *avoiding* safrole? Well - it's also found in nutmeg, bay leaves, rosemary, pepper, dill, witch hazel, tea (green or black), basil, anise... and blueberries. Not to mention any other plants I don't know about... so that might be a tad hard. The choice is yours, though...

...as for other health issues, safrole is known chemically as 3,4-methyledioxyallylbenzene. This, notably, is the close relative of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, also known as "ecstacy" - and, in fact, virtually all MDMA is made from safrole, which is the fairly immediate precursor. (for those interested - safrole-isosafrole-mdp2p-mdma is the sequence).

This would also explain the young lad's intoxication. *Most* phenylalkanes have a psychoactivity identical or related to their corresponding amphetamine - usually psychedelic (ring-substituted), when from natural sources, although smoking cinnamon (propenylbenzoic acid, an unsubstituted propenylbenzene) has stimulant effects similar to methamphetamine... as could eating it, in fact...

...the same or similar as to what happened to the lad in question could happen from eating too much nutmeg, sage (thujone, an unrelated narcotic), pepper, parsley, dill, celery, or a few other plants. In fact, enough ground beef can intoxicate... it's usually a question of overindulgence; *everything's* got *something,* trust me. ;)

...nonetheless - back to 'other possible health risks' - the *current* theory of the (overhyped) dangers of MDMA comes from oxidative damage from demethylenation of that "3,4-methyenedioxy" part - so it could hurt your brain. 'course, there's even MORE plant oils that have the 3,4-MD group than just safrole, so you'd have to stop eating even MORE plants - carrots, for instance, contain the 2-methoxy and 5-methoxy analogs of safrole.

Luckily - at least for MDMA in some studies, and MAYBE from its food-grade precursors and related compounds, which still form the demethylenative radical - a good antioxidant has been shown to block all nerve damage - so don't forget to eat an orange for the vitamin C. Or whatever your doctor tells you to do. ;)

...anyways... can't avoid safrole - let alone its relatives - 'cause they're in too many plants. So, with that in mind...

...I'm not a doctor - and nothing in this message was written by a licensed doctor - but since it's in just about everything anyways...

...maybe, it's kinda like alcohol - if you don't drink yourself into a stupor every night, maybe there's a chance to avoid most of the health problems?

Hope so - I like blueberries.

...if not? Well - those are a *lot* of foods to avoid. Good luck!


Hogman---GOOD GRIEF    Posted 02-16-2002 at 02:28:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
OW I now know whats ailed Me all these years,chawin on sassafras twigs,sloppin up tha tea,skin contact grubbin out a few million sprouts.
I don't doubt Your word on this atall,I just wonder how We all or at least most of Us survived this long.
Remember quick silver? We used ta play with that stuff,get a gob of it in Our hand and roll it around ta make a lot of little drops'n then get'em back into one. I've even put tha stuff in My mouth. Case any of You yung'uns don't know what quick silver is, it's mercury. Yep, deadly stuff,killed a lot of people.
Them old placer miners were prone ta loosin Their teeth'n hair'n breethin ability from workin with tha stuff.
Course, I've snuffed up enough lead fumes ta kill a dozen mules. Lead causes memory loss, spect thats My problem there.
If nothin else kills Ya old age will.

Anyways OW thats good info You gave Us and thanks.


Jim(MO)    Posted 02-15-2002 at 08:52:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Dried, ground sassafras leaves, called filet', is a key ingredient in gumbo and other excellent cajun dishes

"filet gumbo, crayfish pie, o me o myo" - Hank Williams


geo in MI    Posted 02-15-2002 at 12:50:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
"Sonofagun, we'll have big fun"...... and son of a gun, you learn something new every day. I always thought filet' was fish or steak. When I was a kid you could see sassafras roots in the store for tea. But, where did the idea come from that sassafras is carcinogenic? I've got lots of them in the woods, but don't make tea anymore, because of that rumor.


Jim(MO) recipe included    Posted 02-15-2002 at 17:58:27       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Yeah, I think i heard something about carcinonic properties too. Don't remember excatly what the deal was. Anyway here's one of many different recipies for Gumbo that I like.

Gumbo:

Gumbo is a rich Cajun soup, thickened either with a) okra, b) a roux, or c) file' powder (ground sassafras leaves). Of course, these can be combined.

I have made all types, but the easy one to make is the roux based. Pay attention and read through before attempting, you'll need to rearrange the steps to make it efficient.

Start with oil and flour (approx. 2 Tbs. each). Heat the oil in the bottom of your soup pot, then add the flour. Stir the flour briskly and brown the roux. It's faster to do over high heat BUT it's easier to mess it up. Prudhomme has a section on making roux that discusses this. Be careful to not get any on you or you'll find out why it's called "Cajun napalm". Take it off the heat if it gets too hot until it cools down.

As soon as the roux is medium to dark brown (don't scorch the flour or you'll need to start all over), throw in your diced onion, green pepper, and celery (the sacred trinity in Cajun cooking). These should stop the roux from cooking. How much? About an onion, a green pepper, and two or three stalks of celery. About two cups diced, combined. Stir around. The roux should have been smelling wonderful and once these vegetables hit the roux the smell becomes almost unbearably good. Garlic, two cloves or so, minced, can go in now, too. Let cook till the vegetables get soft, a couple of minutes. The heat can go to medium now (you did the roux over high heat, being adventurous, didn't you?). You prepared a seasoning mix of thyme, oregano, basil, red (cayenne) pepper, black pepper, and white pepper that can be thrown in when the vegetables get soft. About 2 tsp to a 1Tbs each of the herbs, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. each of the peppers. I sometimes add sage, omit the oregano and basil, or otherwise play with the ingredients. This is also the time to add some fresh chopped parsley (all too often neglected) and some chopped green onion. Both are optional, both are good. When this hits the roux/vegetable mixture your nose will go into complete ecstasy. You should also add a Tbs. of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco to taste. Thyme, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco are the other sacred trinity of Cajun cooking. Now it's time to get to the meat of the matter (pun intended).

Break: Gumbo can be based on any number of things. Seafood is classic, with shrimp, oysters, crab, or fish in any combination. Chicken can also serve as a base. Sausage is almost mandatory, if you can't get Andouille (I can't) then a good smoked sausage will do. For health reasons I've been using turkey sausage lately. (Turkey) Ham can go in. I've even made a seven-steak gumbo (from Prudhomme, again). If you're gonna add chicken, you should have browned the diced chicken in the oil, then removed it before you made the roux. The diced chicken, sausage, and/or ham should go in now. The seafood goes in after the stock.

Back to the gumbo, now that you've added any meat you want, you should let it get warm and lightly browned in the roux mixture, then it's time to add the stock. If this is a seafood gumbo, you should use a seafood stock. If you've crab, shrimp, or fish to add, the shells and/or bones should have been used to make a rich stock earlier. I'm talking a redolent, aromatic blend of celery tops, onion parts, bay leaf, etc simmered in water and the fish parts for at least an hour, then strained. Oyster liquor is added if available. You'll want like four cups or so. If you're using sausage, ham, and/or chicken, the bones of the chicken that you diced should have been subjected to the same procedure to make a stock. The richer, the better. You can always use some beer or wine to add more flavor. Avoid, if at all possible, the store bought stock.

Anyways, add the four cups of stock. Or, if you want, make the roux/vegetable mixture in a skillet and add to the already heated stock in the soup pot. Now, if you've got them, add shrimp, crab, fish, oysters, clams, whatever. Simmer for an hour or so. Serve some rice in a bowl, ladle gumbo over it. Viola'. You can sprinkle file' powder over as a seasoning, to taste.



June    Posted 09-05-2002 at 07:47:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
You forgot to add that file (pronounced- fee-lay because of that funny little french mark over the e) is only added at the end and once added is never reheated (unless you want to make rubber bricks).


geo in MI    Posted 02-15-2002 at 06:37:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm not aware that sassafras has any edible berries.........could you possibly mean something else? As for mulberries, they are pretty bland when you cook them, so it's best to mix them with strawberries for pie. They taste pretty good in a combination. As for freezing and jellilies, you would probably look at the Sur-Jell box and follow directions, keeping in mind that you will need lemon juice to get acid content.


Ivey    Posted 02-16-2002 at 05:14:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Concerning sassafrass tea, it's the HUGE amounts on a REGULAR basis that could make you sick. It would take an awful lot of roots to produce a teaspoon of sassafrass OIL. SAFROLE also occurs in nutmeg and some other spices but you only get a tad so it doesn't hurt you. I imagine eating 5 pounds of nutmeg might kill me, too! LOL


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