If you’re a homesteader prepper, you are probably well-acquainted with all of the magical and delicious things you can make with your home-grown produce. However, did you know that there are several tasty easy beverages to make at home?
These refreshing drinks can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make them. Here's my recommended 6 beverages to make first to get you started.
Long Lasting & Easy To Make Beverages
Vodka is primarily made of potatoes. Luckily, potatoes are usually in high supply around the homestead. This is a great use for leftover potatoes that you don’t have room for in the root cellar.
You Will Need:
In addition to about twenty-five pounds of potatoes, you’ll also need seven gallons of water, two packets of bread yeast, and five pounds of two-row malted barley. This formula makes a relatively-low alcohol content vodka, but it will be delicious nonetheless.
To start, clean and cut the potatoes into small, one-inch cubes. Cover them with two inches of water in a dense pot on the stove. Boil for fifteen minutes, then mash with a masher. Transfer the mixture into a mash bag and then add the rest of the water. Increase the temperature to around one hundred and forty degrees. Once it hits this temperature, you can add the barley.
Continue to process the mixture for about an hour and a half, then add a wort chiller and yeast starter. This should propagate for about fifteen minutes before being added to the fermenter once it has cooled, transfer just the liquid (straining through a cheesecloth) to a sanitized bucket. Ferment at about sixty-five to seventy degrees for two weeks before distilling. For a more indepth direction guide check out the The Joy Of Home Distilling (best seller from Amazon).
2. Dandelion Wine
Dandelion Wine is another homesteader’s favorite as a delicious homemade beverage. Dandelions can be found in just about every state in the United States. It has medicinal properties, benefiting both the kidneys and the digestive system.
You Will Need:
When making Dandelion Wine, you will only use the yellow flower petals. Don’t use the green parts of the flower, or you will end up with bitter, undrinkable wine. For one batch of wine, you will need roughly three quarts of petals. You will also need a gallon of water, two oranges, a lemon, three pounds of sugar, a package of wine yeast, and a pound of raisins.
Boil the water and then add the flowers, allowing them to simmer for up to three days. This is best done in a crockpot or other slow cooker, so that you don’t have to keep a watchful eye on an open flame all day.
Cut the oranges and lemon into thin strips (including the peel), then add to the flower-water mixture. Once it has reached a boil, strain out the solids and add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Let it cool.Place the final mixture back into the crockpot, then allow it to ferment for one to two weeks. You’ll know fermentation is complete when the mixture stops bubbling. Strain it through several layers of cheesecloth. Pour into bottles and store in a cool, dark place, such as a basement or root cellar for six months before drinking.
3. Fruit Wine
If Dandelion Wine is a little too exotic for your taste, you can also make Homemade Fruit Wine. These are not only great for drinking, but also as ingredients in sauces, salad dressings, deserts, and marinades. A truly easy drink to make at home.
Because Homemade Fruit Wines tend to be sweeter, it is both recommended and necessary that you use frozen fruit. The benefit to this feature is that you can make wine throughout the entire year. Before beginning the wine-making process, make sure you pour boiling sugar water over the frozen fruit to kill any bacteria and get rid of any unwanted debris.
You Will Need:
You can use just about any type of fruit for homemade wine, including blackberries, strawberries, loganberries, blueberries, plums, cherries, or raspberries. Each fruit will produce a distinct flavor, and wild fruits will produce more of a bite. You can even make rhubarb wine!
When you make your wine, remember that the more sugar there is in a wine, the sweeter and more alcoholic the wine will become. In general, you will need about four pounds of frozen fruit, a gallon of water, two pounds of sugar, a teaspoon of powdered yeast nutrient, and a package of wine yeast.
When you’re ready to begin, add the fruit and water mixture to a large crock pot. Stir carefully and allow to sit overnight. The next day, mash the berries with your hands and add the yeast. Allow it to remain cooking at low temperatures in the crock for about a week, stirring at least once a day.
After the week has ended you can transfer it into glass jugs. Place a strainer or cheesecloth atop your funnel so that you can separate any seeds, pulp, or sediment from the wine. Leave four inches of headspace and cap with an airlock.
After a month of storage in a cool, dry location, you will need to siphon your wine to remove any remaining fruit matter and dead yeast. Then you’re ready to enjoy your homemade beverage! And if you'd like to make the process a little simpler, here's a great Ready To Go Fruit Wine Kit - Crisp Reisling.
If you grow your own herbs, you can make your tea. Homemade tea blends can be as simple or complicated as you need them to be, or as strong or mild. Homemade teas also make wonderful gifts for any occasion.
Making teas is self-explanatory. You can combine the herbs and steep them in water whenever you’re in the mood for tea, or create a large batch of small mesh sachets for a long-term supply. Popular tea blends include ginger, lemon, chai, mint, lavender, or echinacea. You don’t have to dry the herbs after gathering, but dried herbs do have more complex, savory flavors that will increase the intensity of your tea.
Mead, once an ever-present beverage in Europe and the United States, is becoming more popular among homesteaders and home-brew enthusiasts. It is made out of honey, water, and yeast, and is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks known to man.
You Will Need:
To start, you only need a few simple ingredients: honey, water, and yeast. To yield about six gallons, you will need a gallon and a half of water.
Once you have it boiling, add equal parts honey and cut fruit, dried herbs, or other seasonings (though this last part is optional). After it has begun to boil, add another three gallons of water. This should be cold. You may add yeast, but only when the water has warmed back up to sixty-five degrees. Your mead will be ready when it has reached an appropriate alcohol content. Use a Hydrometer like this one from Chefast to determine that it has reached this percentage.
Check your water’s temperature as well. When it’s ready, stir lightly, then pour into glass jugs or pails. Seal with an airlock, and allow it to ferment for thirty days or so. This will vary depending on your temperature and other environmental conditions.
Once the thirty days has passed, pour the brew into a separate container. Cover it with an airlock. Then, let it rest for yet another thirty days. You can let it rest slightly longer if necessary, but that’s it to this simple process. There’s nothing else to it!
6. Lemonade and Other Fruit Juices
Homemade lemonade is much healthier and more delicious than store-bought powdered lemonades. All you need to do is squeeze some lemons into water. If you don’t have a citrus juicer, you can do this by hand. After squeezing, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer so that you don’t have unwanted pulp or seeds in the mixture. Add some sugar to sweeten, and make sure you cool before serving. Nobody likes lukewarm lemonade!
You can follow the same steps to make other fruit juices, such as orange juice, apple juice, or berry juice Keep in mind that if you are working with berries, you’ll need to take a few additional steps to make sure you don’t end up with a gritty beverage. Use cheese cloth to separate seeds and pulp from the liquid. Sweeten if desired, but it’s often best to taste before adding sugar so you don’t lose any flavor. Fresh fruit juices can be frozen in ice cube trays, canned in a water-bath canner, or simply stored in the refrigerator.
Easy Beverages To Make At Home Conclusion
Other popular easy beverages to make at home include beer, hot chocolate, and grape wine. However these tend to require less common homestead produce to create, such as hops, barley, cocoa, and vineyard grapes. Though with a bit of diligence and survival planning, along with a successful harvest, you can produce everything you need. Beverages included, without ever having to run to the grocery store.