PERSIMMON BEER (1913)
Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South
Martha McCulloch-Williams (1913)
The poor relation of champagne--with the advantage that nobody is ever the worse for drinking it.
To make it, take full-ripe persimmons, the juicier the better, free them of stalks and calyxes, then mash thoroughly, and add enough wheat bran or middlings to make a stiffish dough.
Form the dough into thin, flat cakes, which bake crisp in a slow oven.
When cold break them up in a clean barrel, and fill it with filtered rainwater.
A bushel of persimmons before mashing will make a barrel of beer.
Set the barrel upright, covered with a thin cloth, in a warm, dry place, free of taints.
Let stand until the beer works--the persimmon cakes will rise and stand in a foamy mass on top.
After three to four weeks, either move the barrel to a cold place, or rack off the beer into bottles or demijohns, tieing down the corks, and keeping the bottled stuff very cool.
The more meaty and flavorous the persimmons, the richer will be the beer.
Beware of putting in fruit that has not felt the touch of frost, so retains a rough tang.
A very little of it will spoil a whole brewing of beer.
If the beer is left standing in the barrel a wooden cover should be laid over the cloth, after it is done working.
Fermentation can be hastened by putting in with the persimmon cakes a slice of toast dipped in quick yeast. But if the temperature is right, the beer will ferment itself.
The complete 'Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South' may be found on the Michigan State University website:
'Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project'