Yeast Culture Club gathered on a cool fall day to make soaps using only the most precious of waxes, bee’s wax. To indicate how precious bee’s wax is: it takes 29.2 pounds of nectar to produce that 8 pounds of honey to make that 1 pound of wax. So if you are a beekeeper you really gotta mind your beeswax (ahem). Now that you have regained composure, you should know that the University of Maryland’s Beekeeping club did not mind kindly allotting us some of their precious product to use for this project. So we only had to purchase the rest of the ingredients which are somewhat readily viewable in the following images:
We mixed all of these ingredients together each in their own due time until we created this here vanilla pudding looking mixture:
Be warned!: This is the last vanilla pudding you will ever ingest if you do.
This has lye all over, within, and between it. And that’s not a lie. Lye is an extremely caustic chemical that will burn your skin upon contact. So imagine what it will do to your insides
And then it was time to pour!
Here is Angela, our President at the time, poised to pour the dangerous mixture with all the grace and poise of a future princess.
We poured and leveled out the mixture in our high tech next generation not yet patented molds and a really pretty bee-esque mold to be featured below. And then we let the soap sit for a couple of weeks to allow the lye to cure in that yellow box on the fridge in the top left corner.
And the finished product is below this paragraph. We took the cured soap and cut it into bite size pieces and convinced each other not to eat them despite how yummy they smelled . We packaged some of the soaps n the most pinteresting ways. We had a winter holiday theme going because we had just made wreaths.
Ta Daaaaa! These pretty pretty aromatic handmade soaps are ready to lather your skin and soothe your olfactory senses. o
Leave a comment if you are interested in acquiring them or learning more about how we made the soaps.
Typically when bottle conditioning a homebrew it takes at least 2 weeks or more to properly carbonate the beer, however if you need to carbonate the beer faster, we have a useful trick that will reduce the carbonation time to just 6 days.
All you have to do is gently rouse the yeast and invert each bottle once per day for the first 5 days after bottling. After chilling the beer for a few hours on the 6th day it will be fully carbonated, this will work even for high ABV stouts that would otherwise take 3 weeks to carbonate.
Basically this just wakes up the yeast which is resting on the bottom of the bottle and increases their surface area, allowing the yeast to work more efficiently.
See the video below for a demonstration. Happy homebrewing.
A Shrub is is a concentrated syrup that combines fruit, sugar, and vinegar, and when combined with club soda or tonic, makes a delicious effervescent beverage. Shrubs also make a great addition of any of your favorite cocktails.
If your looking for a way to add a special touch to your cocktails, why not try making your own house bitters, it’s a really simple process once you gather all the necessary spices and herbs. This week we made 2 shrubs, and a batch of orange bitters. For our first attempt we made a Strawberry Mint Shrub, and a Mixed Berry/Lemon Balm Shrub with Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries. The addition of Mint and Lemon Balm to the shrubs really complemented the fruity and tart flavors, these are going to make some truly excellent drinks. Cheers
House Orange Bitters
3 oz Dried Orange Peels
2 Whole Cardamon Pods (Crushed)
1 1/2 tsp Corriander Seeds (Crushed)
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (Crushed)
1 3/4 oz Rich Demerara Syrup 2:1
750 ml high proof neutral spirit (Vodka, Everclear, Overproof Rum)
Prepare the Rich Demerara Syrup 2:1 (1/2 cup Demerara sugar, 1/4 cup water)
Crush or grind all the spices, and combine everything is a jar, store at room temp.
Shake once per day for 1 week, then strain and bottle
The magic ratio for shrubs is 1:1:1
1 part fruit
1 part simple syrup (1 part water and 1 part sugar)
1 part cider vinegar.
Add 1 part simple syrup to a pot and begin heating
Add an equal amount of the desired fruit, and simmer on medium until the fruit has broken down and released all it’s fruity goodness.
Add any optional herbs or spices near the end of the boil
Add 1 part cider vinegar and allow to cool.
Strain though cheese cloth or a nut milk bag to remove all the fruit pulp.
The shrub can then be used immediately and/or stored in the refrigerator for 4-6 months.
Step 1: Go on a slow walk through the woods with your friends and your club mascot. Bring along a plant connoisseur if you can (lucky us, we have Ross Whitehead!) and learn all about edible plants of the Mid Atlantic while you stroll. If you’re planning to forage, avoid places where there may be pollutants (like roadsides) – some contaminants could be taken up by plants.
Step 2: Pick some delicious invasive species for your pesto: mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and wild onion (Allium vineale).
Step 3: Pour yourselves some homebrews and blend your harvest with olive oil, toasted walnuts, and parmesan cheese (optional additions: lemon juice, salt and pepper).
Step 4: EAT THE ENEMY! Preferably on a sunny rooftop in very flattering light. Thanks to Ross for taking us through this journey!
YCC was recently mentioned in the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News in an article discussing the “Free State Homebrew Guild”. The guild is the first and only statewide homebrewing guild which brings together representatives from every Maryland homebrew club.
For all who did not attend Maryland Day this year, the Micallef Food Safety lab had hand washing exhibits, bacteria viewing under the microscope, and adventures to find out what microbe you most identify with! Below is an example of a quick interactive game our lab came up with to get kids (6- 12) interested about microbiology and food safety ! It is a choose your own adventure based pamphlet full of fun questions and valuable information on the top food safety microbes. Please feel free to use this as an instructional tool in your educational setting!