Fall is my favorite season, but I am always reluctant to hand off the joys of summer for pumpkin everything when September comes. At any rate, the forecast is offering up unseasonable triple digits for the coming days (what???) and there will be plenty of time for pumpkin and spice and all that is nice later. In like, October. I am still am clinging to the last days of the season with Queen Anne’s Lace and peaches. This dry hot weather has them going strong still. It is time for another wildcrafted soda. Wildcrafted Queen Anne’s Lace soda with peaches sounds most divine.
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), also known as wild carrot, is a summer wildflower that thrives during the dry summer months. It will grow virtually anywhere that is dry and sunny, and with quickly spread to beautiful, if weedy, patch. Queen Anne’s Lace has a carroty fragrance, and carrot-like foliage positioned towards the base of the stem. The hairy stem itself is topped with a lacy white, flat topped umbel of tiny white flowers often with a small dark purple flower in the middle. As the flower matures, it forms a cage like seed head of bristly looking seeds. Take note of the close positioning of the white flowers when in bloom, as many of the poisonous lookalikes have similar looking but more loosely composed umbels (you’ll also want to learn about leaf, stem, and seed identification on the poisonous lookalikes). As the Apiaceae family requires excellent identification techniques, I would advise any intrepid wild crafter to check out water hemlock, poison hemlock, and fool’s parsley. ALWAYS BE 100% POSITIVE OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION WHEN WILDCRAFTING THIS PLANT FAMILY.
Queen Anne’s Lace flowers themselves have a slight tutty fruity, sorta peachy, kinda grassy flavor. The seeds have a flavor reminiscent of fennel and celery. That is to say, the flavor profile is complex and a bit ephemeral. Not wanting to cover up the of the flower with a berry, I chose to add peaches to my wildcrafted Queen Anne’s Lace soda. The peaches also infuse the soda with a sunny pink tone. Raw wildflower honey imparts just the right amount of sweetness and fermentation “food”. One can certainly wait for a wild ferment to start on its own, or pitch a pinch of champagne yeast to kick off the ferment. If using commercial yeast, your soda will error more to the alcoholic side.
Before pouring yourself a glass of wildcrafted Queen Anne’s Lace soda, please take note of a few things. No big alarm bells here, but some important facts no less. Queen Anne’s lace is considered a contraceptive herb and should be avoided by those that are pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive. It should also be avoided by those with celery related allergies, or those with kidney disease (as it is diuretic in nature). Furthermore, as Queen Anne’s Lace may lower blood pressure, do not consume the herb for at least two weeks prior to surgery (to be safe).
So now that you have correctly identified this sweet summer wildflower, it is time to make yourself some wildcrafted Queen Anne’s Lace soda with peaches. This is the perfect beverage to kiss goodbye the final days of summer.
See a midsummer version of wildcrafted soda here.
Wildcrafted Queen Anne's Lace Soda with Peaches
Celebrate those last warm days of summer by making a wildcrafted Queen Anne's Lace soda with peaches. It is like sipping on a sunset.
- 1/2 gallon spring water
- 20 heads Queen Anne's Lace flowers with stems (chop stems coarsely
- 2 Queen Anne's Lace seed heads optional, if available
- 2 peaches chopped coarsely and pits removed
- 1 lemon sliced
- 1/2 raw wildflower honey
- 1 pinch champagne yeast optional
Over the next 24-48 hours (sooner if using a yeast like this), you should see bubbling in the jar, signaling fermentation. Allow to ferment for 24-48 hours, tasting occasionally.
When the desired level of fermentation is complete, pour wildcrafted soda through a fine mesh sieve lined with muslin into a bowl or eight cup measuring cup or pitcher. Pour into sterilized bottles like these. Cap tightly and allow to continue to ferment at room temperature for 8-16 hours. Test for desired “fizziness” (opening the bottle carefully by applying pressure to the lid while releasing the bracket on a swing top bottle) and refrigerate when you are happy with the soda. Please note that the contents of the bottle may be under pressure -- please be careful.
Wildcrafted soda is not intended for aging. Drink this goodness within two weeks and enjoy the last days of summer!