Pumpkin spice can be found in just about everything this time of year. The other day I saw a sign for a pumpkin spice car wash.
While the folks at the car wash were probably poking fun at the pumpkin spice trend, there’s no denying the combination of home-grown pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices makes for some delectable treats. Especially when it comes to pumpkin spice beer.
It turns out the best pumpkin for cooking or brewing isn’t really pumpkin, according to Wendy Tweten and Debbie Teashon in their new book, Gardening for the Homebrewer. Squash is the ingredient that makes a sweeter and smoother puree.
Pumpkin and squash from the garden make for flavorful home brews, especially when mixed together with some traditional pumpkin pie spices. Another tip for home-brewed pumpkin beer is to bake the squash first for a deeper flavor.
These are just two of the many tips for vegetable gardeners who’d like to take their home-grown produce from “garden to glass.”
Even if you’ve never thought about growing plants to make into beer, wine or cider, this book will encourage you to get started. You’ll also discover how to make gruit (herb beer) and perry, the pear beverage Napoleon dubbed “the champagne of Britain.”
Gardening for the Homebrewer: Grow and Process Plants for Making Beer, Wine, Gruit, Cider, Perry and More is a complete guide to getting started. The authors give down-to-earth advice on the tools and materials gardeners need to get going, including which plants you’ll need and how to grow the most productive garden.
If beer is your beverage of choice, there’s information on growing hops, malt and other grains. But don’t limit yourself to the traditional fare. There are plenty of ideas for making flavorful homebrews using peppers, cucumbers, herbs and other easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables.
There’s something for small-space gardeners, too. If you can’t plant an apple orchard or pear trees, you can still make fancy liqueurs and infused spirits with ingredients grown in patio or balcony containers like angelica, anise, basil, lemon verbena, rosemary and many other common herbs.
Gardening for the Homebrewer will make a great gift for your favorite gardener – either to give away or to keep and use for planning next season’s spirited garden.
(Voyageur Press provided a complimentary copy of Gardening for the Homebrewer for this review. As always, opinions are my own.)