My mother would never drink root beer because of the saffafras taste. Her mother had put some kind of awful tasting medicine in the tea for her when she was little. Guess she thought that was a good way to give it but it surely did turn Mother into a root beer hater.
Well I just learned two new things...
Iris, sasporilla is a whole different plant, a vining plant, and the leaf provides the sasporilla flavor, I think. I didn't really read extensively. It was originally and continues to be added flavoring in root beer.
Sassafras, though has been abandoned because of the carcinogenic properties in everything but it's leaves. The leaves have none of that particular flavor, and are not carcinogens.
So to answer your question GQ, they have come up with an artificial sassafras flavoring. What its contents are, I haven't found yet. I'm almost afraid to know because I love root beer.
It is very sad that sassafras got banned. When they tested saffrole oil, it was in a very concentrated form not found in nature and they fed lab rats a portion amounting to the human equivalent of pounds of the stuff. Heck, if you eat pounds and pounds of carrots, the Vitamin A hurts your liver and turns your skin orange. But, in the proper amount, carrots are terrific for you. I believe the same is true of sassafras.
Sharran, through the falling snow I can still make out a line of sassafras trees in a fence line across the creek. At the proper time of year (whenever that is), I can pick as much as you want and mail the box to you - and to satisfy the authorities, I can mark the box as containing hazardous material! As to the snow: ENOUGH, ALREADY!
Kate, you are right at the top of my best friends list. I'll send $$ for postage. Wonder if I could get one of those twigs to root?? Spring is a good time for flavor! Well, anytime's a good time for flavor.
Betty, Hello...thank you for chiming in here. I should have asked you earlier. It's like a lot of things...I grew up eating poke sallit...but only at certain times of the early season, and only after proper cooking. Not a one of those testers ever grew up in the mountains eating what came naturally to us, or to those before us. Same with sassafras. I like the comparison to carrots, thanks. (And I'm still nibbling on the crumbles in the bag of horehound, thank you for that too.)
Hi Angie, well, then I won't serve root beer when you venture into my old KY home! Thanks.
Hi Juney, thanks...great to see you.
GQ, check and see...it won't hurt to ask.
Ladies, I am buried under a blanket of white. We never get this much snow, and it's only about 4 inches...so I'm not complaining. But I really was enjoying seeing tiny bits of green here and there.
Thanks for reading the article.
You all stay warm today.
Oldkate--- loved the idea, 'hazardous material', Ha!
Herbalbetty---think you're right about lab tests; they skew the results alot of times, so it turns out the way they want it to!
Sharon--- enjoyed your article! Guess I never tasted the real sassafras; however, if I had a chance to try a chew on a twig, I would! Before I became a coke-person, I drank root-beer all the time, esp. Barq's brand; in fact, my first car was a copper-brown color, and I named it 'Root Beer'! =)
Sharon if you ever make it to come see us I will provide you with a sassafrass seedling tree! I have several up on the hill. I just transplanted two this past year into my woodland garden so I could enjoy their beautiful fall color if I live long enough! As a mountain girl I would think that you'd heard of "sassporilla tea" or sassporilly as Dad and Aunt Toots called it. It was made from the sassafrass roots. Just a name from the other side of Pine Mountain I guess...
I knew about the sassporilly tea...of course, but when I went on a sassporilla search, found out it was a vine. Who knew?? Two different things...the tea made from sassafras roots, and the vine used to flavor things. Oh yeah, I know all about sassporilly tea. Drank enough of it.
I'm coming over there to raid your yard anyway, so yes, I've already got a spot picked out for a little sapling. Waiting till it warms up and the sap starts rising, though. See you then. It'll be like going home for me...without mountains, of course.
Good to know you chewed Sassafras twigs, too, Frilly Lily...and yes on the root beer float. The ice cream does add to its flavor. Thanks for writing.
Hi Mr. Poet from Clark County, sure, come right along. It would be fun to meet you. I hate to tell you, but since you asked, I doubt if a sassafras tree would survive in your zone. You might have better luck in KY, though. You sure you don't want to move back??
Great fun! I love it all- modern root beer, birch beer, sarsparilla. Wish I could taste the old stuff too.
I have read that sassafras has gorgeous color in autumn. Have always wanted to grow it. Maybe this will be the year...Thanks!
I have a question about the Sassafras Tree. I grew up in western Georgia on a farm with many Sassafras Trees. As a kid I was taught that there were two type of Sassafras Trees. One tree had a root with a red skin on it and the other had a white skin. I was told that one of them would cause blindness if chewed. Now that I've retired and returned to that farm, I have forgotten which one was the bad tree. Also I can't tell which tree is which. So far I have only found the red root tree. I was just wondering if my mind is recalling properly or not.