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Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
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November 23, 2010     Lassen County Times
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November 23, 2010
 

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8B Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010 Lassen County Times, Westwood PinePress Nectar of the gods: Limoncello for winter ti, pe Linda Satchwell Southern California, said, "a part of where we salsa once. It tasted great, but Gustafson has lived "in the country" for 20 years. She's a self-described "back to the land" proponent, and she's dedicated to the idea that growing and making her own is part of the life she wants to lead. She said the county fair is very different from the demo- graphic she grew up in, but one she wants to embrace as part of the life she's chosen here. "It's fun to see," she live." Over the years, Gustafson said she's noticed that there have been fewer and fewer en- tries. She decided she'd enter something this year to sup- port the fair,, and she encour- aged her friends to do the same. "We don't want to lose these crafts," she said. Gustafson collects black- berries, makes jam and does her own canning. She made California Corrections Center & Lassen Famtly Services 21st Annual Victim's of Crime Hobby Craft Sales & Auction Staff Writer Isatchwell@plumasnews.com Sale will be held at Lassen County Fair Grounds Friday, Dec. 3 rd - 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm Saturday, Dec. 4 'h - 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Motorcycle Toy Run Saturday, Dec 4 'h at noon Sponsored by the Weasels Peggy Gustafson won a first place for her home- brewed limoncello at the 2010 Plumas County Fair. She also won prizes for her blackberry cordial and ginger ale. The fact that there were only five entries was the reason she en- tered in the first place. Though she grew up in Great Holiday Buys Handcrafted Wooden Gifts Made by the California Correctional Center Fire Camps All proceeds benefit victims of crime in Lassen County : ........ : :: ::, : .:::: : ::: :: it was too much work she said. She and husband Larry, a master beer brewer, also have an extensive garden -- they even grow their own hops. There's a real joy in mak- ing that Gustafson exudes when she demonstrates how to make ginger ale and her prize-winning limonceUo. Gustafson has been home brewing beer with her hus- band for years. Besides mak- ing it, she enjoys the "com- munal" aspect of brewing. She and her husband will have a beer tasting party, of- fering five different beers and a chance to get together with friends. "It's fun to share," she said. For the same reason, Gustafson decided to try her hand at liqueurs. She was at- tracted by the fact they taste great and are simple to make. Liqueurs are high-alcohol, high-sugar beverages with added flavorings usually de - rived from herbs, fruits or nuts. Gustafson's first-place limoncello is a recent discov- ery. "It's to die for," she said. She also makes a blackber- ry cordial. "It's too sweet by itself," though she said. "The limoncello's a com- pletely different story," though. As a dutiful reporter, I tried some. Simply stated, it is a cause for celebration delicious, unique, packing a taste-wallop you won't soon forget. Gustafson demonstrated how to grate the lemon peel, taking care not to get any of the "white part." She puts the lemon peel in vodka and lets it sit for one to two months. Then, she adds a basic sugar syrup, puts the mixture in bottles and, "Whoopee!" she said -- an apt description of the result. "The best part is drinking it, but second best is giving it away." Gustafson also squeezes the 20 lemons she used for making limoncello, freezing the juice to be used later in ginger ale and other concoc- tions. She doesn't like to waste things. Her ginger ale is the per- sonality drink of the bunch always bubbly, effervescent even, but also prone to explo- sions if not carefully watched. Gustafson demonstrates "making a bug," which is the basis of ginger ale. She slices raw ginger, adds water (filling a quart jar half full) and a bit Peggy Gustafson shows off her first-place prizewinner from this year's Plumas County Fair. Limoncello is made with lemon, sugar and vodka, and it's to die for said an enthusiastic Gustafson. Here, she pours a drink from her decorative Limoncello bottle. In front of her, freshly grated lemon peel steeps in vodka. Photo by Linda Satchwell of sugar. "It's an art, not a sci- ence," she added. According to Gustafson, wild yeast circulates in the air around us. Apparently" it magically knows the bug needs it to work, and it jumps into the jar and causes the fermentation process a build up of carbon dioxide gases -- to commence. She lets her concoction sit for a couple of days -- a bit longer during the winter -- then, she adds a bit more sugar every other day. The "bug" takes three days to ferment ]n summer, she said, and about a week during the winter. It has a "strong gingery, yeasty smell. And when it starts getting bubbly ... it's alive!" Once the bug is ready, Gustafson adds more ginger for flavor. She adds more sugar to keep the fermenta- tion-carbonation process going. After that, she adds water, putting it into a large glass jug, or carboy, which she and Larry use for beer making, and the bug ferments the whole batch. Then, she puts the-ginger ale in individual- sized bottles. She uses Grolsch bottles that have a strong, sealed stopper, be- cause all the time, the mix- ture is continuing to ferment and bubble. Gustafson keeps tasting the ginger ale for the desired level of sweetness the sugar gets eaten by the yeast to produce carbon dioxide, so the level of sweetness and carbonation continues to shift bubble and ginger. When the ginger ale is as bubbly as she wants it, Gustafson puts it in the re- frigerator, which stops the fermentation process. Except for that one time ... ... which left quite an im- pression, because Gustafson referred to it a number of times during the interview. That was the time she took her ginger ale to the house of some friends. Those friends put it into a small, portable refrigerator where it proceeded to ex- plode. "Ginger ale takes some vig- ilance," she said. "Don't blow it up." But, it's worth dealing with the danger, because the result is so good. You can add some of your extra squeezed lemon to the gmger ale for an additional zest. Add some limoncello for an even better taste treat. Or, just go for the limoncel- lo au natural because "It is so good!"  Pillsbury :t Assorted Frostings 16 oz. Mikes Hard . H.enry. Pillsbury  Eagle Lemonade wemnaros Assorted  Brand Private Cake ii Decadent 4 Flavor pack R_q_rva 12 11 2oz bottles .^''2o-z -- Mixes  Fudge " 99 M,x I$ Slags299 ' ..... 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