Archaeologists Discovered a 5,000-Year-Old Beer Recipe in China

Step aside with your claims to long legacies, craft breweries! This reconstructed beer recipe is over 5,000 years old. It’s the earliest beer recipe—and the earliest known use of barley—in China.

Archaeologists at Stanford University, while digging along China’s Wei River, made an intriguing discovery: A marvelously complete set of brewing equipment. And at the bottom of that equipment was something even more wonderful: Residue from the drink it once brewed.

Source: Archaeologists Discovered a 5,000-Year-Old Beer Recipe in China

Tubers…freaking Tubers… And it still tastes better than Bud lite.

Along a similar line, Dogfish Head Brewery had a collaboration with a biomolecular archaeologist who was able to reverse engineer an ancient Chinese beer from residue in pottery from the Jiahu culture. The beer is about 9000 years old, making it one of the oldest (if not the oldest) known beers in the world.  If you have a local Dogfish Head Brewery distributor, you can buy bottles of this “Chateau Jiahu”, the modern recreation of a 9,000 year old beer and try it out.

Have Granola Whenever You Please With This Super Quick Stove Top Recipe

The only drawback to homemade granola (superior to store-bought, on all counts, in my book) is finding the foresight to make large batches of it in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but my motivation for making anything is pretty closely tied to how soon I’m going to scarf it down.

Source: The Shortcut to Homemade Granola

The basic sequence of events is this: Add your fat and sweetener to your pan over medium-low heat and blend until everything is nice and liquid. Add in the grains and a pinch of salt and toast until golden (8-10 minutes). Mix in whatever nuts and seeds you like and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite spices (or toasted coconut and chocolate chips!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Break it up and throw it in some yogurt or milk and you have a tasty homemade breakfast.  Or anytime snack; granola shouldn’t be confined to the morning.

The Best Way to Freeze Cooked Rice and Other Grains for Easier Reheating

For quicker weeknight meals, packages of pre-portioned cooked grains stashed in the freezer are one of our secret weapons. No waiting for rice or other grains to cook while your dinner companions prowl hungrily around the kitchen. No need to plan ahead. No need to do much more than pull a package out of the freezer and carry on with making the meal.

Source: How to Freeze & Thaw Rice, Quinoa & Other Whole Grains

The article says the vacuum sealer is optional, but seems like it’d be the weapon of choice.  A sealable plastic bag will take up less space in the freezer, and most importantly, it will thaw much more evenly later on. You won’t be left with frozen grains in the middle of your rice clump while the outside is ready to eat. You can also write the quantity and day it was cooked right on the bag.

Remember Which Grains Contain Gluten with the BROWS Acronym

If you, like me, constantly find yourself asking, “Is such-and-such grain gluten-free?,” you’ll be relieved to know that there’s an easy way to remember, at a basic level, which grains and flours contain gluten.

Just think of the acronym B.R.O.W.S.

Source: An Easy Way to Remember Which Grains Contain Gluten

GMO Rice Makes More Food, Less Greenhouse Gas

No word on how the rice tastes 😉

When it comes to major anthropogenic sources of methane (an important greenhouse gas), livestock and leaky natural gas wells and pipelines might come to mind. However, rice cultivation is also among the largest sources. Microbes in wetlands, where water saturation leads to low-oxygen conditions, produce most of the world’s methane, and rice paddies are essentially human-controlled wetlands.

Source: Genetically modified rice makes more food, less greenhouse gas

For the more biologically minded, you may want to go read the paper because it isn’t clear from the article that the “barley gene” is actually a transcription factor. Which is way cool because of all the genes I would expect to fail when moved from one species to another, transcription factors are pretty high on the list.

For the non-biologists in the room, transcription factors are the “volume knobs” of the gene world and it looks like these folks added a new one that goes to 11.

Be aware that arsenic has been found in rice.  But you can do stuff with burnt rice

Remarkable Discovery Could Push Back Human Agriculture by 11,000 Years

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered evidence of early cereal cultivation at a 23,000-year-old site in Galilee, effectively doubling the timespan humans are believed to have practiced farming.

Source: Remarkable Discovery Could Push Back Human Agriculture by 11,000 Years

The unfortunate part is how our projected timelines are based only on what we find…

Millet: Enabled Settlement in Tibet, as Food and Beer

Western mountain climbers are fortunate that there are Sherpas to guide them up Mount Everest. While Westerners can train for years and still not make the summit—although they may still get headlines—Sherpas do it repeatedly, with little fanfare, and while carrying food, packs, and oxygen for their clients. Anthropologists have long been wondering how any humans ever managed to start living up at the Roof of the World in the first place. New work suggests that one of the keys is very, very mundane—nothing like their having superpowers or anything like that. No, the key is… barley.

Source: Settling in Tibet required a Western import

Brief but cool read about a key to the puzzle.  I believe it’s difficult to research in areas like those because they used “sky burial” – where bodies would be cut up and left for carrion birds (vultures).  The ground was so hard you couldn’t bury the body, and the natural body disposal would deal with the body faster.  But it’s difficult to find samples for DNA profiling and such.

Still, I can’t help but chuckle at the thought of how we came to what we now know as beer/alcohol.  It’s fermented/fermenting, but we’ll still drink it… 😉

Keep Your Beer From Skunking

Here’s the link to the youtube video (2:25 minutes).

Light is the enemy.  Sunlight can spark a photochemical reaction with the hops in beer to create a molecule very similar in profile to the one that gives the odor of skunks their distinctive, and unpleasant, quality.  Hence, the name.

Use shade, and/or a dark glass, to stave off the effect of sunlight on your beer.