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Old 04-29-2010, 09:30 PM   #1
Apr 2010
Posts: 124
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Can you use dried Sassafras bark instead of Sassafras root for homemade root beer.

The recipe I want to make consists of 2 oz. of root......How much dried bark should I use instead???

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Old 04-30-2010, 04:45 AM   #2
Sep 2009
Posts: 164
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I hear the bark can impart a more citrus flavor. Maybe that's what you're looking for? I'm not 100% sure though.

I know ebay has some pretty good sources for Sassafras Root. Just keep in mind the carcinogenic properties it "may" hold. As Sassafras isn't a traditional ingredient in root beer anymore.

check this out


In the 1960s, laboratory tests determined that safrole, the major component of the oil of the sassafras root bark, was toxic to the liver and could cause cancer in rats and mice. In 1976 the U.S. Food and Drug Association banned the usage of sassafras containing safrole in products for internal consumption.

Commercial root beer brewers and "extract" makers scrambled to reformulate their recipes, either balancing out the missing sassafras with other roots or synthetic flavors or by extracting the safrole from the sassafras root bark oil.

Although you will find sassafras oil, tincture, and root bark available for sale, they are legally intended for external use only.

I'm no doctor though Hope you can figure out something that works for ya'. I'm sure in small amounts it probably wouldn't be TOO harmful anyway.

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Old 04-30-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
Apr 2010
Posts: 3

I have a recipe book with recipes for both bark and root. For bark, the book calls for 1/4 oz per gallon. For root, it calls for 20 inches of root, about the diameter of a pencil" per gallon. Mark

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Old 04-30-2010, 03:42 PM   #4
Sep 2009
Cairo, WV
Posts: 317
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I've never heard of using the tree bark, as it's the sap that you want. You dig the roots during the late fall or winter since that's when the sap moves down to be stored in the roots. I've heard the "root bark" mentioned, which just means the outer layer of the root, not the bark of the tree. But if others have seen recipes, why not try it?

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Old 01-02-2011, 06:43 PM   #5
Jun 2010
Posts: 307
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I've been thinking about adding this to a porter and was surprised to read that article posted. However, at the end of the article, this is what they said...

"The best website on the list below is Stout Billy's Information Library: Root Beer Concentrate. In that article Steve Mercer estimates he (as a 240 pound man) would have to "drink 24.925 gallons of root beer [every day] to reach oral toxicity". At which time there would be a 50% chance he would develop cancer, however he suggests other, anti-social, problems would set in before he reached that level of consumption! Having said that, he acknowledges there might be other toxic effects that contributed to the FDA's banning the substance.

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Old 02-03-2013, 03:56 AM   #6
Feb 2013
Posts: 1

The bark of the root contains 6 to 9% essential oil (which gives the flavor/aroma) while the whole root contains more like 2% oil. The usual item of commerce is the root bark.

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Old 02-03-2013, 02:46 PM   #7
Feb 2011
suburb of Louisville, KY
Posts: 1,743
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I grew up making sassafras tea as a child, and my Mom made root beer, and we never harvested bark of the tree. We used roots and actually used the bark of the root. If we used the entire root it took much more than just bark. My Dad would create pencil sized slivers in 5 or 10" increments of the entire root (aimed for roots two to four times the diameter of a pencil so he could cut by 2-3-4) and we kept them in the freezer, otherwise we would aim to harvest long, pencil sized roots so my Dad did not have to cut them. He trimmed the root bark off of the large roots, and we dried the remaining root and burned them during bonfires outside.
Unfortunately I do not know what amount of root bark we used, but I know we did use 20" of pencil sized root with bark to.make one gallon of tea. We dug roots any time the ground was soft enough, and quickly discovered when we broke the root line a new tree popped up.
Motto: quel che sara sara

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Old 02-03-2013, 10:41 PM   #8
Nov 2011
Central MA, Ma
Posts: 717
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I Just did 2 gallons that are gone now with 1 full ounce of the dried bark alone. Very simple and very refreshing . .Got that root beer flavor and aroma as well as a little spiciness that comes from the bark as well. I've read that you shouldn't use anything but the bark of the tree or root. No fleshy white stuff.

1 oz. sassafras root bark
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (the beans are just to expensive to justify mere soda)
6 cups of sugar ( could use 4 cups and would be at a healthy sweetness level but 6 will certainly not meet the commercial sweetness)
1 gallon of water simmered for 30 minutes
topped up with 1 more to cool off

I changed this recipe from Cresswell's basic recipe. It's really, really good!

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