Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Buckthorn 2016

It's nearly the 'vintage season' again and that means Buckthorn berry recipes!

Sap Green Buckthorn clothlets 2016

Adrienne's Experiment steps:
Collect materials

Suit up with nitrile gloves, goggles over glasses and mask!

We're dealing with some toxic chemicals here, please don't breathe in lye or alum.

This year I am still following the instructions from De Arte Illuminandi like 2015 but with the correct lye and alum. I found out that the instruction that says 'rock alum' means potash alum, also called potassium alum with the chemical formula KAl3(SO4)2(OH)6.

You can find my post about alum here and lye here.
De Arte Illuminandi pg. 7

Taking all of the ripe berries I picked in Saco, Maine on 9/7/16, 150g of dark buckthorn berries, I poured them from my refrigerated baggie (37°F) into a large sterilized glass ball jar then crushed them with gloved hands. In the future I may use a smaller container like 2015 or crush them separately first because a quart jar and 150g of berries was obnoxious. C'est la vie!

Added 17.4g K2CO3 to 153g distilled water to a corning ware pot that acts as my 'glazed porringer', I noticed the water turn slightly milky and then back to clear. I put it on the simmer burner and mixed until reagents were dissolved and liquid was back to clear again.

While measuring the rock alum I noticed that it smells acidic, kind of vinegary. When I add my carefully measured 7.60g of potassium aluminum sulfate to the potassium carbonate and distilled water mixture there was gentle but immediate bubbling reaction of the acid and base. I continued to heat the mixture to make sure it was all dissolved. At 128°F I was confident it had all dissolved so I poured it over my crushed berries in the ball jar and stir to mix with a chop stick. The liquid looked dark green or brownish.

Crushed ripe buckthorn berries with lye and alum.  Note the clam shell I used to measure the alum, because, why not, and green rinse water from the pot.

I then allowed the jar and it's contents to sit, undisturbed in my laundry room, for three days.

On the third day, I poured the contents of the jar through new cheese cloth, funneling the liquid into a new, sterilized ball jar. I forgot to measure the weight of the new jar. After manually picking up the berries and squeezing the juice into the new jar, it's a beautiful dark green liquid and yielded about seven ounces.

Using my previously prepared scoured and twice dipped potassium alum 1:15 clothlets, I dipped each clothlet into the green liquid, squeezed out the excess and let it dry, on a piece of parchment paper on top of my cleaned washing machine with a fan to circulate air past them.
cheesecloth after ripe buckthorn expression

Now I have beautiful sap green clothlets from buckthorn!

Sap Green clothlets from buckthorn 2016

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