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All About Sassafras

By Sharon
December 8, 2011

Do you like gumbo? How about hot tea? There's nothing better on a cold winter day than hot soups and hot drinks. How does sassafras enter into the picture? Climb up the mountain with Aunt Bett and me and we'll tell you.

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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1
Dec 7, 2011 6:40 PM CST
love to read all your happenings .. always!!!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Dec 7, 2011 7:07 PM CST
Thanks Allison!
This one was pretty close to my heart. It's the only favorite tree from my childhood that I don't have growing anywhere near me. So . . . I have my brother on a search for a sassafras seedling. Reckon I'll be around long enough for it to grow??
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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Dec 7, 2011 7:38 PM CST
you know it!!!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Dec 7, 2011 7:40 PM CST
Green Grin!
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 7, 2011 7:57 PM CST
I loved learning about sassafras. And as always the story.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Dec 7, 2011 8:01 PM CST
Thanks, Anni *Blush*
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Dec 7, 2011 8:11 PM CST
Loved your story! You do have a way with words, ma'am. I had gumbo for lunch today! No file, tho. Just chicken/sausage gumbo today. I have to make it and freeze it in small batches. A little too much file and it's like slime. DH doesn't even like to look at it!
Interesting to know where my file/sassafras comes from. Guess I hadn't thought about it before.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Dec 7, 2011 8:15 PM CST
Thanks Bubbles, but it's the okra that makes gumbo slimey, isn't it??? Not usually the file', I think.
Did you put too much okra in??
Yechhhhh.

Oh but I do love gumbo. Lovey dubby
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Dec 7, 2011 8:16 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Thank you Sharon. As always, your story was written so beautifully and I can see the clouds in my mind. Smiling

Sassafras is one of my favorite trees. I have my own childhood memories of digging sassafras roots and making tea.

As a child, after I cut the sapling away to get the roots, I would use the sapling to make an arrow. Growing understory, they are usually perfectly straight and just the right size.

I think I'll dig some roots tomorrow!
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Dec 7, 2011 8:24 PM CST
Sharon, the okra is a thickening in shrimp or seafood gumbo for me. File just imparts a flavor I can't compare to anything else. I can add okra in the beginning of cooking gumbo, but i would never add file until the very last minute. It would turn ropey and slimey. But that's just my opinion, or an indication of how bad a cook I am!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Dec 7, 2011 8:32 PM CST
Dave, thank you.

I never thought of making arrows with the sapling; guess I was too busy chewing on it to think about anything else. O Boy! I sure wish one grew nearby, I'd be drinking sassafras tea right now.

Did you collect feathers for your arrows? I did. Blue ones were my favorite.

Bubbles, I don't know. I add file' at the end, too. And I usually leave out the okra. It's thick enough with the roux.
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Dec 7, 2011 8:35 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Yes, and it was usually blue jay feathers that I used for my arrows. Why the ready availability of blue jay feathers? I'll leave that to your imagination. Whistling Smiling
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Dec 7, 2011 8:39 PM CST
Ha!
Perfect targets, big and loud as they were.
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 7, 2011 9:37 PM CST
Typical boy stuff. Just yesterday we saw the Andy Griffith episode where Opie kills the mama bird with a sling shot & ends up raising the 3 babies, Winkin', Blinkin', & Nod. A good show to watch while eating. You can count they don't say or do anything gross in it.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Dec 8, 2011 1:50 AM CST
Not just boy stuff, Anni! I was pretty good with a bow myself. Still am.
And sometimes even now I have the bruises on the inside of my elbow to prove it. *Blush*
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Dec 8, 2011 2:56 AM CST
Every time I see the word sassafras, I'm transported back to my childhood too. My dad would bring the bark home (no clue where he got it) but he loved to make the tea and I loved the taste and the fragrance. I thought it was so cool to have pink tea Lovey dubby

There would be 4 or 5 pieces of bark with a rubber band wrapped around them. Cut lengthwise too Blinking I can still see it in my mind.

We do have sassafras here Thumbs up

Great story and thanks for the memory Lovey dubby
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Dec 8, 2011 3:59 AM CST
So Hank got up and we're having morning coffee and talking about sassafras and he said a word I hadn't heard since my childhood. Sasperilla - not spelling that right but I remember my dad saying it was a soft drink of sorts when he was a child. Hank said he thinks it was made from sassafras and vanilla??? I need to google that....

Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 8, 2011 6:29 AM CST
Just did a quickie Google & you can propagate by root cuttings. Sharon --- that would be faster than seed! Vic can go spelunking for some good roots & it's the perfect time of year. Well, you might have to start them inside in a pot but......

I wouldn't mind having a sassafras tree either.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Dec 8, 2011 8:01 AM CST
Sharon,

You've answered all of my remaining questions about Sassafras in one highly captivating and interesting article. Thank you!

Today, I must take a few moments and collect a root or two, now that I know that this is the proper time. I haven't had "pink tea" in years!

[Ha! I had always wondered how you managed to get some bark off of a Sassafras tree's big roots (now I know it's a sapling I need) without waiting for one to blow over in a storm! *Blush* Hilarious! That's the only way I'd ever seen any collected before reading this. Whistling ]
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Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Sheila_FW
Dec 8, 2011 8:28 AM CST
Great reading as always! I was hoping you mentioned the Spicebush Swallowtail using it as it's host plant. I have gotten a couple of saplings from Round Ups trying to get a Sassafras growing here but no luck.
I didn't know the filé powder we used in southern LA gumbo was part of the sassafras tree. Thanks for your memories!

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