Appalachia Appalachian Food

Have you ever drank Lamb’s Wool?

A couple years back I found an interesting apple drink in my favorite Appalachian Cook book: Sidney Saylor Farr’s More Than Moonshine. The recipe is called Lamb’s Wool. Ms. Farr said it was given to Marjorie Malicote by a woman in East Tennessee who was over a hundred years old.

It calls for:

  • 8 roasted or baked apples
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 quart of ale (I used a quart of apple juice)
  • honey to taste

traditional lambs wool drink

I baked the apples for almost an hour at 350. The recipe said to put the apples through a strainer or sieve. I threw them in my food mill and ended up with applesauce.

I figured I was too far invested to give up at this point, but I was wondering how something so thick could end up liquid. I added the spices, honey, and the quart of apple juice, poured it all into a pot, and let it come to a simmer. The recipe said to let the drink simmer over a hot fire, but not to let it boil.

traditional drink for 12th Night the eve of Epiphany

The drink is a little on the thick side, the texture is similar to a milkshake, but its good! Especially on a cold winters day.

I googled Lambs Wool to see if anyone else had ever heard of it. Turns out it is the traditional drink for 12th Night, the eve of Epiphany.


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  • Reply
    Susie Etheridge
    January 9, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    This sounds and looks, as our Mammy would say” Gooder than snuff”….( we don’t chew tabacco or do snuff, our Granny’ on the other hand did :)…. I so enjoy about anything made of apples, I know I would enjoy making this…All our lives we have heard the song,”Here we come a Wassailing”….and it’s neat to read a bit more about it.. I think I’ll enjoy the process of making this, especially the savory end result …..anything with all those spices makes for a fragrance I enjoy in the kitchen too…. I saw the post on instagram too, but never had heard the term , Lamb’s Wool…

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 9, 2018 at 2:36 am

    I feel sure the name is connected to the ale (alcohol) in the recipe…I doubt much of it cooks out before a few cups has been consumed…After a few cups, I am sure you begin to feel warm and cozy just like “lambs wool”! LOL
    I’ve heard of this drink. Never made it! I might just try it with the ale…for “poops n’ grins”!…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Bill Buntin
    January 8, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Would love to try this!! All seems to be working well with the transition! Keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 8, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    I don’t see recent posts anywhere. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong but haven’t figured it out. Is it there somewhere?

    • Reply
      January 9, 2018 at 7:08 am

      Ed-they’re on the home page as you scroll down. But you’ve made a good point-they don’t show up on individual posts. I’ll see about adding them back to the side-bar!

  • Reply
    Yecedrah higman
    January 8, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    That sounds very good for the cold weather we have had as of late!!!!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    January 8, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Sounds great. I hope all the Blind Pig Gang are doing well, had a Wonderful Christmas and have a good start on a great 2018.

  • Reply
    Bob and Inez Jones
    January 8, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    This site is all new to me and I still have your blogs telling me what to do so I need to just take the time! This is an interesting recipe and all the apple is used. I, like a lot of people, like baked apples and I think I will stick to them. It surprises me to see a comment from a friend who lives on the other side of Canada. Hi, Angie!! Angie is the person who first told us about the Blind Pig and Acorn. We are so grateful for that. Thanks, Angie and also all at the Blind Pig and Acorn.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 8, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    I downloaded “Blind Pig” on my first try today; so maybe the “kinks” are getting worked out from your new method of sending it to us! I’m glad. Blind Pig is one of my most favorite blogs. I saved the recipe for “Lamb’s Wool”. I would guess from the name that the original drink (recipe from the over 100-yr. old woman in E. Tn) was probably thick in its original form, too. I hope to try some this cooooold weather! It’s even much colder than usual in Middle GA at the 3rd catitol of Georgia, Milledgeville (Capital from 1806-1868–then Atlanta received the honor of being Georgia’s capitol!)

  • Reply
    January 8, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    sounds tasty! How many 6 oz servings do you get from your recipe? Every 3rd month, our church sponsors the nearby nursing home for the month and this includes holding a monthly birthday party. I think Lambs wool and ginger cookies might hit the spot this February as well as possibly give residents something new to talk about!!

    • Reply
      January 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      Tamela-I don’t know! It didn’t last long around here and I never thought to keep track of how much it actually made : )

  • Reply
    January 8, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    In that second picture, where the Golden delicious have been cored out, this reminds me of a Potts Apple mama had us boys to gather, up beside our Corn Field. After they were washed and cored, mama would put Sugar in the whole Apple. It kinda looked like (about 20) volcanoes in the oven. There was a bunch of us, so we ate them succers with a little spoon. We didn’t have a way of making money, so Mama made us something sweet. She knew how to do things for her
    boys. …Ken

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    January 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Sounds good but, I think if I baked my apples the smell would be so overwhelmingly yummy that I would eat the apples before they could be turned into the drink! I love baked apples!!!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2018 at 11:42 am

    You might have to eat that stuff with a spoon, but I’ll bet it’s tasty. Those apples look Good! The squirrels found my Pear Tree this year and they ate every one when they were about the size of a .50 cent piece. They eat all those Chiquapins to when they get ripe, little worms and all. Interesting Post this morning. …Ken

  • Reply
    June Jolley
    January 8, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Never heard of it, but it sure sounds good. I like the idea of putting vanilla ice cream in it. Vanilla ice cream makes anything better!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 8, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Never had any and never heard of it before. Odd name also as it seems without connection to the drink. But the keeping of a very old tradition and using apples as the winter fruit are just so very Appalachian.

    It is worth noting though that the tradition has passed out of common knowledge and has to be researched now.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    January 8, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I’m trying this next year. It looks good.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 8, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Tip, the flavor sounds wonderful but I’m not sure I’d like the thickness. Seems like if it went through a sieve it would remove some of the thickness. This was back when people made their own traditions centered on what was available to them and I guess apples have always grown well here so plenty were available.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    January 8, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Might be just me but the new site looks real good. Pictures really”pop”.

  • Reply
    Angie Siddall
    January 8, 2018 at 7:07 am

    The Lamb’s Wool recipe you’ve posted sounds like it would be quite tasty, especially on cold winter nights. I like baked apples too. I core my apples, Put some crushed walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice (or cloves powder), with a little amount of honey all tucked nicely into the apple where you removed the core. Put them in a pyrex baking dish and bake at 350° F – for about 45 – 55 minutes. Optional: I add a small cube of cheese on the top in the hole, for last 5 minutes of baking. Yummy!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2018 at 6:32 am

    For the final step,put it in a crock pot on low over night and add a bit more water. That’s how I make apple butter and it works great plus the aroma you wake up to is wonderful.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 8, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Interesting drink. You could add vanilla ice cream if it tastes like I imagine.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2018 at 6:30 am

    I’ve heard of it but I always pictured something with a frothy top for the “wool.” You have just made me realize, though, that I could have been drinking hot cider after coming in from chores on all these way-below-zero days we’ve been having here in MA. Thanks! 🙂

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