Your job is to comment and keep me motivated! Let me know you’re out there and following along. Can she make it? Will she? Of course she will! With you as my cheering section, I won’t be stumped by J or Q or even X.
So without further ado, here is today’s post.
P is for Peat. Peat is nothing special. Nothing more than years and years of built up decayed plant material of many types, that is. Peat forms in wetlands, where flooding prevents oxidation, slowing rates of decomposition.
Yet peat is also everything. The decaying plants accumulate over millenia if left undisturbed. They’re useful for understanding changes in land use and climate based on the types of plants and pollen trapped in the peat.
In treeless areas, including rural areas of Scotland, peat is used for cooking and domestic heating. To form peat bricks burned for fuel, peat is cut into blocks, the water is squeezed out, then the blocks are stacked and allowed to dry.
Islay distilleries are most well known for burning peat to dry malted barley (see I is for Islay). The smoked barley gives Islay whisky its distinctive taste.
Peat has been in the news lately on Slate. Are we running out? Some claim that if peat were used only for whisky production, it would never run out, forming faster in many locations around the world than it could be harvested and used. But the use of peat for heating and other industrial purposes may eventually put an end to this amazing – and flavorful – resource.
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