Category Archives: Fermenting

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Brewing Kombucha Tea at Home

Brewing Booch

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I’ve been brewing kombucha tea for a couple of years now and have given away more SCOBY than I can count. Kombucha tea is a great probiotic beverage full of beneficial yeast and bacteria. It has many benefits that range from improved gut health to increased energy. the whole family enjoys it as a beverage.

My original SCOBY was a gift from a friend who I get my goat milk from (and hopefully some doe kids this spring). It is a very hearty strain! It takes a lot more abuse and neglect than any of my other fermented beverages (milk kefir and water kefir, click either to read more) and produces big fat healthy SCOBY’s for faster fermenting and sharing!

You may be asking, what is a SCOBY? A Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. It is the starter culture required to start making your own kombucha tea at home. It looks like a big mushroom or jelly fish, not very attractive. Really it is all you need to start brewing. You can buy one online at Cultures For Health or get one from a friend. Some people even have luck at making one from plain store-bought kombucha. Once you have a SCOBY, what’s next?

Ingredients:
1 gallon chlorine free water
8 tea bags, black or green tea
1 cup natural cane sugar
1 SCOBY
1 cup starter kombucha

1 gallon glass container, to keep it in, with no metal parts touching it (long-term contact with metal can corrode and ruin your tea).

Directions:
Boil your water and add tea bags to steep. Steep for a minimum of 10 minutes or longer if you desire. I like it stronger so I leave tea bags in right up till the end then remove. Tea should be black or green tea. Herbal teas or flavored teas often contain oils which will cause your Booch (kombuch nickname) to go rancid or mold. Add sugar while still hot and stir till dissolved. Wait until tea reaches room temperature and add starter kombucha and SCOBY. Cover with coffee filter (or paper towel, etc. something breathable without letting in fruit flies) with rubber band around it and wait…

It needs to remain at room temperature and out of direct sunlight, my kitchen counter works great.You will be watching the surface of your liquid for a skin to form. This is a new SCOBY baby forming. When it is about a quarter of an inch thick is usually a good time to taste test. Just pour some liquid off or ladle some out and taste it. If it is still too sweet wait a day or two and taste again. If it’s already too sour you will want to wait fewer days next time. Usually it takes 7-10 days on average. I have had new SCOBY form in as little as 3 days in summer. I’ve also had it take two weeks in winter. Temperature definitely plays a role.

Everyone has a different taste preference so get to know yours by tasting daily when you start brewing. If it gets too sour don’t worry it is not a waste! Kombucha vinegar is delicious and it is just over fermented kombucha! It makes great salad dressing and marinade etc. Also, it makes a great hair rinse, leaves hair soft and conditioned.

When it is done you can pour all off except one cup and start process over or do continuous brew and just add sweet tea to it as the level comes down. You can also do a second ferment where you can flavor it and add fizz! Just add fruit or juice to finished tea and cap it and leave a few more days to flavor and hopefully fizz. Fizzy ferments are usually from a good cap and added sugar, ginger seems to encourage fizz also! This makes a great substitute for someone giving up soda!

There you go! Now each time you brew it again you will get a new SCOBY! Who will you share it with!?
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Tomato Tidbits: Saving Seed

Tomato seed saving!

Tomato seed saving!

Tomatoes have always been my favorite plant to grow! We grew them when I was a child and I have been growing them on my own for twenty years now! To say I’m obsessed with tomatoes is an understatement! The last five years Ryan and I have been actively saving the seed of our heirloom open pollinated tomatoes we grow. We grow more and more varieties and colors every year!

I love saving seed because it saves me money on seed orders and I can trade with other seed savers and get even more variety! This year we grew over 40 varieties of heirlooms, next year will be even more!

So to start, be sure the plant that you are saving from is an heirloom so the seed will be true to parent plant. Hybrid plant seeds can have all different results from their lineage. If you don’t know you can just research the name of your tomato plant and find out easily. Next, choose your healthiest plant with the best fruit.

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Water Kefir, Starting My Dehydrated Grains!

So I recently received some dehydrated water kefir grains in the mail from a trade on Facebook for some of my 300 year old sourdough starter. Fermenting folk tend to be quite generous and trade and share often if you’re looking to get started…

If you liked my post about Milk Kefir than you will also like this! Water Kefir (WK) is a carbonated probiotic beverage that is quite simple to use and tasty! Many people compare it to soda and use it to get away from that unhealthy beverage. I have done water kefir in the past from already hydrated grains I got from my mom (but I lost them in a box during the move and killed them…oops!). This time I had to learn about rehydrating the grains and getting them active again. It ended up being quite simple…

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Cultured Cornbread, Good for Your Taste Buds and Health!

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Mmm… Yum!

 

Cultured cornbread? What exactly do I mean by that? Well cornbread is a part of southern culture but that’s not what this recipe is about. In this instance I’m talking about two cultured ingredients that give this cornbread a healthy twist and make it taste amazing. They add a pleasant zing that will have people asking for your recipe! Cultured foods have added probiotics making them easier to digest. This cornbread includes sourdough starter and whey, both add probiotics and an incredible flavor profile!

Ingredients:
2 cups organic cornmeal
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cup whey (buttermilk can substitute, I used the whey left from making Milk Kefir Cheese)
1/4 cup melted organic butter
2 beaten eggs (ours are from our free range chickens)
1/4 cup organic cane sugar or honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons bacon grease

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