Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Making Stuff

I have not posted any recipes or the like in a LONG time.  It's not that I have not been working on new things, just that my energy is elsewhere.  I have not taken many photos at all of late.

So, today, I worked on 2 new things and I had my little tablet there, so I snapped a photo of each.  I thought people were crazy for using them to take pictures, but it's there and it's already online for me to share and it requires nothing more than poking a camera icon.

Anyway, first thing is kombucha.  There are a ZILLION sites with how-to's so I will skip that and go right to my own thoughts.  I had never had kombucha before I made a batch 3 weeks ago.  It's around $5 for a little bottle, even on sale at $3, it's $15 for the 5 of us-and that's enough for a single serving, not even a big gulp! I have friends who make and bottle their own and when one of them was looking to unload an extra scoby, I decided to take the plunge.

Scoby stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.  They are freaking GROSS.  When the directions said, 'Remove scoby with clean hands and lay it on a plate' I KNEW that was getting modified.  But after a couple of times of trying to flip it around with a spatula and a big spoon, I just picked it up and it's not really that bad.

Today's haul, lemon ginger and acai berry
I can make 2 gallons every 7-10 days.  The scoby will multiply and I can make more batches as time goes by.  I want to get up to 6 gallons at a time so we can have plenty, 4 quart jars goes FAST, the kids LOVE kombucha.
 You basically make a gallon of sweet tea and let it cool to room temp, then pour 3/4 of it into a clean gallon jar, add the scoby and 2 cups of mother from the previous batch and put it somewhere dark and fairly warm.  The scoby makes a crust over the top after a couple of days, it all smells like apple cider vinegar for a few more days and then...no smell.  You can taste it using a straw or just dip under the scoby.  If it tastes right to you, go start your next batch of tea, it's time to bottle it! It tastes like fizzy lemonade or apple juice...it's really hard to describe.  I can say that I, the one who could NEVER give up soda even in the thick of my organic gluten free walking 15 miles in a day streak, have not even thought about them since I started drinking kombucha.   Other than to realize, I don't want one.

Sweet tea-black or oolong only-feeds the yeast and the bacteria with sugar and tea.  There's nearly no sugar in the finished batch, it gets used up making the tea into bucha.  Green, herbal and Earl Gray teas are not good for making kombucha.  Earl Gray has an oil that can kill the scoby.  Black tea with white sugar is the way to go.

if your scoby is way above the liquid, push it back under.  It can get mold on the dry bits.

SCOBIES!  Eewwwwww
Matt says they look pornographic.
I think they look like placentas.

This is my brand new today 3rd gallon!  It has the 2 baby scobies from the first and second batches in it.  I hope they are big enough to work!  I am adopting 2 new scobies Thursday, so I will plop them in this batch until they get used to being here.  :)
 After I set aside enough kombucha to add to the next batch I pour it into a plastic soda bottle, using a funnel and a filter to catch the bits of floating scoby.  I just dump that into the next batch!

THEN comes the fun part-flavors!  You can drink it right away or let it sit another day or three and not flavor it at all, it's still very yummy.  The longer it sits, the more it ferments and the more fizz builds up.  To stop the fizz, just put it in the fridge.

You can flavor with other teas, things like vanilla extract, fruit or fruit juice or spices like ginger, cinnamon or cloves.  You can put it right in the fridge then or let it sit out and get more fizzy, just like the unflavored.

Never shake your kombucha, it can explode the jar.  If it needs to be mixed up, pour it into another clean jar and back again.

The reason I use a plastic soda bottle at this phase is fermentation.  As the kombucha sits out, it ferments. You can feel the sides of the bottle every day and when they are hard, it's done!  Saves opening and testing, opening and testing each day.
My original scoby...I had to cut it in half to get it in the jar.  I keep hoping it will heal itself, eep.
Once it's the flavor and fizz you want, you can pour it into glass jars, giving it one more round with the filter.  As it sits to flavor, it will sometimes grow another little scoby, so filtering it again is a good idea.  Putting it in the fridge will keep that from happening.

It's good for a month in the fridge, but it won't be around that long.

No two batches taste the same, it's impossible to ruin.
You can reuse the scoby many times, it will get darker with use.
Discard (or dry it out and give it to your dog) if it gets mold or starts to look unhealthy.
You get a feel for it after a few tries.

If you need a break for some reason, put your scobies in a jar and add 2 cups of plain kombucha per scoby and put it in the fridge.  This pauses them.

The next thing I am trying is kimchi.  Matt LOVES this stuff.
I was going to make master tonic and never could find a damn horseradish root that was not covered in blue fuzz.  SO, I took some of my ingredients for that and added a few odds and ends (Nettlevan is in the shop so I could not run to the store) and threw it all in the food processor and BAM.  Kimchiesque.

It has one napa cabbage, 2 green apples, one leek, 2 garlic heads, 2 white onions, an entire bag of radishes, about 4 inches of ginger root, 1/4 cup course sea salt, 1/4 cup tumeric, about a cup and a half of our homemade vinegar pepper sauce and at least that much of sriracha sauce.

It made a gallon, I had to do half gallon at a time so I could stir it!  So that's the first half in the big glass jug.

I will report back in a week about how that went, if Matt and Ben don't eat it all before it has a chance to ferment.

Final thing, since I had no car and wanted salad in a bad way, I went out and picked some.  In December!

Dandelion heads (rawr)

crossvine leaves


Dandelions don't last around here...

 I washed, cut and mixed everything together with apple cider vinegar and a little olive oil and tossed, then put on a little ground pepper.  SO yummy.  I love sorrel anyway, and it has a really good lemon flavor. Crossvine is very tart, but is a good adaptogenic-Matt makes it into tea year round.  It's like a delayed energy drink.  It takes about 3-4 days to kick in.  And of course dandelions are full of Vitamin A and have some Vitamin C!  Not bad for yard salad.  :)

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.