Making Kombucha!

Freshly made Kombucha fermenting on the counter with a happy minion!

Freshly made Kombucha fermenting on the counter with a happy minion!

The weekend right after Thanksgiving was my time to start thinking about healthy eating again. Right after the all the stuffing, and potatoes, and pies, and ice cream…  guess I don’t have to go on, you probably get the drift.

About 2 weeks ago a friend gave me a scoby, or starter culture for making Kombucha.  I watched him drinking Kombucha every time I saw him.  Then of course, I had to start buying it again at the grocery store which can get expensive.  I love the different fruit flavors and the fizz.  It reminded me of how delicious my Kombucha was when I made it about a year ago, but as usual, I got so busy I stopped making it.  I bet all of us have had an experience like that… dropping something that is good for us because of the “I’m too busy” reason.

Now that my fresh Kombucha has fermented for about 10 days or so, it was time to bottle it up. I had just shy of one gallon of Kombucha which filled five 16 ounce e-z flip or grolsch bottles. So I thought I’d share my recipe and process so you could see how relatively easy it is.

What you need to for making Kombucha

  • 1 Kombucha Scoby or mother culture… you can buy them or get someone to give you piece of theirs
  • 1 cup of raw organic sugar or coconut sugar
  • 3/4 gallon non-chlorinated drinking water
  • 2 tbsp fresh tea leaves ( I use English Breakfast Tea) (or you can use a decaf tea like Rooibos)
  • 1 cup of starter tea ( the liquid that comes with the Scoby or mother culture)
  • Gallon jar
  • Stainless Steel strainer/filter

Brew your Kombucha

  • Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat.
  • Add your tea to the hot water and let it steep for 10 minutes.  I place my tea into the middle of a piece of cheese cloth, then bring up all the corners and tie it closed.  This method makes it easy to remove the tea from the water after 10 minutes.  Otherwise you can put loose leaf tea into the water and then strain it out.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the tea.  Then slowly add the sugar into the water, stirring to make sure it all dissolves.
  • Pour the tea into your brewing bottle or container.  We use a one gallon glass jar.
  • Let the the tea cool down to room temperature.
  • At room temperature, slowly add the Scoby or mother culture along with 1 cup of the starter tea that came with it.
  • Cover your jar with cheesecloth, secured with rubber band.  Wait about 4 days and then start tasting your Kombucha. Each day taste it until you find a flavor you really like.  Remember, it shouldn’t be sweet, as the sugar is used up in the fermenting process.
Mother Culture, cup of raw sugar, gallon jar, and tea ball.

Mother Culture, cup of raw sugar, gallon jar, and tea ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I allowed mine to ferment for about 10 days.  I could see some bubbles at the top, and I could see that the mother culture was now floating on top… a good sign.

Bottle your Kombucha to make fizzy drinks

  • Clean and set up your E-Z Flip or Grolsch bottles.
  • Cut up pieces of fruit to flavor your Kombucha fizzy drink.  I always use about 1 tbsp of cut up fresh raw ginger in every bottle.  Then I add some different fruit in each one.   I use freeze dried fruit, seems to work perfect for this process.  This day I used some raspberries, apple, peach, and apricot. You only need about 1 tbsp of cut up fruit to each bottle. I love to have a variety to choose from.  You can use fresh fruit too!  Have fun and experiment!
    Adding fruit to your bottles!

    Adding fruit to your bottles!

    Filtering when filling the botles!

    Filtering when filling the botles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Place a filter with a stem into the bottles. Pour your Kombucha into the filter and allow it to drain into and fill the bottles.   Cap your bottles securely.
  • Made sure you leave at least a cup of Kombucha tea along with your Scoby to start the next batch.
  • Place tape on each bottle and label the fruit you added along with the date it was bottled.
  • Leave bottles on the counter at room temperature for about 4 days. Then place into the refrigerator.
Bottle Full, Ready to make more Kombucha!

Bottles Full, Ready to make more Kombucha!

 

Happy Kombucha!

Happy Kombucha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you open your bottles of Kombucha, you will enjoy a variety of fizzy fruit flavored beverages that are so enjoyable to drink and healthy for you too!   Enjoy…    jerri

We Won a Top 100 Homesteading Blog Award!

Top 100 Homesteading Blog AwardWe’re proud to announce that our humble blog won a “Top 100 Homesteading Blog” award! Homesteader’s Supply made #42 in Feedspot’s list of the Best Homesteading Blogs on the Planet.

Congrats to all our fellow homesteading bloggers who were also awarded this honor!

 

 

Why You Need to Wash Homemade Butter

Washing butter preserves flavor and keeps it from going bad quickly.Have you ever been told that it makes no difference whether or not you wash your homemade butter? Do you think it really matters all that much one way or the other? Wouldn’t it be easier and faster to skip the washing step and just work the buttermilk out of the butter?

Here are the answers to the above questions:

  1. They lied.
  2. Yes, it actually matters a lot.
  3. Um, that would be a NO.

Are you surprised by any of these answers? If not, then you’re an expert butter maker. Congratulations!

Let’s take a look at the science of butter-making to see why washing the butter is a critical step in the process. An effective way to determine whether a procedure is important is to find what happens when it doesn’t get done. That’s a good place to begin our discussion. Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons to Eat Locally Grown Food

Benefits of Locally Grown Foods

About 10 years ago, consumer preferences slowly started shifting away from conventionally produced foods to locally grown. The 2007 release of Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, was largely responsible for this change. Once awakened to the consequences of our food choices, many of us became much more conscious about what we were eating, how it was made, where it came from, and how it got on our plates. That book heightened awareness about our dependence on agribusiness and the moral and ecological consequences of our food choices.

Today, consumer demand for locally grown food is greater than ever. More and more, Americans are starting to understand that locally grown food is healthier, and that it benefits our local farmers and communities.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons to eat locally grown food. Continue reading

10 Ways to Make Healthy Eating More Affordable

How to Make Healthy Eating More Affordable

Homesteaders like to cultivate large gardens, so usually there’s ample “free” food during the warm months of the year. And most of us preserve at least some of our harvest by canning or dehydrating our vegetables, fruits, and sometimes even meats, too. Those of us lucky enough to have root cellars or walk-in coolers use them to store the more hardy types of produce, like potatoes and other root vegetables, winter squash, and cabbage. All these efforts help reduce our grocery bills during the cold weather months.

But it’s practically impossible to squirrel away enough food to feed our families all winter long. So, invariably, we end up needing to buy food to supplement the bounty we’ve managed to store. Even in summer, most of us don’t grow enough to sustain ourselves completely, so we have to buy what we can’t produce. And, yes, buying organic, whole foods at the grocery store can get very expensive. But the good news is, you can still practice healthy eating all year long without mortgaging the homestead to pay your grocery bill.

Here are 10 tips to make healthy eating more affordable.
Continue reading

9 Unusual Ways to Use a Prepper Pro in the Kitchen

Prepper Pro CoverWhat’s a Prepper Pro?

We originally designed the Prepper Pro as a tool for canning and fermenting. It’s perfect for compressing veggies when packing them into jars or fermenting vessels. And it does a great job of breaking up fibrous veggies so they release their juices before fermenting.

The Prepper Pro has a small end, which fits well in a small-mouth canning jar, and a large end, which fits large-mouth canning jars.  The different sized ends make the tool even more versatile.

prepper-pro-fermenting

Our artisans handcraft each Prepper Pro from quality Appalachian maple wood. It’s easy to grip and feels good in your hand. The Prepper Pro’s ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold and easy to use. The wood is seasoned with 100% organic coconut oil. Take care of it properly, and it will last a long time.

Why Every Kitchen Needs a Prepper Pro

If your kitchen tools include a Prepper Pro, you can be sure it won’t sit on the counter collecting dust. Even if you never do any canning or fermenting, you’ll find yourself instinctively reaching for your Prepper Pro time and again.  I use mine at least once a day.

9 Unusual Things You Can Do with a Prepper Pro

We find the Prepper Pro handy for a wide variety of unrelated kitchen tasks. Here are 9 creative ways you can use your Prepper Pro (that don’t involve canning or fermenting).

  1. Breaking Up Ice – Sometimes ice cubes stick together and need to be separated before you can use them. This often happens when you purchase large bags of ice at the grocery store. By the time you get it home, the ice has melted a little. Refreezing ice that’s slightly wet can cause some of the cubes to clump together. Usually, the ice loosens up fairly easily if you forcefully drop the bag on the kitchen counter a few times. You can break up any remaining clumps by giving them a couple quick whacks with the large end of your Prepper Pro.
  2. Tamping Down Shaved Ice – If you have a snow cone maker, you know it produces light, fluffy snow that’s just right for making slushies. But if you want a thicker frozen drink, or a tightly packed snow cone, you need to compress the shaved ice. A Prepper Pro makes it easy to tamp down the ice until it’s packed as tightly as you want it.  Using the flat side of the end that best fits your container offers a great deal of control, so the ice gets packed evenly all the way around. Best of all, there’s no mess!
  3. Breaking Up Granola – Homemade granola tends to stick together in clumps as it cools. You can eliminate the clumps easily by lightly tapping them with the flat end of your Prepper Pro after the granola has cooled to room temperature.
  4. Breaking Up Homemade Candy – Certain kinds of candy, like brittle and toffee, need to be broken up after it has set up or cooled. So the next time you whip up a batch of homemade peanut brittle, just slide a spatula under the slab of candy to lift it up off the pan. And then use your trusty Prepper Pro to break the brittle into pieces.
  5. Pounding Chicken into Cutlets – You can use your Prepper Pro like a mallet to pound pieces of chicken (or other meat) into cutlets. Place a manageable slice of meat in a gallon-size Ziploc freezer bag and seal it. Then pound away with the flat side of the large end until the cutlet reaches the desired thickness.
  6. Bruising Herbs –  Some recipes require herbs, like basil or mint, to be bruised to improve the flavor. Place the herbs in a bowl and then gently bend or press the leaves with one end of the Prepper Pro. When they show a wet crease, you have ruptured their cell walls and released their tasty oils.
  7. Making Butter – After you’ve made your butter and washed it, you can use the flat end of your Prepper Pro to pound out any remaining water. Pour off any water that gets released as you work the butter. This helps your butter stay fresh longer. (Butter goes rancid quickly unless all the water or buttermilk is removed.)
  8. Crushing Berries – You can crush small amounts of berries or other soft fruit by using the flat end of your Prepper Pro to press the fruit through a sieve. This separates the pulp and seeds from the juice. You can then use the crushed fruit and fruit juice in recipes, or to make jellies and preserves.
  9. Cracking Nuts and Seeds – You can use the flat end of your Prepper Pro as a nut cracker or pestle. To crack a nut, give it a good, hard whack. If the shell is very hard, you might need to whack the nut more than once. If the shell is soft, a gentle tap might be enough. You might want to wrap the nut in a bit of cheesecloth first so you can hold it in place and protect your fingers. The Prepper Pro also works great for crushing certain kinds of seeds. For example, you can use it much like a pestle to break up whole cardamon pods. Tap them lightly until the pods release the little black seeds inside. Then you can pick the pod fragments out with your fingers and use the cardamon seeds in recipes.

What creative uses have you found for your Prepper Pro? Share your ideas in the comments section at the bottom of this page.