Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My First Batch of Kombucha

Last summer I made fermented dill pickles and Beet Kvass, my first two ferments. I was very happy with both of those. Since then I had been hoping to start making my own Kombucha too! Well, recently my friend was able to share some of her SCOBY's (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) with me. This makes a fermented tea full of probiotics and enzymes. She started me off with a batch already made, which I spilled most of on the way home and had to start all over, it all worked out! Just glad my car isn't stinky!
The bottles there are on their second ferment with grape juice, my favorite kombucha flavor! The big jar has my SCOBY and a new batch of sweet tea ready to ferment. I fermented the big jar about 7 days and the second ferment with juice in smaller bottles and jars I did for about 3 days.

Here are my 2 SCOBY's. One smaller one that my friend shared and the larger one is from my big jar, the baby. It makes a new baby every 2 batches or so. So I can share with my friends! My mom already wants to give this a try.
All my kids love the grape Kombucha, I am glad I now can make it so I can feel free to share. I didn't feel very free to share when I was paying $3-4 a 16 oz bottle! I know, not nice.  My DH on the other hand hates it. Maybe I will find a recipe he will enjoy sometime. It definitely has a tart, maybe sweet and sour taste, sometimes strong depending on the flavor. But I like the bubbly that the second ferment gives it.

Here are the directions I followed from various sources and friends:
Made 2 gallons of tea (I have a BIG jar), I used a mixture of Yerbe Mate, black, and rooibos teas. Boiled the water up on the stove (I bought purified drinking water), added 1 cup of sugar per gallon and then steeped the bags in it for 15 minutes. Once it was completely cooled I put the SCOBY and 1 cup of reserved plain kombucha into the big jar with the tea. Then I covered with a light towel and put a elastic band on it and put it in the closet for 7 days. Then I removed the SCOBY and put it in a glass bowl with 1 cup of the kombucha and I mixed the remaining kombucha with a bottle of organic 100% grape juice and put it in bottles or jars with tight fitting lids and put it again in the closet for 3 days until bubbly or to my taste. I had to unscrew once a day or so to make sure the bottle did not bust from the pressure. Then I started a new batch with the SCOBY and reserved kombucha. 
note: I never used metal or plastic utensils or containers, only glass and wooden spoons. Except for the stainless steel pot I used to make the tea, but the SCOBY never touched that.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Harvest Monday 5/19

It has been a while since I have participated in the Harvest Monday hop at Daphne's Dandelions. I thought maybe I would jump in with today's harvest. Not much variety, but a good bunch of spinach and lettuce that I am pleased to be getting in abundance. I attempted to make my own creamed spinach the other day with the bags I had pulled in then, but I wasn't too happy with it. If you have a good creamed spinach recipe, please share!
Spinach and Lettuce

My daughter had herself a plant stand sale instead of the typical lemonade stand. She made $16 in 1 1/2 hours. I'm pretty sure that is way better than a lemonade stand! ;) She still has more to sell too. Hopefully there are still folks looking for some tomato plants.
Happy Harvesting!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Garden 2014 all planted

The 2014 garden is finally all planted! Now to keep the critters out ;)

I have 2 large Herb pots this year with Lavender, Rosemary, Pineapple sage, purple basil, parsley, thyme and oregano.
 My herb pots completely died this winter, it was just too rough for them. I lost my oregano, thyme and rosemary.

Corn, beans, winter squash, watermelon and cantaloupe. The squash are Musque de Provence and Pennsylvania Dutch long-neck pumpkin.

Potato bed, with a few other things mixed in. Peas on the edges. Potatoes include all blue and cranberry red.

Pepper bed, peas on the edge, some spinach that will be gone once the heat kicks in, garlic, onions and carrots planted among the peppers. There are 14 pepper plants including Chocolate bell, Marconi, Lipstick, Golden star Bell, and Serrano.

Tomato bed with garlic, onions and carrots planted among them. There are 7 tomato plants in this bed, but I had so many extra I have some scattered around here and there with a total of 17. Hmmm. Hope this gives me more sauce and salsa this year! They include Radiator Charlies Mortgage lifter, Great White, White Currant,  Tess's Land Race Currant, Cherokee Purple, Hungarian Italian Paste,  Pink Brandywine,  Japanese Trifele Black, and Black Krim.

Cucumber, both pickle and slicing,  along the trellis and a black beauty zucchini, lungo bianco zucchini, and a white scallop squash. Onions around the edges.

The second year for my asparagus. Glad it made it through the rough winter and all looks good.

Sweet potato bed, 30 plants! These are All Purple.

More corn, beans, squash, AKA Three Sisters planting. I planted 216 corn, Ruby Queen, Blue Hopi and Blue Clarage.

View of the East garden.

Cleaning up and planting this back area of the yard behind an eroded ditch. It has looked pretty rough the past few years with only weeds and bare spots, but we planted some nice shade perennials and some shade grass and it is looking greatly improved. Still a lot of work to go though to fix the ditch and other spots.

Blueberries and strawberries are full! I can't wait to munch on them. Need to get them covered soon before the critters get to them! Especially that darn chipmunk!

Look at all those blueberries! This plant is the most productive looking so far.
By June the garden should be all lush and green and all filled in! I'll be sure to update!

I also have so many extra tomato plants I could have a sale! I foolishly added more seeds to the pots when the wouldn't germinate in the cold winter months and now I am shamelessly seeking out any friends that might take some along with all my other extras. Even asking people to start a garden! What could be wrong with that!? My neighbors have finally started a garden and I have completely filled their bed with my overabundance of starts! Better to have too many than not enough!
 I sent my cousin in Virginia several of my sweet potato slips. I should have sent him more, cause I still have an abundance. Who knew the left over taters would supply such and abundance!

Well, Happy Gardening I hope your garden is off to a great spring start!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring 2014 planning

Blogging has gotten a bit too much the last year or so. Just too much to do and not enough time, especially as my garden and my kids grow! But I am still hard at work in the garden, and I am overloaded with seedlings this spring! (Which I am sharing with friends close by! Come and get 'em!)
My out of control seed starting operation!

My 2014 garden plan...for now!