Cooking Day 10, Wednesday May 22

Breakfast

It was so nice to have this all ready in the refrigerator! And nobody complained about having it a second time.

 Lunch

Repeat after me: “It was so nice to have this all ready in the refrigerator! And nobody complained about having it a second time.”

Dinner

  • Eggplant Parmigiana
  • Green Salad

Dinner tonight was all Caroline’s idea, and I played the role of assistant. Another fairly time-intensive job, but it was completely worth it! I think it was one of my favorite meals to eat, and I made sure I got some of the small amount of leftovers on Friday.

We finally remembered to use the mandolin slicer, which was definitely the right tool for getting perfect slices of eggplant. The dry bread crumbs were a combination of stale ends of loaves and crushed stuffing mix. We also added fresh basil leaves, which added a nice flavor. One of the workers wasn’t supposed to have dairy so we baked a pie pan full without cheese for him.

My husband and I make and drink kombucha. Tonight it was ready to bottle up. We decided to share it with everyone the following night with pizza (yes, again!) so instead of individual servings, it went into a gallon jar. Several people gathered around in the kitchen after dinner cleanup for a mini lesson on kombucha and how to make it, since we wanted to get a new batch started.

kombucha

Kombucha

  • 3 quarts filtered (non-chlorinated) water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tea bags, preferably organic
  • SCOBY and/or “starter” liquid (some from previous batch), 1 cup

We always use at least two tea bags of black or green tea, and then some sort of flavored tea for the other two.  If you use just black and get it just right the end result tastes a lot like sparkling apple cider!

  1. Boil about a quart of water on stovetop.
  2. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, add tea, cover and steep, about 10 minutes (if you’re using green tea, remove after 5 minutes).
  4. Remove tea bags, put into gallon glass container.
  5. Add remaining 2 quarts water.
  6. Once tea is below 100, add your SCOBY and starter liquid.
  7. Cover with finely woven cloth, like a tea towel, or a coffee filter and secure with rubber band or string, to prevent dust and bugs getting in.
  8. Set aside, and taste after a few days once a new SCOBY starts to form with bubbles underneath.

Some important things to remember about making kombucha:

  • Always use non-chlorinated water! If you can’t get spring water, then filtered or distilled is fine. If those aren’t available, then you can boil all the water ahead of time to evaporate the chlorine from your tap water.
  • Always use glass containers, and never use metal utensils for the kombucha (though it is okay for the process of making the tea).
  • Kombucha likes a dark, warm, non-drafty but well-ventilated place to ferment. Preferably not in the kitchen, but if that’s the only place you have, keep it away from the stove.
  • The longer your ‘bucha ferments, the more healthy it will be, but it will get more like vinegar the longer it goes. Once it starts to bubble and a new SCOBY is formed on top, taste it (use a small glass jar or plastic spoon to dip out a taste) to see if it’s to your liking. Remember it started out as sweet tea, so if its still noticeably sweet it should probably go a bit longer. Eventually you’ll be able to rely on the smell as a clue to it’s state of readiness. We prefer it still a bit sweet, just starting to turn sour, but I know some families love it the stronger it gets.
  • Once it’s ready to bottle, be sure to set aside a cup of liquid along with the SCOBY to use for your next batch. A glass pie plate or jar works well for this step.
  • We like to do a second ferment. We will add some fruit (or other food) to the bottle along with the kombucha, and let it sit out for another 2-7 days, but usually about 3. We have a collection of bottles that originally held GT Dave’s kombucha, and we simply rinse well with hot water after a bottle is emptied, and then turn upside down to air dry.

There are many variations of the basic recipe, and it’s really hard to get wrong.  This one uses more tea bags and shares a method for a second ferment process, this one brews for longer, and this one has a great list of the “Golden Rules” for kombucha as well as more recipes.

Happy brewing and good health to you!

~Jill

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