snugglekitty: (PFP)
Go behind the cut for a picture of my harvest pickles, taken by [livejournal.com profile] tsuj. In my life, "harvest pickles" means "the pickles I made with the stuff left over from the farmshare."

Read more... )
snugglekitty: (Default)
So, I have been going now for a few weeks with the continuous brewer, and things are going very well.

Read more... )

There's plenty to go around at this point. Let me know if you would like to sample some of the brew when you're over or take home a spare culture.

In trade for one of the babies I gave out this summer, I got a big jar of ginger beer. Yum yum. I'm looking forward to trying to make that on my own as well.
snugglekitty: (pickles)
I just finished a glass of my first-ever caffeine free kombucha, which totally worked, yay! I read a definitive online reference that said that the kombucha brewing process does not change the caffeine level in the liquid matter, and I decided to give it a try. I figured that the caffeine might be required in a non-consumptive way. But, in fact, I got a perfectly nice brew out of it. I made it with Tulsi Tea, which is roobois-based and very spicy. Deeelicious. Perfect for fall.

Right now I am also making pickled garlic, which I mentioned earlier. The garlic is starting to taste all mellow and yummy, but my roomies have been complaining about the smell. Hee. But it will be done soon and then we'll have tasty garlic all through the winter. Today I also started a pickle batch from the coleslaw stuff I got at BJ's. It's going pretty well so far.

Then I will take a break from pickling, since we're having a bit of a problem with fruit flies. C'est la vie. We're just about out of farmshare veggies anyhow.
snugglekitty: (pickles)
..that's good enough for me
P is for Pickle, that's good enough for me
P is for Pickle, that's good enough for me,
OH! Pickle, pickle, pickle, starts with P.

Did you think I'd stopped? )

A few days ago I also took a new batch of pickles out of the press - mixed end-of-summer dill pickles with boy choy, broccoli, peppers, carrots, and green beans. Nom nom.
snugglekitty: (pickles)
People mostly seemed to think that apple pickles were an odd concept, when I mentioned it to them. Those who have tried them were not enthused.

But now they taste just like hard cider. Only they're apples.

YUM.
snugglekitty: (pickles)
I just decanted two more batches of kombucha this morning. The roobois/green is really good. The roobois/green/honeybush has a powerful kick and will probably be great mixed with juice. Woot!

I'm discovering that I like having a mellow brew (like one made with just green tea) and an earthier blend both in the house at the same time, for drinking on different occaisions. The earthy stuff is great first thing in the morning - probably comparable to drinking coffee for someone who likes that sort of thing.

If you want a baby to start your own brew, now's a good time to ask.

In other news, I am behind in my pickling. :( Busy week. Maybe this afternoon/tonight I'll have a chance to cook down the watermelon rind and grate the cabbage, and then I can start two more batches.

pickles

Aug. 7th, 2008 04:01 pm
snugglekitty: (Default)
"We're tired of just reading your posts about books and dreams, LadyA!  Post about pickles!"

Well, okay, if my loyal fans insist.  :)

So, I concluded two more live pickle batches yesterday.  One batch is ginger cardamon beets.  I roasted them first and they were delicious.  The second batch is curried green tomatoes.  Having tried them both before and after I added the curry, I think that next time I would just make them with dill.

Both pickle presses are now open.  I believe my next batches will be sauerkraut (<lj user="dakotakym"> gave me her recipe) and another set of watermelon rind pickles.  Nom nom nom...   there are also some surplus bell peppers in the house which I think could be delicious pickled.

Also also, today is a day with no kombucha.  I haven't run out!  Far from it.  Just taking the day off from drinking it.  (Can you imagine the horror if I had it too often and got allergic?  Noooo!)  I will enjoy some more tomorrow.
snugglekitty: (pickles)
So, I currently have three batches of kombucha going. Two are the blend of regular green tea and decaf green that I've been using. One is a blend of black tea and roobois. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that green tea gives the brew a milder flavor, and I like that.

The two green tea brews were started earlier, but they still have a few days to go. I will check them again on Wednesday or Thursday. The black tea/roobois brew is still just getting started - it is only beginning to have a baby on top. So I will give it until the weekend.

With my next set of brews, I am going to try using one caffeinated teabag to four decaf, rather than the two to four ratio I've been doing. I really want to find out how much caffeine needs to be there for it to work! I am also going to try a blend of roobois and green instead of roobois and black.

I also have three surplus babies hanging out in case of mishap. But I really only need one. If you would like a baby of your very own, drop me a line.

I have not started any pickles while sick. Germy pickles would be kind of gross. I think I'm finally better enough to start a batch today as long as I wash my hands really carefully.
snugglekitty: (pickles)
So, I just received some more kombucha babies. Unless something goes terribly wrong, I am going to have more than I need or can care for pretty soon. I'm not looking for barter, just someone (or someones) who are interested in keeping the "cycle of kombucha" going. You would just need to pick it up at my house. Would anyone like to sign up for a baby?
snugglekitty: (pickles)
1) Possible.
2) Delicious.

I could not find a single recipe online or in a book for naturally fermented watermelon pickles. I wanted to try making watermelon pickles, but I also wanted the health benefits of naturally fermented food! I persisted in believing they were possible. With a little help from The Joy of Pickling and a lot of help from [livejournal.com profile] mrpet, I have created a batch of these wonderfully sweet, tangy treats.

Here's how. )

A few days later, you will have delicious watermelon pickles! Yum! I'm taking mine out tonight. They are sour and sweet and chewy!
snugglekitty: (pickles)
The subtitle of this book is "The Health Drink Sweeping America." It is the only book on kombucha easily available through my library system. Of course, I had to check it out, and I read it in just a few hours. The book consists of an introduction, which describes how the two authors got involved with kombucha, thirty pages of testimonials by random folks all over America, directions for making kombucha, a chapter about drinking the tea and other uses, and a chapter on the history of kombucha and research about its properties. Of great interest to some readers will be the extensive scientific bibliography, although many of the articles referenced are not in English.

This book is a little out of date. You can tell just in the first chapter, based on the celebrities they list who drink kombucha - Ronald Reagan, Darryl Hannah, Linda Evans. It is also very much "My way is the right way." "As far as we know, this is the only way to make the purest, most effective tea." (p 47) Which way? Well, the author's way. And you can visit her website, Laurel Farms, to order your own baby. And if you really care about your friends, you should buy this book for them! Yes. It actually says that, on page 56. As well as "No ingredient or utensil substitutions. Ever. No matter what." (p 52) Oh-kay. To me, that sounds like, "You must always trust this book over your own experience." The techniques she describes are pretty standard, but some folks say you can, for example, make kombucha with part decaf tea, or part herbal tea, if you're experienced and know what you're doing and keep a "back-up baby" around in case of mishaps. According to Pryor, ANY substitution is almost guaranteed to ruin your kombucha. Also, as I understand it, the idea that you can only grow kombucha in the dark has been disproved, as well as the idea that you should never use a Mason jar to brew.*

I think that the many comprehensive kombucha websites out there make this book a bit unnecessary. Except for the testimonials, which I found a bit over-gushy, it doesn't have much to offer that they don't already have. But it was probably more ground-breaking and important at the time it was originally published. Nonetheless, I will keep on searching for a kombucha book that will be terribly helpful. I definitely still want Tietze's 1001 Ways to Brew Kombucha! It would be more useful to someone who had never heard of kombucha, but then, why would they read it? Two and a half stars.

*I also have anecdotal evidence to the contrary in both cases - the Mason jar of kombucha brewing in my sunny dining room is looking effin' awesome.
snugglekitty: (pickles)
The watermelon rind pickles are now on their third day. I did freeform them after all, with some live apple cider vinegar, rather than the hote white vinegar the recipe called for. They have given off a TON of liquid. On the suggestion of [livejournal.com profile] mrpet, I drained off some of the syrupy brine and replaced it with a smaller amount of a live brine from a previous batch of bread-and-butter pickles. Hopefully that will move things along a bit more steadily. I can always cook down the extra syrup and add it back at the end, maybe as a sauce to have on the pickles after they have been drained. We'll see. Ideally I'll get results in a few more days.

Yesterday I started my second batch of kombucha, using a baby and directions from [livejournal.com profile] dakotakym. I used four decaf teabags and two caffeinated ones. I let it come down to room temperature with the teabags still in it. It is now sitting on the floor of my dining room, which is a warm and quiet place. I hope this one will do better than the previous batch, which isn't growing mold or anything but still hasn't come to tasty fruition. Poor thing. It's hard to say whether the lack of caffeine or the lack of potency in the store brew is at fault. We will see what happens given more time. Maybe it will come out right in the end. It does seem to be growing a baby, just... very slowly.

I have discovered the existence of a book called Kombucha Teaology which talks in more depths about using herbs and different kinds of tea to make kombucha. I want that one.

In my next batch, I will use a shorter brewing time for the caffeinated tea to cut down on the caffeine levels. I will also be using some organic tea from [livejournal.com profile] veek.

woo hoo!

Jul. 4th, 2008 10:11 am
snugglekitty: (pickles)
This is it, kids.

This is the day I start my watermelon pickles. Num num num. This afternoon we are going to a barbecue, I hope the weather will have cleared up by then!

So, I told [livejournal.com profile] mrpet that we would be bringing watermelon to the barbecue, because I have been wanting to try watermelon rind pickles. Shortly I am going to go to the store for supplies (fresh mint!). Then I will cut up the watermelon and remove the rind. We will bring the watermelon itself to the bbq in pieces (with toothpicks!). But before that happens, I will chop up the rind, simmer it to make it tender, and put it in the pickle press with delicious spices.

All of the recipes I've found for watermelon rind pickles are quick-pickles, not live ones, so I will be free-forming it. I'm going to go for kind of a bread-and-butter thing. And I've never had watermelon pickles before, so my expectations are open. We'll see how it turns out...
snugglekitty: (pickles)
So, my exciting fermentation news is that my kombucha brew is finally starting to grow a baby. YAY! I am going to leave it in peace for a while and hopefully I will be delivered of a new SCOBY. (Hey, it's exciting to me, okay?)

Also, I have found an online kombucha newsletter and a kombucha community on LJ. Also also, [livejournal.com profile] dakotakym has shown me some better directions than the ones I was using before - right here at the Happy Herbalist. Last on the kombucha front, I have discovered that the Minuteman library system has a kombucha book available. Whee!

Enough of that, on to the funny story! )

Are YOU trained for pickle consumption? Enquiring minds want to know!

ETA: Oh, yeah, and I have a pickle icon now. Yay!
snugglekitty: (Default)
The friendly stranger [livejournal.com profile] dakotakym noticed one of my many recent pickle posts, and offered to give me some kombucha brew and some babies, if I wanted. If I wanted? Oh, yes, I wanted. Oh yes. Thank-you-very-much-and-would-you-like-pickles-with-that?

Read more... )

I think I'll start the new batch tomorrow. The current batch probably still has another week to go. Num num num. I guess that gallon will have to last me a week!

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