Kombucha Revisited

Readers have asked lately if I’m still making kombucha and I am. I don’t think there’s truly anything addictive in it but I sometimes feel I could be addicted to it. I want way more of it than I actually drink . . for two reasons:  (1) Too much can create lots of bubbles in the tummy and (2) I don’t produce that much. For a while, I had two batches going so two batches, along with a third big jar of extra SCOBY is just too much stuff sitting around in my tiny kitchen. Kombucha is so easy to make. The only problem I’ve ever had is that sometimes a batch will not be fizzy. I’ve read that not leaving enough head space in the jars can result in less fizz so I’m being careful to leave plenty of space and so far, I haven’t had any non-fizzy Kombucha but I’m not sure if that’s just luck or science.

Kombucha

Kombucha

Kombucha is said to have health benefits. You can read about some of those here. Again, I’m not sure if that’s real or hype. You know how much I like trying new things but if you’re halfway interested and have never tried Kombucha, most health food stores sell it for $3 to $5 per bottle. The first time I tried it, I was hooked.

There are previous blog posts detailing how to make it but there’s an excellent step by step tutorial here.

You will need a starter which is called a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Don’t let the name turn you off! You can get a SCOBY from a friend, purchase it or sometimes harvest your own. I had given Chad and Nicole some bottles that I had made and they were able to harvest a SCOBY from the top of their bottles. 

Once you’re making your Kombucha, new layers will form on top of the SCOBY and it will eventually have to be divided.

The last time I made Kombucha, the top layer, where the new growth is always located, tore but I used it anyway. 

Torn SCOBY

Torn SCOBY

It produced a perfect new SCOBY in just one batch.

New SCOBY

New SCOBY

I fuss about Vince never throwing things away but I save way too many SCOBY in what we call a “SCOBY hotel”. First photo, jar on the left is the hotel. I just keep tossing them in there. Every now and then someone will want to start their own Kombucha and I say . . let me give you a SCOBY.

From yesterday’s batch, I ended up with 5 bottles of Cranberry Pomegranate Kombucha. It will sit out for a few days to become carbonated, then it will go into the fridge and sit patiently, waiting to provided refreshment for us.

Kombucha

Kombucha

A new batch is brewing, along with fresh tea for the hotel!

New Batch

New Batch

Since it’s summertime and we’re wanting more, next week, I’m going to go back to making two batches and toss out some of the existing SCOBY. Darn, I hate to do that but I can’t keep everything . . that’s what I tell Vince!

 

A Whacky Grocery Store

We have a new United Grocery store in town and it’s nice but either there’s a big problem with their equipment, their math . . maybe both! You know how Vince loves a bargain so I can hardly keep him out of the meat department. They even invited him back behind the closed doors the other night. I want to say . . you’re letting the fox into the hen house!

It all started last weekend when we got some tuna steaks and grilled them. I think they were about $8.00 per pound. They were really good and I LOVE tuna so we went back to get more. They had only one package out on the shelf and it said $3.00/pound. For two hunks of tuna, it was about $5.00. Vince said “Didn’t we pay more than this over the weekend?” Heck .. I didn’t know. Vince went and found the meat guy and said “Is this package marked down or is this regular price?” The guy said it was regular price. Vince asked if he had any more. He said they had just unloaded a truck he would find the tuna . . “How much do you want?”  Vince looked at me, and I was saying “yes” so Vince asked the guy “How much is in a case? The guy went and found a case and Vince had him weigh it up and it came to $25 (at $3/pound) but he said since we were buying the whole case, we could get it for $20.  Yesterday when we went back, they had it all packaged up with 2 pieces of tuna (it’s pre-wrapped) in a package for $10, which makes it $5/hunk of tuna. We got 25 hunks for $20 so we paid 80¢ per hunk. Amazing!

Also over the weekend, we bought lamb chops at United. Kroger and Walmart usually have lamb chops for $11 to $12/pound. United had them for $9.99 so we got a couple of packages, grilled them and they were delicious.

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

Yesterday we were back and they had lamb chops and the package said it was .77 pounds for $5.00/pound. Big difference from $9.99 per pound. Vince again found the meat guy, who thinks Vince is the best customer they have . . and Vince asked him why they were $5.00 instead of $9.99 and he said . . that’s just the price that comes up when we code it in . . so we got all four packages they had on the shelf.

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

When we went to check out, on the register it showed .35 pounds for $9.99/pound and it was $3.85. Vince stopped the checkout lady and said “Those are supposed to be $5/pound.” She looked at them and said “The price is coming up the same” so Vince said ok. When I got home, I weighed the meat and it was 12.65 ounces, or .79 pound so at $9.99, we should have paid $7.90 for that package and we paid $3.85.

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

We paid $12.85 for four packs of lamb chops and we probably should have paid twice that amount. 

It almost seems wrong to be buying these things for these prices but each time, we’ve asked someone in the meat department . . are these prices right? They’ve assured us they are so it isn’t like we’re stealing . . but they have to figure out what’s going on with their meat pricing!

Eating Choices

When I began writing this morning, my first thought was . . why is eating healthy so much harder than eating junk food? But the more I thought about it, I realized that eating healthy isn’t hard .. what’s hard is overcoming the habits of eating junk food. I’ve never been much of a fan of storebought cookies but I cannot eat just one potato chip. My downfall is Dr. Pepper and a big hunk of warm bread with butter. I’m not making bread these days. I’m not drinking Dr. Pepper but I still realize I make some unhealthy choices. Portion control is an issue around here too.

Over the weekend, the grocery store had some chicken breasts that were marinating in herbs and spices . . no oil, or anything fattening. They were nearing their “sell by” date and were marked down so we bought three packages. Sunday Vince grilled four of the chicken breasts (along with tuna we were having for dinner) and we saved the chicken breasts. Each day for lunch this week, we’re having a salad and we split one of the chicken breasts.

Salad

Salad

It’s a healthy choice. It’s quick, it’s easy and on these hot days . . it’s cold and that’s refreshing. I have the salad made up ahead in the jars in the fridge so about lunch time, I dump the lettuce into two bowls, slice a few tomatoes and a cucumber, add the chicken breast and lunch is ready!

A friend was telling me that every day she drinks a “detox drink” made from 1/4 cup. pure cranberry juice, the juice of one lemon and 1 T. apple cider vinegar. It seems like all the cranberry juice I had found in the stores was a cranberry juice blend but she told me that Walmart has this pure cranberry juice now so I got a few bottles.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry Juice

 

I need to be drinking at least one glass per day of water with either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to hopefully lessen my chances of more kidney stones. We started out drinking it straight cranberry juice, lemon and apple cider vinegar but quickly decided a little honey made it a whole lot better.

Cranberry Drink

Cranberry Drink

Then we decided that adding fizzy water from the Soda Stream would make it a whole lot more refreshing. It’s actually delicious . . hopefully we haven’t ruined all the health benefits and it has to be better than drinking soda but here’s what we do now:

Cranberry Drink:

Into a tall glass, add:

  • 1/4 cup pure cranberry juice
  • 1 tsp. honey (optional)
  • 1 T. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
  • juice from one lemon

Stir til honey is blended with juices. Add fizzy water, sparkling water, club soda (whatever you want), leaving enough room for ice. Add the ice and enjoy!

It may be one of those drinks that the first time you have it, your lips pucker and you think it’s pretty sour, but for us, the more we drink it, the more we want it.