20 May

How to make your own Kombucha ~by The Belly Fit Club

Tools and Materials

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16 organic tea bags (black, green, or white are best; create your own blend by choosing 1 or 2 of each)
2 cups organic cane sugar
1 gallon spring water
1 gallon water (boiled)
1 SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)*IMG_3709
1/2 cup of kombucha starter (kombucha from a previous batch, or raw, store-bought kombucha)
Cotton tea towel
2-gallon unleaded glass jar (Pyrex or Anchor-Hocking are best)
Nonmetallic glass measuring cup
Wooden spoon
Paper towels
Glass bottles in which to store the finished tea

* Like a sourdough starter, the kombucha SCOBY is self-replicating: When you finish incubating a batch of tea, your SCOBY grows a “baby,” which you can pass along to a friend or neighbor. (Note: Though some people call the SCOBY a “kombucha mushroom,” it is not, actually, a mushroom).

Before You Start

Before you embark on your first batch, take a few basic precautions. Be sure you live in a hygienic environment. If your house has a mold problem, for example, or if you smoke, it can ruin your kombucha.

Second, use only an unleaded glass jar, since kombucha will leach toxins out of colored glass, metals, and ceramic pots. (This is also why you shouldn’t use a metal measuring cup or metal spoon.) 

Brewing How-To

1. Boil one gallon of the water
2. Add tea bags and let steep for 20 or longer (the longer the better).
3. Mix in sugar until dissolved.
4. Cool to room temperature (roughly 3-8 hours). 
5. Add kombucha starter and SCOBY to 2-gallon jar.
6. Cover with a clean tea towel and seal with a rubber band.
7. Place in a dark, warm environment (ideally 72 to 80 degrees) for 7 to 14 days.

Let It Brew

Over the course of two weeks, the SCOBY will feed on the sugar and the caffeine, producing acetic, lactic, and other acids as it ferments.

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“The ‘buch’ is ready in 8-12 days. Typically, the longer you let it ferment, the less sugar it has (since the SCOBY is consuming the sugar), so if you prefer a sweeter taste, you can bottle it a week or so in.

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How to Bottle

When bottling your kombucha, use glass jars and tightly screw plastic lid tops shut, and — if you want bubbles — let the bottles sit outside the fridge for another week or two for a secondary fermentation. To speed up this process, pop in some dried mango or a few raisins. The extra sugar will help with the secondary fermentation (If you do this, you should notice carbonation within three to four days, depending on the temperature.)

To Infuse your Kombucha

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We buy RAW GT’s Kombucha (Synergy) at our local grocery store.  1 bottle of store bought kombucha will infuse 6 bottles of your homegrown kombucha.  In each bottle, fill with 2 oz store bought kombucha, 1 squirt stevia (optional), and fill your homegrown kombucha to the top. Store in the fridge and drink in the morning on a empty stomach for best results.  

What are the health benefits of Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha Health Benefit #1 — Detoxification

Detoxification produces healthy livers and aides cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer. Central to the detoxification process was drinking Kombucha regularly. 

Kombucha Health Benefit #2 — Joint Care

Kombucha contains glucosamines, a strong preventive and treatment all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic painwith relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.

Kombucha Health Benefit #3 — Aids Digestion and Gut Health

Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.

Kombucha Health Benefit #4 — Immune Boosting

Kombucha is extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.

Continue reading

11 Feb

Raw Sauerkraut

Raw Sauerkraut
The SEXIEST Food of ALL!!!!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  3. 1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)
Equipment
  1. Cutting board
  2. Chef's knife
  3. Mixing bowl
  4. 2-quart widemouth canning jar (or two quart mason jars)
  5. Canning funnel (optional)
  6. Smaller jelly jar that fits inside the larger mason jar
  7. Clean stones, marbles, or other weights for weighing the jelly jar
  8. Cloth for covering the jar
  9. Rubber band or twine for securing the cloth
Instructions
  1. Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it's best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all soap residue. You'll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
  2. Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
  3. Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first, it may not seem like enough salt, but gradually, the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you'd like to flavor your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, mix them in now.
  4. Pack the cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the canning jar. If you have a canning funnel, this will make the job easier. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.
  5. → Optional: Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid.
  6. Weigh the cabbage down: Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down, and eventually, submerged beneath its liquid.
  7. Cover the jar: Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevent dust or insects from getting in the jar.
  8. Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
  9. Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
  10. Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it's fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.
  11. Because this is a small batch of sauerkraut, it will ferment more quickly than larger batches. Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. You can also allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There's no hard and fast rule for when the sauerkraut is "done" — go by how it tastes.
  12. While it's fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged; don't eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
  13. Store sauerkraut for several months: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated. As long as it still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be. If you like, you can transfer the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.
Notes
  1. Sauerkraut with Other Cabbages: Red cabbage, napa cabbage, and other cabbages all make great sauerkraut. Make individual batches or mix them up for a multi-colored sauerkraut!
Adapted from The Kitchn
Adapted from The Kitchn
The Belly Fit Club http://thebellyfitclub.com/wordpress/

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