Flavored Kombucha

Who makes kombucha? 🙋🏻‍♀️

Did you know that you can set your kombucha up for a second ferment to add flavor and fizz?

I just poured up a new batch tonight into these flip top bottles and added blood oranges. I let it sit for 2-3 more days until the orange is infused and it becomes this beautiful pink color. It will also become fuzzy and carbonate which can be quite refreshing.

If you decide to try a second ferment, use glass bottles with flip top lids or plastic bottles. Don’t use a glass container with tight fitting lids as it will continue to ferment and build up pressure and jars have been know to break from the pressure build up. It’s a good idea to burp your container once or twice a day.

What flavor will you try? Some of my favorites are….

Blackberry Lime – add fresh or frozen berries and lime slices or zest.

Blueberry Lemon – add fresh or frozen blueberries and lemon slices or zest.

Raspberry – add fresh or frozen raspberries.

Strawberry Basil – add fresh or frozen strawberries and fresh basil.

Mango – add fresh or frozen mango. (Watch out! The sugars in this one cause it to ferment fast.)

Orange – add fresh orange slices with the rind. I like blood oranges, as you can see.

Cranberry Ginger – add fresh or dried cranberries and grated ginger root.

Or come up with your own combo. Use what you have or whatever yummy flavors strike your fancy.

Happy brewing!

Mexican Coleslaw – three different ways…. Plain, Creamy, and Fermented

Sometimes your best meals come for what is lying around in your pantry waiting to be used.

Such is the case with this recipe.

I had leftover pinto beans and hamburger to use up for lunch one day this week, and I was trying trying to think of how to make it a little different or special since we had just eaten the same meal for lunch the day before.

What do I have I asked myself?

I had a Napa Cabbage that needed to be used up. What could I do with that. Well, I could make coleslaw, but traditional cole slaw doesn’t really fit with this meal, and only one of my kids really likes it.

Cross that off the list.

What about Mexican Coleslaw. Yes. That might work.

What can I put in it.

Cabbage, red onion, garlic…. The recipe started formulating in my mind. Here it is for your enjoyment.

Mexican Coleslaw:

Cabbage (green or Napa work well), chopped or grated. Grate the amount needed for the dish you are serving this week and the number of people in your family.

1 cup red onion, chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/8 cup salt for every 4 cups of cabbage

Black pepper, a few good shakes

1/2 tsp chili powder for every 4 cups of cabbage

1.5 tsp cumin for every 4 cups of cabbage

Juice from 1 lime, or 2 tbsp of bottles lime juice per every 4 cups of cabbage

Throw it all in a bowl and toss together.

Now this is where your options come in.

Mexican Coleslaw Three Ways:

1. Plain: Eat it as is. This is what we did. We used it as a topping for our Mexican lunch in place of lettuce. If you find it a bit dry, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to distribute the spices and moisten it up a little.

2. Creamy: Add mayonnaise. If you want a creamier slaw, add a little Mayo at the end and mix in. This would be wonderful on top of Mexican food as well.

3. Fermented: If you haven’t added oil or Mayo, this is where it gets interesting. You can add more salt and turn it into a Mexican lacto-ferments sauerkraut. This could be done with any leftovers that didn’t get eaten at your meal, or with the whole batch if you desire. Add about 1 tsp of good sea salt per every 4 cups of cabbage. Go by taste. It should be salty, but not so salty so that you don’t want to eat it. Taste as you go when adding salt. Once salted, pack into a clean jar, cover with a follower (glass weight, sterilized rock, ziplock baggie filled with marbles). Cover with filtered water so that all the food contents are submerged. Cover loosely with a lid. Label and date. Loosen the lid at least once a day to release any gases. Eat at any point, but allow it to ferment for 1-2 weeks or until the taste is to your liking before transferring to cold storage.

I enjoyed mine with a taco bowl topped with my homegrown, fermented cherry tomatoes (see lead photo).

For more information on fermented foods visit the Pantry. Or for a more thorough resource, I highly recommend Shannon Stronger’s Traditionally Fermented Foods book (affiliate link).

Extra Cranberries? Try this yummy relish….

Do you have extra cranberries to use up after Thanksgiving? Try this Lemon Cranberry Relish. It couldn’t be easier. It works for Thanksgiving, but I’ll tell you a secret. I made extra this year so that I have some for Christmas too. That beautiful red color will be lovely on my Christmas table.

This recipe can easily be halved or doubled. Here’s what you need:

1 package whole fresh cranberries

1/4 cup chopped lemon peel or 1-2 tbsp lemon zest

Honey

Simply chop the cranberries in your food processor (or leave them whole if you want), cut up your lemon peel into little pieces or chunks (you could use lemon zest too if you don’t want the chunks of peel in there), put in a jar, and cover with honey to 1” above the fruit level. That’s it!

Swirl the cranberries around 2-3 times per day or whenever you pass by the jar to keep them well coated as submerged. After a couple of days you’ll notice that the honey becomes more liquid as the fruit release their juices into it. You can begin eating it at any point, but the flavor is best after a week or more of fermentation time.

Amazingly this is a fermented relish. The anti-microbial properties of the honey are acting as a preservative for the fruit long enough for the liquid to be released into the honey which then allows the honey to ferment. After fully fermented, which takes about 2 weeks (more like 4 weeks if you use whole cranberries) the this will last indefinitely in the fridge. If kept at room temperature it will continue to ferment and eventually turn to alcohol if left out long enough. I keep mine out on the counter, but it never lasts long enough to bother putting it in the fridge. We eat it up.

And feel free to play with flavors. I’ve also tried adding orange and cinnamon, but the lemon is my favorite. 

This recipe makes a great jam substitute if you are trying to avoid sugar. I also use it in baking to make flavored biscotti or scones, or even as a flavoring or sweetener in my morning tea.

Lemon Cranberry Honey

Are you ready for the easiest recipe you’ll make this week?

I’ve become addicted to this lemon cranberry honey. It’s sooooo good!

Here’s what you need:

1 package whole fresh cranberries

1/2 chopped lemon peel

Honey

Simply chop the cranberries in your food processor (or leave them whole if you want), cut up your lemon peel into little pieces or chunks, put in a jar, and cover with honey to 1” above the fruit level. That’s it!

You’ve now made fermented cranberry lemon honey. Just swirl the cranberries around 2-3 times per day or whenever you pass by the jar to keep them well coated as submerged. After a couple of days you’ll notice that the honey becomes more liquid as the fruit release their juices into it. You can begin eating it at any point, but the flavor is best after a week or more of fermentation time.

So, what’s actually happening here? The anti-microbial properties of the honey are acting as a preservative for the fruit long enough for the liquid to be released into the honey which then allows the honey to ferment. After fully fermented, which takes about 2 weeks (more like 4 weeks if you use whole cranberries) the this will last indefinitely in the fridge. If kept at room temperature it will continue to ferment and eventually turn to alcohol if left out long enough. I keep mine out on the counter, but it never lasts long enough to bother putting it in the fridge. We eat it up.

And feel free to play with flavors. I’ve also tried adding orange and cinnamon, but the lemon is my favorite.

This recipe makes a great jam substitute if you are trying to avoid sugar. I also use it in baking to make flavored biscotti or scones, or even as a flavoring or sweetener in my morning tea.

Fun with Ferments – 3 new ferments in my kitchen

I had fun with ferments in my kitchen today. Two old favorites – Beets with clove and cardamom, and Jalepeno, Garlic and Onion Relish. And new to me, making my own Apple Cider Vinegar using apple scraps. You can read the fermenting instructions by visiting Maggie’s Cellar. I find ferments to be so fascinating. I hope you try it.

Reviving my Kombucha


So I decided to revive my kombucha. I hadn’t made any since before our last move. Somehow between packing and morning sickness at the time, I couldn’t keep up. So, I put it in a jar with some of the kombucha liquid, stuck it in the fridge and it has sat there ever since. Two years later I’m finally ready to try again.

Tea and sugar water cooling.

I took my jar out and let it sit on the counter overnight so that it could warm up to room temperature. The next day I made up my sugar and tea mixture. For more specific directions on how to brew kombucha see my other posts – (Cranberry Ginger Kombucha).

I brewed three batches before I started drinking it again to be sure that it would revive. I’m pouring up a new batch today.

Ferments amaze me. The fact that all those little bacteria do what they do fascinates me. I think I need to start another ferment. Maybe I’ll go back to one of my favorites – Garlic, Onion, Jalepeno Relish. Or maybe I’ll try beets. Fermented beets are delicious. Until I get around to that, I think I’ll go enjoy my kombucha.