Gamer Grub presents: a natural progression toward fermentation

craftasaurusrex February 28, 2012 0

Greetings, nerdlings! Welcome to round six of “Gamer Grub”

…The quasi-weekly segment here on 1up where I will take some of our favorite
snacks, treats, and guilty pleasures and show you how to make them as healthily and cheaply as possible!

Well, kids…it was bound to happen.  My obsession with healthy homemade foods has evolved to the next step, like a tasty tasty pokemon…

the newest tasty technique in my arsenal?

Fermentation

Right now, in my kitchen, i have a batch of my own fancy-schmacy apple-cider vinegar going, and started working on making my own kombucha. in this post, i’ll tell you the health benefits of each, and tell you how i’m going about making them.  Since they are still in progress, i obviously can’t guarantee results, but we’ll just learn together! fun!


Apple Cider Vinegar

Now, if you have been lucky enough to try some organic apple cider vinegar, you know how unique it is, and what a valuable addition it is to any kitchen.  according to bragg.com (a company known for its wonderful organic products, especially vinegar) the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar include

INTERNAL BENEFITS: EXTERNAL BENEFITS:
  • Rich in enzymes & potassium
  • Support a healthy immune system
  • Helps control weight
  • Promotes digestion & ph Balance
  • Helps soothe dry throats
  • Helps remove body sludge toxins
  • Helps maintain healthy skin
  • Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Relieves muscle pain from exercise

Being a top seller of Apple Cider Vinegar, of course you would want to take the facts on their site with a grain of salt, but they are far from the only people to preach the benefits of this wonderfood.

My own personal reason for wanting to home make Apple Cider Vinegar is simple.  I like knowing what is going into my tummy, and into Angela’s tummy.  Fermenting your own vinegar is an easy way to get comfortable with the whole fermentation process, and it is cheap to do, so if you mess it up it isn’t that big of a deal.  and all you need is 3 simple ingredients!


Apple Cider Vinegar Ingredients

  • Apple scraps from 5-10 apples (cores and peels, preferably uncooked)
  • enough sugar water(1/4-cup sugar in 1-quart water) to cover your scraps
  • crock pot bowl

So, place your scraps in your widest-base, food-safe container. Crock pot bowls work GREAT for this.  Keep making and adding sugar water to your scraps until they are completely covered.  Now, all you have to do is cover up your container with a layer of cheesecloth, secure it to the container, and let it sit in a warm-ish room for a week.  (i started mine last weekend, so i’ve done this bit already)

(my ACV after being moved to its new container and separated from the solid bits)

(SPECIAL BONUS! check out the rad fish bottle we got to put the inished product in!)

after your week is up, strain out all the solid bits (i used the cheesecloth for this, and squeezed out as much juice as i could. now, just transfer your juice to a different container (you can use your crock pot again now! yay!), where as much liquid as possible is exposed to the air (i used an old coffee pot i had laying around), and once again cover it with cheesecloth.and let the liquid ferment over the next 2-3 weeks. Look at it and swoosh it around every couple days or so to make sure everything’s okay in there. It’s done when it tastes like cider vinegar. Don’t be scared to give it a taste!

Once you’ve decided it is vinegar, go ahead and bottle it up and use it just like you would regular vinegar.  Don’t use it in canning though, as you can’t control the acidity.


Now, a disclaimer that applies to both this and the kombucha: if you see any mold-like things growing in there, don’t drink it! mold= bad in this case, mmkay?


Ok…now it is the time you were all waiting for…

How to Brew Your Own Kombucha From a Store-Bought Bottle

Oh man you guys…i can’t even tell you how excited i am about this!!!

i just started drinking kombucha like, a week ago.  I have reached a point in my life where i can’t ignore the whole “lactose intolerant” thing any more…but that doesn’t mean i don’t need me some probiotic-y goodness!  not to mention the fact that quitting my lifelong soda addiction has left a fizzy bottle-shaped hole in my heart…enter the wonderful kombucha :)

According to wikipedia:

Kombucha is an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often consumed for its anecdotal health benefits or medicinal purposes. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture, often referred to as 酵母 (kombo, lit. “yeast mother”, see etymology for disambiguation with 昆布, kombu, kelp).

Kombucha producers often make the claim that ‘kombucha detoxifies the body and energizes the mind’, although there is little published research on the health benefits of kombucha. Proponents of kombucha claim it aids cancer recovery, increases energy, sharpens eyesight, aids joint recovery, improves skin elasticity, aids digestion, and improves experience with foods that ‘stick’ going down such as rice or pasta.

good stuff!

however, commercially made kombucha costs anywhere from $3 – $5 a bottle…yikes! i think my soda addiction was actually cheaper!

so logically, my thought process is to make my own! problem. quality kombucha SCOBYs (for “Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast”) can cost upwards of $20.

thanks to the joy of the internet, i learned that if you can find a bottle of raw, organic Kumbacha, you can grow your own SCOBY!

So a trip to Fred Meyers, and $3.50 later (ok, $7…i had to buy a bottle to drink!), i had myself the ingredients necessary to start my own Kombucha colony!

(notice the bottle on the right didn’t even last long enough to get its picture taken)

now, get a cup of water boiling, and add 2T of sugar.bring it back up to a boil, and then pull it off the burner. Add a bag or 2 of organic black tea.

let this sit until it is not even slightly warm to the touch.  Add in at least half a cup of your Kombucha, making sure to get in as many of the little floaty chunky bits as possible, and pour it into a clean glass jar.

I chose a wide-mouth jar because it seems like it would be easier to get the mother back out later.  Cover that puppy in cheesecloth, and secure it with a properly sized ring.

now stick it in a nice dark cupboard and resist the urge to poke it or swoosh it around…in a couple days you should have a visible film on top, which in time will turn into your SCOBY.  when it grows to 1/8″ thick, you’ll need to feed it. It’s not yet strong enough to use to make kombucha…it is just having a growth-spurt :)

This time, make a quart of tea. Heat four cups water to the boil, add 1/3 cup sugar, and steep with 2 tea bags or 2 tablespoons black tea. When the liquid cools completely, remove the tea leaves, put the baby kombucha and all the liquid and sediment in a large glass jar or bowl with the tea. Cover it tightly and watch it carefully. The kombucha mother should thicken significantly over the space of two weeks. When the mother is between 1/4 and 1/2″ thick, you can use it to make yourself a batch of kombucha.

Making the kombucha-

I haven’t experimented with this bit personally yet, so i’m just going to point you in the direction of this website, which looks fabulous and even tells you how to add flavors to your finished kombucha.

 

That’s it for now…i’ll post another update when my SCOBY starts growing. good luck, and happy brewing!

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