Category Archives: Recipes

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs, and Easy Peeling

My friend asked me to post my secret for perfect hard-boiled eggs, so I thought I’d share how we do that at The New Deli. We’ve learned a thing or two in thirty-plus years in the business- we boil about fifteen dozen eggs a week. So take it from us!

Easy-Peel Eggs for Deviled Eggs, Etc.

It is quite common to put eggs into a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. (Then, eggs are removed from the heat to sit for 10 minutes. After that, the hot water is poured off and the pot’s refilled with cold water to cool them.)

The above method might work all right, but it’s not fool-proof. A fellow co-worker tried that method last week, and said peeling them was torture. I think the reason’s because the eggs take longer to get up to a boil if you start with cold water, and the eggs closest to the burner get too hot (becoming overcooked and rubbery).

Instead, at the deli, we bring a separate pot of water to a boil first. We pour the boiling water over a pot of eggs… see the full method below.

If you’re thinking of doing some Fourth of July deviled eggs, you can let the eggs sit in a mix of food-coloring and water for two hours, to color the outsides in a festive, patriotic way! Also, there’s this recipe for “No Mayo Deviled Eggs”, using avocado and such.

Oh, and for Easter, the egg coloring companies aren’t joking when they tell you to use cooled-off eggs. I tried using very freshly boiled, slightly warm eggs one year, thinking it would help the colors to stick better, but they don’t!

Deviled Eggs (& Hard-Boiled Eggs)

We often make a tray of deviled eggs for church events, so some of the ladies wondered how to do that. Deviled eggs are easiest to make right after cooking the eggs; the yolks mash up best while slightly warm, making creamy eggs. Makes 24 eggs.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 eggs, boiled
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS. sweet relish
  • 2 tsp. mustard (hot and spicy is nice)
  • For garnishing: Paprika and parsley
  • Optional: Capers (for garnish)

PREPARATION

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour over another pot filled with: > 12 eggs

 2. Bring pot of eggs and boiling water back up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low for 4 minutes.

3. Turn burner off; let eggs finish cooking as they sit it the hot water for 20 more minutes. (They can sit up to an hour).

4. Pour off the hot water, toss the pot of eggs around so that shells will crack. Fill pot with cold water, and peel eggs under water.

5. Cut each egg in half by scoring around the egg, not cutting through the yolk. This way, the two halves of egg whites can be turned to separate them, and the yolk can pop out whole.

6. To make filling, mash yolks (best done before chilling). Use potato masher if available (or a fork), then add remaining ingredients to taste: > 1/2 c. mayonnaise > 2 TBS. sweet relish > 2 tsp. mustard (hot and spicy is nice)

4. Put deviled egg yolk mixture into zip-lock (or other) bag. Cut tip off and pipe filling into whites. Sprinkle w/ paprika, garnish w/dill. Optional: Add a sprinkling of capers.

 

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Veggie Tray w/ Ranch Dip

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ADD COLOR TO THE BUFFET TABLE

The Veggie Tray with Ranch Dressing is a healthy recipe to serve at parties. The homemade Ranch Dressing below improves on the grocery store version, flavorful and chemical-free. Salad dressing recipes made from scratch are bound to be healthier than store-bought.

For extra color, hollow out a red cabbage to serve the dip in. The leftover cabbage can be sliced up and mixed with any leftover Ranch Dip for a great side dish the next day. The Ranch Dressing recipe makes enough to serve a large crowd, with plenty of veggies on the side. Or use it in salads; it will keep weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 1 quart, serves 35-45.

Red Peppers, Carrot, Broccoli, plus Ranch Dip in Cabbage Bowl

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 pt. sour cream
  • 1 TBS. dill weed
  • 1 TBS. rubbed Italian herbs
  • 1/2 TBS. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 TBS. VegeSal (found at health food stores)
  • 2 TBS. sugar
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • Green leaf lettuce (to line veggie tray)
  • 2 lb. or so carrots (approx. 6 large)
  • 1 lb. or so broccoli crowns
  • 1-2 cucumbers
  • 1 lb. or so red peppers (approx. 3 large)
  • 1 red cabbage for holding the dressing

PREPARATION

1. Mix the following in a bowl: > 2 c. mayonnaise > 1 pt. sour cream > 1 TBS. dill weed > 1 TBS. rubbed Italian herbs > 1/2 TBS. black pepper > 1 1/2 TBS. “VegeSal” (found at health food stores) > 2 TBS. sugar > 1/4 c. lemon juice

2. To assemble veggie tray, line a platter with some green-leaf lettuce (or ornamental kale). Set the hollowed-out cabbage in the center, filling with the dip just before serving, if transporting the tray. Arrange the following veggies on the platter. The broccoli looks especially appetizing added last, nestled around the edge of the cabbage-dip-bowl.

Use the following:

> Carrots: Peel, slice, and add to a jar, with a splash of white vinegar and salt. Shake thoroughly, drain. You can prep the carrots the day before, draining the vinegar mix off and refrigerating until ready to assemble. This process really brings out the color, avoiding the “dry look”.

> Broccoli: Rub the tops in a bit of olive oil. Again, this brings out the color, tastes great, and is easier than blanching them. Also, they won’t have that dry look. (Steam as mentioned for Green Beans below, if desired.)

> Green Beans/Asparagus/Etc.: Get a big (preferably iron) pan very hot. Add prepped veggies and steam quickly by adding a splash of water and a lid. Broccoli and asparagus will only take a minute or two like this, then cool off quickly by spreading on a cookie sheet and refrigerating. Their color will be bright and the flavor will be fresh.

> Cucumbers: Score lengthwise with tines of a fork; cut into 1/4″ thick slices.

> Red peppers and any other favorite veggies: Cut into strips, to add color to the tray.

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Lavender Orange Shortbread (w/Virgin Olive Oil)- Tea Party!

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Here’s a streamlined shortbread recipe, unique and full of flavor. Change it up by using toasted fennel seeds in place of the lavender flowers, or dip half the cookie into melted chocolate…

Makes almost 2 dozen cookies.

Grateful-Table-Lavender-Orange-Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c.), room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, as desired (especially if using unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 c. virgin olive oil (“blood orange-infused”, if you have it)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. orange extract
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. dried lavender flowers*
  • zest of one orange (blood orange if available)

PREPARATION

1. Beat the first five ingredients until light and creamy: > 1 stick butter > 1/4 tsp. salt > 1/4 c. virgin olive oil > 1/4 c. sugar > 1/2 tsp. orange extract

2. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, stirring together until just blended: > 2 c. flour > 1 TBS. dried lavender flowers* > zest of one orange

3. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 6” log or square-shaped cylinder; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or more. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap and cut each log into 1/4″ to 1/3” thick slices. Place on baking sheet, bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes or so. Let cool, serve with coffee or tea!

* Make your own “dried lavender flowers” by removing blossoms from some fresh lavender. Set on paper towel and microwave on lowest power setting, for a few minutes, until dry. Or, wrap string around a lavender bouquet, hanging upside-down for a few days to air-dry, removing dried blossoms afterward.

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Tomato Tart: Skip Mayo, Make w/Real Ingredients!

I had an exceptional tomato tart at a friend’s house. It was such a treat. I suspected it had mayo in it- when my friend told me it was a Paula Deen recipe, I knew I was right! But I wanted to make something like it for a tea party in the garden. I skipped the mayo. They were really good!

Make these tomato tarts using olive oil, cream, and egg in place of the mayonnaise that’s often used. For simplicity, Parmesan is handy- it’s already grated! But other cheeses could be substituted. Makes 24 tartlets, for 8-12 servings.

Tomato Tartlets w/No Mayo!INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 2/3 cold butter, sliced into pieces
  • 2-3 TBS. cold water
  • 1 pt. pear cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. Parmesan
  • 1/4 c.  olive oil
  • 1/4 c. cream
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 1 egg

PREPARATION

1. For dough, process the following in a food processor just until crumbly: > 1 1/2 c. flour > 2/3 c. cold butter, sliced into pieces

2. With motor running, quickly add, mixing just until blended: > 2-3 TBS. cold water

3. Let tartlet dough “rest” in refrigerator for an hour or so for easier handling, then press into tart pans.

4. After pressing into tart pans, freeze for up to a week if necessary. Or just refrigerate 20 minutes or so, before baking. Bake empty shells at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. (Frozen shells may take a bit longer.) Let cool.

5. Put a dab of Dijon mustard in bottom of each baked crust. Use: > Scant 1 TBS. Dijon

6. Slice a small bit off top and bottom of pear cherry tomatoes (so they’ll lay in tart shell); cut each tomato in half. Add one piece of the tomato to each tart shell. Use: > 12 pear cherry tomatoes

7. Mix together until smooth: > 1 c. Parmesan > 1/4 c.  olive oil > 1/4 c. cream > scant 1 tsp. salt > 1 egg

8. Add a dollop of the egg mix on top of the tomatoes in each shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. When cool enough to handle, remove from tart pans and serve warm or room temperature.

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Grin & Bear It (Proudly) w/Natural Dental Care & Toothpaste

Maybe our teeth are the “tip of the iceberg”, reflecting health (or lack of it). My story seems to suggest that!

Baking Soda and Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Over ten years ago, in my forties, my body was slowing falling apart (undiagnosed hypothyroid). I didn’t know what was wrong, but I had a list of what wasn’t right. Now my mouth was going to join that list of bodily woes–my gums were falling apart.

My dentist had filled a cavity that had appeared on the side of my tooth, near the gum. A short time later, that area of my gum started blistering (bleeding and pus included, ew). The dentist sent me to a gum specialist, who told me she needed to remove the filling I’d just gotten, so that she could perform some thousands-o-dollars gum surgery.

THIS was being told to the small business owner who had no dental insurance, and who was not making a whole lotta money! I did not like that idea.

THEN I found out about the hypothyroid. I started taking Armor Thyroid, and suddenly felt better than I’d felt in years (like, thirty!). Before taking the thyroid supplement, I had been thinking this was just what getting old felt like. Once my thyroid started working again, I discovered what feeling normal was like, and it was WAY better feeling than I’d felt in years.

So… I suspected that the gum issue was just another part of the whole thyroid problem. I suspected that my gums might start healing naturally, now that I’d begun to address (not the symptom) the CAUSE of my troubles.

I was right! My gums got WAY better. And now, I’m determined to keep ‘em that way. I’m using a little activated charcoal to brighten my teeth on occasion, and I’m brushing with homemade toothpaste (see easy recipe below).

I worked up the recipe below after reading Denise Minger’s article about her experiences. A long-term raw vegan diet gave her horrible dental problems. Because of the acidity of her mouth and body on that diet, the health of her teeth and gums suffered.It makes sense that the toothpaste below (and the activated charcoal), in causing a more alkaline condition, would be ideal for dental health.

Homemade Toothpaste

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops myrrh extract (if available)

Ideally, coconut oil should be warm enough to stir- not too solid, but not all melted either (or the baking soda will just sink to the bottom). Mix the other ingredients into the oil, stirring with a fork. Add everything to a jar; use a small amount to brush teeth. Cheaper, better, more natural!

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Granola: Not Just for Hippies (Make Granola Bars too!)

1975- Young Hippies!We were hippies, I suppose. I was only 17 back in 1975, when I first met my husband. His super-cool older sister was turning us on to hummus and herbal teas. And I got so inspired when we walked into a health food store in Big Sur on our honeymoon (1976)- at that point, there were no such granola shacks in OUR town, back in Michigan! It didn’t take long before I was exploring granola recipes myself. By the time we opened The New Deli (in 1985), I had come up with a pretty tasty granola that we packaged up for our morning crowd. And, for us, of course!

Use a skillet for this recipe- it’s easier to stir half-way through the baking time. If you want, heat the pan on the stove, stirring the granola mix constantly over medium high heat for 5 minutes or so, until it’s golden. But I prefer putting the skillet in the oven- it gets more evenly baked to perfect crunchiness. Granola in a Skillet!

Some of the granola can be used to make “Super Easy Granola Bars” (see recipe, bottom of page). We find those more convenient to eat, since we usually don’t have milk in the house for a bowlful of granola!

Most granola recipes use quite a bit more fat (either olive oil, butter, coconut oil, or more nuts), but I discovered that eating that much oil was unbalancing my Omega 3/6 ratio- in other words, contributing to inflammation and such. So I find this granola to be just right. But you can add more oil if you want!

Also, not everyone includes molasses in their granola recipe. But it’s a great way to get a lot of extra minerals and nutrients. I sub molasses for honey, although I add raw honey to the granola bars instead. It has more enzymes and nutrients that way, when it hasn’t been heated. There’s been quite a stir about grocery-store “honey” not being all it’s cracked up to be (study found here). I think it’s because honey is often super-heated and processed. So I get higher quality raw honey. And then I don’t want to ruin it by heating it myself (hence adding it to granola bars instead). That’s my story. My long story about granola…

This makes about 6 c. of granola- 12 servings (or several batches of Granola Bars).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c.  molasses
  • 1/4 c. palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. dates, chopped (about 4 oz.)
  • 4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. nuts of choice, chopped
  • Optional: 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
  • Optional: 1/2 c. raisins

PREPARATION

1. Mix together: > 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted  > 1/4 c.  molasses  > 1/4 c. palm sugar  > 1 tsp. vanilla  > 1 tsp. almond extract  > 1/2 tsp. salt  > 1 c. dates, chopped (about 4 oz.) > 1/2 c. nuts of choice, chopped > Optional: 1/2 c. sunflower seeds 2. To the above mixture, stir in: > 4 c. rolled oats 3. Mixture will be dry (use hands to mix, if necessary). Turn out into two iron skillets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 4. Remove granola from oven, stir, then bake once more, about 10 more minutes. Let cool. If desired, add last: > 1/2 c. raisins Use the granola in the recipe below, if desired:

Super Easy Granola Bars

This makes about 14 Granola Bars.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. Granola (recipe above)
  • 2 c. cashews
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 TBS. cinnamon
  • `1/2 tsp. salt
  • Optional: 1 TBS. bee pollen

PREPARATION

1. Process into a nut butter, in blender or processor: > 2 c. cashews (or other favorite)

2. Add to nut butter in blender/processor, mix some more: > 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted > 1/4 c. honey > 1 TBS. cinnamon > 1/2 tsp. salt > Optional: 1 TBS. bee pollen

3. Turn nut butter mixture out into a bowl. Process granola until fairly fine (in blender or processor): > 2 c. granola 4. Mix all the ingredients together (“knead” with hands, as dough will be stiff). Press into wax-paper-lined 7″ loaf pan (the smaller size one, if you have it). Chill and least an hour, then cut and wrap pieces in wax paper, storing bars in refrigerator. Super Easy Granola Bars (Bee Bars)

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Papaya Salsa w/Grilled Fish: Tropical Flavors, Healthy Style

A bit of Papaya Salsa can dress up a fish fillet, or get tossed into rice; add a side green salad topped with chopped Macadamias, in keeping with the tropical theme. Delicious!

Healthy Topping for Fish, Tropical FlavorMexican papayas are becoming easier to find. They aren’t quite as sweet as Hawaiian papayas, but they’re also less likely to be genetically modified. They might be a little uglier on the outside too- often a mottled brown/green/orange color. But this colorful fruit is especially healthy, fighting inflammation, promoting heart health, and aiding digestion.
Limes go especially well with papayas, but lemons can substitute. This salsa is the perfect summer topping for grilled fish, or even over some greens as a salad. Serves 6-8.

INGREDIENTS

  • Half of one large Mexican papaya (about 3-4 c.)
  • Half of a Red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (or to taste)
  • Half a bunch of cilantro (about 1/2 c.)
  • Optional: Spearmint or parsley
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Juice from 1-2 limes

PREPARATION

1. Mix in medium bowl: > Half of a red onion, chopped fine > 2 cloves garlic, minced > 1 Jalapeno pepper (or to taste), chopped > Half a bunch cilantro (about 1/2 c.), chopped > 1/4 c. olive oil > 1 tsp. salt

2. After mixture’s coated with oil, add and mix again: > Juice of 1-2 limes > Half a papaya (about 3-4 c.), chopped

3. Serve this salsa as a topping over fish or other favorites. Add fresh spearmint for variety, if desired. Substitute pineapple for the papaya, if papaya isn’t available.

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Energy Bars, Granola Flavor (Fight Allergies, Alzheimer’s?!)

These energy bars are made with ground, raw oatmeal, which is roasted in a skillet until golden. For another version that uses granola, see this recipe.

Raw honey (local if possible), plus the bee pollen, can help allergy sufferers approach symptoms nutritionally- the extra nutrients and enzymes in pollen can really help! Cinnamon helps insulin to work better (good for diabetics, and others). And cinnamon and coconut oil both have shown some potential in addressing Alzheimer’s. So I figure they’re perfect (and healthy) for husbands, kids, and others to munch on as needed! Makes 12 servings or so.

Cashews, oats, cinnamon, bee pollen... ENERGY BARS!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c. raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 c. oatmeal (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 TBS. bee pollen

PREPARATION

1. Process the oatmeal into flour in a blender (or food processor). Use: > 1 1/2 c. oatmeal

2. In a hot, dry skillet, toast the oatmeal until golden and fragrant, stirring constantly.

3. Set toasted oat flour aside in separate bowl. On medium heat, toast cashews in iron skillet, until golden, stirring often. (Or toast in oven.) Use: > 1 1/2 c. raw cashews

4. Add cashews to a Vitamix (or other blender); process until fairly smooth. Add: > 1/4 c. coconut oil > 1/3 c. honey > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1 tsp. vanilla > 1 tsp. almond extract > 2 tsp. cinnamon

5. Mix the following in bowl, kneading some with hands to mix, as the dough will be very stiff. Use: > Toasted oat flour > 1 TBS. bee pollen > Blended ingredients

6. Press into loaf pan lined with wax paper, and chill until firm (about an hour) before cutting. Slice and wrap in wax paper; store in jar in fridge.

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Irish Scones w/Golden Raisins and Caraway Seeds

I was craving some Irish Soda Bread from a local bakery. Alas- too far away. Plus, we needed scones for a tea we were hosting at The New Deli. Result: This recipe, which can be varied in many ways to suit your mood or tastes!

The raisins in these scones add extra sweetness, and the caraway adds a perfect complementary flavor. For variety, substitute dried cranberries for the raisins, and 1/2 c. chopped walnuts in place of the caraway seeds. Orange or lemon zest is another nice addition!

Tips for Great Scones Included!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. flour (or use part fine corn meal for more texture)
  • 2 TBS. sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • grated peel of 1 lemon (or orange)
  • 1/2 c. cold butter, sliced
  • 1/2 c. raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • Optional: 1 1/2 tsp. caraway seed (or substitute 1/2 c. chopped walnuts)
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk (plus extra for sprinkling on top)

PREPARATION

1. Process in food processor until mixed: > 2 c. flour (or use part fine corn meal for more texture) > 2 TBS. sugar > 2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1/2 tsp. salt > grated peel of 1 lemon (or orange)

2. Add, then process in food processor until it resembles coarse meal: > 1/2 c. cold butter, sliced

3. Last, add and pulse-mix just until blended: > 1/2 c. raisins (or dried cranberries) > Optional: 1 1/2 tsp. caraway seed (or substitute 1/2 c. chopped walnuts) > 3/4 c. buttermilk

4. Roll out (or pat out), on floured board, into approximately a 9 x 13″ rectangle (about 3/4″ thick). Spread lightly with extra buttermilk; sprinkle w/ about 2 TBS. sugar. Cut  into 6 squares, cutting through squares to make triangles. Bake on greased sheet, 1″ apart. Bake 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees. Makes 12 scones.

 

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Kombucha Recipe- Jen’s Easiest Process (New Deli Style)

2 1/2 gallon crock for continuous brew KombuchaYou know me- I have to hunt down the most efficient way to do something. I guess it’s because I want to do so much!

But when I first started brewing kombucha, it wasn’t particularly efficient. I made an extra big batch in my 2 1/2 gallon crock, but I did it the “old-fashioned” way. I decanted all but 4 cups of the last brew, removing the scoby, cleaning the container, adding new sugar/tea mixture (plus 4 cups of the old “starter” brew), putting scoby back in…

When I found out about “continuous brew kombucha”, I realized it would be much easier. If you want to save time, see these directions:

CONTINUOUS BREW METHOD

Ideally, use a 2 1/2 gallon crock with a spigot, as this makes the decanting easier. Add your initial starter kombucha* (directions at bottom of page).

After the first fermentation’s finished (I like to go 30 days), decant a bottle or two, straight out of the spigot.

Add an equal amount of cooled, sweetened tea back into the crock. Scoby will now have new nourishment, and will grow another scoby. You can remove an older scoby layer if you want, or leave it in for awhile. It won’t hurt.

After a day or two, you can decant more kombucha. Just replenish the crock with sweetened tea- about the same amount that you took out.

The beauty of the continuous brew method is that there is so much of the fermented kombucha in the crock, that when you add a quart or two of new sweetened tea on top, it gets fermented pretty quickly. It’ll only take a couple days or so until you can decant more. (Go by taste- it’ll depend on warmth, and your preferences.)

But I have one more time-saver trick: “Sweet Tea Concentrate”. Because, of course I don’t want to have to brew up more sweetened tea every few days! Here’s what I use:

“SWEET TEA CONCENTRATE”

Kombucha: 2 c. sugar, 16 black tea bags (or 1/4 c. loose)This recipe uses the same amount of sugar and tea bags (or loose tea), that I’d use for 32 cups of water. But I only use 8 cups of water, brew it up, and store it in the refrigerator after cooling. When I add it to the continuous-brew kombucha, I add one part of this to three parts water.

Bring to boil: > 8 c. filtered or spring water

Add to boiled water: > 16 black tea bags or 1/4 c. loose black tea (or substitute green or white tea bags) > Optional: > Extra tea for flavor (rooibos or yerba matte, etc., but not Earl Grey or citrus teas, as the oils in them inhibit scoby growth)

Also add: > 2 c. sugar (Not honey- that will inhibit growth, and not raw sugar either- not scoby’s favorite)

To add to the continuous-brew crock, just use: > 1 c. concentrate > 3 c. water (spring or filtered is best)

 

TIPS FOR KOMBUCHA SUCCESS


TEMPERATURE: If temperatures soar into the nineties for your Kombucha brew, that could potentially make it die off. In  temperatures lower than the ideal 72 to 85 degrees, your scoby might just hibernate some. In that case, at least it will start regenerating once it’s brought back into a warmer climate. If your kitchen is just too cool, you might want to look into a heater strip (click on the one on the right, if you want to buy it on Amazon). I’ve put my kombucha crock on top of the fridge, and am using an old heating pad under several towels to warm it up some- that also works!

KEEP IT DARK: The “Scoby” (“booch”, as it can be affectionately called) needs to (ideally) brew in a medium containing black tea. I have tried green and white teas (all from the same plant), but the scoby seemed to weaken after several ferments using only those teas. I’m sticking to black, which has all the right properties. Some additional rooibos or yerba mate can be added to that as well,  for extra nutritional benefits, if you want. But keep adding black tea, since it has all the right properties.

Annabelle of Kombucha Fuel gives a complete run-down on teas to use, from black to green, white, yerba mate, rooibos, herbal… (article here). Someone in the comment section there mentions using Puuerh tea, but from my research, it doesn’t sound like a good idea…

NO CHEESE CLOTH: Use a towel or such for covering the kombucha as it brews- this will keep out fruit flies, mold spores, and such. (Cheesecloth isn’t a fine enough weave to work well.)

NO MOLASSES: Don’t add molasses. It’s great for kefir, but folks say it gives kombucha a weird taste.

SCOBY HOTEL: You might want to house some spare scobys in their own “hotel”, in case the one you’re using goes south. (Like, gets black mold on it or something- definitely a bad sign.) The “Hotel” is just a gallon jar filled with kombucha; you add the older layers of scobys to it, and they’ll keep almost indefinitely. Eventually (every two to six months), the brew will collect an excess of yeasts- those brown tendril-like clumps floating around in the liquid. So, set the scobys aside and strain the liquid out of the jar, through cheesecloth, to catch the excess yeast. Clean the jar out well, as dead yeasts build up on the bottom of the jar. Then return the scobys to the clean jar, and fill it half with the strained kombucha, and half of some new sweet-tea brew. Good for another six months or so! (There are ideas for using extra scobys in spa applications- see this article from Kombucha Kamp.)

MORE TIPS: Eileen from Phoenix Helix goes into full detail on many issues in this article on tips and troubleshooting.

CROCKS ARE DISCREET! I have an old ceramic crock from the eighties which works perfectly- looks a lot like the one on the left. It allows me to brew the extra big batches which makes the whole process easier. And other family members don’t have to be too concerned about the strange “growth”…

Some folks might want a stand for theirs, in which case, the model on the right, on Amazon, is decently priced, for both the crock and the stand.

DIRECTIONS FOR STARTER BREW


If you don’t have a friend with a spare scoby starter (and you don’t want to just get a bottle of unpasteurized kombucha to start some), get the scoby starter from Kombucha Kamp (pictured on left- click it to buy on Amazon). It’s the most recommended, w/lots of success stories. Cheaper starters might come with white vinegar instead of real starter liquid, or they might die off during too-long shipping, etc. Kombucha Kamp has quality stuff!

Bring to a boil: > 32 c. filtered or spring water (better than chlorinated tap water)

Add to pot (or pots): > 16 black tea bags or 1/4 c. loose black tea (or substitute green or white tea bags) > Optional: > Extra tea for flavor (rooibos or yerba matte, etc., but not Earl Grey or citrus teas, as the oils in them inhibit scoby growth)

Also add: > 2 c. sugar (Not honey- that will inhibit growth. And not raw sugar either- not scoby’s favorite)

After the sweetened tea has cooled off, add to 2 1/2 gallon crock, along with 2 cups of starter tea and one scoby mushroom (either from a friend, or purchased).

Some folks like their kombucha sweet, and therefore enjoy drinking it after 7-14 days. I personally want most of the sugar converted, so I let mine go 21-30 days. After 30 days, it does need a feeding though!

Once you have your starter brew, you can use the directions closer to the top of the page, for the continuous brew method.

Below is a picture of the jar I gave to my friend, complete with funny-looking SCOBY inside, kombucha tea, and directions :)

Kombucha Directions for 16 c. WaterPS. I’ve linked this post to “Simple Lives Thursday”, hosted by my friend Diana. Stop by her blog here!

Also posted in 1. Healthy Style (Snacks, Meal-Replacements) | Tagged , , , | 1 Response