How to Make Kombucha at Home: {Guest Blog Post}

Last February I handed over the blog to Kirstin Bernau and she explained the benefits of bone broth and how to make it. If you missed that post, you can catch it here. Today she’s taking over once again and will be teaching us how to make Kombucha!

KirstinBernauCoaching

If you’re into health and wellness at all, you have probably come across Kombucha. It is a fermented sweet tea, chock full of probiotics, great for detoxifying and wonderfully good at aiding your digestion. Kombucha is also tasty; a cold, refreshing, slightly fizzy drink that comes in many fruity flavors as well as the original (which is great as well).  I absolutely love it, but due to the price (nearly $4/bottle) I decided it was time to learn to make my own.  You can make it for pennies on the dollar compared to buying it pre-made. It’s easy to make and full of great health benefits including:

Probiotics and Naturally Occurring Acids– These both work to heal our whole digestive system, leading to a host of other benefits like clear skin, decreases in mental health issues like depression and anxiety, healthy weight, and improved immunity.

Detoxification– The malic, gluconic, and succinic acid have a powerfully detoxifying effect.  Additionally, by healing the gut and re-balancing our bacteria we boost our body’s ability to detox hugely.  A healthy gut is the most powerful detox system you can have, even greater than the liver or kidneys or lymph system.

Enzymes which help us digest our food more effectively and actually use the nutrients we eat. You can have the best diet around but if your digestion is impaired (and for most of us it is) you won’t get many of the benefits.

B vitamins– these are important for energy levels, mood, healthy skin, hair and nails.

Kombucha also makes an awesome soda replacement if you’re trying to kick that habit or just want something fun to drink.  I’ve even seen recipes for fruity kombucha cocktails!  So are you ready to give it a try?  Here are my recommendations:

  • Buy a bottle at your local store first, so you can see how you like it.  I’d suggest trying a few different kinds as there is a range of sweetness and flavors.  I love GT’s organic.  There’s about 20 different varieties at Whole Foods, and they sell a few kinds at most grocery stores now as well.
  • If you enjoy it and are ready to try making it, you need to find a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts).  If you have a friend who brews, you can probably get a culture and starter tea for free.  Otherwise, I’d recommend culturesforhealth.com or growing your own using a bottle of GT’s from your local grocery store.  If you order a SCOBY, follow the directions on the package to get started correctly.  If you want to try growing your own, it’s really quite easy but takes more time. Directions at the bottom.
  • Find a glass jar for brewing. Plastic, metal and ceramic containers are all problematic, they can leach chemicals or metal into the kombucha and are more inclined to harbor less than friendly bacteria.

Here are the ingredients for a gallon of Kombucha, adjust up or down depending on your jar size, but be sure to keep ratios the same:

  • 1 gallon clean, filtered water.
  • 2 Tablespoons or 8 tea bags of Black Tea (English Breakfast works well)
  • 1 cup organic sugar or “Cane” sugar if you can’t find organic- most other sugar is full of GMOs which can harm the SCOBY
  • at least 1/2 cup plain kombucha – you can buy at the store if needed, 1 bottle will be plenty.

1. Make the tea as normal (boil water, add tea, steep 3-5 minutes or whatever your package says.)  Then add the sugar, stir until dissolved.  Let the tea cool to room temp, but keep it covered so no flies or food get in while it’s cooling.

2. Add the cooled tea to a jar with your SCOBY and kombucha. Once you’re onto your second batch, I aim for a ratio of about 4:1 Sweet Tea: Kombucha.   This is probably more kombucha than absolutely necessary but it’s important that the mixture retains enough acidity from the start to protect the SCOBY from any mold growing on it or bacteria growing in the mix that you don’t want.  I’ve never had a problem and I’ve brewed more batches than I can count, but it always better to lean on the side of generous with how much kombucha you keep in the jar for the next batch.

3. Cover the jar a paper coffee filter, layers of cheesecloth, or a paper towel, and secure with a rubber band.  This way it can ferment and breathe.  Leave it somewhere warmish (70-75 degrees ideally) and not in the sunlight or next to other fermenting foods.  I use a pantry or linen closet usually.  My husband thinks it’s creepy so it’s not welcome on the kitchen counter…

4. Check the jar after about a week  to see how it tastes.  It may help to have a bottle of store bought kombucha on hand to compare at first but it should taste a little tart and a little sweet. It shouldn’t be like drinking straight vinegar and it shouldn’t taste like sweet tea either.  If it’s too sweet- wait a little longer and try it again.  If it’s too tart, pour a little out, add in some more sweat tea, and keep a close eye on it.  In winter my house is usually around 63-65 degrees- less than optimal- so it can take a month to finish brewing.  I just ordered a warmer to help speed things up so we’ll see how that goes!  In the summer, our house is between 74-80 and it brews in about 7-10 days.

5. Pour into bottles and refrigerate to store.  This slows the fermentation process.  If you want to try adding some fruit juice or puree- now’s the time.  Just avoid citrus or pineapple. About a 4:1 ratio (Kombucha:fruit) and then let it sit at room temp with airtight lids for a couple days.  It will begin to carbonate so be careful but when it’s the way you like it, pour it over ice or store in the fridge.  I’ve made ginger + blueberry as well as mango.  Both were quite good, but I had to strain out the blueberry/ginger solids.

Kombucha

To make your own SCOBY: Buy a bottle of plain Kombucha.  Add it to a quart jar, along with about 2 cups of cooled black tea sweetened with 2 T sugar.  Cover as stated above, let it sit for a week or more and you will see a white film growing on top (your SCOBY!)  The scoby will thicken and add layers over time. Keep checking the tea and replacing with sweet teas as stated above when it’s ready. I think mine took a few months before I got a good solid SCOBY, so if you want to get going quickly I’d just order one online.

Please leave any questions/comments you may have below and I’d be happy to answer them.

Thank you!

Kirstin

Kirstin Bernau is an Intuitive life coach for people who are looking for more peace, direction and purpose in their lives.

Through her one-on-one coaching, blog and speaking events, she’s here to help you get in touch with your intuition and create the life you dream of — while making it all feel easier and richer than you ever imagined.

When she’s not writing and coaching, you can find her indulging in meditation, long walks with her husband and dog and reading good books in cozy corners with a cup of tea.  

Meet Kirstin + get ready to find your way home (to you) at http://www.KirstinBernau.com.

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Bone Broth: Why it is So Beneficial to Your Health and Recipe {Guest Blog Post}

Today I am turning over the blog to one of my favorite people in the world, my cousin Kirstin. She is a born and raised Minnesotan as well. She is an intuitive life coach and she’sa also my go-to-gal for anything Paleo related! Today she is going to explain why bone broth is so very important and how to make it. 

Kirstin and her husband

Are you interested in…

  • – A flatter, less bloated stomach and a much healthier, happier digestive system
  • – Strong bones and preventing osteoporosis
  • – Healthy, glowing skin with fewer wrinkles
  • – Strong teeth and nails
  • -Reducing cellulite
  • -Mental health achieved without pharmaceuticals

If so, then you need to start drinking bone broth.  It is truly a natural superfood and will affect your life in even more ways than I’ve listed.  It gives us access to the stored minerals and nutrients contained in animals bones, skin and joints.  These include collagen, glycine, proline, hyralonic acid, chondrointon sulfite, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfer, potassium and sodium.  What’s unique about bone broth though is that while some of these minerals and nutrients can be found in other foods, there is really no food more easily absorbed as broth. The problem most of us face without realizing it is that we have damaged gastro-intestinal systems.  Our intestines become more permeable than they should be because of less than ideal bacterial populations as well as irritated, damaged intestinal walls.  I won’t go into all the scientific details here but if you are interested the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is outstanding in explaining this concept in great detail.  The damaged gut is very important because it leads to things getting through your digestive walls that shouldn’t,  such as undigested foods.  This creates a  lot of problems like food allergies, autoimmune conditions, and terrible allergies in general (no it is NOT a coincidence that everyone and their brother seems to have terrible allergies these days.  So did I, until I changed my diet!).  It is also problematic because our bodies are struggling to absorb nutrients even when we eat food that should provide great nutrition.   These nutrient deficiencies cause all kinds of issues including wrinkled skin, dry skin, cellulite, stretch marks, insatiable hunger, weight problems (yes most overweight people are actually under-nourished but over fed), and here’s a big one: mental health issues.  At this point we know we need certain neurotransmitters like serotonin to be in balance and keep us feeling less stressed and happier, but who knew that the first step to creating serotonin is not Prozac, it is in fact eating the right nutrients, and then being able to absorb them.  The precursor to serotonin is then sent up to the brain to be converted and utilized.  But none of this can happen if we don’t take in the right amino acids and absorb them properly. Again I won’t go into great detail but the book The Mood Cure by, Julia Ross is an excellent resource for understanding mental health issues and addiction and how they relate to nutrition.  Also, the vast majority of your immune system is in your gut, so if your gut’s not healthy, neither are you. 

Now that I have you seeing the importance of a healthy  gut, let’s look at how to rebuild it.

It takes pretty much no work on the part of our digestive system to digest and absorb all these wonderful and much needed nutrients from the broth, and it goes right to work rebuilding our intestines and feeding our bodies what they need.  It is also important to work on improving gut bacteria but that’s a subject for another day.

Let’s look at how to make this broth:

Where to buy?  I get my beef bones from the farmer we order our grass-fed beef from.  We order ½ cow and just ask the butcher to include as many soup bones as possible. If you don’t have access to bones like this, have no fear – just save the carcasses whenever you eat meat on the bone (roasted chickens or turkeys, chicken thigh bones, fish bones etc).  You can also get chicken necks, backs, and beef knuckles from butchers. If you want your joints to age well, use joint bones; if you want to keep your skin wrinkle free, collagen rich chicken feet and ox tail are a great addition to your carcasses.  Grass fed/pastured animals are always best, then organic, but if all you have is conventional, go for it.  It’s still much better than nothing and animals do have detox systems built-in so some argue it’s less important than organic veggies. **Bones can be used to make up to three batches of broth**

Here’s the recipe for broth I made this week:

Ingredients:

  • Beef Bone
  • Stock pot mostly full of water (I think it’s a 16 quart pot but I’m not sure) plus
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • peel of one orange
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 big cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 4 stalks celery

Bone broth --

Take your bones (2-3.5 pounds is really ideal but I often use a bit less if I don’t have enough) and add them to a stock pot full of water.  2-3 chicken carcasses, 1 turkey carcass or a good sized beef bone will work.

Bone broth Recipe - Minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Add about 2 TBSP of organic apple cider vinegar to help the water leach the good minerals out of those bones.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce to simmer, always leave it covered so you don’t evaporate it away.  You can also leave the meat on and extract lots of good amino acids from the meat, but I wouldn’t boil the meat too long if you plan to eat it or it will lose all it’s taste.  Maybe 1-2 hours at most for the meat, and then continue to cook the bones for 1-2 days. You can cook the broth in a crock pot, or as I do, leave it on the stove top simmering. Poultry bones take about 20-24 hours and beef/lamb is more like 2 days. As you see Fat accumulating on the surface of the broth, don’t be alarmed.  According to the GAPS book mentioned above, animal fat is one of the most important factors in rebuilding your gut.  This is especially desirable coming from grass fed animals.

Once your bones have boiled long enough, you have two options:

1. For drinking/cooking broth: You can enjoy as is, just add salt OR add chunks of veggies, herbs, garlic and sea or Himalayan salt to taste towards the end to improve flavor. Keep it to 1-2 hours or less.  Then strain all the solids (meat bones, veggies) out and store the broth  in the refrigerator or freezer until you need it.  The meat and veggies can be thrown away or eaten if they still have flavor.  I gave my meat and veggies to my dog this week (minus the bone, garlic and onion of course).  She’s on a raw/whole food diet, though so it’s not suitable for every dog.

2. For soup: You can strain the broth out from the bones/ meat, and add in veggies, meat, herbs, salt, etc to make a soup. Just boil as long as you need for veggies to be the right texture (30-45 minutes usually) and you’re done!

Bone broth - 3

The broth usually keeps a week or so for poultry and longer for beef. Soup seems to last longer than just broth.  Once it’s been refrigerated it should start to gel, like a soft jello consistency.  This means that you pulled out lots of gelatin, collagen, minerals, etc.

Later I plan to add a couple of cups of this broth to a dutch oven with a pot roast and bake in the oven, it reduces to a really tasty sauce and then I have lots left for drinking.  Also works great for beef stew!

Thank you!
Kristin

Meet Kirstin+ get ready to find your way home (to you) at http://www.KirstinBernau.com.

Have you ever tried making bone broth? Do you have any questions for Kirstin? Please feel free to leave any comments on the topic below!

Wintertime Craft Ideas for Kids: Guest Blog Post by Galt Toys

Today we have a guest taking over the blog that is writing on behalf of Galt Toys. Galt Toys has 175 years of experience in toys and education. Galt is a specialist in knowing how to design toys and craft activities for children that encourage children to learn through play and also have fun at the same time! If you are a 

When faced with the chilling winds and lashing rains of winter, outdoor activities for children are a definite no-no. However, there are plenty of fun things to do indoors that will keep your children entertained and occupied hour after hour. It is always a good idea to keep a few craft packs and creative activity resources stashed away, ready to be produced and enjoyed at the first sign of unfavorable weather. Take a look at some of our favorite winter craft ideas for kids that are simply perfect for those days when going outdoors just isn’t an option.

guestblogTea Time Fun

Who says picnics are only for summer? Scour second hand shops for plain teacups, saucers and side plates, and your children can enjoy supervised painting of their very own crockery in any design they like. Alternatively, purchase a miniature set specifically made for younger children which is guaranteed to be safe and will be the perfect size for little hands. After painting, as you wait for the set to dry, why not increase the fun and let the kids help you to make cakes and sandwiches for an indoor teddy bears’ picnic?

Jewelry Making

There are some really fantastic jewelry-making kits out there suitable for ages 3 and on wards that are complete with colorful threads, sequins and beads. Invite your little one’s friends around for a friendship bracelet-making session or join in with fun yourself and unleash your inner designer to create some fabulous and fun jewelry.

Paper Planes Just got Funky!

Long gone are the days of paper planes created using pages ripped from an exercise book, because now your child can make all manner of airplanes in various colors and styles using packs of multi-colored paper and a little imagination. Adorn each plane with stickers or personalized designs before challenging one another to airplane races.

Back to Basics

They do say the old ways are the best and coloring in is certainly one of the more traditional methods of keeping your child occupied. So get those crayons out and let your little one while away the hours with an assortment of coloring books. If they fancy doing something a little different, why not suggest they copy images from their favorite story book? Another simple coloring idea, which is ideal for larger families, is to ask each child to draw an outline of a character or scene. Set a time limit and when the time is up, get them to swap with another family member and they can color them in for another limited amount of time, before passing it to someone else to complete.

Stay warm!

 

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