Friday, May 24, 2013

24 things: flavoring kombucha

I am awfully behind on my 24 things list, you guys. I've got one month to go until my birthday (hello, what!) and a significant number of things left to knock off. Oh well. That's life!

In the meantime, here's a little update on one of the goals I have gotten around to conquering: kombucha! If you haven't heard of the 'booch, it's a fermented tea that's fizzy, delicious & tastes like healthy soda. It has a myriad of health benefits-- gut health, immune support, mood stability, detoxification, the list goes on & on. It's also kinda pricey at the stores (upwards of $3/bottle) so naturally, I put on my scientist cap & decided to try brewing it at home.

 I've been brewing it for a year now (I cheated a bit and started before my birthday last year) but only recently got around to trying to flavor it myself. For whatever reason, the threat of exploding bottles* after letting it second-ferment too long deterred me (hmm... wonder why?), but I've recently given it a try and am super-loving the results. 

ginger floating at the top in the lefthand bottles, blueberries chillin' at the bottom on the right!
If you're interested in the details of how to grow your own scoby... um, it's been a year and I don't remember. Hah! But I did use these guides as a resource, and they were awfully helpful. If you're interested in the details of how I brew, email me! I'm happy to chat with first-time brewers, I know it can seem intimidating at first :)

With that outta the way and a year of brewing under my belt, I decided it was time to finally flavor my own kombucha. And guess what? It is stupid easy. After I bottle my kombucha, I toss in a bit of fresh or frozen fruit, herbs, etc. and let it go to town on the counter for a day before I pop them in the fridge. So far, my favorite flavors have been blueberry, ginger & elderberry. Really, the key is to be imaginative-- anything is worth a try! I fins that frozen works just as well as fresh, which is awesome. Next up, something summer-y & fresh-- maybe mango? I've been thinking of experimenting with lemon, or lavender, if I'm feeling really adventurous! 

Moral(s) of this story: kombucha is delicious. Trying new things is lovely. Science is great. If you flavor anything with ginger, I will probably love it. Here's to checking off another 24/24! 

Have you brewed your own kombucha? I wanna hear about it!

*I think you'd had to let it second-ferment for like, multiple on multiple days without 'burping' the bottles for this to happen. I've never had a batch get so fizzy it just straight up combusts!
**also, if you're crazy like me and want to start brewing your own kombucha but don't have a source for  healthy scobys to get started, hit me up! I am happy to pass some of mine along, I hate to waste them! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

four years.

Today is my fourth blogging anniversary. Um, what now?

Seriously, though, I almost skipped right past today without even realizing it, and that would've been a shame. I spent all day today trying to figure out how I could take my ceremonial yearly outfit photo in the middle of a workday, kicking myself for not taking it before I left for work this morning at (ahem) 6:30 AM-- yeah, that wasn't going to happen. Instead, we get a grainy mirror shot taken rumpled & frumped after a long workday. Really, though, this is much more indicative of life right now. I remember previous years planning and scrounging for just the perfect 'blog-o-versary' outfit-- which was lovely, when I had time for it.

Right now is the season of all grad school, all the time-- 60+ hour workweeks, late nights writing papers, scrimping paycheck to paycheck with hopefully a real-salaried end in sight, learning how to separate 'work Mary' from the rest of me, but frankly, loving every second of it. Yes, I am a bit pulled in every direction right now, sure, I might be wearing a little thin-- but I know it's all good things. Last year I wrote about seeing every years' May 2nd outfit photo and remembering exactly how my life was at that moment, and this year is no different. Next year's picture will hopefully represent the fruits of this labor I'm in right now, but at the moment, I see frazzled, yes-- but I also see crazy happy, and that's how I know I'm doing all the right things. 

 cardigan: avon; belt: heartbreaker; polka-dot jeans: buy here; shoes: target

Here's to four years of internet-ing with you all-- thank you for sticking with me. Hopefully there are many more ahead of us :)

ps. if you'd like to check out previous years' blog-o-versaries, click here. Don't judge my early photos, puh-lease :)