Jelly Time of Year!

I’ve been a little busy this weekend and thought I’d try something new.  Over the years I’ve made jelly and jam for canning but standing over a pot worrying about it burning or trying to remember when the boil started took away the fun. The past week I saw a couple of video’s showing how easy it is to make jelly with an automatic jelly maker.  So I did a little research and picked up my own Jelly Maker Needless to say I’ve been on a jelly roll since it arrive on Saturday!  My first test was an easy blackberry jam (recipe book included).  I picked up some berries, sugar and pectin on my grocery trip.  My first batch (4 – 8 oz jelly jars) was done in about 45 minutes.  The jelly maker made it so easy that I wanted to do more!  Since that first batch I’ve made some Irish Breakfast Apple jelly and some scuppernong jelly.  I called one of our local wineries and they had extra scuppernong juice left over from pressing a few days earlier.  The scuppernong jelly was a test since I did not have a recipe.  Instead I used the apple recipe from the guide and used scuppernong juice instead.  The first batch turned out awesome!  The second batch did not set so I will reprocess it later today.  I was going good until I ran out of pectin and used a different brand.  Lesson learned…if a recipe calls for a specific pectin don’t swap it for a different brand.  Well swap if you’d like, but you’ll be doing twice as much work when re-batching time comes around.  Take a peek at all the jelly!

Jelly Time

It’s jelly and jam making time at my house! Guess what some family members will get for Christmas!

Kombucha Plenty!!

**UPDATE BELOW**

June 3, 2012 – A couple of weeks ago I decided to try and make my own kombucha.  It seemed pretty easy and if successful it would be cheaper than paying $3-5 for a bottle from the local health food store.  Well after reading through a couple of recipes I found out I would need a kombucha “scoby” mother before I could get started.  Once more I bought a bottle of raw kombucha and used it as part of my starter.  After a little chemistry everything was set up, I made my famous sweet tea (see sweet tea is good for something other than a drink on a hot day), mixed everything together, placed it in a glass pitcher, covered it with a dish cloth and rubber band.  Then I waited on my scoby to be born.

Constant Brewing Kombucha! Guava Starter!

Now I’ve made sweet tea before and forgot about it in the fridge and at one time or another this blob of something would show up.  Little did I know back then that I was tossing out something that could be so useful and healthy!  At that time I just though everything I learned in home economics must have not have stuck!

Fast forward 10 days and I have a scoby!  She’s named Myrtle and her sister is Betty!  They were both born on the same day but within a couple of weeks Betty moved to the city and lives in a sun tea pitcher until her new home arrives.  I ordered a 3 gallon Ohio crock from our local hardware store.  They don’t carry them locally but if

I order online they will ship it free to the store, BARGAIN!

The Scoby Twins New Homes

Now that Myrtle and Betty Scoby have grown so much I decided they needed to downsize.  Betty was first and I cut her down just enough to live in her new home, but I didn’t know what to do with her leftovers.  Since kombucha is the tea made from scoby I didn’t want to toss it out, but I do know that it will slow down production if I put it into the refrigerator.  I carefully cut up the rest of Betty and placed her into a canning jar and covered it with kombucha.  Afterwards I decided to move the smaller pieces into small jars, add a 1/4 cup of kombucha, and 1/2 cup of fresh sweet tea.  Once they start growing they will develop back into round scobys and I’ll have to find them new homes.

I’ve noticed that there are several places online that sell kombucha starters, so I might have to do that if I can’t find anyone locally would want to start making their own.  If I get too many scobys going hubby might want me to stop since we can only drink so much each day!

Baby Scobys – Check Back in 12 Days For Adoption Information!

Each Sunday I drain off the kombucha and put it in the fridge to chill!

**UPDATE – Seven Days Later – June 9, 2012**

After seven days it was time to peek in on the babies and see if they needed feeding.  All are healthy and growing so I gave them a little sweet tea to eat on and grow thicker.  Hmmm…now what am I going to do with all these little scobys??

Baby Scobys – Seven Days Old, Burped and Feed