Category Archives: Misc

EASY Way to Dry Fresh Herbs

Many times we can end up with a bunch of fresh herbs, whether we grew them or not. Maybe a neighbor shared them. Maybe we bought them at the grocery store as a needed ingredient for some new recipe. Then we find ourselves with extra herbs, not knowing quite what to do with them. Sound familiar?

Well, drying fresh herbs doesn’t need to be hard. Nor do you need special equipment. Yes, it may be nice to dry them in a dehydrator, but not everyone owns one and it certainly isn’t worth buying one just to dry a few herbs! Some people suggest tying them by the stems and hanging them upside down to dry. That’s a tried and true time-honored method of drying herbs. However, even THAT can present itself with issues. What if you have no place to hang them? What if you have a cat that loves to attack them? What if the leaves fall off and make a mess on the floor?

Well, there’s an even easier way to dry those extra herbs. Simply wash them and pat them dry (if they have not already been washed). Then place them in a clean paper bag, stems and all. Leave the bag “puffed out” and fold over the top a couple times to keep the contents inside. Lay it on its side in a non-humid environment (someplace other than the kitchen or bathroom…who would want to dry food in a bathroom??). Next, a couple times a day (morning and evening), give the bag a little shake and turn it over. In a matter of days, your herbs will be beautifully dried. To remove the leaves from the stems, simply lightly crush them in your hands and remove the stems from there. Store the dried leaves in an air-tight covered container and use as you would any dried herb. It’s THAT simple!

The time it takes to dry your herbs will depend upon variables, such as the type of herb, the amount to be dried, the size of the bag, and the humidity in the environment. Nevertheless, they WILL dry, given a little time. AND this method involves no special equipment, no electricity, no mess to clean up during the process, no nails or hooks to hang them on. Just a paper bag! Note: Be sure it’s a paper bag, and not a plastic bag. The paper is needed for air flow in the drying process.

Below is a link to a video I produced showing how to do this. Enjoy!

I hope this helps πŸ™‚
Judi

NEW Use for Juice Pulp…Salad Sprinkles

Many people are making fresh fruit and vegetable juice these days. And the trend is growing in popularity for good reason. It’s a GREAT way to add vital nutrients to your diet by increasing your consumption of those highly valued vegetables and fruit. But all that juicing leaves one with the question…What do I do with all this extracted pulp??

There are many websites, blog posts, and YouTube videos online showing the usual uses for the pulp: adding it to the compost pile, or make pulp crackers or vegetable broth. Those are all great ing suggestions and well worth trying. But I came up with yet another way to use the pulp that I haven’t seen before. Why not dehydrate it and use it for salad sprinkles?

Using the pulp for a salad sprinkle will not only add a little crunch to your salad and the flavored essence of the juiced vegetable or fruit, but it also adds the highly prized and much needed fiber that so many Western diets are lacking!

The pulp can be dehydrated and used just as it is…plain. OR, you could add any variety of herbs and spices that you want to flavor it your way according to your own liking. The flavoring options are limited only to your imagination.

Storing your salad sprinkles is simple. Just place them in an air-tight container and keep it somewhere where you won’t forget about it when it’s time to make a salad. Yes, placing an oxygen absorber in the container would also help to keep your sprinkles fresh, but if they’re used regularly, you’ll go through them quickly, so long-term storage probably won’t happen. Vacuum-sealing the container seems to be a waste of time and effort if you’ll be using the sprinkles regularly, so that shouldn’t be a concern. So, store them as you would homemade croutons and you should be good!

I created a video on making and storing dehydrated pulp to be used as salad sprinkles. Click the link below to view the video. Enjoy!

I hope this helps πŸ™‚
Judi

Money Saving Tip…Buy Bar Soap for Less

In today’s world I don’t think there are many of us who prefer to do without soap. Even if we don’t bathe every day, at SOME point, we’re going to reach for a bar of soap to get washed up. Since we all must buy it at some point in time, why not save a few dollars along the way?

A while back I discovered that literally anyone can buy soap bases from online soap making supply stores. Really! They sell “melt and pour soap bases” that are literally what they say…you can melt them down, add whatever embellishments you want, pour them into a mold and allow them to harden back up. This is how many people sell “handmade” soaps online. It’s really easy AND you don’t even have to go through all the melting process. These bases are wonderful on their own and can simply be used just as they are. No embellishments needed!

These soap bases come in bulk bars, ranging from one pound increments up to 50 pounds. The varieties available are wide, ranging from clear soap base made with organic oils, olive oil, goat’s milk, honey, oatmeal, and much more. A typical bar of soap weighs four ounces, so a one pound bar will provide four bars of soap. My video (link below) shows just how simple it is to yield four bars of soap (or even eight small bars of hand soap) from a one pound block of soap base. These bases can be used just as they are. There is really no need to melt them down unless you truly want to add something to them. It’s not mandatory.

In the description box of the video, I have listed a number of online soap supply stores. I have no connection with any of them, so I am providing the list to help my viewers. If you want me to add a store to the list, please let me know and I’ll be happy to do so.

I have been buying and using soap bases for our bar soaps for years and have saved a good bit of money by doing this. I urge you to give it a try! Check out the video below.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Heal Gums Naturally with Probiotics

I recently developed a bout of gingivitis in one area of my mouth where my teeth are crooked. I had been rinsing my mouth once a day with diluted hydrogen peroxide for a while, and I suspect that created an imbalance of microbes in my mouth that led to the inflamed gum problem. The issue flared up so that I couldn’t brush my teeth nor floss without extreme pain.

I tried using more diluted hydrogen peroxide rinses and that only seemed to aggravate the situation, making the problem worse. THEN, I realized that our bodies house a finely tuned balance of microbes…both good and not so friendly microorganisms. I realized that the balance was off, probably due to the hydrogen peroxide I had been using.

So, I experimented on myself and it worked! I stopped the peroxide rinses and turned to a little “germ warfare” of my own design. I took what probiotic capsules I had on hand (a 10 billion strength mixture of different strains of Lactobacillus bacteria), and started breaking open the capsules directly onto my tongue. My saliva moistened the powder and I did what I could to move it toward the inflamed gum area. I did this two or three times a day. By the morning of day 3, I was able to brush and floss my teeth without any pain. The redness had subsided. By the end of day 4, the redness had disappeared and my gums were returning to normal.

When doing natural therapies, it is important to monitor body signals as to when a therapy is enough and it’s time to stop. I found that four days of using probiotic capsules in my mouth was enough for my situation. On day 5, I noticed that my gum problem was pretty much gone, but my mouth and especially teeth started to feel exceptionally “clean”. Abnormally clean. I practice good oral hygiene and my mouth usually feels clean, but this was not a usual feeling…like it was “too” clean. So, I took that as my signal to discontinue the capsules. It was my sign that my body had enough of the probiotics in the mouth for the time being.

With that signal, I decided to allow the microbe population in my mouth to balance itself out and not interfere with the process. I continued brushing and flossing as usual, but did not do any oil pulling (as I usually do…once a day) until my mouth returned to normal.

Below are two videos where I discussed how I tackled this problem. If you’re suffering from gum issues, please do consider this approach. I believe this method addresses the problem at the core of the issue…an imbalance of microbes in our mouth. I hope this helps!

Judi

Regrow Celery From the Stump

Want more celery for free? Don’t throw the end away after cutting off the stalks! Regrowing celery is very simple and a fun project for all, especially for children.

Simply remove the bottom end of a bunch of celery, cutting about one inch up from the bottom. Place the cut off piece, bottom side down, in a shallow tray with about 1/2 inch of water in it. Place the tray in a sunny location or under bright lights. It will begin to regrow from the center in very little time, usually ranging from overnight to up to two days.

After some time, your celery should sprout roots. With that, it will be very thirsty, so monitor the water level daily to be sure it doesn’t run dry. Also, wash the container now and then to prevent algae from growing, which would not be healthy for the plant.

After roots are established, many people will plant their new celery plant in their garden, allowing it to grow much larger. If you choose to keep it indoors and in water, it would be best to feed it with some plant food to support its growth. The celery can be harvested whenever you want.

It’s fun and rewarding to see food grow from a scrap item that would have been thrown away. This is a wonderful activity for children to help teach them where food comes from and hopefully inspire them to do a little gardening of their own sometime.

The following is a video demonstration of how to regrow celery

Enjoy!
Judi

Review of Nesco Food Dehydrator (FD-75A/FD-75PR)

I recently purchased a Nesco food dehydrator and wanted to offer an unbiased review of it in hopes of helping others who are shopping for a dehydrator. In case you’re wondering…I purchased the dehydrator with my own money, I have no ties with the Nesco company, nor has anyone paid me to do this review.

FEATURES…
* Model FD-75A or FD-75PR (These two models are actually the same machine. The only difference is the packaging.)
* Top mounted fan and a bottom tray
* 600 watts of power
* Thermostat range is 95-160F
* 13-1/2″ footprint (round)
* Comes with 5 BPA-free plastic drying trays
* Comes with 2 fruit roll sheets and 2 small screen sheets (all BPA-free)
* Includes a recipe/instruction booklet
* This model also comes with jerky spice and cure packets (3 of each). This gives you an opportunity to try their spice packets before buying additional ones.
* The unit can expand up to 12 trays being used at once.
* Extra trays, fruit roll sheets and small screen sheets can be purchased in multiples of two.

PROs…
* The top-mounted fan prevents any spills or fallen food from entering the fan or motor.
* The bottom tray enables very easy clean-up of spills or fallen food.
* This unit is VERY easy to operate. There is literally NO learning curve. Simply turn the dial to the desired temperature setting and plug it in. That’s it!
* Suggested temperatures for specific foods are printed on the top of the unit, allowing for easy, fast operation.
* This dehydrator has a smaller footprint than many others on the market. This is an advantage if you don’t have a lot of counter space for such an appliance.
* The unit is very lightweight and easy to move around if needed.
* This unit has few features (which might be a “con” for some people), meaning less things to break down.
* It is very inexpensive when compared to some other dehydrators. This makes it a good entry-level dehydrator for those new to dehydrating or for those who are not sure just how much dehydrating they will need to do.
* The unit is not overly loud. One can easily talk over the machine. Some units on the market have a louder noise level, which may be a problem for some people.

CONs…
* This dehydrator has very few features. This can be a “pro” or “con” depending on personal perspective. Most people expect an electrical appliance to have an on/off switch. This unit does not. It is turned on/off by plugging/unplugging it from an electrical outlet. It does not have a timer, which many people expect to see on a dehydrator. It literally has no bells and whistles.
* One year warranty. The lifespan of this unit is apparently not as long as some other dehydrators on the market. However, for the price point, it is what one would expect.

FAQs…

Why did I choose this dehydrator?
(1) Noise level. I have read reviews of other dehydrators where people complained about the noise level. I needed one that was not overly noisy so it does not interfere with my husband’s musical endeavors.

(2) Size. I did not have enough counter space available to devote to a larger dehydrator. This one fit very well where I needed to put it.

Do I miss the bells and whistles?
No, not at all! Personally, I prefer to keep things simple. I will admit that plugging it in/out of the wall to turn it on/off was weird at first. Now I’m used to it and don’t give it a second thought.

I also don’t miss a timer. I check the time when I start it up and figure about when the food should be dried. I check it at that time. If it’s not finished, I simply let the machine run longer. IF I expect the food to be dried while I’m away or sleeping, I turn the temperature down some to prolong the drying time (this is not suggested if you are drying meat, fish, poultry or any animal products).

What have I dried with it so far (as of the time of this post)?
Tomatoes, apples, green beans, basil, juice pulp crackers, kale chips, soaked almonds, and carrots.

How well did they come out?
Everything came out very well, except the basil took a lot longer than I expected. After 24 hours, the basil was moderately dry, but not completely. I removed the herb leaves from the dehydrator and placed them in a paper bag, folded the top over a time or two, and placed it on the dining room table. Each day, I shook the bag a bit to stir up the leaves. The basil was perfectly dry after a few days.

Do I like my dehydrator?
Yes! I LOVE this machine!

Would I recommend it?
Absolutely…IF the buyer can be happy without the bells and whistles, even the features you might expect (like on/off switch and timer).

If a person expects to be drying a large volume of food at one time, a larger unit may be more appropriate. BUT, this machine can use up to 12 trays at one time. So, it’s a matter of personal preference, budget allowance for such an appliance, and space available to house it.

Final thoughts…
This is a great entry-level dehydrator for those new to dehydrating and not sure just how much they will use it. The investment is small (as dehydrators go), the footprint is small, it is lightweight and can be easily moved, and it does the job VERY well! What more could you ask for? If you’re just not sure that you need a big dehydrator, yet you want to give it a try, DO consider this model! It’s worth the small investment to “test the waters” of this form of food preservation.

Below is my video review of this machine.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Cheap, Effective DIY Bug Spray

If you’re like us, you don’t enjoy sharing living space with uninvited small flying creatures that make their way inside your home. Flies, mosquitoes, wasps…you name it…they’re no fun inside the house!

I discovered this do-it-yourself, cheap and VERY effective bug spray years ago. I always keep a bottle of straight rubbing alcohol (70%) in my bathroom near the tub to spray tile grout after a shower. One day a fly made its way into the bathroom. I grabbed the alcohol bottle and sprayed the fly. It dropped dead in no time! Really! It was the fastest, most effective bug killer I ever found!

We have tried this on fruit flies, wasps, flies, and mosquitoes. It literally has killed any insect we’ve ever sprayed with it! So…for a cheap, really effective do-it-yourself bug spray, just find an empty spray bottle and fill it with 70% rubbing alcohol. Do not dilute the alcohol. Use a quick spray or two on any unwanted insect in the house and you’ll quickly be rid of it.

ONE WORD OF CAUTION: Be mindful of what you’re spraying the alcohol on in your house (other than the bug). Rubbing alcohol WILL TEMPORARILY soften paint. If you do spray some on paint, such as on a fly in a window, simply do not touch the paint with anything until the alcohol dries out (this includes leaving the dead fly alone). This won’t take long at all as alcohol dries quickly. Once the alcohol dries out and the paint hardens back up (usually in less than a minute), you can pick up the dead bug.

Also, be careful about spraying this over finished wood furniture. Some finishes might be damaged, if only temporarily, by the alcohol. If in doubt, test a very small area with the alcohol in an inconspicuous area before spraying any bug that lands on your fine furniture. Otherwise, just wave the insect away from the furniture and spray it in flight or when it lands on something that can safely be sprayed.

No more bugs in the house! Yipee!

Hope this helps,
Judi

Village Yarn Brand Craft Cotton Yarn

Review of Village Yarn Craft Cotton Yarn

This is a complete, unbiased review of Village Yarn brand Craft Cotton yarn. Just so you know…I have not been paid nor asked by Herrschner’s who sells this yarn to do this review.

I sell my own handmade items online on a number of sites. In the last couple of years, the sale of my crochet cloths has skyrocketed. In 2016, I literally sold almost 3,000 of these cloths! I keep waiting for my fingers to be “whittled off” but fortunately, they’re still attached and hence I keep crocheting!

For assorted reasons, I recently decided to try different brands of cotton yarn because I felt it was time to consider a change in the brand that I used for years. One brand I tried (and WILL use in making cloths to sell) is Herrschner’s Village Yarn brand Craft Cotton yarn. This is a brand you won’t see in any store. It seems to be a brand exclusive to Herrschners.com. So, it can only be purchased online at the Herrschner’s website. I believe some view it as one of the “underdogs” in cotton yarns since it’s not a major brand that cannot be found in many different stores or websites. However, after trying it, I believe it needs a bit more recognition and praise.

Here is what I found regarding specific points that may be of interest to anyone using cotton yarn…

Ease of Use…Flow Over Crochet HookΒ  (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
I have made crochet cloths with this yarn using an I size (5.00mm) crochet hook with a half-double crochet stitch for the body of the cloth and a single crochet stitch for the edging. I found it to flow smoothly over the hook with little effort. It was a joy to work with and I found I could work pretty fast with this yarn with little issue.

Although I have not tried knitting with this yarn, I feel it would be a great yarn for knitting any project calling for a 4-ply medium weight cotton yarn.

“Feel” of the Yarn (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
This yarn has a nice soft feel/touch to it, unlike some other brands of cotton yarn. The finished cloth is soft enough to use as a facial washcloth, yet it is still tough enough to do the job as a dishcloth. I think the softness also helps in giving it a smooth feel on the hook, allowing for “smooth” crochet action.

Ease of Flow of Yarn from Skein (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
The end of the yarn coming from the center of the skein is not readily available. So, it seems it’s designed to be used from the outer end of the skein. Perhaps one could “dig” into the center to pull the yarn from the middle (which might be best), but I have not tried that approach yet (maybe I will…it might flow better that way!). So, when working from the outer end, the yarn does not flow smoothly. I had to stop crocheting andΒ  unwind yarn before I could keep working. This is a simple thing, and may not be an issue for many people. But when making thousands of cloths in a year, this represents a good bit of time. Although I really DO love this yarn, I wish it was wound differently so it would flow more readily from the skein.

Size of Skein and Price (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
The solid skeins contain 2.5 oz/71 g/115 yards
The ombre skeins contain 2 oz/56 g/92 yards
This yarn also comes in a 16 oz cone/454 g/ 743 yards

I have only purchased the small solid color skeins so far. They are usually priced at $2.39/ball. When 3 or more skeins are purchased (in any color combination), they are reduced to $2.19/ball. The cones are normally $14.99 each.

Herrschner’s does not automatically offer free shipping with larger orders; however, they often run specials with assorted discounts and/or free shipping. If you join their mailing list, you’ll receive discount/sale notices pretty often. Careful shopping can save you money when ordering this product during a special sales event.

When using the small skeins (solid colors), I get two crochet cloths per ball, with very little yarn left over. This is absolutely perfect for me! My cloths are about 7-1/2 to 8″ square. This brings my cost per cloth to $1.10 each, assuming I purchased the yarn in bulk (which I always do), and also assuming that I got free shipping (or a discount large enough to offset shipping costs). From my experience, this price is about average for many cotton yarns. Some are cheaper, while others would cost more. I feel this yarn is worth the price.

Colorfastness (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)

Yarn did not bleed!

Yarn did not bleed!

This is REALLY an important point for me. Some brands of cotton yarn lose color readily and that can lead to unhappy customers. So, I tested this yarn for colorfastness. I took small scraps of sage and white yarns and made a small swatch of a cloth (see picture). I didn’t bother cutting off ends nor weaving them in since this was just a test for color fastness. I used the cloth that is pictured in washing dishes numerous times. The sage did NOT bleed at all. If it did, I would have noticed it in the dish water, and also the white yarn would have been stained. As you can see, the white yarn is still white, not a pale green. Hence, I’m VERY please to say that it did not bleed!

I also tested a piece of the parsley green yarn in water that was heated in the microwave, almost to boiling. The yarn was placed in the water and left there for a few minutes. NO bleeding!

From these two tests, it certainly seems this brand of yarn is color safe. Yeah!!!

Thickness (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
This is classified as a medium weight 4-ply yarn. However, many cotton yarns are classified the same way, yet some feel very thin while others feel extremely thick and stiff. This yarn seems to meet the “Goldilocks test” where it feels “just right” being nice and thick, but not SO thick that it’s stiff and hard to work with. The stitches in the finished product are nicely filled out, looking evenly distributed, yet it retains flexibility. With these attributes, the crochet cloths are a delight to use!

Yarn Twist vs Splitting (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
Anyone who crochets or knits knows what it’s like to work with a yarn that splits easily. It’s annoying to say the least. Uncorrected splits can cause weak and even unsightly areas in a project. They are to be avoided if at all possible.

Any yarn can be subject to splitting, but some a lot more than others. That being said, the twist or spin of the yarn makes all the difference. The more or better the twist or spin, the less likely a yarn is to split. Once again, this yarn seems to meet the “Goldilocks test” where it has just the right amount of spin to hold the strands together making it unlikely to split when being used. Yet it doesn’t have SO much spin that it knots up when the yarn is unwound from the skein. Most of the time, I can make entire cloths with this yarn without having even one splitting episode! Yeah!!

Color Options (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)

Colors I Purchased

Colors I Purchased

There are a total of 43 color options available in this line of yarn, with 26 solids and 17 ombres. While no one brand carries absolutely ALL colors possible, this brand does have a good selection to choose from.

The colors I purchased were…

Top row, left to right:
White, Cream, Honey, Linen, Brown

Second row, left to right:
Burgundy, Apple Red, Morning Sky, Turquoise, Deep Sea, Parsley, Sage

Are the Colors True to Their Names? (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
I purchased 12 of the solid colors to explore for now. I found that most of the colors I purchased were true to their names. However, two of them were questionable to me. I even double checked the color number on the label with the catalog number to be sure I was looking at the right color!Β 

Apple Red yarn comparison

Apple Red yarn comparison

The “Apple Red” color is not apple red. This was a surprise because the color in the catalog clearly looks to be an apple red. I took a picture of the ball of yarn next to a Red Delicious apple (left), a Braeburn apple (middle) and a Clementine tangerine (right) for comparisons. As the picture shows, the yarn is far from an apple red, yet it’s clearly not orange. It’s somewhere in between. Perhaps the dye lot was off in this batch? Maybe it should be called red coral? Maybe deep conch? Maybe orange-red? I really can’t decide what it should be called. Village Craft does have a “Really Red” color of yarn in this line. Maybe it would be more of an apple red color. I have not purchased that color, so I can’t verify it.

Turquoise Comparison

Turquoise Comparison

Another color that I found questionable was the turquoise. The picture in the catalog does look like a turquoise blue. However, the actual skein of turquoise that I purchased looks more like a very nice medium blue color. (See picture…Morning Sky on the left, Turquoise in the middle, Deep Sea on the right.) I really don’t see the “turquoise” in it. To truly appear “turquoise” it may need a bit more green in the dye. Again, maybe it’s just the dye lot of this skein. I’m more inclined to call my skein medium blue and not turquoise. So…if you truly need a deep turquoise yarn, this may not be it.

With the above being said, the colors are not that bad at all, with two colors out of twelve being somewhat off. My suggestion to you: If specific colors are very important in a project, buy one skein of each color you’ll need to be sure they’ll be right for you before investing a lot in a project.

Knots (βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—)
I’ve used a number of different brands of yarn. It seems that just about any brand can be subject to having knots in the skeins. However, some brands (yarn mills) do a better job than others of minimizing their knots.

Knot in Parsley Yarn

Knot in Parsley Yarn

I’ve made a good number of cloths with this yarn and I don’t recall having any issues with knots along the way. However, when taking pictures for this article, I did easily notice a knot in one of the skeins. (See picture.) Obviously, the yarn mill could have done a little better job of minimizing the knot. When working with this skein, I’ll need to cut the yarn and redo the knot to make it less visible.

Conclusion

Finished Crochet Cloths

Finished Crochet Cloths

I’m very happy with the finished cloths I made with this yarn and will continue to use specific colors in meeting my customer needs. Note that I will be using more than one brand of yarn because I try to carry a wide array of color options in my crochet cloths. However, this brand will meet some of my needs and I’m very happy with it.

I recommend this brand for those who are looking for a good quality cotton yarn! The colors hold up very well. The finished projects are soft yet very durable and scrub dishes well. Crochet cloths wring out easily and dry well overnight. I believe this yarn would perform equally well when used in knitted projects. Overall, I found this to be a great quality cotton yarn. I suggest you try it!

Happy crocheting and knitting!
Judi

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Making Kombucha with Less Sugar

I have made fermented food products for many years, especially yogurt. I raised my children on homemade yogurt and the whole family ate it on a regular basis. So, I’m familiar with culturing foods.

I recently got introduced to kombucha and have realized the value in it for its probiotic qualities. I purchased a scoby and my kombucha has been thriving for a good while now and I’ve been drinking it everyday! Yum!

I’ve seen many posts online with the question about making kombucha with less sugar. Those questions are usually answered with scaled down recipes, but still calling for the same ratio of water to sugar to tea bags. To me, that’s not answering the question. Well…here’s your answer!

Since I drink it daily (maybe about a cup to 1-1/2 cups a day), I thought I’d try less sugar. It always seemed to me that 1 cup of sugar per gallon of water (the standard recipe) was more sugar than would be truly needed. NOTE that the standard recipe may be right IF your gallon batch of kombucha lasts a month or more, without fresh tea being added, as in a continual brew.Β 

So…to my continual brew of kombucha (this is plain kombucha, not the soda pop type with fruit juice added) I started using HALF the amount of sugar that the original recipe calls for. I’ve been doing this now for a couple weeks and my scobies (note that’s plural) are multiplying and thriving in my jar. Even the original scoby is still alive and thriving. They seem to be extremely happy, even though the sugar content of the brew has been reduced. My kombucha tastes perfectly fine to me and I feel good that it has less sugar in it.

I am adding freshly made tea/sugar mixture to the jar as needed, maybe 4 cups every few days with the reduced sugar and I have noticed nothing negative happening in the jar. The taste is the same, the scobies are multiplying and thriving, and all is well.

SO…For those of you who want to subject yourself to less sugar in your kombucha, it appears that HALF the recommended amount of sugar is fine as long as you continue to add to the batch as you drink it. Note that this recommendation is for plain kombucha. It is not the brewed drink made with fruit juice and double fermented, yielding a soda pop-like beverage. I suspect it may work well with that recipe too since fruit juice has naturally occurring sugar in it, but I have not tried it, so I cannot guarantee it will work.

Here is the ratio of ingredients that I now use:

1 gallon (16 cups ) filtered water : 8 black tea bags : 1/2 cup sugar
8 cups filtered water : 4 black tea bags : 1/4 cup sugar
4 cups filtered water : 2 black tea bags : 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups filtered water : 1 black tea bag : 1 tablespoon sugar

I am not including the complete directions here on how to make kombucha. I’m assuming the reader already knows how to brew it. If not, please just do an internet search for how to make kombucha and you’ll find countless sites with complete directions online. Simply cut the recommended amount of sugar in half and your brew should be just fine and you’ll consume less sugar along the way. YES, the sugar is needed for the culture, but the ratio of 1 cup per gallon is more than is needed for the culture to thrive.

Happy kombucha making!
Judi

Overcharged on Produce at Walmart in Carroll, Iowa

I don’t normally write such a post, but this one is warranted. We shopped at the Walmart store in Carroll, Iowa yesterday (October 29, 2016). We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, so of course, I purchased a number of items that needed to be weighed at the register.

When checking out, I didn’t watch the prices as the cashier rang up our items (my mistake). It wasn’t until this morning that I actually looked at our receipt. What really caught my eye was the fact that I saw the price for the ONE honey crisp apple that I bought. I’ve never tried one and since they’re expensive, I just bought one to try. I noticed that the ONE apple cost $3.60. “What??” I yelped! I looked at the weight and according to the receipt that one apple weighed 1.35 lbs. I have an accurate digital kitchen scale. I weighed the apple and it weighed less than 8 ounces. Hence, I was charged more than double what I should have been for that one apple. (Note that at the store, I put the apple was in one of those produce lightweight plastic bags that you can grab from a dispenser, which I had removed after bringing the food home. So the “tare” weight was not added in, but there’s NO way that little plastic bag weighed over 8 ounces. I’m sure it weighed way less than an ounce.)

Then I got out the eggplant that I purchased and have not yet cut in any way. It too rang up for a lot more weight and cost than it should have. Then I checked other items that we had not used, and they ALL weighed more on the receipt than they actually did…way more…sometimes double the weight or more.

I called the store and spoke with someone in customer service. She said they check their register scales every other day. She got the register number from my receipt and said she would go check the scale right away.

This may be an innocent problem, but I’ve heard of such schemes in the past (where stores alter their scales to show items weighing more than they actually do) and I know from reading online that the law has cracked down on such things. I don’t know if this was deliberate or not, but knowing how Walmart does their best to make as much money as they can, any way they can, I suspect that they might deliberately calibrate their scales so they overcharge customers on items that must be weighed.

So…it’s time for all of us to check this out and make it known to any store that overcharges that you caught them in the act. We could go back to that store and easily prove our point by carrying the items back to have them reweighed. However, we live in a different town and that store is about 30 minutes drive from here (country driving, so we’re talking about 30 miles one way). If I lived closer, I’d carry the produce back and have customer service weigh them again and prove my point. I’m estimating I was overcharged $10 to $15 or more (total) on the assortment of produce I purchased that had to be weighed. Because of the cost in gasoline and time factor in going back to the store, I’m opting to make this event known to the public this way, and absorbing the loss rather than driving back to the store. I doubt I’ll ever purchase anything that must be weighed at that store again. AND I’ll watch prices on items as they’re rung up at any store I shop in from now on.

I hope this helps you as a reader in some way, if nothing more than making you aware that such things can and do happen and that we should ALL watch the monitor as items are being rung up at any cash register. As I’ve learned, it pays to watch.