Posts Tagged ‘Herbs’

Flower Power Kombucha

Makes 2 ½  quarts

This combination of fragrant, uplifting, and naturally sweet flowers is the perfect tonic for spring. Rose petals soothe and relax; St. John’s Wort is detoxifies the liver; red clover purifies the blood; and chrysanthemum is anti-inflammatory and aids digestion. (See cooks notes for contraindications for these herbs.)

Before you make herbal kombucha set aside a mother mushroom that has not been in contact with herbal brew. The addition of herbs may change the composition of bacteria and yeast in the s.c.o.b.y.. Discard any mother or daughter mushrooms that have been in herbal teas or use them to culture future batches of herbal brews (but not regular brews (see cooks note)). If you are making kombucha to maximize the specific health benefits that are associated with the tea please follow the recipe for 5-Step Kombucha.

3 quarts clean water (well, spring, or filtered)

1 cup evaporated cane juice (preferably organic and fairly traded)

3 tablespoons organic rose petals

1 tablespoon St. John’s Wort blossoms and leaves

1 tablespoon red clover blossoms, about 3 large

1 tablespoon chrysanthemum blossoms, about 3 large

1 tablespoon organic green tea

½ cup finished kombucha or ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 kombucha mushroom (s.c.o.b.y.)

1.            Bring one quart of the water to a boil. Pour the water into a one-gallon heat safe glass bowl or jar. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the herbs and tea to a muslin spice bag, or oversized tea bag. Steep the mixture for as little as 15 minutes, or until the tea is cool. Remove the tea bag. Add the remaining 2 quarts of water.

2.            Add ½ cup kombucha from a previous batch or ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (this acidifies the tea and prevents contamination from other microorganisms). Place the mushroom dark side down in the liquid.

3.            If you are using a bowl cross several strips of masking tape over the top (to keep the cover from falling into the liquid). Cover with a cloth or paper towel. Secure the cover tightly with a string or rubber band (insects may be attracted and must be kept out!). Label with the date made. Store in a warm, well-ventilated place, out of direct sunlight.

4.            Depending upon the room temperature, the kombucha will be ready after 6-12 days. Kombucha is ready to drink when it looks relatively translucent and a ‘baby’ kombucha mushroom has formed above the mother. It will cease tasting of tea. Most people prefer kombucha sweet to pleasingly tart. After it has fermented about one week taste it daily. When the flavor suits your taste, bottle the tea.

5.            To bottle kombucha, remove the mother and the baby mushroom from the brew. Use a funnel and glass jars or bottles with tightly fitting lids (or flip-top bottles). Fill the jars to the top. Place a sheet of wax paper underneath the lid. (The paper prevents the acidic kombucha from contacting the lid.) Store in the refrigerator.

To restore effervescence to chilled kombucha, remove from the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Strain the tea just before serving.

Cooks note:

The mother and baby mushroom can be separated and used to make additional batches of flower power or other herbal kombuchas. Don’t use them for regular kombucha because the balance of bacteria and yeast within the s.c.o.b.y. may be altered.

Don’t use rose petals if you are pregnant. Don’t use chrysanthemum if you have a known allergy to ragweed. Don’t use St. John’s Wort if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you take any of the following medications: cyclosporine, tacrolimus, irinotecan, and imatinib mesylate, protease inhibitors, or nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Don’t use red clover if you are pregnant or nursing, taking oral contraception, estrogen or progesterone therapies.

This post was shared at Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday, Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday, and Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise platter Thursday blog hop.


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Herbal Super-Foods Smoothie

Makes 3 ½ cups

Berries, homemade kefir, and an abundance of locally-grown and organic super-foods – it’s my favorite way to start the day!

1 ½ cups high-quality kefir

2 large egg yolks, from pastured hens (optional)

1 tablespoon local, organic bee pollen

1 tablespoon roasted dandelion root powder, see cooks note

1 ½ teaspoons nettle powder, see cooks note

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 large, fair-trade, organic banana

3 tablespoons organic flax meal (freshly ground flax seeds)

3 tablespoons organic, extra-virgin coconut oil

In the pitcher of a blender combine the kefir, optional egg yolks, bee pollen, nettle powder, and roasted dandelion powder. Blend on low until the powders are fully incorporated. Add the strawberries, blueberries, banana, and flax meal. Pulse on high until the fruit is fully incorporated. You may need to scrape down the sides of the pitcher and push the fruit towards the blade.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, warm  the coconut oil until just melted, about 1 minute. With the blender running on low, slowly pour the coconut oil into the pitcher. Blend until the oil is fully incorporated, about one minute. Serve immediately or store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one day.

Cooks note:

Dandelion root can be harvested from your backyard or garden and roasted quite readily. However, it is nearly impossible to grind into a fine powder without industrial grinding equipment. For this smoothie I recommend purchasing organic, ground, roasted dandelion from a reputable herb purveyor (like The Herb Shoppe in Portland and Brooklyn or Mountain Rose Herbs online).

Gathering wild stinging nettles and drying them at home is simple and quite rewarding (if you’re into it!). The best way to learn is always from someone else who has knowledge of the herb. Otherwise, purchase organic nettle leaf from a reputable herb purveyor (like The Herb Shoppe or Mountain Rose Herbs) or purchase wildcrafted nettles in the market and dry them at home. Grind dried nettle leaf in a clean coffee grinder until it is reduced to powder, about 30-60 seconds.

Click here for my Kefir Recipe.

This recipe was shared at the Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday blog carnival, at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday, at Mind, Body, and Sole’s Wildcrafting Wednesday, and at Recipe Lion’s Favorite Spring Recipe Share.

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