HANGING OUT AT THE PENNSYLVANIA FARM SHOW
In my second year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, I spent two great days chatting about fermentation with people from all over Pennsylvania. I LOVE the Farm Show. I really love it. First, Fillmore Container sponsored my attendance, and the Fillmore people are pretty much the nicest folks you could ever imagine, so spending time with them is just fun.
Fillmore has seriously beefed up their fermentation product line, so if you were at the booth, coveting the new Pickle Pipe or jar weights, for instance, you can get them over on the Fillmore site any time you’d like!
Second, I love it there because I have the opportunity to talk to so many people about fermentation. And many of them have different fermenting goals (aka feeding a family of 11 on a budget, something I rarely encounter in my city-based classes and events) than the people I normally teach in Philly. While I do love writing about fermentation, writing doesn’t afford me to opportunity to see people’s faces when they get excited and realize they can do this or when they finally understand the issue that has been plaguing their yogurt production for all these years. At the Farm Show, I get to see that all day long. It’s fun. It’s joyful and it gives me energy and excites me to teach and write more.
This year I had a busy schedule that included making kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, pickles and so much more when people strolled up to the Fillmore booth with their excellent questions. In short, it was a dream trip for a fermenter who loves talking to people about fermentation.
Finally, it’s just a wild ride. There are horses running down the hallways, every imaginable type of fried food, the talents of Pennsylvanians on display in competitions from greeting card-making to jar decorating to serious quilting. For the curious of mind, it is really a fun way to wander the day away. Thanks for the opportunity, Fillmore Container!
One thing I always love to do for big events and classes is to test out a new recipe for something that I can enjoy for the first time with people taking the class, and this trip to the Farm Show was no exception. I made an Apple Spice Kombucha and a Molasses Kombucha for a recent kombucha class and they were both tasty, but when I put them together to free up one of my handy carbonation tools (aka recycled plastic seltzer bottles), I found that I liked them even better combined.
So here you have the newly tweaked product of this happy accident. Although molasses is definitely a sugar, it doesn’t seem like the kombucha microbes have the easiest time digesting it, which results in two things: this isn’t a super-speedy carbonator and you’ll still be getting a decent dose of sugar when you drink this after secondary fermentation. So feel free to cut the molasses a bit if you don’t do well with carbs.
MOLASSES APPLE SPICE KOMBUCHA RECIPE
yield about 1.5 quarts of booch
New to making kombucha? Check out Phickle’s Komucha Basics guide before you kick things off. Just remember that carbonation times will vary depending on how sweet the finished kombucha you bottle is, the temperature in your home, and more. I like to give it at least 2-3 weeks to fully carbonate in winter. If you don’t care about carbonation, feel free to skip the 2 liter bottle and just combine the ingredients in a jar to enjoy after a couple days. Keep in mind that bottling and carbonating in glass bottles is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Do that at your own risk.
- 1 plastic 2-liter bottle with a sealing lid, such as a cleaned, recycled soda bottle
- Roughly 6 cups (1.4 L) of kombucha that is still somewhat sweet
- 1/2 t cardamom
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably fresh grated
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice or 3 allspice berries
- 1 inch fresh ginger, shredded, or 1/8th teaspoon powdered
- 1 cup of the best quality apple cider you can access
- 3 tablespoons molasses
In a large bowl, stir about 1/2 of the kombucha with powdered spices, cider and molasses until molasses is dissolved. Pour this and the rest of the kombucha into the bottle and add cinnamon sticks and grated ginger if using.
Alternatively, you can add all ingredients to the 2-liter bottle and shake it until the molasses is dissolved. Fewer dishes, but a little more time, and you’ll need to check a few times to make sure it didn’t settle back out to the bottom. Also, if you shake it, make sure to carefully “burp” your bottle before resealing it for carbonation. Otherwise, it will give you false carbonation in just a couple hours. If your booch was very bubbly going in the bottle, you’ll also need to open with extreme caution, the way you would open a soda bottle that had been shaken.
And, btw, that extra space in your vessel helps with carbonation, so don’t fill the bottle to the top or close to the top if you want it carbonated.
Let it sit at warm room temperature for 1 to 4 weeks, checking daily, until the bottle is rigid (which tells you it’s fully carbonated). Move to the fridge for 2 or more hours and open with extreme care, over the sink.
You’ll need to pour it through a strainer for serving if you used the cinnamon sticks and grated ginger rather than the powdered stuff. This will also help remove any bits of SCOBY that have formed in the bottle. A gulp of newly formed SCOBY is a really unpleasant surprise IMO when I take a big gulp, so I always strain before serving.
Seal it back up and store it in the fridge. You can usually get it to re-carbonate, even as it sits in fridge.
Disclosure: Fillmore Container paid me to attend the farm show and provided many of the jars and fermentation equipment I used in my demonstrations. They did not require me to link to them, or to discuss their new fermented product line. I did that on my own because I like them and I think those products are pretty cool!