Local Booch – a local favorite

by Gatlin Beemus, Rype & Readi Contributing Blogger


Local BoochSt. Augustine native, Matt Webb, is the proud owner of our favorite local kombucha brewery. Matt was inspired to open his own brewery after a trip to Colorado two years ago. During his travels, he fell in love with a drink that was a healthy alternative for those who enjoyed the taste of fermentation but are unable to enjoy it. Being allergic to hops found in beer, Matt was drawn to its fermentation process and gluten free nature. He brought the drink back to his home of St. Augustine and set off to share it with all of you. Thus, Local Booch was born.

Kombucha is a non-alcoholic, fermented drink made out of tea. Local Booch uses high quality organic fair trade black and green tea and Yerba Mate tea. The tea used in the fermentation process creates a drink that boosts the immune system, helps digestion, and increases immunity. Not only is it extremely good for you, Local Booch’s kombucha is a refreshing and delicious alternative to a soda or brewed beer.

The operation began with a lot of flavor experiments. Matt wanted to incorporate local produce into his kombucha. He experimented with ginger, lavender, blackberries, strawberries, guava, watermelon, and many others.

Local BoochMatt has been steadily expanding his company from his own personal brewing set to larger fermenting tanks. First, the tea base is made with a mixture of water, Florida grown evaporated cane juice, and tea. Yeast is then added to start the fermenting process. Fresh fruit juice and other natural ingredients are added for flavoring. Carbonation then occurs when CO2 builds up in the mixture. The final result is chilled and delivered for thousands to enjoy.

Matt has made it his goal to bring his kombucha to many diverse locations. He wants to help everyone have an alternative carbonated, fermented, and gluten free drink readily available. Matt and his partner are planning on bottling their kombucha in the near future in order to get more Local Booch out to the world.

Dan’s the Man for North Florida’s Best Blueberries

Dan’s the Man for North Florida’s Best Blueberries

By Gatlin Beemus, Rype & Readi Contributing Blogger


Blublueberrieseberries, blueberries, blueberries! Tis the season for Northeast Florida’s juiciest and plump blueberries. These blueberries are not only delicious in pies, smoothies, salads, jams, muffins and pancakes; they are incredibly healthy for you. Current research done by The United States Highbush Blueberry Council’s research shows that blueberries can help with anti-aging, infection fighting, improved eyesight, and cancer fighting anti-oxidants[1].

Delicious and nutritious!

Rabbiteye and southern highbush are the primary blueberries grown in Florida. These blueberries need a low-chill environment in order to thrive. That is why northeast Florida is the best location in Florida to buy local berries. These berries thrive on acidic soils. Don Cowren of Blueberry Hill Farm located in Crescent City has his U-pick farm situated along Silver Lake. This lake is highly acidic and is used to water Don’s blueberries. The environment allows his blueberries to thrive and allows you to go and pick as many as you’d like!

Dan Doran Dan Doran of St. Johns Oaks Vineyard shares our passion for fresh and local produce

Dan began his life on the farm as a foliage cutter. He is still active in that business but now enjoys strolling the farm and munching on his delicious berries. He is constantly checking up on plants and expanding his crop. He started his organic practice of growing blueberries over 20 years ago. Dan grows some of Rype and Readi’s sweetest blueberries every season. He is now gearing up for blackberry season. Not many growers in northeast Florida participate in blackberry season, making Dan Doran the Man for blackberries this summer.

blueberries

 

[1] US Highbush Blueberry Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017

 

 

How to dye Easter eggs using a homemade, natural dye

How to dye Easter eggs using a homemade, natural dye

By Gatlin Beemus, Rype & Readi Contributing Blogger


natural dyes for Easter EggsWhat do you need?

  • Eggs
  • Radish
  • Red Cabbage
  • Blueberries
  • Flowers
  • Pantyhose
  • White Vinegar (2 tsp)
  • Water (4 Cups)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Wait Time: 12-18 hours

 

I have wanted to create a homemade and natural dye for quite some time now. No better time than the Easter season! These hard-boiled eggs will brighten up any dish. With the help of Rype and Readi, I was able to find all of my ingredients and make these beautiful eggs.

I started this fun Easter project at Rype and Readi. I picked out the juiciest looking blueberries, a radish, and a red cabbage. I then went to select my eggs. The farm market had an amazing selection so I chose to pick an egg from each of their chickens. I got blue, brown, and white eggs to test out the dye on their different types. I then picked out a bouquet of Dazy Poms, petted Scruff, and went on my way.

I boiled the eggs in a pot covered with one inch of water. Once the eggs began boiling I covered the pot, turned off the heat, and let the eggs sit for about 10 minutes. A dash of salt allows the eggs to peel easier when you are ready to indulge.

While the eggs were sitting I began cutting off some of the flowers and leaves. This is where the pantyhose comes in. Place the flowers and leaves on the eggs in the position you want them to remain while being dyed. I cut the hose in approximately 8 inch sections. I found it easiest to put the pantyhose on the egg just as if you were putting them on your feet. Scrunch the hose section up and put it on the egg all at once so that the flowers and leaves remain in place. Pull the hose tight and tie it up.

Now to start the dye! I started boiling 4 cups of water. I then began chopping and dicing the radish and half the head of red cabbage. Be careful, your fingers and cutting board will definitely get stained in the process. I then lightly mashed approximately half a container of blueberries in a big bowl. The cabbage and blueberries will give a deep blue dye to the eggs while the radish will create a purple tint. The combination of the three makes the richest and most vibrant color. The cabbage and radish was then placed in the same bowl as the mashed blueberries. I then added the 4 cups of the boiling water and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar into the bowl. You will immediately see the color of the water change as the ingredients release their color with the heat.

Immediately place the eggs in the bowl and completely submerge them in your new all natural and homemade dye. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and place in the fridge. I left mine for about 12 hours to achieve this beautiful shade of blue and purple. Most of my blueberries had settled to the bottom of the bowl and the radishes and cabbage stayed floating on top. This created a light gradient of blue to purple.

After the 12 to 18 hours (dependent upon how rich of a dye you want), carefully take out the eggs and cut off the pantyhose. Take the flower and leaves off and let the eggs dry. Placing the eggs to dry in the refrigerator solidifies the dye.

Set them out for the Easter brunch or simply enjoy a vibrant start to any morning!

Natural Dyed Easter Eggs

The History of Genetically Modified Foods

The History of Genetically Modified Foods will help clarify why modification was even started.

Some people say that we must have Genetically Modified Crops to support the agricultural community, a needy world and bigger profits.   Here is a look from both sides of the fence.

Higher food prices, a significant boost in greenhouse gas emissions due to land use change and major loss of forest and pasture land would be some results if genetically modified organisms in the United States were banned, according to a Purdue University study.

 

Kale Apple Salad with Honey Dressing

Kale Apple Salad with Honey Dressing

kale salad

Ingredients

  • 5 cups chopped kale
  • 2 small diced apples
  • 1/4 cup cranberries (dried)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • Dressing:
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper

Instructions

  • Wash all ingredients and chop the kale and the apples.
  • Place the kale in the bottom of a bowl followed by the rest of the ingredients.
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour them over the top of the salad.
  • Refrigerate after serving and enjoy!

 

Total Time: 20 minutes

Number of servings: 10

Food Additives – Top 10 to Avoid

food add

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame, (E951) more popularly known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is found in foods labeled “diet” or “sugar-free”. Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is not your friend. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumors.

Found in diet or sugar-free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello (and over gelatins), desserts, sugar-free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.

Found in most processed foods, bread, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals

3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG / E621)

MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG effects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the “I’m full” function which explains the effects of weight gain.

Found in Chinese food (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome ) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners and lunch meats.

4. Trans Fat

Trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation. Numerous studies show that trans fat increase LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes, and other health problems. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent, a move that effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.

Found in margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods

5. Common Food Dyes

Studies show that artificial colorings which are found in soda, fruit juices, and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked some food colorings to cancer. Watch out for these ones:

Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)

Banned in Norway, Finland, and France. May cause chromosomal damage

Found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods

Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)

Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission

Found in fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.

Found in American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!

6. Sodium Sulfite (E221)

Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic, suggesting a link between asthma and sulfites. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.

Found in Wine and dried fruit

7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, coloring, and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970’s but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It’s actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant.
Found in hotdogs, bacon, ham, lunch meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat

8. BHA And BHT (E320)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing the flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has a potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

Found in Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello

9. Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

Sulfur additives are toxic and in the United States of America, the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited their use on raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.

Found in beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.

10. Potassium Bromate

An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, bread, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

Found in bread

Food for the New Year

New Years Lucky Foods 2016:

As with final exams and the big game, the start of a new year has a tendency to turn even non-believers a tad superstitious. All around the world, 1/1 is a day rife with tradition and symbolic ritual.  Many of the world’s most persistent New Year’s traditions revolve around eating, with certain foods acting as symbols of the eater’s hopes and wishes for the future. Recurring themes here are foods that symbolize wealth, prosperity, forward motion, long life and other sundry nice things that might (hopefully) happen to a person in the coming year. If you’d like to get yourself some good juju in the next 12 months, here are some foods to eat for luck on New Year’s Day.

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Grapes – Eat twelve grapes, one for each chime of a clock. This tradition supposedly started in 1909 by grape growers who wanted to cut down on a surplus of grapes. The grape ritual is said to guarantee sweetness and fortune in the year ahead. Each grape follows the month – so your first grape represents January, 2nd February, etc. If you happen to get a sour grape along the way, it is said to predict that month will be a challenging one in 2016. In Portugal & Cuba, celebrants make a special wish for each grape.

Round Fruits – such as oranges and pomegranates are believed to also symbolize coins and bring a prosperous New Year. Mandarin oranges and tangerines are the most popular fruit in China on New Year’s because of their golden color and they are supposed to represent wealth and good luck. In Vietnam red is a lucky color so watermelon is often served. In Greece they smash a pomegranate at the entrance of the house – the further the seeds spread the better the luck for the family. In some countries people suck on a few pomegranate seeds and then wrap them in wax paper or a small packet and keep them in their purses or wallets to ensure money year round. Figs are said to be a symbol of fertility.

Beans –  Eating black eyed peas on New Year’s is said to bring good fortune. Eat green lentils as well, as they are round, which is said to represent coins and green for the color of money. There is a mix at many grocery stores for a 15 bean soup that includes both types of beans. In Italy, people often eat green lentils with sausages (cotechino con lentichhie.) In Puerto Rico they will often make rice and beans (Arroz con gandules.) In Brazil it is lentil beans and rice. As you can see the tradition of eating beans is popular throughout several countries. In Portugal black eyed peas are served with boiled cod and potatoes. In Vietnam they are used in a sweet dessert and in Colombia they make breakfast fritters called bunuelos. Black eyed peas, corn bread and collard greens are traditional Southern dishes in the U.S. as is Hoppin’ John. They are said to bring about not only good fortune, but humility as well. In Japan black beans are often a side dish on New Year’s and it’s said that they will ensure health in the coming year.

Greens – are said to “Show you the money!” Cooked collard, spinach, cabbage and kale are all said to represent paper money. Germans eat lots of sauerkraut, Danish like their kale sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar while in the U.S., collards are quite popular. Make sure and pile it on….the more greens you eat, the more fortune (and fiber) you will have in the coming year.

Pork – If you eat meat, pick pork over chicken or beef on New Year day, because pigs dig with their snout, representing forward movement or progress, while chickens and turkeys scratch backward, and cows stand still (we all want to move forward, not backwards or stay in the same place in the New Year!)  Many cultures including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Ireland eat pork not only because of the believe of moving forward, but fatty meat is also symbolic of fattening their wallets.

Fish – is a good choice as well since most swim forward, and the scales are believed to symbolize silver. Another theory is that since many fish swim in schools and lay lots of eggs at one time, it is a sign of abundance.  Pickled herring, salted cod, sardines and carp are popular dishes on New Year’s in European and Scandinavian countries. In Germany some people actually will put fish scales in their wallet as it’s believed to bring about good luck. The Japanese also have fish for prosperity and wealth, as well as shrimp for a long life and herring roe for fertility. In some countries the fish is served whole (head and tail,) symbolizing the end of one year and the beginning of another. No lobster or crab – remember they walk sideways and backwards. If you want seafood other than fish, shrimp, clams, mussels and oysters are all good choices.

Noodles – Eat noodles for longevity. In China the New Year’s meal always includes noodles.  Japan has the same belief and serve long toshikoshi soba noodles on New Year’s Day. Traditionally they eat them at midnight on New Year’s Eve and the longer the noodles are the better.

Grains – Rice, quinoa, risotto, barley and other starches symbolize abundance since they swell when cooked.

Sweets –  St. Basil’s bread.  Known as vasilopita in Greece, St. Basil’s bread plays an important role in Greek New Year’s traditions. The bread itself is sweet, and is baked with a coin hidden in it. At midnight, Greek families turn off the light, and the head of the household slices the vasilopita and shares it among the family. The family member who receives the piece of bread with the coin inside of it is guaranteed to have good luck in the New Year. France also serves a cake with a coin or small ceramic inside called King’s cake. Donuts and fritters are popular in Eastern Europe. In Italy many make struffoli which is a dozen small donut like balls placed in a circle and held together by honey, and topped with candied fruit and powdered sugar.

Corn bread – Said to symbolize gold, cornbread is a popular New Years southern tradition.  To ensure extra luck, some people add extra corn kernels, which are emblematic of golden nuggets.

Champagne –  Perhaps the most well known New Years tradition around the world,   a toast with champagne or prosecco.  In some cultures they suggest you take 3 short hops without spilling your drink and then pour throw the champagne behind you to put all the bad stuff in the past.  If your champagne lands on someone else – no problem as that is supposed to mean good lucky.