Friday, September 27, 2013

Home Grown Kombucha!

Ahhh, Kombucha!

If you have never tried Kombucha, well you should!  This stuff is awesome. If you are a farmers market shopper you may have tried a sample from an overzealous vendor or gotten some misleading information that caused you to think "okay...".  You see in the world of fermentation there are a lot of misleading/confusing things that happen due to the different levels of information people have.

Mushroom, Mother, Starter.... theses are all terms that people use for the SCOBY.  Well what is a SCOBY you ask.  Symbiotic Colony Of  Bacteria & Yeast. Now that makes more sense! This is the little magic jellyfish like blob that turns your tea into kombucha.

Here is how you do it:
-acquire a SCOBY (you can contact me to purchase one) or look around online. They usually run around $10
 loose leaf tea
Get some lovely tea and organic sugar

-large glass jar (gallon is best, but 1/2 gallon will work)

-clean towel or coffee filer and rubber band

Now it's time to get started.

*Boil some fresh water and brew your tea. I use just 3 cups of water in this process....the tea will brew no matter what, just use enough tea for a gallon.
*let the tea steep for the proper amount of time, be sure to google this as you don't want too many tannins

released and your tea to get bitter. (it is usually anywhere from 1-3 minutes)
*take 1 cup of organic sugar and dissolve it in  your super strong tea. (the only sugar that has NOT worked is date sugar)
*fill your jar 3/4 of the way with COLD water.
*once sugar is dissolved add the tea into the cold water.
*wait until this mixture is room temp or colder and add the  'starter tea' and SCOBY
*cover with a towel or coffee filter.

at day 5 start tasting the tea......if it is still super sweet it is not ready, every day it will become more tangy, so be sure to stop brewing when it is at a tang you like.
This is what the SCOBY looks like at day 3... still fermenting

Time to pull your SCOBY.  You can leave the new little baby attached or separate them and start a SCOBY hotel.  Google that to find out how.  You will take 1 cup of tea and put it with each SCOBY.  That becomes your 'starter tea' that you use with your next batch.

Now it is time to flavor it. My favorite is lemon ginger. But the possibilities are endless, so think about what you like and go from there.  I use 2 fresh lemons, squeeze the juice in. Slice up about 1 inch of ginger and cover with a lid.  Let ferment again for at least 24 hours.  If it is airtight it will also start to get fizzy. Strain out your fruit or herbs and then refrigerate OR add to pop top bottle and leave on the counter for another 24 hours to really get fizzy.

This is how it looks as it brews
Why drink Kombucha?  It is FULL of probiotics and detoxifying properties. Throughout history there are claims of it being a cure all, some of my client friends who have purchased SCOBYS have said when they start feeling ill they drink their kombucha and within a couple of hours... all better.

Regardless, kombucha is a great fermented food to add to your home, it tastes great and makes you feel good. Give it a try... super easy!  and way less expensive than the $4+ you pay in the store!

A couple of side notes:
- the SCOBY eats most of the sugar, so it does not have much sugar left int he actual drink

- the SCOBY eats a lot of the caffeine
- if you want to decaf it, use 1 cup of hot water on your tea, let it steep for 1 minute, pull the tea and toss the water then brew accordingly. Most of the caffeine is released in the first 30-60 seconds of brewing.

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