My new obsession. Making Kambucha.

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I do not like soda pop. or sweetened drinks of any sort. they leave my mouth feeling fuzzy and longing to brush my teeth.

This left me with only cider , the odd brewski or lemonade.

My friend Lynda asked me if I had ever tried Kambucha. I answered no. In a flutter of excitement she invited me up to her house with a list of what to bring.

  • organic sugar
  • measuring cup
  • I gallon jar.
  • 10 black tea teabags
  • thermometer

Well I am definitely not a tea drinker so I was not up to her level of excitement. Until we arrived and she place a cold glass of the most delightful refreshing beverage in my hand.

It was effervescent, but not to the point of shooting bubbles up my nose.  The taste was clean, slightly fruit flavoured and a delightful colour.

So we got started. Because this was an ancient drink as wikapedia says

Kombucha (also tea mushroom, Manchurian mushroom, formal name: Medusomyces gisevii[1]) is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). Actual contributing microbial populations in SCOBY cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces and other species, and the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic and other acids.[2]Although it has been claimed to have numerous health benefits, there is no good evidence that drinking kombucha has such effects.[3]Kombucha originated in what is now Manchuria around 220 BCE, and was traditionally used primarily in that region, Russia, and eastern Europe.[6] It is said to have been imported to Japan in 414 CE by the physician Kombu.[1]

Now back to the fun part. You have to make sure that everything you use,and your hands are scrupulously clean. I use a boiled cloth and wash everything in hot water and white vinegar. White vinegar is my cleanser of choice for everything.

Now you have to acquire a scooby. A friend will probably share or you can purchase your first at a health food store. It looks something like an alien creature and a chicken part.

It is necessary to handle this with clean hands . It will eat from the air while doing the first fermentation. We want good yeast in this wonderful little creature, not bad ones.

Now we will start. I have chlorine in my water, so I start a day ahead and boil 2 gallon of water. Do not lid it, you want the chlorine to go away.
I take a pot with about 1/2 gallon of water and bring it to a boil with the sugar till it dissolves. Then I add tea bags and let it steep till it is really dark and getting cooler.

I put a couple of cups of the cool water in my gallon jar, and after removing and squeezing out the tea bags, add the liquid to the gallon jar. I heat some of the water in the same put and add one or the other till it is 80 degrees
when we add the scooby add the liquid it is supported with. make sure the dcooby is not wrinkled and floats near the top.
I top this with a coffee filter I wet with vinegar. and a tag with the date. The scooby will act somewhat like yeast and will eat the sugar so if you taste if at the end of fermentation, it is neither tea tasting nor sweet.
That is fermentation one done. It takes about 20 minutes, I Take it to a shelf in my laundry room and allow to sit for 5 days.

Now the mad scientist comes out in you. The second fermentation.
Carefully remove the scooby and place in some of the liquid. cover it and pop it in he fridge. After 2 or 3 sets, you will find it has quietly multiplied and you now have two or even 3 scoobys. You will also find you have lots of friends.

You need a funnel and some fruit and your imagination.
If you are lucky and have some old fashioned canning jars with the wire over them, you are not lucky. you will search thrift stores, garage sales, or if all else fails, you go to Capital Iron, Wal-mart of the dollar store and  buy them for about $4. each. The Capital Iron and Wal-Mart ones have a better seal. Don’t forget you want retain the effervescence, so you want to keep the bubbles in there. At the dollar store I got the bottles to serve from. Make sure you get the glass ones. I have added a variety of flavours, pineapple and ginger, lots of ginger, blueberries, these look deep and like a port wine. I have done black berry and I have done mixed berries.

Hibiscus Ginger Grapefruit
Lemon Ginger Raspberry
Cranberry Ginger
Pomegranate Ginger
Coconut Water Lime
Passion Mango Ginger
Cabernet Grape

 

 

When my second fermentation is done

3 days on average, If it starts to look like it is getting too explosive, put it in the fridge, or wrack it into the serving bottles using a funnel with a sieve over it. keep these bottles in the fridge and enjoy at your leisure.

You will need your gallon jar immediately, if you are like me, I have one going every two days.

If you look long enough on the internet you will find claims of this magic elixir curing every decease known to man. I rather think of it as a pleasant refreshing drink that encourages me to consume more fluids, and has some good things in it.
The nice part is that it can be consumed by vegans and vegetarians as well.

If you are the Thrifty sort,throw the fruit in with you smoothy.

I found some neat recipes on this link

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/category/kombucha-recipes/

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About Lea Wisdom

I am a fairly happy college educated, widow. A mother of two dependent dogs and successfully raised 6 children to adults I am a science and history loving nerd by nature, print junkie, yarn hording, spinning, weaving,coffee drinking, hand and machine knitting student of life. I make my living from Income Tax Preparations, and the sale of fibre produced goods. Knitting Dryer balls, felting, and yarn. I work with sheep and alpaca fibres and I am constantly learning. I feel like a sponge. There are so many interesting things to learn and do. I hope I have enough time to try them all. I am fortunate that my sons encourage me to try everything that peeks my interest. I have friends who help me learn. Thank you . All of you. Not a complicated person. What you see is what you get. I love the Lord, my family, my country and my friends. I believe we all have the right to dignity. And we only have one trip through life.Let's make the most of it.

One response »

  1. I made some summer before last, but then my SCOBI died and I never replaced it. Actually, interesting things happened in the jar and I discarded it all. I’m glad that you’ve written about this. I enjoyed it very much and will work to get back to making it.

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