Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kombucha

 
This Fall I started drinking Kombucha thanks to my neighbor Heather.  When I went through my summer health plummet the one thing the doctors told me that made any sense was that I needed more probiotics in my system.  My doctor advised me to get some in pill form.  Heather, being awesome, brought over some Kombucha and Kefir for me to try as they are both full of probiotics and good for your digestive system.  Being stubborn and slightly disgusted by drinking something with a booger like gel thing in it, aka SCOBY, I didn't drink it right away.  I had maybe a shot worth the first week, then another.... then I gave some to my Asher boy and he insisted we have our special drink daily.  Before I knew it my body was craving this stuff and it started to taste good to me too. 
 
One day shortly after liking the Kombucha, Heather invited me over to show me how it was made.  I have been making it here at home since.  And we, most of us, love it!  Since posting some pictures online friends have asked how to make it, so I am going to share Heather's recipe here.  It is so simple friends and with time I have learned to appreciate how beneficial it really is.
 
What you will need:
     ~one large pot
     ~water
     ~sugar
     ~Black Tea and Green Tea, we use Caffeinated Newman's Own Royal Tea that can be found at most grocery stores or online at Amazon.
     ~2 cups Kombucha from a previous batch, or a store bought bottle of Kombucha (unpasteurized and non-flavored).
     ~1 SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), this can be from a friend that brews Komucha, you can grow one from a store bought bottle, or you can order via Amazon.
     ~6, 16oz swing-top jars.  I got mine off craigslist after looking up brewing bottles.  They can also be found on Amazon.
     ~one funnel
     ~ one strainer

 
 
Step One: Boil your water.  You want to make sure all the chlorine is boiled out from your water so we recommend boiling for 10 minutes.

 
Step 2: Add 1 1/2 cups sugar.  It doesn't matter if it is organic or not, whatever you prefer.  The sugar is going to be eaten by the SCOBY, eerie right?, and there will be little sugar left after fermentation.

 
Step 3: Add 7 bags of tea.  We suggest starting with 4 bags Black tea and 3 bags of Green tea.  You NEED at least 2 bags Black tea but you can experiment around and find out what you like once you get going.  I actually prefer it with a little more green tea then black, but start with the above amounts.

 
Step 4: Make a cold water bath to cool off your tea.  To do this plug up your sink and fill it with cold water, then place your pot in it, this will help it cool down faster.  When you have a gallon of boiling water it takes awhile to cool it off and you don't want to be waiting all day.  You might need to change out the cool water 2 - 3 times before your tea is cool.
 
Step 5: With clean hands or a clean spoon fish out your tea bags.  The most important part is that whatever you put in your tea NEEDS to be CLEAN, you don't want any bad bacteria in your tea.

 
Step 6: Place your 2 cups of starter Kombucha and your SCOBY into a glass jar.  Then pour your tea into the jar.
 
 
Almost done!
 
 
Step 7: Place a clean tea towel, cheese cloth, or paper towel on top of the jar securely.  Tuck the jar away out of direct sunlight and forget about it for 7-10 days.
 
 
Step 8: AFTER 7-10 days your SCOBY will have doubled and your tea fermented! YAY!  Now you get to drink the good stuff.  You can either drink it unflavored as is, or continue on with different flavorings.

 
If you decide to flavor your kombucha, the easiest way to do this is with juice!
 
 
For my last batch of kombucha I used Orange, Banana, Strawberry juice.  I let my kids pick out the flavor and since they all wanted something different we combined them and found this.  Not sure how it tastes yet but that is half the fun in experimenting with kombucha.

 
I added 1/4 to 1/2 cup juice in each bottle.  You can experiment around with this to see what you like.
 
 
This is where I strain my kombucha.  I don't like things floating around in my drinks.  Plus it is easier to pour into the bottles from my measuring cup, so straining it doesn't add a step as I am just pouring it from my big jar to little cup anyhow.
 
 
Then filled the rest of the bottle with kombucha.  Only fill Up to the NECK of the bottle.  Since there is flavoring there is sugar and thus it will make it carbonated, so it needs a little room for fizz. 

*note: I make two gallons at a time, one gallon makes about 6 16oz bottles.
 
It is important to remember that you will need to save 2 cups of this mix for your next brew.  Don't forget to put that aside before you pour it all out!
 
You will also have TWO SCOBY's, one will be for your next brew and the other you can either give-away to a friend, start another batch, or discard. 

 
Step 9: store your bottles in a dark area for 24-48 hours.  Then place it in the refrigerator, this will stop the fermentation process. 
 
 
 There seem like there are a lot of steps, but I assure you if I can make this you can.  It is easy, fun, and tasty!  Start brewing and enjoy!

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