Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to Make Kombucha


Ever heard of it?

I hadn't till just a few years ago.

My husband started buying it when he read that it boosts your immune system and has a lot of digestive benefits.  He's like that. He does all this great research and is very pro-active about his health.

Then a friend mentioned that she made it.

Then my sister recently mentioned that she makes it.  She has 9 kids.  Yep. I said 9. Beautiful kids.

She sent me this.

It looks super gross. I admit it. But it's a very good thing.  It's a SCOBY. (Not to be confused with Scooby, as in Doo)

My 9 year old son calls it the "Alien Egg Sac."

He still drinks it.

SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.  This funky object is alive.

It's changes sweet tea into Kombucha and becomes a healthy probiotic.  You have to start with a Scoby to make Kombucha. 

Local peeps...I have plenty to share for free.  I'm also happy to send one if you will pay for shipping.

You can also grow one from a store-bought Kombucha tea bottle. Google for instructions.

How To:
Most importantly, you need to keep everything clean.  I stick my jars in the dishwasher. 

I make a double batch since we are a family of 6 and drink it frequently.  The process takes 10-14 days depending on how quickly your batch is ready.  I recently started making my batches 3 days apart because  3 1/2 quarts won't last us 9 days.  This way I always have a enough Kombucha.

Day 1:
1. Boil one quart of filtered water
2. Add 4 tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. (use Green, Black, or White Tea only. No Herbal)
3. Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar and allow to cool. (I use organic sugar.  The sugar gets "eaten" so there isn't any left when you drink it. It doesn't work with Honey or other sweeteners)
4. Pour the tea into a half-gallon glass canning jar and fill with cool filtered water.
5. Add the SCOBY and 1/2 cup of Kombucha from the last batch as a starter.
6. Cover jar with a clean tea towel and rubber band.
7. Let it sit undisturbed in a dark place for about 5-10 days.  The longer it sits, the less sweet it will be. (Sample with a straw if you like)  9 days is average. (My last batch "smelled" ready at Day 6...it smells like cider vinegar)  I put my the jar in a cabinet.

Day 10 (or sooner)
1.  Remove the SCOBY from the jar and place it on a plate.
2. Reserve 1/2 cup of Kombucha to start the next batch.  I store the SCOBY and reserve in a pint canning jar.
3. Pour the kombucha into glass jars.  I just use quart sized canning jars and recycled Trader Joe's mayo lids. They fit perfectly and give the needed seal to keep the fizz in. I run the Kombucha through a mesh strainer.
4. Allow the bottles to sit at room temperature for 5 days.  I just stick them back in the cabinet.  This improves flavor and adds carbonation. After 5 days, refrigerate.
5. Enjoy.  It's like Natural soda. Some folks liken it to dry champagne.

I double the recipe and use a gallon jar.  (I got these from a Goat Farm that sells their yogurt in them. I now have 3 of them so it works well when I make several batches) I believe you can buy something similar at Walmart.

Don't use any tea with oils in them.

Only allow children to drink 1/4 cup per serving.  It's a strong probiotic.  You don't need too much. (Plus it's naturally fermented so they really don't need to giggle. Um...I don't speak from experience)

When you remove the Scoby from your new batch of tea there will be a new one growing on the bottom of the original one.  This is the baby.  You can use this one for another batch, or give it away, or chop it up and put it in outdoor plants as fertilizer.  I put my extra ones in a glass jar with some tea for other batches.

I like to use Organic Decaf Green Tea which I buy for a little under $3.  I use less than half of the box at a time.  So I have Organic Kombucha for $1.50 a gallon.  Often one small bottle of store-bought kombucha is $3.50.

Do the math.
The Lunch Lady

Instructions are from www.smallnotebook.org

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