Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to make Kombucha - it's not as hard as you think!

Fermented: A Four Season Approach by Jill Ciciarelli
I recently downloaded a fermentation book by Jill Ciciarelli called
Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods.
Quite a few people had been posting pictures around the net of fermented foods they'd been making.
Some of those were sauerkraut, kimchi, ginger beer and kombucha.
I'd heard of it years ago but basically thought it was too hippy-ish for me. It fell into the category of all those things in the 80's which alternative lifestyle people did.
While reading Jill's book, I remembered that our local health food store sold kombucha. According to her book, it wasn't that hard to actually make it.
But first I had to try it.
So I did.
The bottle I purchased was the one in the advertisement below. Well, not ACTUALLY that one, but you get the idea.  

Oh. My. Soul. It was good. It was bubbly like a soft drink and not overly sweet but with a sort of bite to it.
Very moreish.
Now I deliberately chose a bottle which had strings of white stuff down the bottom.
As Jill points out in her book, this is the culture which allows you to make your own 'scoby'.
What on earth is a 'scoby', I hear you ask? 
Scoby stands for...Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. 
The same stuff that's in alcoholic beverages, breads etc.
Using Jill's directions, I poured the dregs from the store-bought kombucha into some cooled sweetened tea, (about a cup full) which I'd poured into an old coffee jar.
Most people use green tea but I just used plain old black tea bags.
Then I covered it with a handkerchief.
This allows all those gorgeous wild yeasts that float around in the air to go to work on the sweetened tea.
Don't stress, every house has wild won't kill you.
After a week or so, I had a peek.

There, floating around in all that sweetened goodness was my very own scoby!
(Insert very happy squealing combined with a pirate dance!)
How cool is that?
Next I made up more sweetened tea. I used four litres of filtered water and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat. Add 4-5 teabags, let cool.
That tea I poured into a water urn.

 That's it above.
My scoby, and the original sweetened tea it grew in, was then carefully placed into the urn with the rest of the sweetened tea.
My scoby will grow to be lovely and fat in that container, and will eventually be the same circumference.
It will even have babies!
The final step is to pour some of the kombucha into a pretty glass bottle and pop in a few pieces of fruit to flavour.
I use raspberry, but you can flavour it with anything you can like.





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