My passion for food and science were fueled by new concepts I had never heard of before: sprouting? fermenting? What is that all about? I embodied the mad scientist as jars of kefir and kombucha, beet kvass and sauerkraut, sprouting seeds and soaking legumes filled my counter tops. My friends and family eyed me suspiciously as they lovingly yet apprehensively drank or ate my many concoctions.
Once such concoction which made many squint with disgust and curiosity was my kombucha. What on Goddess's Green Earth is growing in that jar! Oh yes, the SCOBY, the mother of the kombucha. Yes, my friends it looks like a wicked jelly fish or something from a late night horror movie, but that scoby makes the most delicious and nutritious beverage.
SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It is also called a mushroom. The bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar and tea to create acetic, lactic and glucuronic acid and a host of antioxidants, vitamins, and probiotics. All of which boost the immune system, aid the body's natural cleansing processes, and have said to help in cancer prevention.
Makes about 2 quarts
- 3 quarts filtered water
- 1 cup organic white sugar
- 4 tea bags of organic black tea
- 1/2 cup kombucha from a previous culture
- 1 kombucha SCOBY
- a large glass jar
- Bring 3 quarts filtered water to a boil. Add sugar and simmer until dissolved.
- Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and allow tea to steep until water has completely cooled.
- Remove tea bags. Pour cooled kombucha into a large glass jar. Add previous kombucha culture. Place scoby on top of the liquid. Cover loosely with a cloth towel or cheesecloth.
- Transfer kombucha to a warm place, usually the kitchen counter is just fine. In about 7 to 10 days the kombucha will be ready, depending upon the temperature of the room. The warmer the temperature the quicker the kombucha will ferment. The kombucha should be sour and somewhat fizzy, with no taste of tea remaining. In the winter my kombucha takes closer to 14 or 16 days.
- Transfer your kombucha to storage jars/bottles and refrigerate.
Your kombucha will grow a second scoby. This can be used to make more batches of kombucha or given away to friends. Store extra scobys in the refrigerator in glass jars when not using. A kombucha scoby can be used dozens of times. If your scoby becomes black or your kombucha doesn't sour properly, it is contaminated. Throw it out and get a new scoby.
|2 jars of Kombucha fermenting|
So where in the world do you get a scoby? It's not like your local grocery store has then hanging out with the lettuce in the produce section! You have to find someone living near you that is making kombucha and can give you one. There are online businesses that sell scobys. Or you can go to the Weston A. Price Foundation. Click on "Find a Local Chapter." Find your state and look for a group in your area. Call that person up and they can tell you where to get a scoby. For me, part of the fun of kombucha is passing the baby scobys along to a new home. So if you live near me, you can bet I'll have a scoby for ya. Free of charge!
|Bottling the Kombucha|
And kombucha is very versatile. In fact it is quite fun to experiment with different teas. Though black tea creates the highest amount of glucuronic acid, other teas will create their own unique flavors. Though I caution to always use organic tea. Non-organic tea is high in flouride, something we don't want in our kombucha.
Adding fruits and whole spices mixes up the fun too. After you've bottled your ready to drink kombucha, add some fruit for some variety. My current favorite is lemon and mixed berry.
|Bottled Lemon and Mixed Berry Kombucha|
Our love of kombucha continues to grow and so do the jars on my counter!
So cheers to kombucha, your good health and inspiration in the kitchen!