Fermenting For Dummies
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Kombucha has its roots in ancient Asian tradition but has become highly popular. Today you can find kombucha where health foods are sold, where yoga's practiced, among new age crowds, and in the crafty corners of exploratory breweries, but more and more in the mainstream. Why the sudden popularity? Likely, it is due to the health properties that captured the hearts and health of many.

Kombucha has a tangy, slight vinegary taste, but its base relies on unrefined sugar, water, and tea bags. It is said to have many detoxifying qualities and to give vitality; sometimes it is known as the immortality elixir. Though it is important to note that the base of this drink is unrefined sugar, which regardless of the other health benefits can still be bad in large quantities, in small doses this elixir is full of gut-healing benefits. It is said to increase digestibility, energy, and gut flora.

Kombucha requirement: A SCOBY

In order to make kombucha, you need a SCOBY, which stands for the Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It is essential for kombucha making! Sometimes you will hear people use funny names for it like "the mother", because it is the source of life for kombucha, or a "mushroom" because it turns into a big, gelatinous, and bacterial component that can resemble a fungus.

It's normal to see a wide range of SCOBY variations; from bumps, holes, or small stringy remains from the SCOBY culture, it might even float sideways from time to time. The main thing to look out for is any mold.

Mold is rare, but dangerous. If you see any signs of blue or black mold on your SCOBY, throw away the SCOBY and the kombucha. You can use the same container again, but just ensure you clean it out well!

Here are some tips to keep in mind when making kombucha:

  • Plain white, black, or green tea work for kombucha.

  • Find a SCOBY that is fresh to get your best results.

  • Choose a wide-mouth jar. Your SCOBY will grow big and form to your jar! With every new batch you make, you will see your SCOBY reproduce and get thicker. It will make SCOBY babies.

  • Avoid brewing your kombucha for too long, but leave it long enough so it turns from too sweet to just sour enough.

  • Although refined white sugar is the best for kombucha to digest, try to use cane sugar or unrefined for better health.

  • Avoid plastic or metal objects to make it! Kombucha needs glass and wood as it becomes highly acidic.

  • If you see any mold on your SCOBY, or if it has turned black, throw the entire thing out!

Green tea kombucha recipe

Don't let your kombucha build up carbonation too long or it could explode when bottled. Also, the longer kombucha sits out, the more sour and vinegary its taste will become.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Fermentation time: 5–10 days

Yield: 12 cups

6 green tea bags

1 cup sweetener of choice, preferably unrefined sugar

3 or 4 liters water

A kombucha SCOBY

1–2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar or leftover kombucha

  1. In a large pot, combine the tea bags, sugar, and 2 to 3 cups of water.

  2. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

  3. Cover and let the green tea bags steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Add 2 cups of cool water to bring the tea temperature down.

  5. Place the SCOBY and finished kombucha or raw apple cider vinegar in your large gallon jar.

  6. Add cooled-down tea to the jar.

  7. Use a wooden spoon (metal is not good) to help the SCOBY float at the top. It's okay if it is sinking, but it should rise during fermentation.

  8. Cover the jar with a paper towel or cheesecloth, and secure with a rubber band.

  9. Let the liquid ferment at room temperature for 5 to 10 days.

  10. Taste to see if it is not too sweet and if it is fizzy enough. Sweeten as desired to your taste!

  11. When the kombucha is well carbonated and has a slight vinegary smell, pour the kombucha through a strainer into a clean jar or jug.

  12. Be sure to leave the SCOBY and approx. 1 or 2 cups of finished kombucha behind. This is your starter for a second batch of tea!

  13. Refrigerate it to prevent it from souring any more or if needed, keep it at room temperature for a few days to build up more carbonation.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Marni Wasserman is passionate about real food. She inspires people to eat well and live well everyday. She shares many of her recipes and tips at www.marniwasserman.com. Amy Jeanroy is passionate about healthy, homemade foods and has been making and eating fermented food for 20 years. She shares daily recipes on her site, www.thefarmingwife.com.

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