Sowing my wild oats-Kombucha Creations

I’ve been wanting to post about this delicious drink for sometime now. Other than a high price tag, this flavorful fizz has everything you would want to wash your food down  or just enjoy on a hot, summer day. It contains over one billion probiotics and tastes like a little piece of carbonated heaven. If you are adventurous, you can even make this refreshing drink at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria. It forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the “mushroom” or the “mother”.

Back in the day, wise men would descend from high in the Himalayas to harvest spring tea in the valley below. According to a formula passed down from generation to generation, the tea was fermented to create an effervescent elixir said to restore health, promote longevity and bestow mental clarity to all who drank it.

Proponents commonly claim kombucha aids cancer recovery, increases energy, sharpens eyesight, aids joint recovery, improves skin elasticity, aids digestion, and improves experience with foods that ‘stick’ going down such as rice or pasta.

It may be known by many different names in other parts of the world, including Manchurian Tea, Manchu Fungus, Tea Kvass, Mo-Gu Fungus japonicus, Kwassan, and many others.

Two years ago, I made the decision to no longer drink alcohol. This was a hard decision because I love a nice dinner with wine, margaritas with Mexican and especially love pairings with exotic foods. But with addiction running strong in my genetic history, I figured it would be better to not even have the temptation there.

Soon after I made this decision, my friend Abby threw me a surprise birthday party. It was a super fun girls night out and this was definitely a time of testing. Luckily, we were at a very swanky, hip restaurant and they served Kombucha. I ordered one and much to my liking, it relaxed me almost to the degree of wine and made me feel like I wasn’t missing out.

I found a substitute that would allow me somewhat of the same experience without the risk of going down a path of no return. Or a killer hangover.

So, if this sounds good to simply because it is so good for you, I highly recommend you try it. And if you don’t want to pay $3.39 a bottle at Whole Foods, get a little more crazy and make it at home. It’ll be like your 5th grade science project all over again.

Recipe and directions as follows:

Supplies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4-6 bags tea –  for loose leaf, 1 bag of tea = 1 tsp
  • Starter culture-SCOBY
  • 1 cup starter liquid
  • purified/bottled water
  • tea kettle
  • brewing vessel
  • cloth cover
  • rubber band

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Steps

  1. Boil 4 cups of water.
  2. Add hot water & tea bags to pot or brewing vessel.
  3. Steep 5-7 minutes, then remove tea bags.
  4. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
  5. Fill vessel most of the way with purified water, leaving just 1-2 inches from the top for breathing room with purified cold water.
  6. Add SCOBY and starter liquid.
  7. Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.
  8. Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture (optional but recommended).
  9. Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque).
  10. Do not disturb for 7 days.
  • After 7 days, or when you are ready to taste your KT, gently insert a straw beneath the SCOBY and take a sip. If too tart, then reduce your brewing cycle next time.  If too sweet, allow to brew for a few more days.  Continue to taste every day or so until you reach your optimum flavor preference.
  • Decant & flavor (optional).
  • Drink as desired! Start off with 4-8oz on an empty stomach in the morning, then with meals to help with digestion or as your body tells you it would like some more! Drink plenty of water as it is a natural detoxifyer and you want to flush the newly released toxins out.

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Quick Brew Tips

  • Sanitize with hot water or vinegar – NO SOAP. It kills the kombucha culture.
  • Airflow is key – find an open area for your Kombucha Tea.
  • If you see mold, throw everything away. Kombucha Mushrooms are not salvagable when mold strikes.
  • Keep a SCOBY Hotel for backups and extras.
  • Kombucha is a LIVING organism. Many believe the energy in the room will directly influence your culture.

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My favorite happens to be Gingerade. Here is a recipe to try:

Ginger Lime Kombucha Recipe

Ginger is perhaps Kombucha’s best friend, producing delicious fizz and flavor. Citrus pairs well with Kombucha, though in small amounts. These instructions call for flavoring after the brew.

  • 5-6 teaspoons green tea/reusable tea bag
  • 1.25 cups evaporated cane juice

for later:

  • fresh squeezed lime juice
  • fresh ginger slices

Do a shorter steep with these green tea bags, 3-5 minutes. Brew only 6-7 days, decant into bottles already flavored with ginger (to taste) and lime juice (no more than 1/2 ounce per 16 ounce bottle) and allow to second ferment for 3-5 days, burping each day to prevent explosions. Once desired fizz is achieved, move to fridge.

My other secret tip? Once you’ve tried secondary flavoring, try boiling the whole ginger root right in the water you will brew with to infuse the flavor in a totally different way.

So, if you aren’t thoroughly disgusted  but instead I’ve peaked your interest, try it out! Start out slow with a cosmic cranberry or passion berry bliss. You won’t be disappointed.

Have you tried Kombucha? If so, what’s your favorite flavor?

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