Since we're on the subject of fermented drinks, why not revisit one of my all time favorite things.
No, it's not Stuart. Or Georgia. Or chocolate. Or freshly whipped cream.
Guessed yet? It's KOMBUCHA, BABY. What? I couldn't help myself. We talked about fermenting kvass yesterday – what was I supposed to do!
We've been brewing our own here on the homestead for going on two years now and not only have I saved myself from the 1000% mark-up of the store-bought kombucha, but I've also been able to relish in the good, err…benefit, that kombucha brings to my…..err…gut.
Fine, I'll say it. Kombucha is super wonderful for keeping the gut *regular*, if you catch my drift.
Somehow, saying the word poop just seems inappropriate for this blog, so I won't say it.
You will need:
– 8 organic black tea bags or 8 teaspoons of your favorite loose leaf tea. I've found that a nice black tea yields the best results. White tea has a very delicate flavor and I prefer mine with a bit more punch. The only tea *off limits* are herbal teas and earl grey varieties.
– 2 cups of white, kill-ya-tomorrow sugar (don't worry, the sugar is consumed in the process)
– 8(ish) liters of water. I fill up my stock pot all the way to the top.
– Mother SCOBY (available online HERE)
– 6(ish) cups of the best quality juice you can find! Make sure that it's real juice. I use homemade grape juice.
Step One: Heat up the water to just below a boil. Add in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add in the tea bags, cover the pot, and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature (this can take overnight).
Step Two: After the tea has completely cooled, remove the tea bags, and pour the tea into a food-grade bucket. (Hint: I got our buckets for free from the local bakery – they have tons of them from all the frostings they use!)
Step Three: Add the SCOBY, cover the bucket, and tuck it away in a dark closet where it can sit undisturbed for one week.
Step Four: After the week has passed, remove your SCOBY, which will now be two! One “Mother” – the large one you started with and one “Baby” – the new snot-like (sorry, but it's true) film that has grown over the tea. Put the SCOBY into a jar and fill it with some of the kombucha tea. This will feed it until you're ready to use it again. I store mine on top of the fridge covered with a cloth.
Ah yes, here's said “Baby” now. Hello, baby SCOBY.
Oh, and hello Mother SCOBY. Yikes.
Now, here's another change in my original recipe – now, I always had 6 cups of juice to the batch before bottling. The natural sugar occuring in the fruit allows for a small second fermentation once the kombucha is bottled. This secondary fermentation ensures that the batch of kombucha is nice and carbonated. And trust me, you're going to want your kombucha carbonated. Flat kombucha is not nearly as fun.
See? See all those beautiful bubbles?
That's what I'm talking about!
And instead of bottling in recycled beer bottles, thanks to my dear friend Carlee, I now have enough store-bought glass kombucha bottles to use! They are much easier, as I can just twist the cap right now! And even though these are reused, I've never had a problem getting the kombucha to carbonate with the twist caps. So start stashing away – any glass bottle will do!
Step Five: Fill all your clean bottles 85-90% full with the kombucha tea. Then, top 'em off with the juice. Twist on the caps.
That's how you make kombucha, baby!
Step Six: Let the bottles hang out at room temperature for 2-3 days. Then, move 'em to the refrigerator and enjoy at your pleasure.
I've found that kombucha can usually cure my sweet tooth in the late afternoons before dinner. It can also help to fill my belly with goodness so I don't overindulge come supper.
Ahem. Not that I would ever do something as glutenous as overindulge.
Okay, fine. Sometimes I've been known to overindulge.
But lucky for me, if I overindulge on kombucha, well that's not such a bad thing.
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.