Kombucha

Drink

 

Apple Cider Kombucha

Makes 1/2 gallon

Brew 1st ferment of tea, I prefer green tea for this.

1 medium apple, chopped

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

1-2 tablespoons raw honey

Place 1st fermented brew into a 1/2 gallon jar. Add chopped apple, cinnamon stick, cloves and raw honey.

Let ferment for 5-7 days. Strain off apples, cinnamon stick. cloves and put into your bottles of choice and refrigerate.

Yummy!

If you’d like to enjoy warm, gently warm, no hotter than 100 degrees so as not to destroy the enzymes and good probiotics.

 

Kombucha 1

2nd Ferment Flavors

I make a lot of kombucha. I got started more than a year ago experimenting and playing around to find what I liked and didn’t like. The funny thing about kombucha brewing, as with most fermenting; it really does take on a life of its own.

This week was a 2nd fermentation week on my current batches, so I have been experimenting with some lighter fares for Spring time as opposed to some of the more wintering flavors like Chai (which I adore).

A new favorite is Orange Mango and a crowd favorite is Ginger Peach. Yesterday I played with Rosemary Pear, and Ginger Mint Limeade.

I often times also use Herbal teas because of their awesomeness as a flavor agent but also for their medicinal values.

So for those of you experimenters out there, here’s to our 2nd ferments and for those who haven’t ventured out this far, find one of us home brewers and get hooked up with kombucha or you can always buy commercially, just not as much fun…haaaaaaaaaaa 🙂

Some brief benefits, high in B vitamins, which provides you with energy naturally, it’s a great detoxifier, loaded with probiotics and enzymes for digestion.

Definitely worth drinking daily!

Ginger Mint Limeade

I 2nd ferment in ½ gallon jars, so if you can adjust accordingly to your container size of choice.

2-3 limes juiced and toss in the peels, either whole or chopped up. I usually leave mine whole.

2 pieces of fresh gingerroot (1 inch pieces) or more to taste

Several mint leaves, lightly crushed

Cover with a lid and let sit for 3-4 days or if really warm, maybe 2-3 days. If the flavor is as you like it, pull out the fruit, ginger and leaves. Bottle and refrigerate.

 

Orange Mango

I 2nd ferment in ½ gallon jars, so if you can adjust accordingly to your container size of choice.

1-2 oranges juiced and toss in the peels either whole or chopped up, I usually just leave whole.

2 slices of dried mango (unless you have fresh or frozen, then I would put in a couple more slices)

Put on your lid and let set for 3-4 days unless your house is really warm, and then check at 2-3 days.

Remove the fruit, bottle and refrigerate.

The possibilities are endless, let your imagination soar! Enjoy!

 

Kombucha

Green or White Tea Kombucha

For each gallon of tea, you need:

  • 6 tea bags organic green or white tea
  • 1 cup sugar of any kind Sucanat (unrefined) or raw honey
  • a little less than 1 gallon of pure water (start with 1/2 gallon)
  • Starter scoby (kombucha mushroom)
  • Starter kombucha saved from a previous batch (approx. 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 gallon jar or 2 half-gallon jars
  • wooden stirring spoon
  • 2 or 3 clean bath/beach towels

You will use 1/2 gallon water, 6 tea bags and 1 cup sweetener per gallon of tea you’re brewing. Put water and tea bags in a big pot. Add the sweetener. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Cover. Allow to cool to room temperature.

If using a liquid sweetener such as honey, there is no need to boil it with the tea bags and water. Stir it in just before pouring the tea in to the jar, marked with a ** below.

Put the scoby and your starter kombucha the jar(s). Cover with a towel or cheesecloth to keep out fruit flies, dust, or other contaminants.

Back to the cooled down tea. Stir the tea. Remove the tea bags, squeezing out any excess (no waste!). (**Add and stir in the honey here, if using.) Taste it at this point so you know how sweet it is at this stage. If using 2 smaller jars, divide up the brewed tea equally among the jars.

Fill up the rest of the jar with pure water to within 1 inch of the top, at the place where the neck of the jar begins narrowing, but isn’t too narrow. This where the scoby will float and grow; it will fill the entire circumference available to it. If you fill the jar too high, it will limit how wide the scoby can grow. Use a wooden spoon to stir the liquid make sure the water is distributed evenly with the tea. Turn the scoby so the lighter side is floating toward the top. If it isn’t floating at the top, don’t worry, it will rise on its own.

Arrange jar(s) on a clean beach/bath towel in a warm place of your kitchen (near a heating vent or cook stove) where it (they) can rest undisturbed for several days. I put mine on one of my pantry shelves.  Wrap the towel up and over the jar(s). Lay another towel across the top. The Kombucha needs to stay warm and be able to breathe, while being protected from dust and other contaminants.

After 3 or 4 days, unwrap the jar(s). Feel free to do it sooner, depending on how warm your house is. The warmer your house, the faster the tea brews. Does the scoby look healthy? Has it risen to the top surface of the tea? Is it growing a lighter-colored layer on top of the older, darker part? Is its surface smooth? Are there little brown sugar castings (that is what the scoby leaves behind as it eats the sugar)? Are there little bubbles in the tea (natural carbonation)?

Now taste the Kombucha. Remember how it tasted on the first day? Very sweet likely, with not much else distinguishable. What you’re looking for now is that it has a kick to it, like a wine cooler. It will still taste sweet, but not so sweet. Just mildly sweet and then have a bite to it. It should also be naturally carbonated and if you feel a good urge to burp, yay! If it tastes sour, it has likely brewed too long.

If it has brewed too long and tastes too sour continue on with the directions to pour the tea off into storage containers, but add more sweetener to taste and let it re-brew for a few days.

If it is still very sweet with no kick, wrap up the jar(s) again and let the tea keep brewing a few more days. Check it daily to see if it is done yet.

If it is ready, you’re ready to pour it off into storage containers or move on to a second fermentation with dried fruits or fruit juices. Otherwise, let it go a few more days. I believe the average is 5 to 7 days or longer. My Kombucha tends to be done in 4 or 5 days. In the wintertime, my kombucha takes about 2 weeks because my house is colder. You can also invest in a heat-belt; I’ve just never done so.

Using a funnel to strain out the scoby solids floating around in the tea, pour the contents of the jar into a storage jar. For storage jars, use canning jars (1/2 gallon, quart, etc.) or 1 gallon jugs. Leave the scoby and enough mature Kombucha tea to cover it in the jar.

The now almost-empty jars should be lightly covered with towels as they wait to brew a new batch of Kombucha. It will be fine for many days, but why wait to start more of this delicious tea? If you aren’t going to make another batch for a while, store this starter brew along with the scoby in the refrigerator.

This recipe is my basic go-to. From here you can add many other flavors to make it how you prefer it. Use your imagination. The possibilities are endless.

My favorite base recipe courtesy of Wardeh Harmon

 

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