Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Homemade Kombucha with Janis

 What Is Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria

Kombucha originated in what is now Manchuria around 220 BCE, and is said to have been imported to Japan around 400 CE by the physician Kombu. It is commonly drunk in the United States.


I am soooooo excited to make my own Kombucha
 

This scoby is from a co-workers wife

 The SCOBY

If you're familiar with kombucha, you're probably also familiar with that leathery, pancake-like blob called a SCOBY. The acronym stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Due to its appearance, it is sometimes referred to as a "mushroom" even though it is not actually a fungi. Rather, it is the mother culture required to make kombucha tea.
Not all kombucha mothers contain the exact same strains of bacteria and yeasts, but they all generally do the same work.


 "At Cultures for Health, we are often contacted by customers who are worried about the health of their kombucha cultures. While it is possible for a scoby to become contaminated by mold or insects, or to die, in most cases a scoby is quite robust and will maintain its health for a long time.
Since a scoby is an accumulation of bacteria and yeast, the appearance can differ quite a bit from one culture to another. We took some photos of healthy scobys that our staff are using to make their own kombucha, and also asked customers to submit pictures of their kombucha cultures, both pretty and ugly!
Here are a few healthy scobys are smooth, some are lumpy or have holes in them, and some are ragged and mis-shapen. All these scobys are producing quality kombucha and healthy baby scobys."  http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/kombucha/what-healthy-scoby-look-like-kombucha/


  MAKING KOMBUCHA (with Janis)

Makes about 1 gallon

What You Need

Ingredients:
3 1/2 quarts water
1 Gallon jar
1 cup sugar (regular granulated sugar works best- cane sugar works too, just no honey at this stage)
8 bags black tea, black tea is what is needed to grow but  you can add flavored with it (like 6 tea bags with or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
1 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha 
1 scoby per fermentation gallon jar  

For second fermentation- to make the fizz/carbonation
1 to 2 cups chopped/puréed fruit (you want it to come out of the bottle again :)), 2 to 3 cups fruit juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons flavored tea,1/4 cup honey, 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs or spices 
 

Supplies:
Stainless steel pot, not metal
1-gallon glass jar or two 2-quart glass jars
Tightly woven cloth (like clean napkins or tea towels), coffee filters, or paper towels, to cover the jar, rubber band to hold it on- keep gnats and dust out
Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids- great for regular fermentation, 6 swing-top bottle-best for 2nd fermentation/fizzy stage, or clean soda bottles
Small funnel 


Make the tea base: 

Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Add the tea until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
 
Janis uses Organic Black tea- she said Big Lots/Odd Lots is a good place to find the plain black Organic tea.

 



Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the 1 Cup starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.) 

Transfer to jars and add the scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover jar with coffee filters, dishcloth, or paper towels secure it with a rubber band.
 


Keep the jar at room temperature, a dark place is best, and where it won't be moved around. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.  *NOTE* Since I keep my house around 62 degrees, Janis says my batch might take longer.  The warmer the temp, the faster it is ready.  Janis told me that she writes on the jar with a marker that rubs off - so she remembers what day she started the batch.

 
It's not unusual for the scoby to move around during fermentation. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it's ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.

After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.


Remove the scoby: Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set aside a cup of tea and put the Scoby in that. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.    You can finish it here, put the kombucha in bottles and put in the frig.  Or if you want the fizz or carbonation then you pour the fermented kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles using the small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle.  
Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 5-7 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your kombucha carbonates, it's helpful to keep it in glass jars with ceramic bottle stoppers. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your kombucha within a month


Make a fresh batch of kombucha: Clean the jar being used for kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment for 7 to 10 days...and so it beings again

you can also get SCOBY on line, I decided to try that way too....


For my second batch I did 6 Black Tetley Tea and 2 Cold Brew Peach Iced tea bags also one cup of sugar.  they say to be careful if you stir in the sugar, not to use a wooden spoon, you may cross contaminate.


 Once the tea has cooled, I pour it into the gallon jar and you can see I wrote the date on it the jar.  I had 2, 1/2 gallon jars and I asked if I could split the scoby, and they said I could, as long as I had enough of the starter tea to add to it.  Also, I used a plastic knife, so I did not have issues with the metal.  I covered the jar with a coffee filter and then put a dish cloth over top.



 

 They say Kombucha has lots of anti-microbial powers and is full antioxidants, it helps sooth ulcers and improves the function of your pancreas.   Helps with your digestion and arthritis. It supports your liver.  It improves your mood. it helps you loose weight.  It helps you detoxify ... This one I can say is true!  I have one friend who calls it her "poop juice".  I can say  I've never been so regular myself!!! It also reduces the risk of heart disease and they say prevents cancer.  also lots of nutrition. Helps with your good cholesterol. Boosts immunity.  Treats type 2 diabetes too. I can't say that you will have all these changes or experience any of these benefits.... I'm just listing some of the things they say about Kombucha.  I can say I love it and drink a lot of it :)

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