Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Making Homemade Hibiscus Kombucha

Makes about 1 gallon

What You Need

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(f2)- to make the fizz/carbonation: I use 2 to 3 cups fruit juice

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.) I  let it sit over night.

Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea.  Transfer to 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.Pour 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.)
 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, so my batches might take longer.  The warmer the temp, the faster it is ready.  you can write on the glass the jar with a marker that rubs off - this helps you remember what day you stated and what you made.

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.

Before proceeding with your bottling, 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 (that is carbonating) 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

Black tea and real hibiscus from Africa!!!

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 :)

Let the F1 happen- the first fermentation.  Once this is done, I will bottle with juice for another 7 days and I will get carbonation!

It's a beautiful color!!!!

This is the "scoby" or mother in the Kombucha- it's called the F1, the first fermentation.

This is before I add the juice and get ready to make it carbonated.

the carbonation has happened and it is great!!  I have this in  plastic cup, but note, I do not do this any more. It is not recommended for Kombucha to be in plastic.  Use glass or stainless steel cups.
letting friends try the varieties is half the fun!

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