Snow is covering almost every inch outside and it is still falling. It is officially winter. And you know what that means? Cold and flu season is upon us.
I have dabbled a bit in the world of essential oils this past year and find those help but am always looking for other ways to help keep us healthy this season. My oldest gets chronic ear infections. One year her ears were so bad we did 3 rounds of antibiotics back to back! I kept thinking, her poor gut. We always try to combat it with probiotics at the same time. However it is easy to forget the rest of the time.
I've been looking at ways to get more probiotics into our systems so I started drinking kombucha. I love it.
What is Kombucha? It is a fermented, sweetened black or green tea drink. It is known for its health benefits. It is rich in probioticcs, antioxidents, and some experts suggest that kombucha is a good source of B vitamins. That is Kombucha in a nut shell. There are tons of great articles and videos that go more in depth. I highly recommend doing your research!
Like I said I love Kombucha...however I don't like the price tag! It can get pricey and it adds up.
One day my husband was experimenting in the kitchen with a sourdough starter. I thought, why not experiment by making my own kombucha. Once I got the idea I went all in. I researched all the ways to make my own kombucha at home. I had all the tips and was ready to go. So I started to assemble everything I needed. I got a gallon glass jar off of amazon, cane sugar, tea bags, resealable bottles etc. All that was left to get was a SCOBY starter. SCOBY (for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is what helps turn your tea into kombucha. I didn't have one nor was I comfortable with making one from scratch.
Warning about your SCOBY. It looks a bit gross. Almost like a sea urchin. It's slimy, it grows, it multiplies and it changes colors. But do not be scared of it. It's the star of the show!
Make sure your hands are clean and sterile with vinegar when handling it!
I posted in a local buy share group on Facebook looking for one. There was a lovely lady in the community who offered to help me out. When making kombucha your SCOBY continues to grow and you can separate it and share it with others or store to make more. She brought over the SCOBY and starter liquid. She also gave me tips on how to get started etc. I was ready and so excited! I found a recipe online using green tea and got to work. I got it all set up and let it sit for a week! After a week I decided to taste it and it still tasted very sweet. I also noticed my SCOBY looked a little funny. None the less I put the cover back on and left it for a couple more days. When I checked it again I saw my worst fear....mould! Mould on my SCOBY! The whole batch had to be thrown out.
The worst part was my husband decided he wanted to make it as well....his worked out. Mine didn't. I may be a bit competitive lol.
I talked to my new found friend about what could have gone wrong. I had used tap water to fill up my jar and you are suppose to use distilled or boiled water. The bad bacteria will get in the way of the good bacteria trying to do its job. The area where I kept my jar wasn't dark or warm enough. Finally I don't think I used enough starter liquid.
Since my husbands worked out just great, I used part of his SCOBY and liquid and tried again. This time it was amazing. It had the right amount of fizz and flavour. I was pumped. Now its like clock work and we haven't had any other issues as of yet.
If you're interested in making your own here is the recipe and list of supplies needed!
1 Gallon Glass Jar
Rubber band or kitchen string
8-10 black tea blags (unflavoured and non herbal!)
1 cup of pure Cane sugar
resealable glass bottles
SCOBY and starter liquid (ask a friend, check on local community groups or you can even buy one of Amazon ;))
Make sure your area is sterile using hot water and vinegar to clean. Try and avoid dish soap when cleaning out your jars. I normally wash with boiling water and vinegar.
*Avoid all metal utensils.
*Store in a warm dark place. Not too hot but a nice warm consistent temp. I normally wrap mine in a blanket and keep it in a dark corner of my basement. If it gets too cold I use a hot water bottle.
Now you are ready to brew!!
1. Boil 4 cups of water and add your sugar and tea bags. Let is steep for about 5-10 minutes. Once it's done stir and remove the tea bags.
2. Pour your tea into the gallon jar. Top up the jar with distilled water.
3. Once your tea is room temperature, carefully pour in your starter liquid and gently place your SCOBY in the jar.
4. Cover it with your tea towel or cloth and wrap it with the string or elastic.
5. Place your jar in a warm and dark place. Keep out of direct sunlight. *Make sure it is somewhere where it won't be bumped or agitated during the fermentation process. You don't want to disturb the SCOBY while it's doing it's job.
6. Wait at least 7 days. I then check it and taste it. Don't be scared to gently push your SCOBY to the side and stick a plastic (not metal) straw to the middle of the jar and take a sip. If it's still a bit sweet I leave it a bit longer. I find my sweet spot is 9 days. It may take longer. some say anywhere between 7-25 days.
7. Once your booch tastes the way you want it's time to bottle it and add flavours.
8. If you see floaties in your batch don't freak out its a good thing! I personally strain them out cause I am not big on textures. Even after the SCOBY is removed and bottled I still find floaties in my bottles and they are completely safe to consume.
9. You can flavour it with fruit, or fruit juices. I use lemon and a small amount of fruit syrup.
10. When bottling your batch I fill mine almost to the very top to ensure maximum fizzyness. To also assist with the carbonation process, I storel the bottles in the pantry for a couple more days before chilling them and drinking.
I found this video helpful when I was trouble shooting as well!
Now, sit back, put your feet up and enjoy a big bubbly glass of Kombucha that you made yourself. Don't forget to brag!
Hopefully you found this helpful. Please remember I am not an expert and have only been making this for a short time. There are many articles out there and that offer tips and tricks as well.