Even though I made kombucha at 105degrees, it’s always freaked me out to make it at home. I pictured our house being overrun by scoby mushrooms, engulfed in a vinegar aroma. I also thought the Pilot thought it would be the final ticket to the “my wife is a little ‘out there’” town. But, guess what?!
The man likes kombucha.
(One for me, one for him)
I always knew he’d eventually become a fan. It’s kind of like beer ?
You can brew kombucha at home, it has a nice little fizz and kick to it, and bonus: you can get some health benefits from it, too.
When I told him I was going to start brewing my own kombucha, he (surprisingly) thought it was a great idea. So, I decided to whip out my old skills from years past and go for it.
It lives in the pantry, fermenting its little heart out.
Unlike the stuff at the health food stores, you can make a huge amount for under $20, and it’s like the gift that keeps on giving: new scobies (autocorrect changed that to “scabies”) grow to enable you to make multiple batches at once. You can also give your scoby to a friend! What a gift, huh? “I love you so I brought you this healthy bacteria to share!”
You may be reading this wondering, “What the heck is kombucha?”
Kombucha is an ancient fermented tea beverage with many reported, but not thoroughly studied, health benefits. When I first told my nana that I was making kombucha, she said that her mom used to always have some brewing in the kitchen- they called it teswin.
Here are some of the potential benefits of kombucha:
-high in antioxicants
-can help reduce acidity and restore the pH balance of the body
-promotes healthy digestion
-various healing properties, particularly those related to heart, liver, cell and metabolic function
Here’s how to easily make it at home:
-You can order your scoby online (mine was $14 on Amazon) or if you have a kombucha-making friend, ask them for a starter.
-Brew some black, white or green tea. Make the tea STRONG and stay away from the fancy, flavored stuff, as you can always add your flavorings later. At 105, we tried sweetening the tea with agave, but plain, white sugar works much better. For your container, the tea should fill it 2/3 of the way. (For our pitcher, I brewed 8 cups using 8 tea bags.)
-Add your sugar to the tea and allow to cool to room temperature.
-Stir in your starter tea (from the kombucha starter kit) and plop the scoby on top of the tea. The starter mixture should be about 10% of your total mixture.
-Lightly cover (cheesecloth or a paper towel secured with a rubber band works well), and place in a room temperature location to ferment, away from direct sunlight.
-After 7-10 days, start to test your kombucha (see how tangy you like it!) and then when you like the strength, transfer to separate bottles to flavor (using whatever juices or herbs you’d like), and allow to carbonate in the fridge. You’ll be able to taste how the mixture becomes more acidic and less sugary over time. It’s tempting to bottle it quickly, but try to wait it out. (14 days-ish seems to be a magic number, but it’s up to you and how you like it to taste.) Remember, you can always ferment your next batch for a longer or shorter amount of time.
-For flavors, the possibilities are endless! Add fresh or dried fruit, fruit juices or herbs.
I’ll report back in a couple of weeks to let you know how the batch turned out and what flavors I decided to make. I already told Kyle and Meg they can have my baby scoby haha.
-Do NOT stir the kombucha with any metal utensils
-Store the kombucha in a glass container
-Make sure to wash and sanitize everything and avoid touching the scoby with your hands. If you do touch it, make sure your hands are nice and clean and be gentle, mmm k?
-Be wary for signs of mold. It’s relatively safe to brew kombucha at home, but if the liquid or scoby look moldy, toss everything and start over again. Be especially cautious for blue or green colored strands- healthy kombucha should be a brownish color.
-Every few batches, throw away the oldest scoby (the underneath layer). Use the new scoby to either start a new batch (using the scoby and about 1 C of the tea mixture) or give it to a friend as their own starter kit.
-Some flavor ideas:
Fresh lavender, blueberries (infuse or use the juice)
If you choose to infuse your kombucha, do it before straining and bottling to carbonate in the fridge.
Would you brew (or have you brewed) your own kombucha? What’s your favorite flavor?