Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brewing Kombucha at Home

Hubba loves Kombucha.  I like some Kombucha.

With Hubba's love, we've been bothered by the number of bottles going to the recycling bin.  We had tossed around the idea of making our own, but hadn't really gotten beyond talking and a small bit of reading.

Then my friend Kristi offered that she had some SCOBYs that would be ready to share, so I jumped at the chance.  First, having the starter rather than beginning from scratch and second, having Kristi's wisdom available made the whole process a little less scary.  ;-)

The donated SCOBY made it home in one piece and I set it up on a shelf in my office and covered it with a towel.  It's supposed to be kept in a warm, dark place, out of the way so it doesn't get disturbed and away from fruit, for some reason.

I left it there for nearly two weeks, checking on it occasionally.  It was exciting to see the "baby" SCOBY being formed.

I tasted it for the first time on day 12 of brewing.  It was a bit vinegary so I plan to start tasting the next batches sooner.  Also, as we approach summer and the house gets warmer, I expect the Kombucha will brew faster.

I pulled together two flavoring/recipe suggestions, made our next batch of black tea (Pekoe I brought home from India a few years ago) and brewed two 1/2 gallons.

Since I needed to reserve 2 cups of Kombucha from the first batch, that only left about 48 ounces available for flavoring.  I decided to use two pickle jars we had set aside a while back... Everything I read had me concerned about using soap and chlorinated tap water for cleaning and I'm not exactly sure how the "rinsing in vinegar" thing works yet.. at least without using large quantities of it.  The pickle jars are short enough to fit in my regular soup pot for water-bath sterilization... no soap, no vinegar and no bad bugs. :-)

The Grolsch style bottles are often recommended, but I also found resources that said both canning jars and re-using other jars is acceptable... as long as the head-space is minimized, the pressure is less likely to build up too much that the risk of "rapid seal failure" is minimized.  So far, so good.  ;-)

We had our first taste of the flavored Kombucha on Friday.  Hubba, who had been a skeptic about the whole process proclaimed with a big smile, "It tastes like Kombucha!"

A few resources I've found helpful: Delicious Obsessions, Food Renegade, Weston A Price, Cultures for Health, Fiber Fool.

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