Thursday, May 1, 2014

clean living / k o m b u c h a !

brew your own kombucha!

if you love it, heres a easy way to save money (each bottle is about $3.50- $4.50)
if you don't know about it.. here are a few reasons why you should love it:

what is kombucha? kombucha is a naturally carbonated and fermented tea.
It's made by fermenting  the tea (green, black, white), using a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast aka SCOBY. your SCOBY is alive. like a little floating pet. its such an amazing creature that it basically takes plain green tea (or black or white) and sugar and uses that energy to not only grow in size (creating layers each batch) but also it makes you an extremely beneficial beverage. 
- beats coffee, with natural energy boost
- amazing for a detox
- boosts your immune system with alive bacteria
-full of vitamins and enzymes 
- helps with jumpstarting metabolism

[i want to make a BIG important side note: i would NOT give kombucha to children / babies. not only is there a little bit of alcohol, there is also bacteria that their bodies are too young to handle. if you are breastfeeding please ask your doctor. i am currently breastfeeding and i limit myself to 1-2 a week.]

my SCOBY before (day 1) & 
after (probably about 5 batches. your guy will grow a new layer each batch) :

want to brew? ok lets get started!

first: you need to grow your own scoby. yes, its so exciting because he/she starts from small brown tiny blobs of floating bacteria and grows into a  big white jelly like blob. so this may sound silly, but your first batch you will be creating your "mother" SCOBY. once your mother has grown, each batch will be another layer on top. those are the "babies". and the awesome thing about babies is they can be separated from the mom and grown in their own jar - or you can give your babies to a friend. 
the SCOBY above has the mother on the bottom and about 5 babies on top. 

our SCOBY is named boris. you can name yours too.

- one bottle of original (not flavored) bottled kombucha [gt's kombucha]
- a wide rimmed 1 gallon glass jar (has to be glass, SCOBY's don't like metal or plastic)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 8 tea bags (green, black, or white.. plain not flavored)
- filtered water
- cloth / paper towel / dish towel (some kind of cloth big enough to go around the lip of your jar.)

(side note: if you have a 2 gallon jar, double the ingredients.. if you have 1/2 gallon jar cut them in half, BUT you still want 1 full bottle of original (not flavored) bottled kombucha. its got all the goodies and you don't want to cut that in half)

1. you want to boil some water (2-4 cups) and in your gallon jar, 
make somewhat concentrated tea, using your 8 tea bags.  

2. mix in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved. set aside and let cool. needs to be room temperature. 
(very important.. you do not want to burn boris) 
to help cool you can add cold filtered water about half way up the glass.

3. once it is room temp pour in the bottle of original kombucha. 

4. you want to leave about 2 inches breathing room at the top of your jar. 
so fill with filtered water until you get there. 

5. cover your jar with a piece of cloth and put a rubber band in place so it stays on there. the reason for this is; you don't want lint or dust to get near your SCOBY.. 
but SCOBY's need to breathe so please don't suffocate him/her with a tight lid. 

6. now set aside in a place where he/she can be left alone. a darker place is great. 
do not burn your SCOBY in the sunlight. its not a plant! 

my guy lives above my microwave in the top cabinet and he seems to be really happy there. 

7. anyways, now you have to wait for him/her to grow. 
it takes about 10-14 days (sometimes longer depending on how cold your house is)
the only hard part is the wait. but it is worth it!
don't check him/her everyday. check every 5 days. when you see a thin whiteish film/ jelly guy on top you know your ready to rock and roll!

second: you are ready for your first batch. check your kombucha 
and make sure it is good for your taste buds. 
sweet = less time fermenting
sour/ vinegary = more time fermenting
i like mine in the middle. too vinegary i can't drink it but too 
sweet and i feel like i'm not getting all the benefits. 

since the first brew is for a long time, it might be too vinegary for you. thats fine, you can toss it.
(important side note: ALWAYS keep 2-3 cups of the previous batch to help the new batch)
so if you toss your tea, set aside 2-3 cups for the next batch.

there are many ways to transfer your kombucha from big jar to little jars. use what works best for you. but your going to want to take you SCOBY out first. GENTLY. 
and place him/her on a plate while your working with your fermented tea.

if your tea is good you can bottle it (glass bottle tight lid).. let it sit for 2-3 more days until its naturally carbonated. and then it can be refrigerated for a month!

third: if you don't like the taste of it plain.. there are many flavors to try.
the easiest way i've flavored my kombucha is with tea bags.
i buy lavender tea, or passion tea, and just put one bag in.
other ways are of flavoring include smashing up your favorite fruit and then bottling it. 
(kind of like sangria)
once you've chosen your flavor and its air tight, you can refrigerate your bottle for up to a month.
please label your bottle with the date so you remember.

fourth: once you get the hang of the steps, you can re-brew.

1. take a few cups of boiling water and 8 tea bags into your large jar.
2. mix in the sugar while its still hot.
3. let cool/ pour in filtered water.
4. once room temp.. take your 2-3 cups from your previous batch
5. fill the rest up with water but leave 2 inches at the top for SCOBY to breathe.
6. get that SCOBY back in its jar! he's hungry!
7. cover your jar with a cloth and rubber band.

this time your kombucha will be ready in 5-10 days. wait about 5 days, taste a little, if its not there, then wait a few more.. sometimes it can be 14 days before its at the right taste. each SCOBY is a little different, but thats what makes them so cool!

bottle and flavor if desired.

(side note: please throw your SCOBY away if you see any signs of mold.. this will look like white, blue, green furry dots. do not worry about the brown furry things floating. that is all part of a healthy SCOBY. also if your SCOBY is a silly guy he might hang out sideways. or if he's at the bottom he will eventually come to the top.)

you can find bottled kombucha at [whole foods] or any natural/organic grocery store. 
if your lucky they might have a big selection of flavors for tasting and inspiration!

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