Friday started out overcast and threatening rain which prompted a commitment from us to spend a good deal of our day in the kitchen. The sun did pop out in the afternoon, so we were drawn outside for a few hours but we got a bunch of stuff accomplished in the kitchen despite the interruption of fresh air and an increased risk of melanoma. Included in our accomplishments were zucchini loaves and muffins, pancakes for breakfast, and a new batch of kombucha.We got hooked on kombucha last year when we’d get a bottle or two of GT’s Kombucha at Roots Natural Foods as an alternative to a soda pop. (Our favourite flavour is the raspberry flavoured Trilogy.) Since Kombucha is a fermented drink, it is naturally carbonated and has a very simple list of ingredients. A simple list of ingredients is much more appealing for when grocery shopping rather than a long list of unrecognizable chemicals. And fermented foods are super healthy for us; probiotics, anybody?
The simple list of ingredients contributes to the fact that making kombucha at home is a very easy process. At it’s most basic, to make kombucha requires black tea, water, sugar and the most key ingredient, a kombucha mother. A kombucha mother might seem difficult to obtain at first but there’s often people in your community willing to give away the extra portion of mother that exists after it’s growth from a successful batch and there’s always folks selling mothers online. To the uninitiated, a kombucha mother might seem unappealing, considering it’s a fungus that resides in the tea mixture, feeding on the sugar much like yeast does in bread dough, but the seemingly unappealing concept is easily waved off once kombucha is tasted.
We’re growing fonder of the taste of plain kombucha with each batch we make but a little flavouring is fun too; today we added maple syrup and lemon juice to a glass with very tasty results. We’re still getting familiar with the process, so although we experiment a bit (different types of black teas and different types of sweeteners), we follow the recipe available in the very handy book, Wild Fermentation. Here is the recipe, below, paraphrashed and republished without permission and photos appear after the text.Ingredients:
4c / 1L water
1/4c / 60mL sugar
2 tea bags black tea
1/2c kombucha mother Steps:
1. Boil water
2. Mix sugar with water and add two tea bags, steeping for about 15 minutes
3. Wait for the sweetened tea to cool to room temperature before adding the kombucha mother
4. Cover the container with some fabric, cheese cloth, etc; anything to keep the dust out and put it in a warm, dark area (we keep ours on the hot water tank).
5. Check it in a weeks time to see how it’s coming along but from our experience, around two weeks time yields great flavours without being vinegary (which occurs if you leave it too long)
6. When you’re happy with how it tastes, you can split the new kombucha mother that’s formed at the top of the container from the older mother which will be closer to the bottom and repeat the process in two containers. Or share the new mother with a friend, so they can experience the joys of making kombucha for themselves.
Photos: Steeping the tea and sugar…
Putting all the kombucha mothers in one jar while prepping the new batch…
Separating the kombucha mothers from our previous batch…
Putting the mothers in the new, cooled batches of tea and sugar…
Pouring our previous, ready-to-drink batch into bottles (re-using GT bottles we saved)…
Covering the new batch and putting it in the hot water tank closet to ferment for a few weeks before drinking it and repeating this process.