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Making Kombucha

What is this beautiful fizzy drink that has so many health benefits? I bought Kombucha at an average of $4 per bottle in stores and had to find a cheaper alternative. I began my search on Pinterest for a recipe to make kombucha. The starter is something called a SCOBY, and I could buy it online from a random seller. But I'd have no idea how clean their kitchen is or what ingredients they put into making their SCOBY. Choosing to reach out to my Facebook Group, Hernando County Homesteading, seemed like a better source of this magical key ingredient. We have a wonderful group of over 2k homesteaders, and bartering is a perfect form of payment for something like this.



Fairly quickly, I was able to source a SCOBY and make my way to the lady's house. She had been making her own Kombucha for years and was kind in sharing her SCOBY and the recipe for success. I will share the recipe further in the blog. SCOBY is the name of a living organism that makes the fermentation process work. Adding black or green tea to the SCOBY and letting it ferment for ten days produces a natural probiotic for your gut health. The SCOBY looks like a mix between a slimy booger and a jellyfish. It doesn't smell edible, and neither do other types of molds. But it does pack a punch in the fermentation process.



Healthline.com shares that Kombucha has many health benefits, including probiotics for gut and liver health, reducing heart disease, helping manage type 2 diabetes, and protecting against cancer. Not to mention that when you brew it from home, you have more control over what ingredients you put into the juice, and the cost savings involved are tremendous. The recipe only calls for a few ingredients, such as six tea bags, water, and sugar, and if, like me, you want to do a second ferment to add flavor, you will need fruit. I will share below how I accomplished this second ferment.


Let's start making some kombucha. The first step is to boil about 4-5 cups of water on the stove and steep six tea bags until the liquid is at room temperature. You can choose your mixture of tea using black and green tea. I like the combo of 4 black teas and two green teas, but this is where you get the strength of the tea, so experiment until you get the desired strength. Once your liquid is cool, add 1/2 cup of sugar and mix it well until it is mostly dissolved. The SCOBY will feed on the sugar to help the fermentation process. Add your SCOBY and more water to the top of your container. I use a large 64 oz (1/2 gallon) mason jar. Once you have added the ingredients, use a mason jar ring with a coffee filter and secure the jar. The coffee filter helps to allow air into the jar but not fruit flies. Let this sit on your counter for about ten days. If you drink it like this without the second ferment, then you can strain out the SCOBY and store it in the fridge or at room temperature. The fridge will stop the growth of more SCBOY, but room temperature storage will continue the process, and you will get floaters in your liquid, which, if left for a long time, will turn into more SCOBY. They are consumable and healthy for you but go down a bit thick. Our family enjoys the second ferment with a fruit flavor and more bubbles. See the next step to accomplish this.


The second ferment will add extra bubbles to your fermented tea, providing an excellent fruit flavor resembling fruit juice. I like to use frozen blueberries or strawberries. I have also heard of using lemon and ginger for a fresh summer flavor. You can get creative; if it doesn't work out, you can always start a new batch. After the initial fermentation time of ten to fourteen days, I will strain out the SCOBY and a cup of the liquid and put it into my mason jar for future use and safekeeping. I run the fermented tea through a strainer to remove any floaters. It gets strained into a clean glass jar. Add about 1 cup of frozen fruit and cover tightly with a lid. I will let it sit out on the counter for another three days. Mixing it up every day and letting out a little air. After three days, I strain out the fruit and put the new liquid into a clean jar with a lid, and in the fridge, it goes. The lady I got the original SCOBY from likes her kombucha room temperature, but her husband is like me and likes it refreshingly cold.


Drinking a few ounces daily can provide significant health benefits and is a beautiful treat for your whole family. We can't wait to hear your feedback and any experiments you do that go well and generously. Learning from our peers is a great way to expand your homesteading toolbox.


Homemade Kombucha Recipe

Ingredients:

SCOBY

Water

6 Tea Bags (Black or Green Tea or a mixture of both)

1/2 cup sugar

2nd Ferment using the fruit of your choice


Step 1: Boil about 4-5 cups of water on the stove and steep six tea bags until the liquid is at room temperature. You can choose your mixture of black and green tea. I like the combo of four black teas and two green teas, but this is where you get the strength of the tea, so experiment until you get the desired strength.


Step 2—Once your liquid is cool, add 1/2 cup of sugar and mix well until it is mostly dissolved.


Step 3—Add your SCOBY and more water to the top of your container. Cover with a coffee filter and secure with a mason jar ring.


Step 4- Let this sit on your counter for about ten- fourteen days.


Step 5—Strain the SCOBY and put it in a jar with 1 cup of the liquid for future use. Store the rest of the mixture in the fridge or at room temperature.


2ND FERMENT—To the new jar of liquid, add about 1 cup of frozen fruit and cover tightly with a lid. I will let it sit out on the counter for another three days, mixing it up every day and letting out a little air. After three days, strain out the fruit and put the new liquid into a clean jar with a lid, and in the fridge, it goes.




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