10 01 2010

So I will begin with my article on how to make Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is delicious and also very healthy due to the live enzymes and probiotics found in the drink. Kombucha proponents claim many advantages such as increased energy, sharper eyesight, better skin condition, and better experience with foods that ‘stick’ going down such as rice or pasta. It may have originally come from Russia and the Ukraine but it has also been enjoyed in Asia, particularly China and Japan. They say that the Kombucha fungus starter was so prized in Japan, that it was passed down from mother to daughter as part of the daughter’s dowry.

My friend, Michael, gave me a gift of a small part of his “shroom” or fungus culture to bring home with me from Los Angeles. I was so excited they did not confiscate it at security. Having safely arrived home with my little prize, I brewed up a batch the next day and watched my shroom grow from about 1/2 inch in diameter to about 10 inches over the course of a week. It was really fascinating. Talk about kitchen science experiments!

I am always amazed as to who discovered this in the first place. How would you know that a slimy fungus growing on the top of a drink would turn it into something healthy and delicious. Go figure.

Here are Michael’s tips for making kombucha. We are currently making it with black and green tea and organic sugar. Most of the sugar is fed to the fungus to grow and the caffeine is also greatly eliminated in the fermentation process so there is only a small amount left. I will experiment however with decaffeinated tea and maybe agave instead of the sugar. I will keep you updated.

How to Make Kombucha

1.    Bring one gallon of pure water to a boil. Add in 8 tea bags. (I like a combination of black tea and green tea). Leave to steep in the boiling water for about 5 minutes or until very dark then remove the tea bags. Add in 1 – 1 ½ cups of sugar and dissolve.
2.    Let cool to room temperature. Pour into a large glass jar. Leave some space at the top for the mushroom to grow.  Add ¼ cup of distilled apple-cider vinegar.
3.    Put the mushroom into the tea. Cover with a couple layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter or paper towel secured with a rubber band.
4.    Let sit for 7 – 9 days. The longer it sits, the sourer the tea will become. Label the brewing container with the date you started brewing.
5.    Taste test the tea on the 7th day using a straw to see if it’s ready. If it tastes in between sweet and sour then it is ready. If too sweet, leave to ferment a few days longer.
6.    When the tea is ready, remove the mushroom and place on a clean plate. Pour the fermented tea through a strainer and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
7.    You can drink the tea as it is or put in glass bottles and add a little flavor like grape juice or lemon juice. Then cap the bottles and allow to ferment for 3 – 5 more days on the counter before refrigerating. This will make it more carbonated.




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