Monday, May 13, 2013

Introducing Our Wee Slimy Friend (WSF)

Recently a sweet friend blessed me with a kombucha starter, also known as a SCOBY (a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), and thus I have joined the community of kombucha-brewers! Hurray for lactofermentation!!

Kombucha, like yogurt, kefir, pickles, kimchi, etc., is a lacto-fermented product that produces a wonderfully-powerful dose of all-natural probiotics (beneficial bacteria), and can be an awesome addition to one's diet, especially in a day and age when most products that were formerly probiotic have now been nuked (i.e. heat-treated for shelf-life), thus eliminating the beneficial bacteria that we all need.

Can kombucha help nausea and vomiting of pregnancy? Maybe. Read about some possibilities here. However, the truth is that any steps to improve one's health can't hurt, and it's always good to do anything to bump up one's health before facing the monster of hyperemesis.

Because I am doing a low-carb diet, I am letting my kombucha do a longer brew, to allow the colony to consume more of the sugars. This makes the resulting product much less sweet and much less pleasant to drink (my weird-stuff-loving husband won't touch it), but I'm actually getting used to it! Now I'm thinking of brewing even longer to kick the carb count down lower, so we'll see how that goes. (If you brew it for a shorter time, this stuff is awesome - and I don't even care for tea, as a rule!)

Every time you brew a batch of kombucha, your mother SCOBY will produce a baby SCOBY, so there are always plenty of SCOBYs to go around. Grab one from a sympathetic friend and brew away!

(If you end up with baby SCOBYs that you can't give away, add them to your garden or compost pile for extra bacterial goodness!)

My first brew with the WSF - I have made two more batches since then. 

Directions for Making Kombucha Tea

Use a 2-4 quart glass container. All utensils should be clean, but don’t use antibacterial soap (can mess up the SCOBY). If you want to disinfect, rinse with apple cider vinegar.

Pour boiling water halfway up your container. Add 1 teabag per quart and let steep 20 minutes. Stir in sugar (1 cup per gallon, or ¼ cup per quart).

Add cold water to fill (leave room for SCOBY and starter tea) and wait till water has reached room temperature.

Add reserved SCOBY and tea (reserve about 6 oz tea per gallon).

Cover with paper towel and rubber band and place in dark location for 6-10 days. Less time = sweeter taste. More time = less sweet taste, more vinegar. Label with desired bottling date so that you don't lose track!

Bottle in clean glass containers. Strain if desired. Will carbonate, so cap loosely if you don’t want carbonation to build up. Will last in fridge for quite a long time!


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