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|Raising Kombucha : River Valley edition : Tuesday, 22 August 2017 14:35 EDT : a service of The Public Press|
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by Julie Ann Herrell
The mother has worked hard to produce a half gallon of quality organic fermented tea for my consumption, and she needs to rest before creating more. Her baby, the love child, is a result of her hard labors, and he will go forth to produce a baby himself, becoming a mother.
("Jules" Herrell is an interest mix. She's a writer, a snowboard instructor, and a food activist. She is also a certified Project Management Professional which means she can manage large projects using team work and cooperative principles rather than the heavy boot of authority. You might find her sipping a Kombucha at the Honest Weight Food Coop which serves a large and varied community in inner city Albany, NY. This member-owned organization has been educating the public and purchasing locally for over 30 years.)
The fresh tea is now in large mason jars in the fridge, ready for me to pour into individual (recycled) GT Kombucha bottles, which I take to work with me everyday.
We all seem to have an appetite for Kombucha these days. Perhaps our bellies are craving the goodness that fermented just-about-anything provides to the human body. The fact that I drink a bottle of my own homemade tea everyday, with a full meal, and only feel briefly full, attests to Kombucha's ability to assist in digestion.
How did this all begin? Probably in California as that's where I spent my most formative cooperative years. I don't even remember the first time I met someone with a Kombucha culture, but I do recall that the culture looked really funky. Nasty in fact, it looked like a giant blob of something one might eject from one's nose in the wintertime. Not knowing much about fermentation, I intuitively knew that the product must have been something healthy for my body, so I took a taste. MMMM. The tea was weird and fabulous.
As one of the many Coop shoppers who is positively addicted to GT's Raw Kombucha fizzy teas, as soon as they were available at Honest Weight, I became a convert. Favorite flavors include Ginger, Multi-green and Original. My very picky teenage daughter loves Mango, Strawberry, and anything with fruit.
When the GT Kombucha went on sale, lots of us bought 10 bottles at a time. There was always a gaggle of shoppers round the Kombucha fridge, vying for our favorite flavors, handing each other bottles upon request. An underlying quiet desperation fueled our purchases, as we couldn't wait to pop the top and down another bottle of the fabulous new fermented drink. One friend tells me she waits all day for her Kombucha fix, thinking about it, dreaming about it and choosing a specific time to imbibe. Finally, she pops the top and slowly sips her fermented goodness. She says it fills up her chest. I know others who've been known to consume two bottles per day every day for a week.
To know more about Kombucha in general, you can visit the Coop Scoop online and check out a wonderful article in the March 2007 issue. To make your own at home, you will need to find someone with a Kombucha mother, or order your culture online. I was fortunate to run into a local neighbor serendipitously who had some Kombucha and gave me the Mother and a recipe to make her grow. The following is one person's account how we raise Kombucha..Kombucha Recipe
Remember, cleanliness will keep your tea healthy, so wash and rinse all pots, glass jars and utensils carefully before touching the culture. A key to brewing drinkable Kombucha, like anything else you might ingest, is to avoid pathogens and mold. Before brewing your own, check out this excellent article by the good folks at Fungi Perfecti who would prefer to see no one brew their own Kombucha.
First, procure a chunk of fresh, healthy Kombucha mother along with at least a cup or two of the culture tea she lives in already. It's always nice to have her given to you by a friend.
Clean a half gallon glass pot by boiling water in it, then fill it with water, boil again, and add enough organic black tea bags to make strong tea. Let cool to room temperature. If you do not allow the tea to cool it will kill the Kombucha mother.
Add 3/4 cup of organic cane sugar to the tea, mix it thoroughly.
Add Kombucha mother with her juices to the tea, cover with a lid, then cover the lid with a clean cloth dishtowel. Secure the dishtowel with rubber bands. The Kombucha will breathe while it ferments, and the towel will deflect fruit flies.
Don't disturb your Kombucha for at least two weeks. Taste test until it reaches a fermentation stage that pleases your palate. I like mine strong, but some enjoy a weaker Kombucha.
Experiment with locations for your Kombucha while it's brewing. Some filtered light is beneficial if you have a dark glass cooking pot. I like putting a crystal with my Kombucha to keep it company while it brews.
After a month, which is the general amount of time for Kombucha brewing, boil several large mason jars to clean them, then fill the cooled jars with your Kombucha tea, retaining the Old Mother and her new Baby in several cups of their juices. Use the Baby for your next batch of Kombucha tea.
Let us know how your Kombucha brewing goes. Not being an M.D., I can't recommend who should or shouldn't drink Kombucha teas, so each individual should rely upon his/her personal judgment about what to ingest. As for the rest of my fellow Kombucha fans, I'll meet you at the GT Kombucha fridge in the back of the Coop by the Café and we'll have a sip of our favorite brews, together again at last.
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