Saturday, August 13, 2011

August Project - Kombucha

   Oh my goodness, I woke sick today!  One of the hardest things about being an older woman is the RANDOM sweats and chills!  Fortunately most of that is behind me.... but every now and then.... I wake in the middle of the night sweating like I am in a sauna... with a raging headache :-(  Of COURSE, I throw all the covers off.... and then start freezing...... until I try to put them back on again...    it's funny in retrospect.... but even now.. the headache is beginning to ease off... the nausea is still there.. and I am having a VERY SLOW day.....

    That said.... my habits stand me in good stead.... while I am moving slowly.... I have already done 2 loads of laundry, cleaned and froze the tomatoes waiting for me, have a loaf of cheese bread in the oven, have arranged a swim outing with the grandkids for the weekend and am about ready to go bottle up some of my latest batch of Kombucha....

..and here is the story of my Kombucha!

      The first time I heard of Kombucha was several years ago.   I lost a lot of weight working with a program from a national television show and one of the trainers that I really liked swore by this stuff.  So I checked it out online..... Okay.. I read that it was some kind of fermented tea made from a mushroom.   WHOA!  Stop right there... don't need to read any more... that must be some nasty stuff!  Obviously one of those weird health food things that don't fit into a normal life :-)

     So, the thought of it left my consciousness until sometime early this spring when a friend of mine writes on her status that she made some kombucha.   I had to check it out because I actually know her and can ask her about it.   And it turns out she really likes it..... and it turns out that there is one store I know that sells some....  and it is pricey enough for me to buy just one to see if I can drink it..... and too pricey for me to buy it very often.

  So I bought one..... a little sour.... but okay.  Maybe it's an acquired taste.  I bought another one in a cranberry flavor.... mmm... this one is pretty good! 

    There are supposed to be tons of health benefits so it's worth a second look... and... for the record, there are no mushrooms.  There is a 'starter' thing that LOOKS like a mushroom and is called a mushroom.   Nasty, slimy thing.... but kombucha works like that friendship bread starter that never dies... the "mushroom" is the starter.

Soo... there is lots of info in your search engines.... it is made by mixing sugar into boiling water... and then adding tea bags and optional flavoring.  When everything cools down to room temperature, you pout it in a gallon container.  Then add some of a prior batch and the mushroom, which is basically a yeast colony.  This sounds nasty - and it looks nasty too....

You loosely cover the liquid... keep dust out but let air in.... and set it out of the way.   I keep mine up high on top of a bookcase near the kitchen.  You let it sit for a week to 10 days..... it ferments a bit, giving it a natural carbonation effect... and another 'mushroom' forms on top of the liquid.

For my containers, I originally used a large pickle jar because... as was pointed out to me... it was less expensive to buy a gallon jar of pickles than to buy a gallon jar (!)  Sad, but true.  Since I am the ONLY one who will eat pickles in my house... I am still working on that gallon!  I could NOT buy more pickles :-)  Lucky for me, sun tea jars are all on sale right now.... so that is now my container of choice!

So far, I have made batches with tea flavored with ginger and lemon, I have replaced some of the water with different juices.... V8 fusion was too sour.... but 100% juices work well.. cranberry is awesome, cranberry apple is good.... and I have some blueberry brewing right now.. I can't wait to try that one!

So far, my favorite is made with half green tea & half black tea with lemon and fresh ginger.   So, if you get a chance... give it a try!  If you live near me, I can give you a starter.... if you don't, you can order it online!

Don't forget to check out  for more recipes and ideas for healthy living!

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