Kombucha!

Kombucha-4days

Kombucha-4days

A very good friend of mine was giving away her kombucha mother because she was leaving town. I never made kombucha, but I heard it is pretty easy to make and it’s probiotic and yummy drink. I started my first batch on August 1. For a a couple of days, it seemed making no difference. On the 4th day, I saw a think film formed on the top and it smelled sweet and tart through the cotton cloth cover. Today, on the 7th day, I drank it through a straw to test it. It tasted sweet, tart, and yummy. I decided to bottle it. My friend gave me a thick mother, which was almost 2 pieces. I put all of them in it and added bit more apple cider vinegar to make 1 cup starter juice, which was actually bit too much of apple cider vinegar. I found that out later. So, this first batch came out strong, almost like apple cider vinegar itself, but tasted good. I just had to cut it with water to drink. The second batch took 10 days and still came out milder than the first batch. I still liked both versions. It’s easy and fun to brew kombucha and costs you a fraction of the price buying ready made in a store.

Kombucha-7days

Kombucha-7days

Kombucha-bottled

Kombucha-bottled

Now I have plenty of starter and juice. I put a few fresh ginger slices in one bottle and lemon peel in one bottle, and a few slices of fresh peach in another for flavor, not that straight plain kombucha needs to be flavored. I leave them outside of refrigeration for a couple of days for flavor to sink in. So far, peach is the winner flavor! Surprisingly ginger slices didn’t add much of flavor versus a few slices of a fresh peach added a wonderful sweet peachy flavor.

Ingredients:
3 quart of filtered water
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
6 tea bags or 6 heaping teaspoon full of loose tea leaves (1 or any combination of black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea. I use 2 tsp black teas and 4 tsp green tea leaves)
1 cup kombucha (if you don’t have it enough, substitute with apple cider vinegar, but use it 1/2 amount of kombucha)
1 SCOBY

Tools:
1 gallon glass jar
1 big pot to boil water
1 cotton cloth or cheese cloth to cover the mouth of the jar
1 strong rubber band
paper tea bags or a large tea ball strainer if using loose teas

  1. Wash the jar and your hands well with soap and warm water.
  2. Boil 3 quarts of water. Dissolve  sugar in it, and brew a strong tea. Leave teas in the hot water at least 20 minutes. I tend to leave them in over 1 hour. You can leave them in until the tea cools down to almost room temperature. Make sure to cover to avoid flies jumping in the sweet tea.
  3. Strain the tea. Squeeze tea leaves out to get most nutrients.  Pour the tea in the 1 gallon jar.
  4. When the tea is almost room temperature, add SCOBY and 1 cup of kombucha with a clean hand. The tea shouldn’t be hot since extreme heat kills SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Warm to touch is okay. Burning hot is not.
  5. Cover the mouth of the jar with a cotton cloth. Secure it with a rubber band.
  6. Keep it in a warm place without direct sunlight for at least 1 week. After 1 week, taste it by using a straw. If it tasted good for you, it’s time to bottle. At this time, you can add flavors like a few slices of a fresh peach. If you flavor it, leave the kombucha out of refrigeration for 2 more days, then put them in a refrigerator.

*SCOBY keeps months in refrigeration. They sleep until you are ready to brew a new batch again.

* If you see bright red or blue foaming in your kombucha, molds got into it. Throw it away. I brew 3 times so far and this has not happened to me yet. White, off-white, brown are all good colors.

*People say SCOBY will float to the top of the kombucha. This never happened to my batches. My SCOBY float somewhere in the middle and stay there, even a new layer is developing at the top.

Saturday’s Menu 8/11

Green Goddess and Iced Coffee

Breakfast: Cold Water Brewed Iced Coffee, Green Goddess—cold water brewed iced coffee takes 48 hours to make, but it’s awesome. Just soak enough fine ground coffee beans in cold water and leave it in a fridge for at least 48 hours.

Lunch at Organic Grill: Tofu Omelette with Cauliflower, Broccoli, Shiitake Mushrooms and Vegan Mozzarella Cheese, Home Fries, Muti-Grain Toast, Slices of Orange—I miss good old fashioned American breakfasts once in a while. This Tofu Omelette was not like egg omelette, but very good. I liked it. 🙂 The portion was large, and even I couldn’t finish it.

Dinner: Left-over Omelette and White Peaches, Rice Crackers with Nuts

Tofu Omelette

Left-over Omelette and White Peaches

Rice Crackers & Nuts

 

 

Thursday’s Menu 8/9

Choco-Berry Shake

Breakfast: Coffee, Choco-berry Shake (banana, raspberries, peaches,  tofu, cocoa powder, almond milk)

Lunch: Cauliflower Curry over Basmati Rice and Daal, Iced Barley Tea

Dinner: Fried Rice with Dried Smoked Tofu, Swiss Chard, and Fresh Corn, Peaches—made by my hubby.

Cauliflower Curry

Vegetarian Fried Rice

Peaches

 

 

 

Sunday’s Menu 8/5

Very Berry Shake

Breakfast: Coffee, Peach/Banana/Raspberry/Tofu/OJ Shake

Lunch: Lentil Burgers, Pita, Tomato, Pickles, Peach

Quick Chinese Dinner: Pea Leaf Dumplings, Vegan BBQ Pork Buns, Sauteed Kale,

Dessert: Peaches, Roasted Chestnuts–treats!

Lentil Burger Lunch

Quick Chinese Dinner

Roasted Chestnuts!

Peaches