Saturday, February 15, 2014

Grow Your Own S.C.O.B.Y. So You Can Brew Your Own Kombucha...Yum!

What is a SCOBY and what the heck is Kombucha you may ask.  Well a SCOBY is the first letter of each of the following words...Symbiotic Culture Of Yeast & Bacteria.  It is necessary to make a wonderfully delicious and nutritious beverage call Kombucha.  Kombucha is a fermented, usually, black or green sweet tea beverage that tastes nothing like tea.  It is full of beneficial yeast and bacterial probiotics and chocked full of a range of B vitamins.  My local Piggly Wiggly charges $3.69 per bottle and I like to drink 1 - 2 bottles a day but can not afford that price so I decided to brew my own.  The sugar in the sweet tea is consumed by the SCOBY during the fermentation process and the finished product will have a relatively low sugar content.  Even though this is a fermented beverage it only contains a very small amount of alcohol (less then 1% by volume).  If you want to put it through a second ferment it will be carbonated.  It has a slight vinegar-y flavor and you may flavor it with fruit, juice or I like ginger.  I actually do a ginger/fruit juice mix.  You can buy a SCOBY (Amazon), get one from a friend as they reproduce with each batch of Kombucha you make, or simply just grow your own.

So, I will start with growing you own SCOBY.  What you need:

  • A 1 quart mason jar (washed, air dried and rinsed with vinegar)
  • One cup of brewed black or green tea brought to room temperature
  •  1/2 cup refined white sugar (this is for the SCOBY to consume)
  • One bottle of RAW Organic unflavored Kombucha (however, I used ginger flavored one because my local store did not have an unflavored one and it worked just fine and is still going strong) Try to find a bottle with some stuff floating around in it.
  • A rubber band that will fit snug around the neck of the mason jar
  • A piece of clean cloth or I used a square of paper towel
SCOBY Growing Process:

  1. Put the sugar into the jar
  2. Pour the room temperature tea into the jar and mix well, do not worry if all the sugar does not dissolve, it will be fine.
  3. Pour 1/2 of the jar of Kombucha into the mix (drink the other half of the bottle or double this recipe and make two SCOBY's in two jars).
  4. Cover the top of the Jar with the paper towel or piece of clean cloth and secure with the rubber band so that no dust, contaminants, fruit flies or other bugs can get in.
  5. Place the jar in a nice dark cupboard the warmest one in you house.  Optimal temperature is going to be as close to 76 degrees F. as possible.  Warmer will cause possibly cause the SCOBY to grow faster but it may not be as healthy as it could be.  Colder and it will grow very slowly.
  6. Do not disturb it.  Yes, I know it is hard to wait but it will be well worth it.  It took me two weeks to get a good healthy SCOBY.
Congratulations, you have now grown your own "Mother" SCOBY.  I should look like a white waxy disc the diameter of the inside of your Mason Jar.  Save the liquid in the jar as you will need it to make your first batch of Kombucha.  It is actually Kombucha and should smell like vinegar.

My next post will give you directions on how to make your first batch of Kombucha with your new SCOBY!  Keep your SCOBY in the jar with the breathable cover on it until you are ready to do your brewing. 

Until then...every now and then put your nose to the top of the SCOBY jar and BREATH in the vinegar scent knowing that you had the WISDOM to do this yourself!  

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