Kombucha, from Booch, to Hooch

I’ve always believed that homemade is simply *the best*. In other words, anything commercial that I like, is just WAAAY better when home-made.

Breads, Kombucha, Condiments, to just name a precious few!

It was 2008 when I arrived in South Florida, a professional, highly trained chef, during the (first) economic crisis of my adulting. I was already a “green” champion, a pro at environmental and personal sustainability had always brought any clients business in under budget, everywhere. Once in Florida, I learned to farm organically, immediately taking the skill of saving money to new heights as a proud urban farmer.

I can now stretch a dollar till it squeals!

This means growing my own food, composting and amending soil, adding nutrients back into the soil and therefore the food.  Enter Kombucha a TRIFECTA of winning.  It meets my criteria of being super healthy, i.e. food as medicine for my “farmacy”, is a much more rewarding creative outlet and far, far cheaper to make than to buy. Not only can I personally grow the herbs, roots, shoots, spices, fruits and herbs to flavor it with, but the resulting excess scoby (of which there will be obscene amounts, potentially an endless supply) is a potent soil amendment, kitchen ingredient, and dietary remedy for adults, pets and children alike. Coming up with uses for my scoby collection offers me endless creative outlets, all chances to “play with my food”. I highly recommend it!!

ALL FOR PENNIES!

One of the greatest benefits of making your own kombucha at home is the ability to influence the flavor of your finished kombucha, plus find new flavor blends that you and your family will enjoy. You can influence the flavor of kombucha tea by choosing a different teaadjusting the fermentation time, or adding flavoring.

Some of my preferred flavor combinations:

  • Ginger/Hibiscus
  • Pomegranate/Kiwi
  • Banana/Vanilla
  • Vanilla/Raisin (Dr. Pepper flavor)
  • Apple/Cinnamon
  • Pineapple/Cilantro
  • Lavender/Chamomile
  • Chai/Pumpkin Spice
  • Basil/Blueberry

RECIPE

TOTAL TIME 15minutes (2 minutes prep / 3 minutes boiling / 10 minutes cooling)
YIELD: 16-32 Servings

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

  • Large Pot, minimum 1-Gallon capacity, with lid
  • Wooden Spoon
  • STERILE Glass Jar(s)
  • Paper Coffee Filters (3-4)
  • Large Rubber Band

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 8 Tea Bags (Caff/Decaf/Herbal; I prefer Yerba Mate/Green blend)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup “Booch” starter fluid or ACV
  • 1 Scoby, if possible (Optional; with patience, you’ll grow your own)
  • 1 Lb Patience  =)
  • Optional: Fresh Roots, Shoots, Fruits or Herbs

METHOD:

Step 1: Sterilize the Jar, storage and cooking utensils.

Step 2: Boil water, add in tea(s) and sugar together, including any aromatics chosen, ie turmeric or ginger root, hibiscus leaves or flower, cinnamon sticks, lemon peels, etc. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Step 3: Once cooled, strain, bottle to the 4/5th capacity and before sealing, add your Scoby and cup of starter fluid.

Ratios for Flavoring Kombucha Tea

  • If flavoring with fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, start with10-30% fruit and 70-90% Kombucha.
  • If flavoring with juice, start with10-20% juice and 80-90% Kombucha.
  • If flavoring with herbs, the variety and strength of herbs varies greatly. Experiment to come up with the best ratios and combinations for your taste preferences.
  • For flavor extracts such as almond or vanilla extract, start with 1/4 teaspoon extract per cup of kombucha and adjust to taste. Remember the flavor will continue to develop during the second fermentation period.

SCOBY USES:

  • Creamy Vinaigrette, with or without oil
  • Added to smoothies
  • As meat substitute for a stir-fry or “meat” in a soup (Green chili pozole?)
  • As Dog Food (soaked first) or Dog Treats (dehydrated, plain or PB slathered)
  • In the garden as a soil amendment
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner -Citric acid
  • Facial Mask – fruit acids* imitate a “chemical peel” – add avocado if sensitive skinned

* various organic acids, such as acetic, gluconic, glucuronic, citric, L‐lactic, malic, tartaric, malonic, oxalic, succinic, pyruvic; also sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose; the vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C; 14 amino acids,

Dog treats, aka Kombucha for your Pooch-A:

I dehydrate my 12 inch scobys (YEP folks, 12 inches in diameter!) in my dehydrator on low for about 24 hours or so, until it looks like fruit leather. Once it’s done, either roll into rolls and dehydrate again to get twisted chews to use instead of rawhide, or cut/tear them up into little strips or square pieces, and store these little pieces of heaven in jars at room temperature.

Another option, smear dehydrated scoby in peanut butter or some other delicious substance and watch the dog go nuts on it. The texture of the dried-out culture is like pliable leather. The probiotics work their balancing act!

WHY BOOCH?

  • Kombucha Can Help Lower Your Caffeine Intake
  • Kombucha contains vitamins B1, B6, and B12. All of these vitamins are known to help stabilize mood, improve concentration, and fight depression.
  • Kombucha is an adaptogen, which balances the body.
  • They also tend to reduce cravings for sugar, alcohol, and provide liver protection. They can also help boost immunity, energy, and stamina.
  • Supports healthy digestion by increasing the acidity of the gut with a number of different natural enzymes that aid in breaking down food.
  • Kombucha promotes healthy gut bacteria. DYK that 80% of your immune system lives within the gut, and affects almost every aspect of how you feel each day.

When your gut is healthy, it contains about 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. Good bacteria in your body work to keep you both feeling and functioning at your best by:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Digesting your food
  • Improving mental clarity
  • Promoting nutrient absorption
  • Balancing your hormones
  • Normalizing glucose levels

The Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology recently published a study showing that consistent stress negatively affects the amount and diversity of your good gut flora.

A diverse population of gut flora is your goal.

  1. First Fermentation: This is when you transform sweet tea into tart and tasty kombucha.
  2. Second Fermentation: This is when you carbonate the kombucha by adding flavor and sugars then bottling it.

Kiwi will be the main source of sugar in today’s batch, with moringa oleifera, spirulina and spinach added for a boost of GREEN nutrition. Recipe loosely inspired by https://brewbuch.com/green-goddess-kombucha/  follows:

2ND FERMENTATION KOMBUCHA RECIPE

 INGREDIENTS

  • ½ Gallon Kombucha #F1 (decaf/green/white/black/yerba all ok)
  • 1 Kiwi, un-peeled ok (!) – Try Golden Kiwi…
  • ½ Cup Spinach, fresh or thawed
  • 2 tsp Moringa Oleifera (and/or spirulina)
  • 2 TBSP Ginger, fresh or paste
  • Optional: Essential oils – Cilantro toothpick “dot”.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Blend: Puree all the ingredients with a splash of the kombucha until smooth. Swirl a toothpick coated with Cilantro E/O through the fruit puree (It’s very potent and this is all you’ll need!)
  2. Bottle: Evenly distribute the puree into fermentation bottles, then pour in F1 Kombucha, leaving 1 to 2 inches free at the top for carbonation to occur.
  3. Ferment: Place in a dark, room temperature area for 3 to 10 days, burping occasionally, until it reaches the carbonation level you like. This process will go faster in warmer climates, and slower in cooler climates.

 NOTES

  • Kombucha will continue to develop as it rests, though slower once chilled.
  • Not a kiwi fan? Substitute ½ cup of chopped strawberries, an orange, or 2 tsp of Maple.
  • Can’t find moringa? Ask me for a local Farmer/Grower near you if you’re in South Florida.
  • Consider other popular flavor combos, as seen here:
    https://brewbuch.com/top-kombucha-flavors/

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