Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Scoby-dooby-doo


The Mucky Boots Farm Fermentation Factory is proud to announce the birth of its very first kombucha scoby. Have a closer look at that beautiful baby...


The two scobies I started almost two weeks ago have been quietly fermenting in Kim's music room, the only consistently heated room in the house. You might remember I was a little worried about whether either would work, since I mistakenly bought raw kombucha that had been adulterated with other things: ginger juice in one case, and spirulina in the other. The ginger juice scoby is developing v..e..r..y....s..l..o..w..l..y but the green one grew lickety split. The white rubbery layer on top is the scoby and it's very strange to handle. Kind of creepy.


I was worried enough that neither scoby would grow that I ordered one online, from a source in Ontario, and it arrived today, double bagged along with about a cup of the fermented kombucha it grew from.



So today I started brewing my first batches of kombucha, using the purchased scoby and my home-grown one.

To brew kombucha, start with about four litres of strong brewed tea, sweetened with a cup of sugar. The sources I have read don't hesitate to use regular white table sugar, since it's eaten by the friendly bacteria during the fermentation process. The sweetened tea is cooled to room temperature, and then the scoby is gently added, along with at least half a cup of the already fermented kombucha it came from. I put one batch in a ceramic water crock and the other in one of my fermenting crocks. The top of each crock is covered with a clean towel to let oxygen in and keep bugs out, and the crocks are put back into the warm music room to ferment for about a week.

I tasted a bit of the fermented spirulina kombucha before it got added to kick-start the newly started batch, and it was delicious: zingy and tart. I can't wait for a whole lip-smacking glass!

7 comments:

Charade said...

Okay, I'm going to show my ignorance. Is there much danger of harmful bacteria - or is kombucha sort of "self-cleaning" so to speak? Otherwise, it looks fascinating.

Miriam said...

Well, that's a great question! All the instructions I have read, from a variety of sources, describe quite clearly what the kombucha would look like if it went moldy in a bad way - it will look like fuzzy green bread mold. Apparently the best way of avoiding this is to make sure all the containers and implements are clean to begin with. Otherwise, it's like any fermented food (sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough) - the bacteria involved are friendly and beneficial.

But, being a newbie, I confess to being a little cautious about the whole thing. The homegrown scoby was so darn weird looking I was cautious to get started brewing until the commercial scoby arrived in the mail and looked just as weird!

I can say that my sauerkraut-gone-wrong was so clearly wrong that there wasn't any uncertainty in my mind that I shouldn't eat it. Once you're familiar with the smell and taste of a particular fermented food, I think you would clearly know if something had gone wrong. At least I hope so!

jeanives said...

Seriously wierd Mir. What the heck is it and what do you do with it?

SunnyBeachJewelryGarden said...

Great you got it! I have my kombucha over 5 years and I also ordered it online. What is your recipe? I used 5 teabags and 1 cup of sugar for a gallon jar and it was too sour for me. Now I use 1-1/2 cup of sugar.

Miriam said...

Jean, I can see I'm going to have to make sure I have some kombucha for you to try the next time you visit Mucky Boots! You don't eat the scoby - you drink the fermented tea, like Japanese people have done for a zilliion years, and then you use the scoby like a sourdough starter to ferment more of the tea. Check out http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/ to learn about the health benefits of kombucha. You know me - willing to try just about anything that might help me feel better!

Sunny Beach, I used 1 cup of sugar and six tea bags for a gallon of water. Since this is my first batch I'm clearly no expert, but what I have read tells me that the longer you leave the tea to ferment, the more sour it gets, and the exact timing depends a lot on the surrounding air temperature. So if your kombucha was too sour for your liking, try fermenting it for a shorter period of time.

Suporna Sarkar said...

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Kara said...

Yay! I started my scoby yesterday, and am excited to compare notes!

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