Fermenting is getting “hip.” And so it should be, fermented food is magical.
Traditionally, fermented food was included at every meal – you just have to look at classic ethnic cuisines to see this – think sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yoghurt. It really does make sense – fermented food helps with digestion, and absorbing the nutrients of food readily into the body. Somewhere along the line, this practice fell out of being the “norm,” – but it is well on the way back to becoming mainstream, thanks to the growing popularity of store bought fermented foods.
So what are the health benefits? To avoid me clumsily regurgitating scientific jargon – just read this.
We all know that I am cheap, plus I love to experiment – home fermentation projects are constantly on the go in my house. Don’t be intimidated – it’s an easy process – and the scope to which you can extend your fermentation craze is limited only by your creativity. For some excellent ideas, check out this site.
Anyway, today’s post is all about kombucha – my first foray into “home brew” if you will…. I started brewing about 2 years ago, and it has been a constant (and almost obsessive) practise ever since. You will need a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) to brew your own – put your feelers out – there will be some sort of hippie (!) in your neighbourhood brewing, I’ll bet. The great thing will kombucha-brewing is that every brew creates a new SCOBY, so you end up getting overwhelmed with the things (most brwers will be happy to get rid of a few) Otherwise they are easily available to purchase online, or you can grow your own from a store bought drink.
Basic Kombucha Brew
- 6C boiled water
- 6 black or green tea bags (organic) – or a mix of both*
- 2/3C raw, organic sugar**
- 1 kombucha SCOBY
- 1/2C kombucha tea
- Wide neck glass jar/container – sterilised.
- Cheesecloth/muslin/clean tea towel and a rubber band
- Place water, sugar and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil – make sure the sugar has dissolved.
- Take off heat and wait until is has cooled completely (too hot and you will kill your SCOBY – think blood temperature)
- Remove tea bags, and gently pour mix into your prepared jar.
- Add the already-brewed kombucha tea and handling the SCOBY with clean hands, pop it on top (doesn’t matter if it sinks)
- Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band.
- Store in a warm, dark place – the time it takes to brew will depend on the temperature – in the midst of Summer, a brew can be as quick as 3 days, but up to 2 weeks in Winter. Using a straw (plastic/glass please) taste your brew every few days – it depends on your tastebuds too. I like my brew on the TANGY side rather than sweet, so I generally let it brew for longer, so that the bacteria eats away more of the sugar. It should be slightly fizzy too.
- Once satisfied with the taste, remove SCOBY and place in a “Scoby Hotel” (a clean jar – you can put multiple SCOBYs in the same jar) and cover with some of the kombucha tea – this keeps the SCOBY happy & alive. Place in the fridge, ready to use for the next brew.
- Store your kombucha in a glass bottle with a tight fitting lid (to keep in the fizz).
*Always use caffeinated tea – after you get used to the process, you can start to play around with adding herbal tea bags, but this is truly trial and error depending on the type of tea. My rule of thumb is 3 fruity tea bags to 3 caffeinated tea bags – even then I have had some failures.
** This is the type of “food” the SCOBY likes best – I have had moderate success with alternatives like rice syrup/honey, but raw organic sugar produces the fizziest and nicest tasting brews – and makes sure that your SCOBY remains healthy.
Other pointers: Exercise extreme hygiene practises – you don’t want to go adding in any nasties to your brew. Always handle the SCOBY with very clean hands and DO NOT touch the SCOBY with any metal utensil – use bamboo/ceramic/glass etc. Don’t be freaked out by the “bits” that tend to swim around in the brew – drink ‘em down, they are good for you (or don’t, whatever).
To fridge or not to fridge? For extra fizz, allow the sealed bottles to sit at room temperature for 24 hours until refrigerating.
Don’t stress about the amount of sugar used in the recipe – this is the FOOD for the bacteria – the longer you leave it to ferment, the less sugar there will be in the end product…. if you try and cut down the sugar, the end result will not be optimal.
Kombucha DOES have a very low alcohol content due to the fermentation process.
Now you have your brew sorted, you can start to play around with flavours. Adding flavouring during the first brew will increase the likelihood of mould or contamination of your SCOBY…. so don’t go trying to get funky before this point. Store your kombucha in glass bottles with tight fitting lids – try adding 1/8C fresh juice to 750ml kombucha brew – orange/apple/lemon/cranberry – whatever takes your fancy – or try my Ginger Tonic which is my favourite “medicine” when I’m under the weather.
Fermented Ginger Tonic
- 4C boiled water
- Fresh ginger (around a 3 inch piece, roughly chopped)
- 1/2C raw organic sugar OR rice syrup OR honey
- Optional: 1/4C fresh lemon/orange or lime juice – just for a little citrus kick.
- 2C brewed kombucha tea
- Mix all ingredients EXCEPT kombucha tea together, making sure the sugar is dissolved.
- Let the mix infuse (I place it all in a sterilised jar) for at least a few hours.
- Strain out ginger pieces and combine with the kombucha tea.
- Pour into a glass bottle (I find the large V8 veggie juice bottles/ are great for this) and leave in a warm, dark place for about 2 days (again, depending on your climate/temperature) – again the process is to let the bacteria eat away the sugar – it will become nice and fizzy.
- Store in the fridge.
Something that I have taken from all my fermentation experiments: trust your NOSE - always give things the “sniff test,” and if it smells WRONG, then it is probably not fit for consumption – sour/tangy/vinegary are all OK – if the smell makes you gag, then don’t run the risk – chuck it and start again. You will hone your nose skills as you continue to experiment.
Kombucha – tried it? Love it? Do you brew?
I love cocktails. They make me feel fancy.
Since having Misty and not having access to Grandparents/babysitters very often, I do still pine for a night out. Nothing beats some sort of deliciously fruity cocktail in a frosty glass, good company, laughing and people-watching. Viper and I managed to have a date last weekend (for my birthday) and it amazing what a few relaxing hours without child can do for you.
Anyway, no babysitters here this weekend, so I decided to make my own fun.
Not quite as classy as a fancy cocktail bar set-up; I had to get creative with my drink making equipment. Funny: when we were moving I got angry at the amount of cocktail shakers we had accumulated over the years… so I donated them all to Vinnie’s (thrift store) as we ‘never use them and they are cluttering up the cupboards.’ Oh well. Plastic yoghurt making pot plus a tea strainer did the job.
We still have heaps of fresh passion fruit all over our back lawn… and I’m a little bit obsessed with drinking kombucha. Add a touch of vodka to the mix, and I’m a happy gal. I usually don’t eat passion fruit, as the pips creep me out… I made passion fruit “nectar” by straining the pulp and squeezing it through cheesecloth. Mega flavour minus the crunchy bits.
Kombucha Passion Cocktail:
- 1 shot vodka (30ml measure)
- 2 shots of ruby red grapefruit juice (I used freshly squeezed, but bottled stuff would do the job too)
- 2 shots kombucha (I used home-brewed green tea based kombucha)
- 1t passion fruit nectar
- A few sprigs of mint, plus more for garnish
- Ice for shaking
- Chuck a handful of ice cubes into your cocktail shaker (or crappy container with lid)
- Pour over ingredients, plus a few fresh mint leaves and shakes well.
- Strain into a super fancy cocktail glass, and enjoy.
Dangerously good. Misty doesn’t understand what a hangover is either… screeching child and bashing toys the next morning = my poor head.
I was really disappointed yesterday. I mean, not heart-breakingly, more annoyed and frustrated.
I’d been meaning to check out this relatively new organic/raw cafe for a while now, and when Viper suggested a mission, I was pumped. This place boasted a probiotic bar – yes, kombucha on tap, so you bet I was excited. We had Misty with us, who seems to have a time limit in places like cafes/shops, so we decided just to go for a drink to suss out the place.
Having worked in hospitality for years… I know both sides of the counter. I’m not the most patient of people, and sometimes, after a long day of cooking, cleaning and coffee making I wouldn’t always be in the chirpiest of moods. I did, however always make an effort to acknowledge a customer when they walked in – doesn’t matter how busy you are… eye contact, a quick ’Hi, there!’ a smile doesn’t take much.
Walk in. Nothing. Find menus by myself. Nothing. Stand at counter, holding wallet and menu…. looking thirsty. Nothing. Finally a little fairy with bells around her ankles jingled up, and looked at me blankly. ’Ummm, I’m just after a few drinks, thanks.’ Blank stare. ’Can I have a Kombucha and a Jungle Juice please?
Passed over money. Nothing else.
First impressions, not so good. There were about 5 staff in the kitchen, and three others just floating around. Customer count?
- 3/4C medjool dates
- 4t cacao powder
- 2t mesquite powder (if you don’t have mesquite, substitute with 2T coconut if you like)
- 1/2C raw, skinless peanuts, dry roasted until golden brown (not a crucial step if you want them completely raw, but I reckon raw peanuts taste like plastic).
- 1/4t of sea salt
- Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until the mix resembles a fine crumb.
- Press down tightly into a lined baking tray, or roll into balls for truffles.
- Chill in fridge.
- 1 small dried banana, chopped into chunks
- 2T lucuma powder
- 2t ground flax
- 1/2t vanilla extract
- 1/2t spirilina powder
- 6 medjool dates
- 1/4t sea salt
- 1/2t lemon juice
- 2T sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat groats (or brown rice puffs/rolled oats/even chopped nuts will work if you can’t be bothered doing the sprouting thing, oh yes I’m such the hippie)
- Pulse everything in the food processor except for the sprouted buckwheat
- Tip out mix, and smoosh in buckwheat (or whatever you choose)
- Roll into balls
- Store in the fridge
I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend… a few angry hippies ain’t going to spoil mine. I’m also thinking of getting Misty some of those tinkly hippie ankle bells so I can keep track of him. Cunning.
I love coffee.
Makes my life complete.
Helps me through those early Misty-morning wake ups (yeah Gday 4:30am). Ahhh caffeine, how I long for your tender touch. This chick knows her stuff in relation to the supposed naughty bean.
It’s such a treat to go out for a coffee these days. I love trying out new cafes and brews. Christchurch has got it going on when it comes to making a mighty fine cuppa joe. I don’t venture out much for coffee when I’m at home – sadly my coffee machine recently died so it’s old school plunger styles for me. Usually I’m just worried about getting caffeine in my system ASAP, not too fussy about what form it is in during the wee hours of the morning.
I really do appreciate a good coffee though. I was spoilt for years being able to craft my own perfect cup exactly how I wanted it, working behind an old steamer most of my days.
Maybe not one quite this impressive mind you.
It’s obvious when you go into an establishment such as Black Betty how passionate the owners are about their coffee, so good to see – especially when it is fair trade, organic and sustainable. Hooray.
Also when they use decent soy milk. You can smell the cheap stuff a mile off.
Love a good groovy environment too, never fails to please.
So now I have got my groove-fix and am buzzing on the caff- down to some serious stuff… I have changed the feed on my site, so PLEASE (cos I love you all, even the silent lurking readers who are too shy to say Gday) re subscribe me to your reader, or email- and let me know if there are any hiccups. Me and technology aren’t the greatest of mates, but we are working through our issues. This seems like a theme around blog world at the minute.
Ok, deep and meaningful technology talk done.
I got really excited yesterday. Lindsay can vouch for me, as she accompanied me to a lovely little afternoon market and we found this:
OK, this too:
Oh, and did I forget to mention…. KOMBUCHA?! So hard to track down in these parts. Just awesome. (Lindsay was equally as excited about this particular find).
I just love passionate people doing amazing things with food, and Eternal Delight are a shining example of this. I just wanted to buy everything they had on offer. Total bummer as I am leaving the country in a few days, and I don’t want to end up on one of those “Border Security,” TV shows, being tackled to the ground my custom’s officers trying to smuggle various crazy ingredients overseas. Oh I can just see it now.
So, to give credit to these fantastic products, I included the “parmesan,” and some Mixed Herb Cream “Cheese” in a few meals….
Home made (by my Dad) pizza base with caramel-ley onion mustard, asparagus, red pepper, “parmesan” sprinkle, and blobs of cream “chesse.”
Chickpea quinoa patties (which include a good dose of “parmesan”) with caramel-ley onion mustard, herby cream “cheese.”
Yup, it’s good to be exploring the foodie finds in my home town… onward to Sydney in a few days for more foraging perhaps?
I eat a lot of fruit. A lot. Perhaps a little too much? How much is too much? I don’t care, I love the stuff. Today I had an apple, a pear, 2 bananas, 6 prunes, and sculled a bunch of the fruity beverage featured below. That’s a pretty normal fruit day. Viper hardly ever eats fruit. I don’t get it; I don’t feel right if I don’t get in at least a couple pieces of fresh fruit a day. Misty is working on a couple of chompers at the moment, so apart from the grizzlies, he is off his usual solid fare. Bring on the smoothies – he is guzzling back a tasty combo of banana, pineapple and coconut milk as I type. Chunks of frozen watermelon seems to be helping those sore gums too.
My thing is pineapple at the minute. Oh yes, we have entered the pineapple-kick territory. As the pattern goes with my fruit consumption, I tend to go too hard, too fast. I get excited and go overboard. With pineapple in particular, this can have horrible results. Enter the sliced and diced mouth and tongue. Those tasty fibres are sharp. I have found blending it up helps this problem, and opens up a new world for pineapple creativity without the bleeding mouth.
I made this for Misty and me the other day… and am now looking at other ways to use up copious amounts of pineapple juice and puree I have hanging around.
The beauty of these recipes are that canned pineapple if just fine to use if you don’t have access to tropical fruit as I do… just try to use the varieties that don’t contain added sugar.
Photo from week in Sydney… this was at an amazing water front cafe called the Boathouse at Palm Beach (for those in the know, near where ‘Home and Away’ is filmed. No, I didn’t run into Alf… ‘stone the flamin’ crows!)
Use for Juice:
Pineapple and Mint Kombucha
I’m totally digging home brew Kombucha… so delicious and ridiculously easy once you have the appropriate fungi. Thanks to Kaitlyn from The Tie Dye Files for the how-to guide.
- 1/2C pineapple juice
- 2t lime juice
- 1 litre of brewed Kombucha
- Handful fresh mint
Purpose for Puree:
Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle
I use this sprinkle to add texture to things like tofu pudding, yoghurt, ice cream or oatmeal/cereal combos. Love the crunch of buckwheat, and the coconut flour is so good when it soaks into any kind of liquid. You could use any kind of fruit puree if pineapple is not your thing – apple, mango, peach, pear, apricot. All good.
- Pineapple puree (225g pineapple blended with 1/4C water)
- 1C raw buckwheat groats
- 1/2C coconut flour
- 1/4t sea salt
- 2t coconut oil, melted
- 1-2T liquid sweetener, depending on your sweetie preference (I used apple juice syrup concentrate – agave, rice syrup, even maple would all be fine)
Combine all ingredients, either place in a dehydrator or do what I did and spread on a lined baking tray for 1 hour at 120 degrees C. Lower to 100 degrees C for another 30 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving tray inside until it has cooled down completely.
Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle with toasted pepitas and Green Monster Tofu Pudding (recipe coming). Crap picture as this was a night time snack, and there is no light.
Fruit consumption? Big, non existent or in between? Fresh/dried/canned frozen? Fruity thoughts?