I first came across kombucha in some of the American blogs I follow. I had no idea what it was, so I did a little research to associate myself with this much-loved health drink.
For those unfamiliar:
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is often drunk for medicinal purposes. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the "mushroom" or the "mother".
Taken from Wikipedia.
There is a lot of information around about kombucha, and I'm not sure how much of it is true. What I do know for sure, is it is yummy, and fun to make!
A wee while ago I was lucky enough to be offered a friend of mine's mother. From what I understand, the mother eats the sugar and tea, and turns the mixture into a delicious, fizzy drink. My first attempt was not great, and ended up tasting like vinegar. Supposedly this is the by-product of an over-brewed kombucha. It was not nice! This first attempt also managed to kill my kombucha mother. Boy did I feel guilty! My kind friends mother (the actual version) gave me one of hers, so I got another chance at motherhood. Second time around was much more successful, and I am now churning out a litre of this delicious tonic a week. The favourite flavour in our house is feijoa, made simply by throwing in a few feijoa teabags in the initial brew. The flavour options are endless; I just need to be more adventurous!
This is how to make your own delicious kombucha:
1. In a one litre preserving jar, mix 1/4 cup white sugar (it must be white), two black or green tea bags, and two tea bags of a flavour of your choice. The flavour is optional, and plain kombucha (just made with black or green tea) is still very nice. Stir until sugar is dissolved and leave to cool completely. A source tells me that the mother doesn't like raspberry, so avoid that flavour.
2. Remove the mother from your old batch, and gently rinse it in a sieve under cold water. I pick off any funny coloured bits and give it a good shower.
3. Remove the teabags from the now cooled brew, and add the newly cleaned mother. Cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 5-7 days. The time it takes seems to vary with temperature and location. Mine sits on the kitchen bench and is ready in 7 days.
4. Bottle the mixture when it tastes sweet and slightly fizzy. It should not taste like tea once it is ready.
5. Store in the fridge in a glass bottle and enjoy!
Every time you make a new brew, you grow another layer of mother. This can be used to make multiple batches of kombucha at a time, or given away. With this in mind, I have kombucha mothers I am happy to give away if anyone is interested in giving it a go. I'm not quite sure how they would travel, but I'm happy to give it a go for the price of postage. Let me know if you are interested!