Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Latest Concoctions

Summer time is perfect for making Kombucha since it likes to grow at a temperature of about 80 degrees. Since summer stayed late here in Redding, I started making this about 2 weeks ago and already have my first batch! Tastes waaaay better than store bought, SUPER easy to make and each bottle comes out to about $0.20 as opposed to the 3.95 you pay at the store.

Here is my Kombucha Scoby on the left, growing and fermenting.
The right is a bottle from the last batch.

How is Kombucha made? Some fun facts for all you science nerds like me:

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".

The culture itself looks somewhat like a large pancake, and though often called a mushroom, a
mother of vinegar, or by the acronym SCOBY (for "Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast"), it is scientifically classified as a zooglealmat. It takes on the shape of its container, but varies in thickness depending on how long it has been allowed to develop and the acidity of the tea medium during the development period. The culture is leathery and non-elastic, similar to a thick calamari (yum!).

Here’s how to make Kombucha:


1 Kombucha Scoby (either ordered online or from a friend as the mushroom reproduces about every 10 days and you'll have one to give away or start a second jar)

1/2 cup kombucha (I also got this from my friend's batch)

5 Organic black tea bags

1 gallon distilled water

1 cup organic white sugar (food for the mushroom...there won't be any left when the drink is ready)

1 gallon glass jar

1 stainless steal pot


Start with the Scoby in the 1 gallon glass jar (double rinsed with *DISTILLED water) with 1/2 cup kombucha

*see tips below to understand the importance of specific ingredients

1. Double rinse a large stainless steel pot with distilled water.

2. Pour 3 quarts of distilled water and 1 cup of sugar into pot and bring to a boil.

3. Once boiling, pull off the stove and steep 5 black tea bags in it for 10-15 minutes (or overnight when I forget!).

4. Let cool overnight or put in a large bowl of ice water if you want to finish it sooner.

5. In the morning, pour the tea-sugar mixture into the large jar, cover with a clean, thin, white cotton cloth and let sit for @12 days or to taste. Shorter if it’s hot indoors.

6. Bottle it and start again!

I keep our jars on top of the fridge because it keeps them out of direct sunlight and I think it may be warmer there.

15 tips for making it correctly

Benefits of Kombucha

Since the weather just turned here in Redding and people are sniffling all around me, I decided to whip up a nice tasty batch of Master Tonic!

This GNARLY stuff will scare any cold away in a heartbeat.

1 part fresh chopped garlic cloves (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitical)

1 part fresh chopped white onions, or the hottest onions available (similar properties to garlic)

1 part fresh grated ginger root (increases circulation to the extremities)

1 part fresh grated horseradish root (increases blood flow to the head)

1 part fresh chopped Cayenne peppers, Jalapenos, Serranos, Habeneros, African bird peppers....any combination of the hottest peppers available

1-2 bottles RAW unfiltered Organic apple cider vinegar


Chop up all the veggies (1 used 2 cups each) in a food processor

(wear gloves and goggles and open all the windows!!! The peppers BURN!)

Fill large jar 3/4 full of mixture. Fill jar to the top with apple cider vinegar.

Shake vigorously.

Leave on the counter for 2-3 weeks shaking at least 1X/day

Filter the mixture through a clean piece of cotton (like an old T-shirt or cheese cloth), bottle, and label (I bought an 8 oz dropper bottle to keep handy and the rest I'll store in a large mason jar).

How to cure an ailment with homemade master tonic


Homemade Lacto-Fermented Mayonnaise

Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups

Blender or food processor (optional: you can use a whisk)

3 pastured egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 – 2 cups olive oil (from a grower you trust)
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice or wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard
2-3 tablespoons whey (from kefir or yogurt, instructions on how to make whey)

I added dill to mine.

1. Mix the egg yolks for 1-2 minutes. If using cold (not room temperature), mix a few minutes more. This is the key to mayonnaise that will set. If you use cold egg yolks, the mayo will not set unless they are warmed up in the blender (or whisked long enough in a warmed bowl).

2. Add the lemon juice (or vinegar), sea salt, and mustard. Mix for 30 seconds more.

3. With the blender running, add the olive oil drop by drop. When I say drop by drop, I mean drop by drop. Or at least a very thin, slow stream. This is the other very important element for making a mayo that will emulsify. If you go too fast, you’ll end up with runny mayonnaise.

4. Once you’ve added about 1/2 a cup of oil, the sauce should have thickened into a heavy cream, and now you can add the oil in a thicker stream. Not too fast, though (especially if you are a beginner). If the mayo becomes too thick, add a few more drops of lemon juice or vinegar.

5. Blend in the whey. Spoon into a mason jar, cover with a lid, and leave it on the counter or in a cupboard (at room temperature) for several hours. Then transfer to the fridge.

That's it! Stayed tuned for for more Skinner Family Adventures comin up soon!


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