Tag Archives: Kombucha

Kombucha Project # 1

We all know I can’t be satisfied with one project in the works. I have to have three, or more, in the works. With two novels in the editing phase, I took on a home project brewing Kombucha and I want to show you how this is coming along.

Kombucha is fermented tea with the health benefits:

*contains probiotics
*alkalizes the body
*detoxifies the liver
*increases metabolism
*improves digestion
*alleviates constipation
*cancer prevention
*reduces blood pressure
*relieves headaches & migraines
*aids healthy cell regeneration
*reduces kidney stones
*high in polyphenols
*improves eyesight
*reduces eczema – softens the skin
*prevents arteriosclerosis
*speeds healing of ulcers
*helps clear up candida & yeast infections
*boosts energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*high in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer and promote healthy cellular development
*rebuilds connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

 

You can do continuous brew (CB) or batch brew (BB), and I thought, since this was my first time I would do BB, and if I liked it well enough, switch over to CB. At $4.00 a pop in health food  stores, it can get quite expensive if you drink a couple of servings a day.

To brew Kombucha at home is really very simple.

You need the following:

A healthy SCOBY (A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) In my case two. Yes, they’re alive!

1 cup -2 cups strong starter liquid per gallon

A brewing vessel (plain or fancy) a glass pickle jar will do, you can get a fancy ceramic urn with a spigot, or what I have that is a cross between the two, a 2.5 gal glass water dispenser with a spigot. I want to be able to watch the process, but have the convenience of a spigot.

Tea, (green or black)

1 cup granulated cane sugar per gallon (feeds the yeast, not you)

4-6 bags tea bags per gallon

distilled water

tea kettle

cloth cover

rubber band

  Steps

  1. Boil 4 cups of water per gallon.
  2. Add hot water & tea bags to pot.
  3. Steep 5-7 minutes, then remove tea bags.
  4. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let tea cool down to room temperature to prevent killing SCOBY! Add to vessel.
  5. Fill vessel most of the way with distilled water, leaving just 1-2 inches from the top for breathing room.
  6. Add SCOBY and starter liquid. (Best source for these Kombucha Kamp, Hannah also sells heater strips for those in cooler climates, as ideal brewing temp is around 74 to 82 degrees.)
  7. Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.
  8. Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture (optional but recommended).
  9. Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque). Mine is in my darkened studio, but I also wrap it in a dark blankie.) The area needs to be well ventilated.
  10. Do not disturb for 7 days. (Mine took 14 d/t quantity)
Healthy SCOBY
Healthy SCOBY

I purchased my SCOBY, starter and heating sheet from Kombucha Mama at Kombucha Kamp. I can’t say enough about Hannah and her helpers. Her customer service is impeccable. She really knows her Kombucha and if you have a question about the process, she has the answer somewhere on her site.

SCOBY are stored in my SCOBY Hotel. Here I have two mamas and a baby. There are stored in a glass container with starter liquid which has been pulled from the top of a fermented batch.
SCOBY are stored in my SCOBY Hotel. Here I have two mamas and a baby. They are stored in a glass container with starter liquid which has been pulled from the top of a fermented batch.
Kombucha set-up. I added an aquarium thermometer so I could judge the brewing temp.
Kombucha set-up. I added an aquarium thermometer so I could gauge the brewing temp. The mamas will sink as the baby forms on the top.
With the heating element added around the base (also available at Kombucha Kamp) I'm keeping SCOBY warm and productive. The mamas sink to the bottom, while the baby forms on top. I named my mamas Laverne and Shirley and my baby's name is Stuie.
With the heating element added around the base (also available at Kombucha Kamp) I’m keeping SCOBY warm and productive. The mamas sink to the bottom, while the baby forms on top. I named my mamas Laverne and Shirley and my baby’s name is Stuie. See the yeastie bits forming?
The tea lightens as it ferments.
The tea lightens as it ferments.

 

Here is Stuie being born, sealing off the top and doing his job.
Here is Stuie being born, sealing off the top and doing his job. Bubbles of carbonation are building under him as he grows to seal off the tea from the air.

Once Stuie has done his job (7-14 days, a little longer if you have slow starter or a large quantity. Only three or four days if you use continuous brew method.) the mamas and baby are set aside into the scoby hotel. If you are doing CB, you don’t even have to do this step, just decant a third from the bottom, then pour in replacement fresh sweet tea. I wasn’t sure about the first batch, but will be CBing in the future.

Ready to decant. I have my SCOBY Hotel to the left. Bottles for second ferment, and the mature KT
Ready to decant. I have my SCOBY Hotel to the left. Bottles for second ferment, and the mature KT. My currently unused art studio serves as my KT brewing room. You can brew in a lovely ceramic brew pot, also available at Kombucha Kamp, right on your kitchen counter top.
Kombucha Brewing First batch 010
I’ve prepped my fruits and herbs and spices. I’m making pear with ginger and cinnamon, peach ginger, strawberry, and hibiscus with cinnamon. A little goes a long way. You only need about a teaspoon per 16 oz bottle. The KT acts on the natural sugars to add more carbonation to this fizzy drink during the second ferment, which takes three or four days.
My bottles are prepped with fruit and spices. You don't have to puree the fruit. You can cut into bits and drop in, but I have another use for the leftover fruit I'll tell you about later.
My bottles are prepped with fruit and spices. You don’t have to puree the fruit. You can cut into bits and drop in, but I have another use for the leftover fruit I’ll tell you about later.

Decant into your 16 oz bottles from the spigot, or you can pour from a jar over the sink. The spigot is a lifesaver. My funnel has a screen which filters the yeasty bits.

You want to fill your bottles nearly to the top so as little space as possible is there for air. This speeds carbonation. VERY IMPORTANT: Burp your bottles every day or two to avoid EXPLOSION!!!

Place bottles into a cooler for safety and to keep dark at room temp. Don't forget to BURP them every couple of days. Keeping them in a cooler prevents glas and booch from spraying all over the place in case carbonation builds up and you have an explosion.
Place bottles into a cooler for safety and to keep dark at room temp. Don’t forget to BURP them every couple of days. Keeping them in a cooler prevents glass and booch from spraying all over the place in case carbonation builds up and you have an explosion.
Clean up is a breeze with vinegar. Never use soap and water...even trace amounts of soap will kill your culture.
Clean up is a breeze with vinegar. Never use soap and water…even trace amounts of soap will kill your culture. If you are doing continuous brewing instead of batch brewing, you only have to do this about every four to six months. Once fully fermented, I’ll be poring off into the Grolsch-style bottles.
Once your KT is ready, you can pur yourself a refreshing glass and drink right away, or strain into fresh bottles to get rid of the organic matter, which will continue to decompose if not removed. I strained into Grolsch-type bottles to go into the fridge right away. KT will not spoil.
Once your KT is ready, (about a week) you can pour yourself a refreshing glass and drink right away, or strain into fresh bottles to get rid of the organic matter, which will continue to decompose if not removed. I strained into Grolsch-type bottles to go into the fridge right away. KT will not spoil.
If you have leftover fruit. Mix it with two or three tablespoons of chia seed for fresh fruit chia jam and place in fridge. It will be great on nut butter toast for breakfast.
If you have leftover fruit. Mix it with two or three tablespoons of chia seed for fresh fruit chia jam and place in fridge. It will be great on nut butter toast for breakfast. It keeps fresh for two or three weeks.

I can’t say enough about Kombucha Kamp and the Kombucha Mama. Hannah Crum is truly awesome and she is available to get you started with all the supplies you need. She also supports you through the process if you have concerns. She’s been in production for seven years and has attended many seminars and appeared on TV shows where she explains Kombucha and how to make it. Here is a cool video where she explains how to flavor during the second ferment:

From Coffee & Diet Coke to Kombucha & Everything Between

The coffee pot has been placed into the pantry on the top shelf and the grinder cleaned and put away. That’s right, no post for health 005more coffee. I stopped the caffeine frenzy back in May when I stopped the tobacco habit and haven’t looked back. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to call myself a writer without a daily coffee regimen.   

My six to eight diet Cokes a day were gone in that bargain, also. It’s all about making healthier choices. I get my fizz fix from an occasional flavored sparkling water…no sugar or artificial sweeteners, or Kombucha. My concentration, productivity and focus are much improved without the caffeine.

I had elective surgery in June, (one I had put off for six years), which took me to my general practitioner’s office for a follow up. Although her information came after the insurance company told me, she advised me that I was no longer in prediabetes, but had crossed the bridge to diabetic. (HgbA1C = 7.5) Immediately, she wanted me on metformin. I didn’t take that too well. Then she proposed another drug with weight gain as a major side effect. Not going there either. I’ve been losing weight; don’t want to do anything that’s going to compromise that progress. She was concerned about my total cholesterol, (just over the line at 201) even though my HDLs were good, my LDLs weren’t as good as they could be.

Meanwhile, the RS gets informed by his physician that he is prediabetic  (Hgb A1C=6.8), he’s had cholesterol problems for a few years and just recently had to stop a statin d/t side effects.

What to do???

The old hippie philosophies resurfaced. I’m a firm believer that there is a plant out there somewhere with the capacity to heal whatever ails animal kind. With little more discussion, we decided to seek out the assistance of a holistic nutritionist. A lovely lady was highly recommended, Dr. Samadhi Artemisa, who is a licensed nutritionist, iridologist, yoga instructor, massage therapist, and acupuncturist. She also writes a column for the local paper, The Orlando Sentinel.

 

While she lives the vegan/raw life, she was more than willing to help us meat-eaters develop a better balance and work to ward off some serious health risks. After four and a half hours of consultation and an iridology screening, she placed us on a gluten free, dairy free (except for European cheeses in very small amounts), soy free, low carb, sugar free diet that permits no GMOs or artificial sweeteners. Organic vegetables & fruits and grass fed, antibiotic & hormone free beef preferable. We eat five to six times a day, every two to three hours, small portions of healthier foods…nuts and nut butters, veggies, hummus, guacamole, sardines, wild caught fish, lean meats pressure cooked, seed crackers, millet bread, sugar free coconut milk frozen dessert and cultured coconut milk. I’m learning to spiralize zucchini, beets, rutabagas, daikon radish, and other veggies to make low carb noodles, rice and pasta.

This was my lunch today.

Mediterranean Salad 001

Mediterranean zucchini faux pasta salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, anchovy stuffed green olives, artichokes, tiny Gruyere cubes and lemon-herb vinaigrette.

Replacing the coffee pot on the counter and taking up space in the fridge) are our supplement bottles which contain: manna stem, angelica root, aloe leaf, senna leaf, rhubarb root, zedoary root, myrrh stem, carline thistle root, camphor, black snakeroot, valerian root, cardamom fruit, saffron pistil, sunflower lecithin, muscadine seed, red Yeast rice, post for health 013CoQ10,flax seed oil, sunflower seed oil, raw sesame seed oil, evening primrose oil, algal, coconut oil, rosemary leaf oil, and oat bran oils, ginseng root extract, holy basil leaf extract, fenugreek seed, gymnema sylvestre leaf extract, Ceylon cinnamon, vanadium, bitter melon fruit extract, turmeric root, ginger root, jambui seed, digestive enzymes, B12 liquid, local bee pollen, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, polycosonal, artichoke leaf, hawthorn berry, turmeric root, fennel seed, ginko biloba, banaba, and bladderwrack.

Sounds like witches brew, huh?

This concoction of herbs, extracts and oils is supposed to lower our bad cholesterols, raise our good ones, control our diabetes, and enhance our brain’s performance. My energy level has, at least, tripled!

Some of them are more palatable than others.

post for health 015

Yummy and thicker than axle grease!

We’ve had two visits for therapeutic massage and two visits for acupuncture. So far, the RS and I have lost twenty pounds each in three months. His fasting blood sugars have come down from the 130s to the 80s, and mine have come down from the 130s to 110s. He hasn’t had his HgbA1C checked again, but mine has come down to 6.6 from 7.5. I’d still like to see my fastings come down under a hundred, but it’s early yet. Today I discovered that my two hour post prandials vary between 106-116.

I’ll add that we are both swimming and walking daily with three ten minute exercise routines, after breakfast, lunch and supper, that aren’t terribly strenuous and can be done in a bathroom.

Little strides over time.

The RS doesn’t like it, but I’ve added Kombucha, an effervescent, fermented tea, to my regimen. He says it tastes like flavored beer to him. I never liked beer, but I love Kombucha. If you would like to learn more about Kombucha and brewing it, I recommend the Kombucha Mama’s blog, web site, store and videos. Her Kombucha Kamp has everything you need to know to get started brewing your own.

There are so many added health benefits. The antioxidants, polyphenols, and probiotics are reason enough to drink it.

What it does:

*alkalizes the body

*detoxifies the liver

*increases metabolism

*improves digestion

*alleviates constipation

*cancer prevention

*reduces blood pressure

*relieves headaches & migraines

*aids healthy cell regeneration

*reduces kidney stones

*improves eyesight

*reduces eczema – softens the skin

*prevents arteriosclerosis

*speeds healing of ulcers

*helps clear up candida & yeast infections

*boosts energy – helps with chronic fatigue

*destroy free-radicals that cause cancer

*rebuilds connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

You can buy commercial brands, but why, when you can brew it yourself?

I keep it in a dark, well ventilated room. The temp stays between 75 and 85 degrees.

MOST SIGNIFICANTLY, I FEEL BETTER THAN I HAVE IN A VERY LONG TIME!

Have you made any dietary changes to improve your health?

What is working for you?