23 Feb 2013

kombucha with goji berry green tea

My boyfriend says I should call this a love potion (or health potion). I'm going to save that title for a juice recipe that's coming up, but that doesn't mean it's not true for kombucha - this fermented mushroom tea is carefully made with love and so it makes loves! Oh... that sounded more sexual than I thought it would.

I'm going to be lazy here and just copy and paste this recipe from The Kitchn. (So the recipe below was not written by my hands.) There's nothing special about how I make my kombucha and the original process is tried and true. The only difference for my recipe is that I used goji berry green tea and agave nectar instead of white sugar. As long as there is a sugar for the bacteria to eat, it doesn't matter what kind it is. You could also use cane sugar. Whatever floats your boat. Or in this case... your baby mushroom.

I just found this good looking raw kombucha recipe which I will try for my next batch. I love GT's kombucha and it's entirely raw so there's my incentive. Plus... I obviously just like raw food.

The health benefits of kombucha are pretty awesome. I'm not saying that it's like a super miracle cure for all ailments or the secret to longevity - that comes with eating a whole foods, plant based diet, drinking enough water, exercising regularly and laughing a lot - but this fermented mushroom tea definitely has it's perks. It's excellent for detoxification, your immune system, and keeping your digestive tract happy and healthy. It's got loads of good-for-you bacteria that help keep your gut clean and efficient. Try it out! Buy a bottle at your health food store, see if you like it. If so - try making your own.

kombucha with goji berry green tea:
3 1/2 quarts water
1 cup agave nectar/raw cane sugar
8 bags goji berry green tea (or whatever tea you prefer)
2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought (unpasteurized, neutral-flavored) kombucha
1 scoby per fermentation jar
Stock pot
1-gallon glass jar or two 2-quart glass jars
Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids, 6 swing-top bottles, or clean soda bottles


Note: Avoid prolonged contact between the kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.
1. Make the Tea Base: Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sweetener to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
2. Add the Starter Tea: Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.)
3. Transfer to Jars and Add the Scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar (or divide between two 2-quart jars, in which case you'll need 2 scobys) and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band.
4. Ferment for 7 to 10 Days: Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won't get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
It's not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it's ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
After seven days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
5. Remove the Scoby: Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.
6. Bottle the Finished Kombucha: Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle. (Alternatively, infuse the kombucha with flavorings for a day or two in another jar covered with cheesecloth, strain, and then bottle. This makes a cleaner kombucha without "stuff" in it.)
7. Carbonate and Refrigerate the Finished Kombucha: Store the bottled kombucha at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your kombucha carbonates, it's helpful to keep it in plastic bottles; the kombucha is carbonated when the bottles feel rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your kombucha within a month.
8. Make a Fresh Batch of Kombucha: Clean the jar being used for kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment for 7 to 10 days.