Monday, February 27, 2012

Kumbucha detox

Here at our house we make it it a priority eat/drink fermented and cultured foods.  A year or two ago I attended a kefir making workshop. The woman  presenting also talked about the benefits of Kumbucha how to make your own.  I thought I wold try it.  Many of you may be asking what is Kumbucha?  Good Question.  Kumbucha is a tea that is fermented with an algae.  This tea has been around for a 1,000 years, it's origin is China. This tea is a natural detox of the liver.  It contains little caffeine and the sugar that is added ferments the drink.  This bubbly drink is a great substitute for pop.  Use caution  when giving this to children and pregnant women.  It is safe to drink in my opinion, but you must take it slow at first until your body gets used to it.   I always add water to it when giving it to my son. 
So you maybe wondering why I don't buy my own.  Well if you have learned anything about me you have noticed that I don't like to pay for things I can make cheaper myself (for the most part).  Kumbucha at the store is about $4 a bottle for a 16oz glass.  Ha! I am not willing to pay that. So I'm going to give you a step by step how to, so you can now make your own for the price of a cup of sugar and 5 tea bags.

Here we go.  Things you will need:
  • kumbucha mother and a cup of kumbucha juice- this you can buy online or contact me.  Every week and a half I have one to give away
  • gallon glass jar- with spigot is the best
  • big steel pot for boiling water
  • dish towel
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 5 tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • glass jars- to store kumbucha in
  • pure juice-optional
After you have purchased your "mother" or "mushroom", whatever you like to call it, you are ready to start.  First boil 3 quarts of water on the stove in a steel pot.  
When the water comes to a boil add the cup of sugar.
Allow the sugar to boil for 5 minutes.  When your timer goes off, remove the pot from the heat.
Now it is time to brew your tea.  Choose the tea of your choice.  When completed, the Kumbucha will not have a strong tea favor, so what tea you choose is really just anything you have on hand.  You will need about 5-6 individual tea bags.  There is no right or wrong way to brew the tea.  Allow the tea to steep for 10-15 minutes.  Now your tea must cool before placing it in the gallon glass jar.  So it doesn't crack or burn the "mother."

While your tea is cooling it is time to get your glasses and your jar washed and ready to go.  You will need about 5 glass small jars to store your Kumbucha in.  I use kumbucha jars form the store.  These are made out of thicker glass than most.  While storing your Kumbucha it will continue to ferment.  The thick glass jars will prevent the unlikely event of them exploding.
Your gallon glass jar should have a large opening at the top.  I use a cheap one that I purchased at Wal-mart a long time ago.  I like it because it has a spigot, which makes it more convenient to dispense the liquid once it's done.
When the tea is no longer hot pour it into the gallon jar.  Pour the mother and cup of kumbucha over the tea.  Place a tea towel over the opening and secure with a large rubber band.  Now you wait.  And wait , and wait a little more.  It may feel like days that you are waiting and it really is days.  6-15 days to be exact.  If you like your kumbucha more sweet, you will want to harvest it around 6.  If you like your kumbucha with more bite you'll be closer to 15.  Or you can be like me and forget and guess.  I think that method works the best.  If your not sure how you like Kumbucha try it from the spigot.  
Place your kumbucha gallon jug in a cool dark spot.  I put my on the courter top out of the way.


Now that you have found time to harvest your Kumbucha get your jars out.  Pour from the spigot until there is an 1 1/2 in head space or more. *****Now you must make a decision.  If you like the way your Kumbucha taste now put it in jars and refrigerate.  Another way to enjoy Kumbucha is to add juice. (I prefer juice it give more variety to the favor).   Here is where I add approximately 2 oz of pure juice (we like using Knudsen).  Ginger is my favorite favor of Kumbucha, but my husband hates it, so I use whatever juice is in the fridge.  This time it was Knudsen organic apple juice.
Now that your juice is in, you can close the lid and put it in the pantry for the second fermentation.  Or you can put it in the refrigerator to use.  You can leave it in the pantry for up to two week, then put it in the refrigerator to use.  Once you put it in the refrigerator the fermentation slows down drastically.  Your pantry should be dark and cool.

Now you are ready to enjoy and repeat. Try all kinds of flavors and tea combinations.   If the instruction are lacking please comment.  I would me more than happy to clarify.
*When you have completed a full cycle of fermentation you will have a "mother" kumbucha left over.  This can be given to a friend or composted.  They are great for your garden. 

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