Kefir Madness: Pretty Plum and Gorgeous Grapefruit

The star of the show: water kefir “grains”!

Summer is water kefir weather. Those hard-working, gelatinous “grains” (actually a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) turn sugar water into a sparkling probiotic beverage. While a water kefir first ferment (1F) doesn’t have much personality, the second ferment (2F) is where the fun happens!

Continue reading “Kefir Madness: Pretty Plum and Gorgeous Grapefruit”

Today’s Entertainment: SCOBY Decimation

Pecked SCOBYIf you’ve read earlier posts, you know that I make (lots of) kombucha tea. With each batch, a new cellulose pellicle is formed, starting as a thin, cloudy-looking film and growing bigger and thicker with each successive batch. The Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) isn’t strictly necessary to properly culture a batch, if sufficiently strong tea from a previous batch is added to “inoculate” the brew…but it looks really cool in a jar (scare your friends!).

A few huge discs had formed in my 2.5 gallon kombucha vinegar jar and were taking up too much space, so I pulled the thickest ones out and put them in the refrigerator. They sat in a big bowl for a few days until I remembered them and tossed them out for the chickens and ducks. These things are meaty, rubbery mats, but the chickens will peck them apart without much effort. Sometimes the ducks even get in on the action. Continue reading “Today’s Entertainment: SCOBY Decimation”

Backyard Berry Bounty

Blackberry KombuchaThe brambles on our property are wicked. They reach out when you walk past, grab an arm or leg, and take a bite. The thorns are sharp and strong, and they’re difficult to disentangle from your clothing. Nonetheless, it’s worth risking scratches (and ants running up your arms and legs) to harvest blackberries growing wild along the fencelines.

We picked a bowlful of ripe berries this weekend and used them to flavor water kefir and kombucha. The dark juice lent a nice color to the beverages, and the water kefir is delicious – refreshing with a definite berry flavor, not too sweet. Continue reading “Backyard Berry Bounty”

Jun Tea – Second Time’s The Charm

Glass Of Jun TeaLike many things, making Jun tea improves with practice. In an earlier post, our first attempts, with malodorous results, were described. We’re now on batch #6, and the output of the hard-working scobies has been gratifyingly good.

Maybe it’s the honey that made the difference – in our initial attempts last year, we used raw wildflower honey purchased from a large “natural” foods chain store, and the Jun smelled like cat pee. Yuck. Regardless of the type of green tea used, it still came out smelling bad. We wondered if Jun just wasn’t something we’d enjoy, and we shelved the scoby. Continue reading “Jun Tea – Second Time’s The Charm”

Another Probiotic Beverage Worth Exploring: Jun Tea

Jun SCOBYMost of us have probably heard of Kombucha Tea, made from fermented sweet tea. We make and drink it regularly (and it makes awesome cocktails). We also make milk and water kefir, two other probiotic and delicious beverages. After allowing it to languish in a cupboard for a year (really!), we pulled the Jun scoby out and re-started it.

Jun tea, while similar to kombucha in some ways, is a distinctly different beverage. While kombucha is made with black or green tea (or a combination of these), sweetened with sugar, and fermented using finished kombucha tea from a previous batch plus the kombucha scoby, jun is made from green tea only, sweetened only with raw honey. A “mother” (scoby) is also floated in the brew. Continue reading “Another Probiotic Beverage Worth Exploring: Jun Tea”

Oops…Forgotten Kombucha

Kombucha SCOBYWe make kombucha tea in gallon barrel jars, with a batch being “harvested” every Sunday. Once bottled, the ‘booch sits in airtight bottles for a few days for a second ferment. It’s during this second ferment that additional flavorings may be added. The two week initial fermentation period is what seems to work best to achieve the flavor profile we like: slightly tart, but not vinegary. Some people let it go longer, but it can get pucker-you-up tart with time. Once it becomes too sour, there’s no going back. Continue reading “Oops…Forgotten Kombucha”