Ferment This: Blackberry Kombucha Tea

SCOBY supermodel

I’ve been brewing the amazing elixir known as Kombucha Tea for years now. With this ferment, an unusual-looking culture transforms sweetened tea into probiotic goodness, thanks to the hard work of the Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY): the disc-shaped pellicle formed by the microbes responsible for performing the magic.

Continue reading “Ferment This: Blackberry Kombucha Tea”

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”