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Monday, March 5, 2012

Grow Your Own Kombucha Mushroom Mother Tutorial- Make Your Own SCOBY

I love kombucha, if I haven't made that obvious already. Kombucha is one of my favorite probiotic foods, one of my favorite drinks, and in general, something I love to have around the house. 
One of my favorite times to drink kombucha was in early pregnancy- when I was regularly drinking kombucha, my morning sickness got much less bad, but I digress.

Ever since hearing about the amazing health benefits of kombucha, I really, really wanted to get my hands on some, but found out, to my chagrin, that it is illegal to sell kombucha in my country because of some fear mongering and scare stories because of a lady who behaved irresponsibly with her kombucha and therefore fell in harm's way... Man, I hate it when governments try to interfere with our food choices (ahem, raw milk...), but again, I digress.

I tried having a friend mail me a bottle of kombucha from the US, but for some reason (I forget what), it never ended up happening...
Luckily, about 6 months after I had wanted to get my hands on some kombucha, a Russian friend of mine had her mom come to visit, and her mom brought along something that is common in their Russian circles- what they call a "Tea mushroom". Aka a kombucha mushroom, or SCOBY- a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, what is used to make kombucha tea.

Finally!

And ever since then, I've been in the kombucha business. My kombucha mushroom, also known as a kombucha mother, each time I make a batch of kombucha, has been making babies, which I give to friends and family who want to get in on the kombucha business. 
But what if you don't have a kombucha mother? What if none of your friends make kombucha and have kombucha babies to give you? How can you start making kombucha without needing to buy a kombucha mushroom from a supplier?

Easy! You grow your own kombucha mother!

Its so simple I'm almost embarrassed to post it, but its something that not everyone knows, so I figured I needed to share.

DIY- Grow A Kombucha Mother

Instructions:
1. Acquire some raw, unflavored, unpasteurized kombucha. They sell it in bottles, such as this one from Synergy Drinks.
If you live in my country, there is a vendor in the open air market in the capital city who sells freshly squeezed juices and he also sells kombucha by the cup full.


2. Mix your kombucha with some sugar- approximately a quarter cup of sugar for 2 cups of kombucha- and put it in a wide, clean, jar. Ideally I'm supposed to say a sterilized jar but I don't bother- just soap and water leaves it clean enough for me.


3. Cover loosely with a cover- screw it on only part way- or cover with a towel/cloth napkin and secure with a rubber band. 


4. Leave in a place that it can remain undisturbed for a week or two, depending on the temperature. If it is warm in your house, it'll take less time; if its colder, more.


5. You'll start seeing a thin layer of something spreading across the top of the kombucha. It may be clear, white, tan, or brown, or a mixture of those colors. It'll get bigger and bigger and thicker and thicker until you have something that looks like in the picture above.


6. At this point, you can remove your kombucha mushroom from the jar with a clean spoon and use it to make new batches of kombucha. You can use a little bit of this kombucha as a starter together with your mushroom to make a new batch, but don't use too much as it'll be relatively sour.


7. You can leave the liquid to ferment on its own longer, without the mushroom, and it'll turn into kombucha vinegar, which you can then use in place of apple cider vinegar in most recipes. It will grow yet another mushroom when you leave it to do this.

Enjoy your kombucha making!

Have you ever had kombucha before or seen it sold bottled in the store? Have you wanted to grow your own kombucha mushroom? Do you think you'd try this?
Do you ferment any foods in your home, and if so, which?
And now, the volatile question- do you think governments should be allowed to forbid people from buying or selling food items or otherwise that they deem unsafe, especially if there are claims that these things are not just "not unsafe", but actually beneficial for you?


1 comment:

  1. Hi, I don't know if the law has been changed since you wrote this, but I've seen kombucha being sold in a couple of small local independent health-food stores recently.

    I bought a bottle today and hope to try and grow a scoby from it.

    Wish me luck!

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