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The Kombucha FAIL

Sipping my cup of Kombucha today, I realized it’s been a year since I started. I still love it as much as the first day. Probably more. However, there is one thing I tried that I did not like. It was a huge FAIL.

Kombucha Vinegar

When my Kombucha brewed for a week or two longer than needed, instead of throwing it out, I searched the good ole internet for a recipe. I found out how to make Kombucha vinegar. Why not? I decided to try it and followed the directions perfectly,  bottling a few gallons of the stuff. When I ran out of apple cider vinegar, I opened a bottle. Ewwww. It wasn’t vinegar. It wasn’t Kombucha. I don’t really know what to call it. Except – a fail.

Kombucha FAIL

Looking back on the whole idea of using Kombucha for vinegar, I’m almost embarrassed I even tried. You see, I wanted to use vinegar for cleaning and to try it as a rinse for my hair. Why not use Kombucha vinegar? The base of Kombucha is tea. Tea stains. I don’t think I want to use it on my white counters or in my strawberry blond hair. Plus, it was more like stinky mess rather than a cleansing vinegar. UGH.

There it is. My Kombucha fail. What do you do with your overbrewed Kombucha?

One New Thing – Top Five

When I started One New Thing back in October, I had no idea where it was going or what I would write about. I just did it. This week I’m taking a look at what the bloggy world thought was the most interesting. So here it is, the Top Five One New Thing posts.

5. Family Style

4. The Beginning

3. Paleo Plan

2. The One I FAILED

1. Kombucha!

Yes, the most viewed post was Kombucha! I’ll definitely be posting more about that topic! Be on the lookout for a post this week on the results of all my hard work!

What is YOUR favorite One New Thing? Did it make the list?

One New Thing – Kombucha!

In my quest for better health, I started One New Thing a week. This week I’m going to tell you about one of my family’s favorite things.

KOMBUCHA!

It sounds like a battle cry and looks like a foreign language. That’s not too far from the truth. When I yell Kombucha, my kids come running. (Except one – she runs the OTHER way, but I’ll tell you why a little later.)

This phenomenon has been in the news lately. A child was recently sent home (almost suspended) for bringing Kombucha in their lunch. It violated the school drug and alcohol policy. Kombucha is often found in the hands of famous stars who probably pay high dollar for a bottle of this popular drink that is one of the “new” health fads.

So… what is it???? It’s a tea. But a very special tea. When you read all of the health benefits, it starts to sound too good to be true, like one of the miracle cure-alls door to door salesmen tried to sell in the early 1900’s before they got booted out-of-town. Unlike those cons, this stuff is for real! This article tells the many facts of WHY you should drink kombucha: http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/ but basically it helps anything from digestion issues to depression. Not to mention it’s a detox, cancer prevention, arthritis help, and probiotic.

So where can you get the stuff??? Health food stores carry it for around $2 a bottle. Or you can make your own. And I’m going to tell you how! (Which will save you a whole bunch of money. You’re welcome!)

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That cute picture came from HERE. It’s almost how I make my kombucha. Every website with instructions about how to brew your own Kombucha has a different version of the same thing. Look at the recipe and alter it to what fits you. The important things are the starter, sugar, tea (not a herbal one), and the can’t make without it Scooby. Or as my friend loving calls its, “Scabby.” Scooby is the reason my daughter runs away. She thinks it’s too gross. I look at Scooby as a growth of health and wellness. Scooby is the culture. Scooby is the WHY Kombucha is so good for you. Besides that, I can’t really explain the magic of the Scooby – this Mother of health that even grows a baby!

Now for the HOW:

  • Boil 3 cups of water (to remove impurities) for five minutes,
  • Add tea bags to make tea.
  • Let it steep.
  • Add 1 cup sugar and stir until it’s dissolved.
  • Give it time to cool. (If the tea is too hot when you put the Scooby in, the heat will kill it!)
  • In a glass container put the cooled tea/sugar mixture, one cup of starter, and one Scooby.
  • Fill the rest of the container with filtered water.
  • Cover with a towel or linen and secure with a rubber band.
  • Place container in a cool, dark area for fermenting. I stick mine on a top shelf in the pantry.
  • Let it rest and work it’s magic for around 7 days.
  • Taste. If too sweet, let it sit longer. If vinegary, it fermented a day or two too long. Next time, do it a day less.

*I came up with these instructions based on what works for me. I make 3 gallons at a time. The large pot I boil my water in holds 10 cups. I needed to divide the tea between all containers. That is the scientific reason why my recipe call for you to boil the 3 cups of water. (Technically it’s really 9 cups give or take and I add three cups of sugar because I triple the recipe.) Do what works for you.*

Congrats on being patient and waiting for your Kombucha to brew. Now it’s time to harvest! When you see your Scooby, it will be a white/tan color with brown stringy stuff around it. That is what it’s supposed to look like! I peel off the strings – so Scooby will look presentable for the next harvest!

Harvest your Scooby:

  • Take the towel off and gently remove the Scooby. Place in a bowl (non-metal but I couldn’t tell you why, I think they just don’t like metal) with a cup of the Kombucha brew (what I call the starter). The Scooby is thicker than what you put into the brew. Peel off the top. That’s the baby! Now you can make TWO batches!!! I make a batch as I harvest. The tea starts steeping before I get the Kombucha out of the pantry (the fermenting location).
  • Strain the rest of the Kombucha into bottles. I use a mixture of wine and beer bottles, but have also used mason jars. The wine and beer bottles are colored glass. Scientists (my kids) swear that it just tastes better from colored bottles. Either that, or it’s the novelty of drinking from alcoholic bottles. One day they might need therapy for this.
  • Let the bottle sit on the counter for a day or two, then stick in the refrigerator. This part adds a natural carbonation. It reminds my kids of soda! (Maybe a flat soda… but a little fizz does wonders!) This is the stage where many people add fruits to give it some flavor. I tried berries and ginger. My favorite was the ginger!!! My kids enjoy it so much plain, I don’t add fruit to it anymore.
  • Rinse (with water only) the gallon jar you  harvested from and start over!!!!

After a few more rounds, you will have more Scoobies than you need. Place them in a glass jar (I use pint-sized Mason jars) with starter and cover with the lid. Now you have a Scooby Hotel. Add more each time you brew until the jar is full. Be sure to share a Scooby with a friend! When a Scooby becomes discolored (not the brown string stuff but dark colored infected looking spots) or molded. THROW IT OUT and start over! Have fun and do One New Thing for your health!

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