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Deliciously Organic: Kombucha and a Giveaway

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kombucha and a Giveaway

I never thought I'd write a post about kombucha. In fact, I've had a running list of things "I'll never try".
Five years ago, my "never do" list looked like this:

1. I'll never grind my own grain. (Bought a small mill 3 years ago, totally converted now)
2. I'll never drink raw milk. (One taste and I was hooked.)
3. I'll never make my own sauerkraut. (I do now, on a monthly basis)
4. I'll never make homemade kombucha. (Well, you see the evidence of this)
5. I'll never make my own sourdough bread - on a regular basis. (Still haven't done this one)
6. I'll never have my own chickens. (I'm seriously considering it)

Apparently, my definition of "never" can be fuzzy.

If you've never tried kombucha, you must. It's a naturally effervescent, sweet fizzy tea (very sweet, in fact, I add a little water). It's so sweet you feel like you shouldn't be drinking it, like it's not allowed. But it's full of probiotics, live active enzymes, polyphenols (fight free radicals), glucuronic acid (a powerful detoxifier), and many other powerful nutrients.

A few months ago when the FDA pulled kombucha off of the shelves temporarily, I had to choose between going without or putting aside my pride and making my own. I ordered the culture and gave it a whirl.

Two weeks ago when my culture arrived in a little test tube I still wasn't so sure I wanted to go through with this. I had a feeling that once I started I might not ever stop. I boiled the water, added the sugar, brewed the tea, added the culture, and then safely tucked the jar away in the pantry to ferment. Seven days later, my kids were giddy to find out what it looked like. To my amazement, the culture had grown into a huge mushroom-like substance perched above sweet, fizzy tea!

I've tried two different recipes for kombucha, each with their own attributes. If it's your first time drinking kombucha then I'd try this recipe. If you've had it before and prefer a drink that's not quite as sweet, use the recipe below. You can purchase a kombucha mushroom here. If kombucha resides on your "I'll never make that" list, I recommend looking for Synergy Kombucha at your local health food store. They mix their teas with raw fruit juice for a fizzy, fruity flavor.

I'd like to give away a kombucha culture so you can start making your own. Please leave a comment between today (9/28/10) and Sunday (10/3/10). I'll draw a number at random and announce the winner on Monday. (Only one comment per reader please, and I can only ship to the United States)

While I don't use white sugar in my cooking or baking, the experts say it is essential for this recipe. The white sugar reacts with the tea and kombucha culture to produce acetic, lactic and glucuronic acid.
Recipe from Sally Fallon's, Nourishing Traditions (used with permission)
Makes about 2 quarts

3 quarts filtered water
1 cup organic white sugar
4 organic black tea bags (I used Newman's Own black tea bags)
1/2 cup kombucha from a previous culture (go to your natural foods store for this)
1 kombucha mushroom (or starter culture)

Boil water in a large pot. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Steep tea bags until water has completely cooled. Remove tea bags and pour cooled liquid into a 4 quart or larger glass bowl (not plastic). Stir in 1/2 cup kombucha and place the mushroom on top. Cover loosely with a clean cloth or towel and transfer to a warm, dark place. Let mixture sit for 7-10 days. When the mixture is ready the mushroom will have grown a spongy pancake and the tea should be slightly sour and fizzy. Remove the mushroom and store in a glass container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use again. (After your first time making kombucha the mushroom will have grown a second spongy pancake. This can be used to make other batches or you can give one away to a friend.)  Pour kombucha into a glass jar or pitcher with a tight fitting lid. Store in your refrigerator.  Don't forget to cross kambucha off your "I'll never do that" list!

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Blogger Anna said...

I've been thinking about making kombucha for a while. I love to drink it and I love to make things myself (I need to start grinding my own grain one of these days, too). This would be a great way to get started, thanks!

September 28, 2010 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I've never had this! I better give it a try!

September 28, 2010 at 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Heather said...

I've never tried this before but it looks like something I will need to. And very soon! :)

September 28, 2010 at 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to make Kombucha in big bowls but stopped a number of years ago. Just this summer I started getting major cravings for it - just a week before the FDA pulled it from shelves! So, in June I invested in a big crock with a spigot and am back in business. I'm using the continuous brew method that requires much less work.

PS I can attest that homemade sourdough bread is amazing...

September 28, 2010 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger The Urban Baker said...

I am a lover of Kombucha pumpkin and although I have bought and tried the drinks at whole food, I wasn't sold. However, your take on the tea as well as your lovely post sparks my curiosity! I am going to give it a go! P.S. what kind of jar?

September 28, 2010 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Dori said...

Sounds delicious! I'll have to try it sometime. I'll bet chickens make yummy eggs...but where do you keep them?

September 28, 2010 at 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Doniree said...

I think homemade kombucha is way better than the bottled stuff! I have a couple of friends here in Boulder that brew it - so good!

September 28, 2010 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger beanjelly said...

I keep hearing about Kombucha but haven't tried it yet. Sounds good!

September 28, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Erika said...

I've never had kombucha, but I would be willing to try it! Sweet tea is one of my weaknesses, so perhaps this would be a good replacement :)

September 28, 2010 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I miss kombucha so much. Am also hestitant to brew my own, but it's getting to that point...

September 28, 2010 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

ah, how cool! i'd totally love to start my own culture, i miss kombucha :)

September 28, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I can't wait to move into our own house next month and start our kombucha up again - I had to give it up while living with my Dad for 3 months - I didn't want an unsuspecting person stumbling on my jar and "mushroom". Try sour dough, it's a lot easier than it sounds and get the chickens too, if they're allowed on base. They are so fun and each have their own personality. Ours used to stand around our patio table and beg with our dog.

September 28, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Martha said...

I've been scared to make my own kombucha too! I'm sure I'll try it when we get settled into our new house. I'm flirting with getting chickens too, but am not sure about the work commitment involved...would love to read up on it *wink*

September 28, 2010 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Jane said...

I had the exact same thought when they pulled it from the shelves, but have yet to put the money into purchasing one,I'm kind of hoping I stumble on someone who has extra mothers and just gives me one. :) Sourdough is delicious, and quite simple!

September 28, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Nive said...

I've never heard about kombucha and already intrigued by your preparation..Now I like to try it..Thanks for this giveaway..

September 28, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Hannah Crum said...

Hi! If you are interested in lots of new and updated Kombucha info, plus interviews with GT Dave and fun recipes and things like that, check out my blog:

Nice article! :)

September 28, 2010 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger shanna said...

I'm so proud of you! Your kombucha looks and sounds great! BTW if you want to make it a little less sweet, just let it ferment longer - like 9 or 10 days! You have all the control now!

September 28, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to try my hand at making kombucha! Thanks for a great giveaway!

September 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Skye said...

ok awesome i'll add this to my list of "weird stuff to try someday" sounds fun! thanks for the tips!

September 28, 2010 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger leslie said...

hmmm.... I have been interested in kombucha for a few weeks now. I am getting up the nerve to try it. This would be great!

September 28, 2010 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Redbird Green said...

Friends keep recommending that I give Kombucha a try, but I just haven't gotten around to it...this has been a fabulous incentive to give it a go! Thanks for the push!

September 29, 2010 at 4:47 AM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Ihave never heard of this! And I dont like tea at all so I am not sure if I would like it, but it would be neat to try something new. :)

My hubby is seriously considering getting chickens as well. I would love the splendors but not sure if I would love the work! :)


September 29, 2010 at 5:05 AM  
Blogger RunnerGrl said...

I have been eying the kombucha drinks in my health food store for a while, and with this post as encouragement, I'm ready to try to make my own!

September 29, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

a friend just mentioned this tea a couple of days ago...I think its a sure sign after reading your post that I am supposed to try it!
By the way theres a GREAT sight on raising chickens in the city (or country). We love our chickens and will never be without them again!

September 29, 2010 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Natalie H. said...

I would love to try! Thanks for the giveaway!

September 29, 2010 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sounds interesting. I would love to try it.

September 29, 2010 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger her wheat said...

I love Kombucha but never thought about making my own...maybe I should start!

September 29, 2010 at 8:10 PM  
Anonymous marla {family fresh cooking} said...

We love Kombucha too. Recently my good friend made us a batch & it was so much better than the bottled ones-besides who wants to spend all that money & throw away all those bottles anyway! Thanks for enlightening us & great giveaway.

September 30, 2010 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've heard of kombucha, but have not yet tried it. I'm very interested now! I can kill 2 birds with one stone and make it myself to try. :) Doesn't sound too awful complicated.

September 30, 2010 at 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Pam said...

I have been wanting to make my own Kombucha for a while now!

September 30, 2010 at 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Andrew @ Eating Rules said...

I've been thinking about making Kombucha at home recently, in fact, so this is a great nudge! Thanks!

October 2, 2010 at 3:51 PM  
Anonymous said...

I will have to try this! :) Thanks for the inspiration.

October 2, 2010 at 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Sarah W said...

sounds good!

October 2, 2010 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Easy peasy organic said...

What a great great idea! I didn't even know this existed ... but I have ordered myself a kefir culture to start making cultured milk ... and have even recently tried sourdough! (the latter tasted yum, but must redo the culture because it didn't rise happily.).

Thanks for introducing me to kombucha!
A xx

October 2, 2010 at 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Elaine M said...

I buy Buddha's Brew, locally made in Austin. Kinda expensive, and would like to try to make it myself.

October 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

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