Summer has finally arrived in the NWT! The warm weather has also been accompanied by a large number of forest fires. For most of last week our little city was enveloped in a haze of smoke and ashes were literally falling from the sky. Besides being a tad bit creepy is has been putting a bit of a damper on my running – I’m not keen on breathing in any more smoke than I absolutely have to . . . Today is a bit better so I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things next week.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while you’ll know about my love affair with Kombucha! I have to admit that up until last winter I had no idea what it was but I kept seeing photos and reading about it. For those of you who still don’t know about Kombucha, it is a naturally fizzy fermented drink of sweetened black tea that is used as a functional food. It is produced by fermenting the tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or “SCOBY”. Health benefits associated with Kombucha include everything from detoxification, joint care, improved digestion and gut health to being the magic cure for a hangover.
It can sometimes be difficult to get specialty food items here so it wasn’t until we went to San Diego last February that I was finally able to try some. C was skeptical and said he thought it “smelt like the recycling bottle depot”. Haha he wasn’t wrong about the smell but honestly it tastes delicious. Even Chris is amongst the converted. When our local specialty store started bringing them in he talked to them about ordering more flavors and they more than tripled their selection. 🙂
My favourite GT Kombucha flavors are multi-green and third-eye chai and raspberry chia.
As happy as I was to be able to purchase these delicious treats in our home town, they are expensive and I had read that you could make your own. I looked into ordering a scoby online to get myself started but the shipping costs to Canada seemed a bit ridiculous. Then I came across some posts on Kathleen’s blog Becoming Peculiar: Adventures in a Backwards Kingdom about how to grow your own scoby from an bottle of GT Kombucha. So off I went to purchase an original flavor GT Kombucha. I’ll briefly outline the steps here for you but for more detailed information head over to Kathleen’s blog on how to grown your own scoby.
1. Grow your own scoby:
The first step is very simple. Just pour the bottle of unflavored GT Kombucha into a jar (it must be glass) and cover with either a coffee filter and an elastic or a tea towel and elastic – this is just to keep dirt or bugs out. The first time I tried I got a small little sphere seemed to balloon but within a couple of days it collapsed. The second time I made sure to buy a bottle of unflavored GT Kombucha with lots of sediment at the bottom and instead of just pouring it into the larger jar I made sure to swish around the Kombucha in the bottle to gently distribute the sediment throughout the liquid. Then I let it sit out of direct sunlight. Try not to touch or move the jar as you do not want your delicate scoby to sink to the bottom. After about three weeks a thin white film (call the scoby) grew over the top of the kombucha.
2. Brew your first batch of Kombucha:
Make 10 cups of black/green tea and add 3/4 cup of sugar. The bacteria will eat up all that sugar so don’t worry your drink will not be too sugary. Let it cool down completely. This is really important because you don’t want to kill the scoby you spent three weeks growing.
Once the sweetened tea has cooled pour it into a large jar. I used a family size vlasic pickle jar. Then with clean hands gently remove the scoby from your other jar. Hold it carefully while you pour the rest of the contents of your original Kombucha into the pickle jar. Then carefully place your scoby on top and cover with a coffee filter or tea towel. If it sinks that’s fine you’ll just grow another scoby on top that you can either use yourself or give away to a friend. Let sit for a week.
3. Second Fermentation and flavouring:
The second fermentation adds to the fizziness and allows you to flavor your kombucha. Gently remove the scoby from the jar and put in a bowl for safe keeping. Pour the kombucha into individual bottles taking care to leave about an inch at the top. Also make sure to leave about a cup of the kombucha in the large jar if you want to continuously brew more kombucha. Then add your flavouring to the bottles. This time I used a piece of ginger and mashed up raspberries. Put the lids on the bottles and let sit for 2-7 days. My first batch was super fizzy before I even got to the second fermentation and flavouring so I think I’ll only let it sit for two days. Ensure that it sits out of direct sunlight. Once your done with the second fermentation place your bottles in the refrigerator and enjoy 🙂
If you want to continuously brew more kombucha go back to step two. Brew more sweetened tea, let cool, add to the large pickle jar, place your scoby on top and let sit for a week. This continuous method will allow you to brew more kombucha each week.
Happy Brewing 🙂