Fermentation Fun

October 26, 2017

I've been drinking a bottle of kombucha every day lately. It's a great pick-me up in the afternoon, has all sorts of healthy benefits, and keeps me away from yet more coffee. But that stuff is darned expensive, and the recycling bin keeps filling up with the bottles.

So, I decided to try brewing it myself. Kombucha is just fermented sweet tea, flavored with other items if desired. In order to ferment it, you need a starter culture, or a SCOBY, which is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It basically looks like the contents of a petri-dish, swimming in unmentionable liquid.​

I went with the continuous brew method, which lets you keep tapping and refilling one big container instead of using gallon jars and transferring the slimy scobies back and forth. I got a big crock with a spigot, rinsed it with vinegar, and brewed a few gallons of tea. Then I added sugar to the tea, filled the crock with the tea and additional water, and once the temperature came down to luke warm, plopped in the scoby. It was actually pretty easy.

Now I just wait. It feels weird doing something totally new like this, especially something involving live cultures. I like the idea of being self-reliant regarding something consumable, like having fresh eggs all the time from the chickens outside. It reminds me of how little we do things like that these days. The other day I found myself at the grocery store waffling between buying pre-cut onions or real onions, and felt kind of pathetic. And I remembered how long it took to cut the peppers for last week's meal, and felt frustrated that life is so busy that being present for simple things is such a challenge (and thank you, Cutco, for forcing that presence with your potentially deadly sharp things).

So I figure, being forced to be present with my very own kombucha culture won't kill me. Hopefully.