I have been making kombucha for a year or so now, and have really enjoyed it. I have replaced the soda that I adored so much in my past life with this lovely, sweet, tangy, fizzy stuff and I’ll never go back!
There are many recipes for brewing kombucha out there on the internet, and in books. I use the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, and I was able to find it on this blog so I won’t waste the space posting it again.
If you have never tried brewing kombucha, you may want to start with just the first brew and see if it’s a good fit for you. Kombucha isn’t for everyone—my family actually doesn’t like it at all (ha ha–more for me!)—so I only need to brew enough to last me for two weeks (a week in summer). A double batch brews up to about twelve 16 oz bottles, which if I were to buy that many at the store, it would cost me between $36-48. Brewing at home saves me at least $30 every time I brew, even if I use expensive fruit juices, like Pom. If I only do a single brew, the cost is pennies, really….maybe a dollar if I use organic evaporated cane juice.
I’d like to talk about the second brew of kombucha, or the double fermentation method. Double fermentation isn’t necessary if you like the flavor of the first ferment, but for those of us who love a variation of flavors now and then, a second brew is desirable. Fermenting/brewing a second time can sweeten a batch of kombucha and increase the fizz-factor, which is most desirable for me.
I do my second brews with store bought 100% juice, or with fruit syrups made at home. My favorite flavors are pomegranate, strawberry, and lately, marionberry, but my plans are to try something new each batch. I would even like to try a second brew with pieces of fruit this year. Summer will yield plenty of new fruits to try, like peaches, nectarines, kiwi, pineapple, plus more!
My Second Brew Method
2 oz fruit juice OR 1 oz fruit syrup to 14 oz of brewed kombucha. Screw cap on to bottle and leave on counter for another 2-3 days (if it is warm in your home, 2 days ought to be sufficient). Refrigerate and enjoy!
Fruit juices that can be used are really up to you. I’ve never used anything but 100% juice, so I’m not sure if it would work with, say, a 10% juice drink.
Fruit syrups can be made easily at home, and they are oh, so yummy. I feel that these actually make the end result more fizzy and delicious.
To make a fruit syrup:
Macerate overnight a half gallon of whole fruit or a gallon of fruit scraps with the juice and peels of two fresh lemons and 2 cups of sugar. (The only fruit scraps I have actually used are strawberry tops, so try other scraps at your own discretion.) The next day, remove all the lemon peels (don’t forget to compost them!) and blend up in your blender. Let the blended mixture strain over a bowl (you may have to help it strain through a sieve if you are using berries because there are lots of seeds). Once completely strained, store your syrup in the fridge and throw the ‘leftovers’ in the compost pile.
A note about making organic kombucha: You may notice that the first brew recipe I linked to calls for organic ingredients. If you have organic tea, sugar and fruits on hand, then it’s always a great idea to get used to making your kombucha with organic ingredients. However, don’t be afraid to try it even if you don’t. I started making my kombucha with regular 99-cent a box black tea, and actually continue to do that to this day. It’s just always worked well for me! I sometimes use organic fruit, but the juice I use isn’t usually organic. My point is that it might be best if you are just starting out to use what is on hand in your cupboard to perfect your skills, then switch to organic later if you’d like. Home-brewed kombucha is good for you, much better that soda, even if it’s not organic, so don’t shy away—just give it a try!
For more useful information on kombucha, click here.
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