Tag Archive for probiotics

How to grow your own Kombucha SCOBY

I really hate kombucha.

It’s true.

So, you might be wondering, why am I writing a post about it, then? Well…

Kombucha is good for you. Similar to other foods, like saurkraut, kimchi, sourdough and miso, kombucha is naturally fermented. Fermented foods are really good for you–they contain good bacteria that help with digestion and also support your immune system.

I’m a big fan of probiotics, and I try to get them into my system every day. Usually I take them in pill form, but I like to try to get other forms through my diet as well.

Grow your own kombucha SCOBY

Which brings us to kombucha.

You see, kombucha is fermented tea, and it has a sharp, vinegar-like flavor that I find hard to swallow (literally). However, I recently had some that I didn’t absolutely hate, and I thought that I’d try to go on a mission to see if I could make myself like it, for health reasons.

I decided to start by trying to brew my own.

Making your own kombucha is actually pretty simple, but it takes time.

The key to kombucha is the “mother” or the SCOBY (which is an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”). Yeah, I know, appealing. But again, really good for you.

There are a few ways to get a SCOBY. If you have a friend who makes kombucha, you can ask them if you can have one of theirs. They reproduce pretty easily. You can actually also buy them online, or try Craigslist.

And, you can grow your own.

Grow your own Kombucha SCOBY

Ingredients:

  • 5 tea bags (green or black)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • water
  • large mason jar
  • 1 bottle plain kombucha (purchased from the store)

Here’s how to do it:

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How to Make Kefir

So… yeah. I’m all about the probiotics. I’m all fermenting and making my own yogurt, and I love me some miso.

I guess it was just a matter of time until I got to Kefir.

how to make kefir

I don’t know why it took me so long. It’s not hard. And according to some of the stuff I’ve been reading, the probiotics that go into Kefir are even better for you than the ones they put in yogurt. Well, maybe. Depending on where they come from.

You see, the kefir grains are a lot like sourdough. It’s one of those things that you can’t really buy (although you can), but you can have “passed down” to you. And because these strains have been around for so long, they are really rich and full of different kinds of bacteria.

If you’ve never had kefir, the best way to describe it is as a fermented milk drink of about the consistency of drinkable yogourt. It’s not as thick as yogurt, but it has very similar properties. You can drink it as-is, or some producers add blueberry or strawberry puree, for example, to it, to make a kind of strawberry drinkable yogurt. I use mine, simply, in smoothies, or pretty much any other place where you might use yogurt (I’ve even used it in a cake in place of buttermilk). I always put yogurt in my smoothies, as I like the creamy consistency it gives them, and the bonus probiotic.

There are basically three steps to making your own kefir.

First, you have to get the kefir grains. You can buy them commercially at The Gourmet Warehouse, and probably also Whole Foods, and they also sell more ancient ones at the Homesteader’s Emporium. Probably the best source of kefir grains, though? Craigslist. You can get water kefir, for making something similar to kombacha, or you can get milk kefir (which is what I use).

Secondly, you heat up your milk, then you let it cool a little. This helps to create the thickened texture of the kefir.

Next, you let it sit for 18-24 hours. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “waitaminit, lady. You’re telling me to let a milk product sit out, unrefrigerated for 24 hours?” Yep, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The bacteria need a warm environment to do their work. Once it’s completed, you can put your kefir in the fridge to keep for the next week.

How to Make Kefir

Ingredients: 

  • 1 litre milk
  • kefir grains or kefir starter (I’m using Yogourmet–one 5 ml packet)
  • 1 litre mason jar
  • candy thermometer

Method: 

  1. Heat the milk gently in a saucepan on the stove until it reaches 180 degrees F (82 C). You don’t want it to boil.
  2. Take the milk off the heat, and allow to cool down to 75 degrees F (25 C).
  3. Take a ladleful of the milk out of the pan, and place it in a small bowl. Add the packet of culture, and mix well.
  4. Carefully pour the milk into the mason jar, then pour the small bowl of milk (with culture mixed in) into the mason jar as well. Mix or shake well.
  5. Allow the mason jar to sit out, on the countertop, for 18-24 hours, or until your kefir reaches a desired consistency. It should be like a thick yogurt, but still smooth. If it gets too lumpy, you’ve left it out too long. Give the jar a good shake, and then store it in the fridge. Shake prior to each use.