My energy dwindles once harvesting is over.  It is work work work toward the end, cooking, freezing, harvesting, cooking, freezing.....you get the picture.  Then it is done and I am tired.  We did get all the leaves from fall up into the garden, they are decomposing nicely as we speak, and in a month of two we will start hauling composted manure from a friends horse barn up into the garden, till everything in and start all over again.  :-)  By then I will be itching to get my hands and bare feet into the soil.

 

What I wanted to share today was my kombucha scoby.  It is just too beautiful.  I have been fermenting kombucha for myself for maybe a year now, love it, and love experimenting with different teas to see what flavors I come up with. 
I did have a couple of 1 gallon jugs that I was using and one of them was my scoby reserve.  That is what I called it anyway, it was FULL of scoby, solid.  So a month ago I decided to break that up and see what I can do with it.  I bought a nice 2 gallon jug and put about 6 inches of scoby in that one with some nice green tea and a bit of a fruit/green tea mixture.  I left a few inches of scoby in one of my gallon jars.  I flushed a couple of inches into the septic system, and the rest I put into my other gallon jar with some tea to save for friends.  I have had a couple of friends want to try fermenting kombucha.
So this past weekend I "harvested", is that what you call it?,  the tea (and it is so yummy!).  The scoby that was growing on the top of my 2 gallon jug was just so pretty, so I took a picture.  In the picture you can see the scoby that are underneath, they sort of turned sideways.  Those are from the gallon jug so you can see just how much is in there, and believe it or not that was only part of that giant colony.  And the new scoby is on the top and "fits" the 2 gallon container.  Isn't it so nice and white and pretty.  
So today is scoby sharing day.  I am bringing the gallon jar that has about 8 inches of scoby in it with me to our Homeschool Art Day, and anyone that wants some can have it.  I can share how I ferment kombucha and just how easy it is.  Any that is left I will bring home and that will give me two gallon jars plus my big 2 gallon jar.  It just grows so fast and I feel bad about "throwing" scoby away, so it either goes in our septic system or the compost bin, either way it is "used". 

Views: 989

Comment by Pat Robinson on January 16, 2011 at 5:08pm

Your kombucha scoby is beautiful!! Thank you for sharing. :-)

 

Pat

Comment by Shekinah Lawrence on January 16, 2011 at 7:22pm
Hi! Is the "scoby" the probiotics? How do you make that? I love kumbucha but it's really expensive to buy.
Comment by Pam Genant on January 16, 2011 at 8:45pm

The scoby is a colony of Bacteria and Yeast that live together.  The yeast ferments the sugar in the tea and the bacteria turns that alcohol into an acid which serves to keep the alcohol level of kombucha low and maintaining an acidic environment that the yeast and bacteria need to grow.

The acid is what is attributed to much of the liver benefits and detoxification.  While the bacteria itself  contributes to GI tract health. 

 

The bacteria are many but contain several forms of lactobacillus, which you are probably familiar with when you talk about probiotics, and also one or more yeast.  So there are "probiotics" in the scoby and in the kombucha itself.  It is very interesting. 

 

It is really easy to maintain.  You need to start with a scoby, and I bet you can find someone in your area that is willing to share.  I brew a sweet tea, and let that cool to room temperature.  I drain off all my fermented kombucha, except just a little.  Once the tea is cool I add it back to my container with my scoby and a little of the fermented kombucha.  Then I put a washcloth on top and secure it with a rubber band and set it up on top of my refrigerator for another month. 

 

I have found that it takes mine about a month to get a good fermentation. 

 

What I drain off I put into canning jars, just because it is easy...they come with lids.  I leave the covered jars on my counter for a few days and then put them in the fridge and drink one pint a day.  That is the basic, but once you get that down you can double ferment with juice and that is really yummy.

 

There are people that talk about doing everything "sterile" but I have found that is so not necessary.  I wash my hands and use clean dishes and containers, but otherwise I don't worry too much about it and it takes care of itself. 

 

So the scoby is what you see on top in my pictures, and what you carry over from one fermentation to another, the liquid you drink.  But you will see "strings" of the bacteria and yeast in the liquid as well.  YUM.  It is interesting to try different teas, to see what different flavors I end up with.  If you google kombucha you can find a lot on it. 

Comment by ian on January 16, 2011 at 10:29pm
when you say sweetened tea, you just pour hot water over some leaves, and add sugar?
Comment by Pam Genant on January 17, 2011 at 6:51am
what I do is get out my BIG pot,  I add about 2 gallons of water, add tea (I have used loose tea leaves which I strain out after and I have used tea bags, and I add about 1 cup of sugar per gallon of water.  Once it first starts boiling I take it off the heat and let the tea sit for about 15 minutes, then I take out the tea leaves or bags and let the tea cool to room temperature.  I use black tea or green tea, and I have used tea with lavendar in it or a berry flavored tea.  Different teas produce different flavors of kombucha.
Comment by Pam Genant on January 26, 2011 at 6:30am
Oh yeah, mine are huge.  LOL.  A friend of mine has skinny ones.  She must have  just under a gallon jug, but her scoby's are about 1/2 inch thick. LOL
Comment by ian on February 25, 2011 at 11:09pm

Well i am brewing my second batch from a scoby that was sent by an awesome user of your site, and i saw a white film on top that i thought was fungus, but now seeing your pictures, i think i am good, 

 

But after i made the first batch i wanted it to be carbonated, which it wasnt, i read that i should leave it out of the frigde in a airtight container, that did not help, instead the container grew another scoby, this stuff grows like wildfire

Comment by Pam Genant on February 26, 2011 at 7:07am

Oh they will grow another scoby.  For my second fermentation I add a little fruit juice (I chose an organic pom juice),  the kombucha has to have something "sweet" to work on to add carbonation, so my thought would be to either add something to it for the second fermentation, or to bottle it just a little sooner. 

 

I tell you those little scoby's, the ones that look like tiny jellyfish in your bottled kombucha, I drink them.  Until they get too big for me, I will swallow them like an oyster.  My boys think it is "gross".  Also I have another blog post I am going to write up soon about those little scoby's.  I took one, just out of curiosity, and just brewed up some more sweet tea added a little kombucha with that tiny scoby, and now I have a fully grown, scoby.  So anyone could take some kombucha and grow their own scoby, you don't need a scoby to start with. 

Comment by ian on February 26, 2011 at 11:31am

i will try that thanks, 

i didnt bottle it up but i did put it in an airtight container pretty quickly, as soon as i took out the scoby, thanks

will it grow another scoby with the second ferment if i add juice?

Comment by Pam Genant on February 26, 2011 at 12:46pm

What I use for my kombucha is canning jars.  I don't "can" them, meaning I don't so anything to them once I put the kombucha in the jars.  I have just found that they are a good size and easy to put in my fridge.  I have found that my kombucha always grows a scoby.  LOL.  Even if I put it in the refrigerator once I take out the scoby.  And even if I don't add any juice to it.  They are really cool to look at, I think they look like little baby jelly fish, just really thin and fragile looking to start with.  If they get "too big" for me to swallow I just strain it out. 

 

But right now I have so many scoby's, it's time to flush a few.

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