Kombucha, the "mother" of all drinks.
My first gallon is brewing!
I've been literally craving kombucha, and Anna was kind enough to send me a "mother", or "scoby", to get me started. You can see the mother near the top of the jar in the picture... it's a white-ish, rubbery sort of mushroom thing. Like yeast, it's a living organism. Here's how you put her to work:
1. Get a mother. You can either get one from someone who already brews kombucha, or buy a bottle of raw (unpasteurized) kombucha from a health food store. Take the lid off the bottle and let it set in a warm place out of direct sunlight until a film forms on the top. This is your mother.
2. Brew 1 gal. black tea. I used 5 tea bags. Stir in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved. Let tea cool until almost room temperature. If the tea is too hot, it will kill your poor mother.
3. Pour into a glass container. Metal or plastic will disrupt the brewing process. Truth be told, I went to Wal-mart and bought a gallon jar of Kosher Dill pickles, just so I could have the jar. We have a whole gallon of huge pickles to eat. Any help, anyone? ;)
4. Put the mother into the tea. Fasten a piece of porous fabric over the jar and put the jar in a warm place out of direct sunlight. We have forced-air heating, so my jar has taken up residence on a floor heater.
5. Let the mother work her magic for 2 weeks. She will "eat" the sugar and release tons of healthy enzymes into the tea. Once the brewing process is complete, it will taste something like carbonated apple cider.
6. Once the 2 weeks are up and/or you're satisfied with the taste, remove the mother, cap the tea, and refrigerate it. You'll notice that the mother has grown another layer. This is a new mother... or her baby, depending upon how enthralled you are by this point. Peel the layer off and either discard the old mother or use both mothers to start two jars.
The enzymes kombucha contains boost a healthy immune system and aid in digestion, much as do the enzymes in unprocessed yogurt. I can attest to that fact. Last winter, I was sick in bed with the swine flu, and kombucha was the only thing I could keep down. Although I can't prove this, kombucha is thought to prevent cancer. Take that with a grain of scoby.
In a few weeks, if anyone needs a mother, let me know! Cheers!
Here is a more in-depth, scientific report on the benefits of kombucha, FYI.