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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bottling and Flavouring Kombucha

Mint and Blueberry Flavoured Kombucha
I'm pretty behind with posting this, and I feel the need to explain.  Just a little over a month ago I headed from Wisconsin back to Vancouver, BC, for the summer.  While part of this is simply because BC is technically "home" (I mean it's where I've lived most of my life, and Wisconsin is really only my temporary home while the Flipper finishes his PhD coursework) it's also because we're getting married this summer!

So there has been all the craziness that goes along with wedding planning.  Even though we wanted a simple, small wedding, it seems that there is still so much more involved in wedding planning than I had expected!  Phew.  So along with catching up with friends and working and all that, there has also been engagement photos shoots, meetings with the venue coordinator and other madness.  To top it off, I'm practically making EVERYTHING for the wedding.  Yep. I'm making my dress and my bridesmaids' dresses.  I'm also making my bouquet, the boutonnieres, the cake and cupcakes, the cupcake stand, centrepieces and so on and so forth.  Crazy, right?  I know.

As a result, expect things to get a bit crafty up in here pretty soon!

So anyway, I have a few moments to quickly write up my final experiences with making kombucha.  Last week, on Day 13, after having brewed my Kombucha I had a chance to taste and bottle my kombucha.  I'm really super pleased actually!  My kombucha ended up being a fair bit sweeter than the Synergy drink I had tried the week before.
I think this is because I may have added a bit more sugar than necessary, but I really don't mind that because it was much more drinkable to be honest!  It was also very nice mixed with juice, and as I noted earlier, with wine :)  

I also had a very nice baby Scoby grown across the top of the kombucha.  At first I wondered if I would be able to peel or separate my momma from my baby scoby, but you will find it really easy.  They don't grow together or anything.  I think you can see from the photo here that the original, smaller Momma Scoby is covered by the newer, thinner and larger Scoby (this is because the jar that housed the original Scoby my friend gave me was smaller than the one I used to brew my batch). 

So I passed my baby along with a bottle of brew on to my friend and bridesmaid as a housewarming present.  She started brewing hers yesterday, and I hope all goes well for her!

Baby and Momma Scoby on Day 13
Baby Scoby for gifting

You will notice that your Kombucha will be pretty murky, and have some stringy stuff in it.  That's totally ok and normal, and isn't bad for you at all.  However, if you're kind of grossed out by it, you can simply strain your tea and get rid of it. 

Murky Kombucha
So how did I flavour my Kombucha?  And Why?  First off, I followed the method for brewing Kombucha that I outlined a couple of weeks ago.  Then, once it had brewed for at least 10 days (I waited 13, but that's because I was too busy to get to it!) I decided to get creative, even though my Kombucha was pretty darn tasty all on its own.

Now you can flavour it a ton of different ways,the key seems to be to wait until after the first fermentation process, and then flavour and bottle.  Then you let it ferment another two days at room temp, then refrigerate it.  I originally I wanted to try blueberry and ginger (together and separately) but when it came time to add the ginger... well... the ginger I found in the fridge was a bit, um...soggy.   So I grabbed my knife and chopped off some mint leaves from the backyard.  I'm not sure exactly what variety they were, I planted a few different ones at my mom's a few years ago and I suspect this one might have been grapefruit mint, although it's entirely possible they've cross-pollinated and it's now some mint hybrid...

Flavouring Kombucha
 Anyway, when it came time to bottle, I dropped about 4-5 mint leaves and 8 frozen blueberries (picked and frozen last year) into each mason jar (I didn't have any fancy bottles).  Then, I let them sit in the basement at room temp for 2 more days to ferment some more with the flavour, then moved them to the fridge so they wouldn't grow new scobies on top or anything like that.  The result?  Some very tasty mint blueberry kombucha tea!!  Next time I'll plan ahead and make sure I have some fresh ginger... :) 

Oh, and there will be a next time!  Now that I know how very easy it is to grow your own, and that it can be pretty tasty, I'm going to start brewing another batch this afternoon!  And find someone else to pass a scoby on to, as some of my friends have really been curious about this whole process.

Who will you share your baby Scoby with?  

For the rest of the Kombucha diaries, check out:

*OAS Information: If you have Oral Allergy Syndrome, you *should* be ok with this one.  In fact, an article from the Toronto NOW Magazine refers to Japanese research that suggests green tea may help ease allergy symptoms (unfortunately I can't find the exact source for this study, but here's the article).

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