So it’s a week since I started to brew my first batch of Kambucha and today I got to bottle it and get the next batch brewing.
It appears that my SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) thrived in the last batch and it grew a lovely fresh layer which my daughter swears breathed as I scooped it out which made her spontaneously throw up all over the kitchen floor.. lovely. Be warned this is not for the faint hearted. It looks worse than it is, it feels like a lump of fat to be honest, not mushroomy as some people say and not slimy.
Of course it didn’t breathe, it had expanded and formed a bit of an air lock and as I scooped it out it kind of made a deflating sound.
I’d previously sterilised all of the utensils I was going to use (just used a big plastic bowl and sterilising fluid) and I included a plastic tray which I laid the SCOBY on so I could do as recommended and check for any signs of infection or death (black spots, mould anything odd or unusual from when I bought it). There were no such marks and all looked and smelled fine and healthy.
You can have Kambucha neat but it was recommended to fruity it up at the bottling stage (not before) and so I made my own fruit syrup using some fresh raspberries and blackberries cooked, squeezed through a sieve and zapped with a hand blender for a second.
I popped a couple of teaspoons of each into each sterilised bottle and then using a metal jam funnel I part filled each bottle (I used four 500ml swing top self sealing bottles) careful to leave space in each so that when the liquid ferments it doesn’t expand and break the bottle.
I also saved a cup of the Kambucha to use in my next batch as directed. This maintains the correct acidity. In your first batch ever you use Apple Cider Vinegar to achieve this same acidity. I made my new brew using a mixture of organic teas. My last one was green tea this new one is a mix of half and half white and green organic teas. White shouldn’t be used on its own as it doesn’t produce a strong enough flavour so has to be mixed with green or black teas. I chose white and green because of their own health giving properties regardless of the Kambucha.
I gave each bottle a quick tilt back and forth to work in the fruit syrup, topped them off and set them in a dark place to further ferment for 4 or 5 days. What happens is they produce gas which causes a natural effervescence, if this gets too much for the bottle to handle it will explode so it’s worth checking every day simply by opening the bottles and if they pop like a fizzy drink would they are ready to drink. They should then be allowed to release excesses of the gas daily and stored in the fridge.
So now I wait and now I’m in a routine of doing this every Saturday to keep a batch always brewing and another fermenting. It is recommended that you consume 4 fluid ounces of Kambucha per day to feel health benefits and if you are on a weight loss programme you take 4oz before each meal.
I have read warnings that for a small minority of people, Kambucha does not agree with them and it makes them feel unwell and have been advised to stick to 4oz for the first few days and if I feel mild side effects to continue as it could be the detoxification process or a natural reaction to accustoming a very unhealthy body to the good stuff, but if side effects continue after 3-4 days to stop taking it and consider that I am one of the few who can not use Kambucha.
Funny how the kids suddenly became interested in it when it was this lovely shade of pink in the bottles. They run away from it when it’s the brown murky colour in the fermenting jar.
I’ll be sure to let you know how it tastes in a couple of days and how it affects or doesn’t affect me, good and bad. I should take delivery of my second large fermenting jar so I can produce more of the stuff next week. I did have a 5 litre jar but I poured boiling water into it to sterilise it and it cracked :S Silly me.