It’s a while since I updated on my progress with Kambucha and Kefir brewing/fermenting.
I’ve just had to down size for a while to a smaller brewing jar (the one I originally used way back when I started this adventure) as I’m stockpiling Kambucha.
My SCOBY was originally a thin, slithery disc of bacteria and yeast and even though I frequently shed the bottom layer and keep the new baby SCOBY that forms on top my SCOBY has thrived to become a big, thick, heavy disk of the good stuff. This picture shows it upside down the new layers are on the bottom and you can see they are paler with the older layers being stained darker brown from the black teas I’ve more recently used. You can see all of the strata of each new SCOBY being produced and how the underside (the oldest bit on top in this pic) starts to wear out (for want of a better word). It looks pretty ghastly but rest assured it does (or is reported to do) good things. You can’t tell from the picture but this is over two inches thick so was due a trim down. The rate your SCOBY reproduces shows that it’s healthy and happy.
I decided it was time to cut it down a bit as I’ve noticed more recent batches are quite vinegary to taste before the fruit is added for the second ferment in the bottles and I figure it might be because of the sheer volume of bacteria and yeast working in synergy with the sugary tea. It was still drinkable just very zingy and made your eyes water.
All I did was sterilise a smaller jar and brew up less of a mix of white and green teas and add the sugar and then I sterilised (with boiling water) a pair of kitchen scissors and cut through the SCOBY to make it more of a size to fit in the smaller jar. I peeled off a few layers but still left it quite thick and covered with a cloth (cut up old school shirts) to prevent fruit flies.
Fruit flies do come too, make no mistake but I took advice and made a trap using a small new SCOBY a funnel made of a leaflet and a tall glass and a drop of the Kambucha tea, I placed it near the brewing jar and it trapped all of those pesky flies within minutes. If you have this problem then do make a trap, they work and they will save your SCOBY from infection and death and the rest of your home from the pesky blighters. I did find that it worked much better with a bit of SCOBY in it than just with some of the tea so do try to nick a little piece off.
I can’t say that I have noticed any further effects from drinking Kambucha, I’ve been doing it every day now for months and it definitely doesn’t do me any harm, I will tell you one strange thing which happened when I first started drinking it (avoid if you don’t like TMI). About half an hour after consumption I had a tingling feeling in my boobs, a little bit like when milk’s coming in when you are breastfeeding. It was quite strange and I noticed it always happened half an hour after drinking Kambucha, it was like someone flushing something through my milk ducts, only nothing came out. This stopped after a week or so. The odd thing was (again this could be coincidence given all of the other things I changed at the same time) I had had a residual problem from my child bearing days and since breastfeeding my son 14 years ago. When I weaned him I had one ‘outlet’ that took longer to stop producing than the others and then it developed a kind of abscess but this was tiny and when it was treated with topical antibiotics it cleared but then I had a very slight thick creamy build up every now and then and the doctor said it was an over active duct and it was nothing to worry about… anyway that’s not doing the creamy build up thing anymore after all these years. I’ve been checked out recently and there are no problems of any kind so … make of it what you will. Another thing, I’ve needed my gall bladder removing for ages and it bloated up now and then but that hasn’t happened since I started drinking Kambucha which is reported by some to be a very powerful detox especially for the liver.
I’ve been drinking Kefir every day in the morning and then I use it to add to things like smoothies and I did manage to make some Kefir soft cheese but I didn’t like it. I do second ferment it with flavours especially citrus fruit rinds or I leave it in the fridge to set thick like a yoghurt and I have it half and half with fromage frais or yoghurt on fruit. Again I don’t know if it was this or not but I definitely have less energy when I forget to drink it (only happened twice). I used to have IBS and don’t anymore, from day two of drinking it and I never have heartburn or indigestion anymore either. My first day resulted in some loud lower gut grumblings and a rather unusual visit to the toilet at high speed but I think that was possible a bit of a purge and since then it’s all been healthy and regular as clockwork. What Kefir does basically is colonise your gut with healthy probiotic bacteria so aids digestion and absorbtion of nutrients and is though to contribute to better bowel health and general health all round.
Another thing I have definitely noticed and this is supposed to be attributable to kefir and kambucha consumption is my nails are really strong and silky, they look permanently like they have a sheen clear varnish on them. My hair is also really growing quickly and is very thick and glossy, you’ll see when I eventually do the reveal of before and after, my hair was very thin and fine and now it’s like it was in my youth, very thick and bouncy. Again there are tons of nutrients which claim to have these same effects on the body and I’m consuming tons of nutritious things so it could be something else but I’m not going to stop as it’s not doing me any harm and they both have proven health benefits which I’m keen to include in my diet.
My culture grew and grew, from those first little grains to the cauliflower type cultures I have now. It’s so easy, yet sounds so complex to ferment Kefir and Kambucha, it’s so easy, about the same hassle as making a cup of tea or less.
The massive Kambucha SCOBY and the expired SCOBYs are also evidently fantastic to chop up and throw into a compost heap which is what I do with them, they add tons of nutrients which are good for the composting process by all accounts. Even though I extol the virtues of this fab white stuff too I can’t get any takers for my excess so I break it off and throw that in the compost heap too.