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A New Twist on Kombucha

Justin Onusic and Apple Cider Kombucha

New Kombucha Drink- Quick and Easy

By Sylvia Onusic, Ph.D.

If you are hooked on kombucha but wish that the process would be easier, or don’t make it as often because you just don’t seem to have  all  the specifics like spring water, organic sugar, organic black tea, large glass jar  together in one place at one time, or don’t always get to the farmer’s market to scoop up a jar, and for those not yet familiar with kombucha,  or those who don’t have time to fuss with the traditional process but  would like a quick easy way to give their kids a great healthy fun-fizzy drink that would improve their immune systems, especially during the winter months, maybe kombucha-fermented apple juice is worth a try !   And it is extremely inexpensive to make.  

Always an experimenter in the kitchen, I decided to try fermenting some other liquid than black tea with a scoby- the “mushroom” used to make kombucha. What was the worst that could happen?  And if it worked, I would have another healthy drink to supplement my repertoire.  We moms seem to always have apple juice on hand. So I decided to try my favorite apple juice, Trader Joe’s unfiltered organic, which is always a staple in my kitchen: I use it in marinades, hot cider drinks, in hot tea, even in the pumpkin pie filling,   It is my go-to ingredient.

Since I became the proud owner of my first scoby a couple months ago, I decided to keep all the other scobies that it produced in a jar in my fridge with some kombucha covering them.  Every once in a while I weed out one or two but I always have some extra mushrooms on-hand. They don’t seem to mind being cooped up together in such close quarters.

My experiment took about a minute. Into a quart canning jar, I poured some of TJ’s apple juice. I took one of my scobies out of the jar, with some kombucha tea still clinging to it,  and plopped the scoby into the juice, covered it with a paper towel secured with a rubber band – that was it!  I left the jar to rest on my kitchen counter for two days.  Today I looked into the jar, and saw a foam of lovely little bubbles on the top which means it is fermenting.  Encouraged by the happy reception in the jar, I bravely decided  right there and then to taste.  I pushed aside the scoby and poured some of the new drink into a glass. I was overjoyed. It worked!   The apple juice was now delightfully tangy and refreshing.

This is my first attempt. I suspect that in another couple days, if I let it go too long, I would have some nice cider kombucha vinegar.  I was so excited that I started pondering the possibilities.  What other juices and juice blends would work in harmony with the scoby?  And would the timing change with different juices? What about pomegranate, orange, or grape? Wheat grass?  And after fermentation could be added herbal teas of all varieties (but watch out for Celestial Seasonings which contains soy lecithin).

Today I fermented raw apple cider and the process worked exceptionally well, about two to three days on the counter. The new product was subtly tart, yet with a hint of sweetness. The amount of sugar in the juice is probably controlling element. And fructose, the sugar found in fruit, seemed to work as the food for the scoby in the apple juice and cider. Only time will tell.  In the meantime, try a few quick kitchen experiments with your scoby today.  And let us know how it works out.

Sylvia P. Onusic, Ph.D

Sylvia P. Onusic holds a BS in foods and nutrition, and a PhD in Health Education and Wellness, and has completed studies to qualify for RD (Registered Dietitian). She was a home economics teacher for many years.  Her concentration is in holistic nutrition with a focus on the evolution of food and the human body in relation to food allergies and disease.  Sylvia is the mother of two teenage sons, one on whom has celiac disease. She has several food allergies as well.

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival, hosted this week by Cheeseslave.com. Find more real food recipes here.

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  1. oh this is so exciting! I just harvested my first successful batch of kombucha and now I see this post! Perfect! I’m so excited to try the apple cider. Thanks!
    .-= robin´s last blog ..gOING iNSANE! =-.

  2. Bridget says:

    I’ve been making Kombucha for awhile from both black & Green tea. Recently tried someone’s technique of adding clear fruit juice when decanting it into small bottles (apple & white grape) - didn’t like the taste.

    • Rustaholic says:

      Please see my post below.
      I had tried a bottle of GT’s Grape Chia and loved it.
      The way I do it mine has even more great grape taste.

  3. I usually buy kombucha at the health food store but it would be great if I can learn to make it home. This would be great to use as herbal home remedies for a better immune system.

  4. Stephanie Williams says:

    I am a kombucha tea maker and use the would like to know why you cannot use soy lecithin in it? I didn’t know this before and along with black tea I also add Celestrial Seasonings’ Raspberry Zinger.

  5. About the soy additive, please see Kaayla Daniels Book, “The Whole Soy Story.”
    she devotes and entire chapter to it: ” Soy Lecithin-Sludge to Profit.” Those allergic to soy probably dont check their tea bags for the substance. Why ingest another helping of the GMO soy if we dont need to. Celestial is just adulterating and diluting the ingredients with cheap soy product. But we have to do something with it, why not give it to unsuspecting Americans!!! They never check the labels…

  6. A friend of mine tried using her scoby in apple juice IN THE FRIG no less and got a wonderful fizzy tart drink !! I put one of my scobies in some apple juice and another scoby in some orange juice and they are both in the frig right now. The apple juice appears to be getting fizzy already. I forgot and used tight lids for BOTH jars instead of letting them ‘air’, yet they seem to be fermenting just the same. Consider the possibilities! WOW! As long as kombucha has been around, I’m really surprised this hasn’t been done before?

    • Rustaholic says:

      NEVER put your SCOBY in the fridge.
      Please do some real research.
      I brew five one gallon jars at a time.
      It takes about a half hour to put them all to brew.
      The Kombucha goes into two quart glass jars when it is ready and they go into the fridge. When I put the Kombucha into 16 ounce bottles I add two ounces of frozen Concord Grape Juice Concentrate and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Chia seeds.
      Lots of great Omega 3 in Chia seeds.

      • I’ve been making Kombucha since 1987 (we called it Kargosok tea back then) and I’ve ALWAYS put my cultures (SCOBY) in the fridge. Had one in there for years once and it STILL made great Kombucha!

  7. i would like to make green tea (12 cups) as usual, then add apple cider to sweeten (instead of sugar).
    Could anybody please help me, how much apple cider i would have to add to the tea?
    And i’d like to brew it as long as possible (maybe more than 2-3 days) to get all the health benefits of this (not only the taste).

  8. Would love it if someone could tell me, If i put my SCOBY and some kombucha (starter) in freshly pressed apple juice and sat it on my bench top to ferment for a couple of days, how alcoholic would it get? What if i added yeasts?

  9. I wanted to make my own apple cider vinegar so I bought a jar of regular apple cider, sweetened it with more sugar and put a scoby in it, let it sit for two weeks then tasted it. Boy was it delicious! I like my kombucha more on the tangy side and this was perfect! So I’m doing a continuous brew with the cider. The only down side is that I don’t have the vinegar I started out to make!
    I also brew with Hisbicus tea. Another delicious treat!


  1. […] Renegade tells how to make a scoby from store bought kombucha. Hartke Is Online has a post about making kombucha from apple juice rather than tea. GNOWFGLINS uses honey or unrefined sugar in hers, and answers a lot of questions in her […]

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