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 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.