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paul wheaton
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(another post where I really have to go do other things, but I want to talk about this and this will help me to remember)

A month or two back, Jacqueline allowed me to taste "water keifer".  Excellent stuff!  And it sounds so simple.  It tastes so yummy.  And it is, apparently, loaded to the gills with probiotic.  I want it!

So she gave me a branch.  I took it home.  I made stuff that was similar but not nearly as good. 

At the bee workshop, I could try her stuff again. 

I really need to get my act together on this!

So, I bought some half gallon mason jars (like what Jacquelin uses) and this morning I was visiting with a housemate and said "Hey!  Let's do this!"  "Okay!"  "I'll pop out to my car and get those jars!"  --  when I got back, he had helped by cleaning out the old jar.  He did a very good job of cleaning the jar.  So all of the branch keifer was down the drain and gone. 

So, two things:

1)  I need to get a new branch. 

2)  I want to do better at this.  So now is a good time to learn more about this so I can make it taste good:  fizzy and tasty ...  as opposed to what I had.



 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Oh, dang! Sorry to hear they went down the drain!

You do know Jacqueline offers a class on this, too, right? It's on the Eco Calendar and the Friendly Haven website.

HEALTHY FRUIT KEFIR (non-dairy) ELIXIRS
Delicious low-cost natural fruit flavored soda!
Taste a dozen ways to make this inexpensive healthful drink.
Friday, May 15 6:30-8:30 $20

Kefir is known worldwide for promoting longevity and good health. Learn to make healthful juice drinks that are filled with probiotics and tasty, too. EASY and inexpensive way to create juices that are good for your family. Save on the high costs of soda and fruit juices.

This beverage is fruit-infused, naturally carbonated, healthful and oh-so refreshing. Water kefir crystals are a culture from bacteria and yeast. The microbes feed off the sugars and create the most delicious and healthful drink we have ever had. I started making this in spring 2007 and have made 1-3 batches every 48 hours for us and our farm help. Thirst quenching and delicious.

Water kefir is a unique way of drinking your probiotics. It is not kombucha (too tart for me), lends itself easily to being non-dairy and is simple to make. Just mix it up and let it mature for a day or so. Strain off the crystals and repeat, repeat, repeat. When your crystals multiply (which they will do), share them with friends.

Class includes LOTS of samples, history, creative demonstrations and kefir crystals so you can make them yourself. Forever.

If you want to carpool, let me know and we will connect you with others who are coming.
friendlyhaven@gmail.com
 
Jacqueline Freeman
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Oh Paul, that's not the first time someone's done that -- unknowingly sent all the little kefir crystals on to the nether world.

I've got more. I have a class coming up next week (May 15) and I'm just boosting up producing more crystals so I can pass them out. I'll have plenty in the next few days.

I just renamed the class
"Make Delicious non-dairy Fruit Kefir Elixirs"
because so many people thought kefir meant it was a dairy product and the way we do it, it's not. It's like a really healthy fruit infused soda, without all the sugar.

http://www.FriendlyHaven.com/classes.html

warmly,
Jacqueline
Friendly Haven Rise Farm
1hr & 45 min south of Olympia
 
Leah Sattler
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I always thought it was primarily made with milk too! I tried some that my mother made once and wasn't impressed. that was years ago though so I really need to try it again, and make sure its homemade.....I am always automatically suspicious of new foods from my mother.......I guess it comes from her trying to pass off spaghetti squash as real spaghetti when we were kids
 
paul wheaton
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This stuff tastes a bit like pop.  With the fizz and everything.  But a sort of pop with a touch of ... something more adult ....  not like beer/wine .... but kinda.  The half gallon jar has something like three tablespoons of sweetener in it.  So a little bit of sweet, but not as much as in pop.

 
                              
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i just sent for some of the chrystals, as i have only had the milk kefir before...... i will be looking for hints or reporting my success/failure after i recieve them.....i make two quarts  of yogurt each week from a great raw milk source i have,,, so the more cultured food the better.i cant wait to try it as soda, we have a tropical population up here in massachusetts so things like passion, and guava fruit pulp are available, i think they would make a great bubbly.....
 
Jacqueline Freeman
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The dairy kefir crystals don't work in the non-dairy kefirs. The dairy kefirs eat lactose (milk sugar) and seem not to know what other sugars are for. When I learned how to do this, someone explained that the dairy crystals had been slowly weaned off lactose and introduced to the other sugars so they'd accept them. I haven't done this myself. I got mine from a woman I took a class with and once you have them going, you've got them forever.

If you want to do the non-dairy soda, get some non-dairy kefir crystals. They do ship decently enough (I always priority mail them). If you can get to southwest WA (near Vancouver) on Friday 5/15, I am teaching a kefir class and you're welcome to come to it.

warmly,
Jacqueline

www.FriendlyHaven.com/classes.html


 
                              
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THANKS FOR THE INFO, I LIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS, SO NOT ANYWHERE NEAR YOU, I DID FIND AN ONLINE SOURCE, SO I  HAVE SENT FOR THE NON DAIRY CHRYSTALS, I AM ALWAYS TRYING NEW THINGS, GROWING WHEAT GRASS,  DEHYDRATING EVERYTHING, YOGURT, ETC.  BUT THIS SOUNDS WONDERFUL, AS THE REJUVELAC I HAVE BEEN MAKING IS GETTING OLD,,,, IT IS REFRESHING BUT NOT TO EVERYONE....
 
Brenda Groth
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i might be interested too this summer..i have read something in my edible wild plants books about making something that is kinda fizzy but not really alcoholic..this might be similar .. can't remmeber what it was made from..some flower or berry..maybe elderberry..i'll have to look back through the book.

i obviously cannot make it to the pacific northwest..but might like more information ..(esp if Pres Obama puts a tax on carbonated drinks..my husband with his head injury just won't understand if he can't have some pop now and again)
 
                              
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Rejuvelac is a fermented wheat berry drink, wheat grass drinkers,  usually wander along the path and at some time or another make rejuvelac, mad famous by ann wigmore, hippocrates institute.It is very refreshing and easy to make, plenty of web recipes, the kefir water grains, i just completed my first batch.I have seen two major contradicitons in recipes, one states use only distilled water with the lemon etc, andthe other says never use distilled, need the minerals from the well and also do not use lemon in first ferment, it is hard on the grains, and proper grain  multiplication may not happen.,  I would love some feedback from an experienced kefirbrewer. Thanks
 
Neal McSpadden
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Thanks for the jump-start into water kefir.  I'm picking up some grains via freecycle from someone nearby, and she says that the grains "aren't doing well."  Hopefully I'll be able to revitalize them and get some tasty, helpful bacteria along the way.
 
Jacqueline Freeman
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we have well water and use it right out of the tap. I teach water kefir classes and tell folks if they have chlorine to let it set awhile and we haven't had any problems. If the grains aren't doing well, it's usually that they're starving from lack of food. Give them more of any kind of sugar and they should bounce right back. No problem overdoing it. If you give them too much they just multiply and make more grains.

warmly,
Jacqueline
www.FriendlyHaven.com/classes.html
 
                              
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I have "brewed" 2 batches of water kefir in th past week, I find it deliscious, not too fizzy, but I may  have to brew longer, I kept tasting after the first 24 hrs to check sweetness, as recommended, ...I then added the lemon slices and let it sit at room temp an additional 12 hrs, about. Believe me there was no timer going off. I think it tastes fabulous.    So I still have a  couple of questions, How much probiotics is in  8 oz of this great stuff. I am wondering, after a round of antibiotics is 8 oz a day would be helpful to rebuild the good stuff in the intestines,,,,,, and the other question , which  have not yet had an answer to, is well water, only adjusted for ph  with neutralite ( I dont know what it is, cuz i have a still for all my consumption)  anyway will this well water adjusted with neutralite grow grains, and and additional question is how long does it take to multiply grains, with the proper medium.... I make 2 quarts of yogurt a week with raw milk, not organic, but with the proper energy vibration, it has served me well, in summer I slow down on yogurt and would love some stats on kefir,,,,,water style... oh my gosh I am so stuck in the scienceeee.... help  meee  thanks
 
paul wheaton
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Jacqueline Freeman
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Do you still need some, Paul? Email me offline if you do.

Here's how I ship them -- I pack them in sugar water and then double bag them in ziploc baggies with room for air expansion (if they fly). Then I pad them so they don't roll around and then put them in a priority mail box (the kind you ship videos in) so they don't get squished.

If anyone else wants some, I can do that. I just did a class last week and gave away all my extras then but have been multiplying them this week so I have more to send. I include four pages of recipes and other water kefir info. Shipping's about $5 and $10 covers me putting it all together. (I hope it's okay to offer this here. Paul, tell me if it's not...)

warmly,
Jacqueline

www.FriendlyHaven.com/classes.html
 
paul wheaton
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Offering here is not only okay, I think you should copy this info into the resources forum. 

And, yes, I do want some. 

And if you have a paypal account set up, I'll send you some buckage today.

 
Jacqueline Freeman
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Thanks, Paul. I'm always wary of stepping on forum toes when there's $$ involved. I do have paypal setup and will send you a request from  "The Freemans" . Mucho gracias. Will get them out soon as the holiday weekend is over.

warmly,
Jacqueline

Friendly Haven Rise Farm
www.FriendlyHaven.com
 
paul wheaton
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Jacqueline,

I received the water keifer you sent me. 

I divided it into two half gallon mason jars.  Into each I added well water and half a can of organic canned pears (canned in pear juice).

I put one in the window and one on the counter.

The one in the window tasted over fermented.  The one on the counter was better but still not something I want to pursue. 

Not enough sweet?

The one from the window was half now half full.  So I filled it to the top with organic apple juice.  The other was one third full and I refilled it with organic apple juice.  And put them both back where they came from.

I can see them fizzing.  And the pears have moved from the bottom to the top.

So - what's going on?  Am I doing this wrong?

 
Jacqueline Freeman
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they live on sugars, most any kind, and the pear juice just isn't enough sweet for them. To a half gallon mason jar I add about 4 Tablespoons of sweetener. I rarely use white sugar (organic, of course) except when increasing the crystals so I have extra to give away but it's the best for that.

Normally I use agave syrup (low on the glycemic index) and also demara sugar which is more unprocessed. But you can use most any kind of sugars. Like date sugar, maple syrup, even honey. The crystals eat most of the sugars, leaving behind enough to make it taste good but not enough to hit a sweet overload.

I'd go the other way ... give them more than you think they need, then after you get a sense of how much is too much, back off. The pear juice just didn't have enough sweet to fill their little bellies with.

warmly,
Jacqueline, Friendly Haven Rise Farm
www.FriendlyHaven.com
 
                                
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Hello! I am new here, I found this lovely site when i was looking for info on my water keifer..........maybe someone here could answer my questions.....

I have been tending to and benefitting from water keifers for about a month now, I have given a lot away, also. My questions are:
1.How do I know if they are okay? They produce well and there seems to be lots of babies, but I worry about them, are there signs that they are not doing well? I feed them Mexican cane sugar(piloncillo)-everyday, and I clean them every other day with spring water........
2. What is the difference between water keifer and kombucha? I can't find a clear answer on-line or from talking to people.
Thank you so much for your help, and I am glad to be here.......
 
Jacqueline Freeman
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I make water kefir every other day and have been doing it for three years now, usually two bottles at a time. My guess is I've made about a thousand of them now so I'll give you my answers.

1. If they're producing good tasting juices, they're working. If they're making babies, they're really working. I don't clean mine, unless I get something mixed in with them. I just strain them once, then dump them back into the jar. I found when I rinsed them that it cut down on their reproduction because I was washing all the tiny baby crystals down the drain.

I don't make kombucha so I'm not the right person for that question. 

I teach a class on Friday evenings once a month here at our farm if you're within driving distance to southwest Washington. Next class is Aug. 7th at 6:30, $20. You taste a LOT of different kinds learn what I've learned from all my mistakes as well as creative ideas that have worked out pretty well.

warmly,
Jacqueline Freeman
Friendly Haven Rise Farm
www.FriendlyHaven.com/classes.html
 
                                
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Thank you so much for your answer! My water kinda tastes like tempache, but it is because I use piloncillo. I wouldn't say it is tasty, but it has helped my system regulate itself, and has helped me quit smoking!!! Thanks for the class invite, but I live in Mexico-kinda far to travel, but thanks anyway.......
 
Irene Kightley
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...and has helped me quit smoking!!!


Aha ! How - can you explain your strategy?

Also, can anyone help me learn how to dry water Kefir please ?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Jacqueline Freeman wrote:

the dairy crystals had been slowly weaned off lactose and introduced to the other sugars so they'd accept them. I



I had a line of sourdough starter that spontaneously gave esters rather than alcohols for a while.  Lots of berry overtones...great for pancakes. 

But then it went moldy.  Maybe next time.
 
Jami McBride
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Another resource for kefir - everything Kefir (water and milk, and cheeses and more) can be found at the King of Kefir - Dom's Kefir in-site http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html   Warning: his site.... well you can get lost quickly  but his site is like a kefir bible.

I make Milk Kefir, Kombucha (fermented tea) and Lacto-Fermented soda's

2. What is the difference between water keifer and kombucha? I can't find a clear answer on-line or from talking to people.


They are both tools for fermenting, like yeast they are live buggers, cultures, SCOBY's - but the kefir grains and kombucha mushroom are totally different starters.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kombucha tea was referred to as the Tea of Immortality and the elixir of life.  By aiding the stomach to better digest food and by assisting the spleen to deliver more nutrition, the body heals itself.  Kombucha helps to break stagnation, reduces damp and phlegm and expels toxins from the body.

Kombucha = SCOBY: Symbiotic Culture OF Bacteria and Yeast. A simple natural fermented aged culture, made with pure water, sugar and black or green tea. Kombucha is a probiotic. Pro = in favor of; biotic = life. Kombucha balances the pH naturally.  http://www.happyherbalist.com/

I have sent Kombucha mushrooms via the mail as Jacqueline has done her water kefir crystals.  It doesn't mater where you live now that the Internet is here ♥  Hey Jacqueline want to trade starts?

There is much instinct to fermenting, a feel for the process you develop with practice.  Years ago when I started I killed my first 3 attempts at milk kefir - LOL!  And of course my daughter has made salad dressing with my saved kefir grains in the fridge - Oh the pain  

Kombucha and lacto-fermented soda's are a bit easier to manage than milk kefir, I would imagine water kefir would be the same.

~Jami

 
Jacqueline Freeman
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I agree with you about Dom's kefir site, it's deeeeep but he has most everything anyone would want to know about all forms of kefir right in one place.

Jami, I am making milk kefir, water kefir and jun (which is kind of like kombucha, Japanese I think). I would be interested in exchanging water kefir crystals and milk kefir grains just to have another variation on hand. Let's exchange addresses offline. Email me at
friendlyhaven@gmail.com

warmly,
Jacqueline
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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The Nourishing Traditions type eCourse turned into a discussion about water kefir--including multiple links from Jamie and tamo--so I thought I'd pop this discussion back up.

Marina, Jacqueline at Friendly Haven Rise Farm is near Vancouver, WA - a nice stopover perhaps on your trip to the Sahale course...

And then tel was kind enough to offer piima dairy or kefir cultures in his thread, too, though his kefir sounds like it's likely a dairy kefir.

Happy fermenting! (Or culturing, or whatever you call it!)
 
Jami McBride
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Best site for all things fermentation is this one http://culturesforhealth.com/splash.php

She's got a few low temp yogurt cultures that you don't need yogurt making equipment for - and your yogurt turns out super! 

Enjoy!
 
                    
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Marina, Jacqueline at Friendly Haven Rise Farm is near Vancouver, WA - a nice stopover perhaps on your trip to the Sahale course...


ha!  I just finished PMing her right before I read that post, hoping to stop on the way back home.  Can't pass up an opportunity like that!   

Jami - I'd love a kombucha mushroom - when I'm back in California.  I can pay pal you however much you want.  I've tried to grow one from the bottled stuff a couple of times....and no matter what the "the internet" has to say....I don't think it can be done that way.  I haven't had good luck with it, anyway, only managed to waste several expensive bottles of the stuff.    I need my own scoby! 
 
wayne stephen
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I know water kefir as "Lassi" . There are many online re/sources under that name.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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I have read that water kefir, at least some, are originally from yeast/bacterial cultures that grow on the prickly pear.

I've got plenty of prickly pear, many with whitish crusty growths on the pads. Anybody know are these viable as starters?

I can't find any info on starting a water kefir from 'wild' material.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibicos

 
Leila Rich
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wayne stephen wrote:I know water kefir as "Lassi"

To me, lassi is a delicious Indian yoghurt drink; so why not make it with yoghurt kefir...
but if there's no dairy in it, it's no longer a lassi to me.
A yummy drink, but not lassi.
 
Moody Vaden
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So, an older thread, but I was not aware water/fruit kefir grains are different from the dairy. I've been doing dairy kefir for years but would like to experiment with the water and fruit. Can someone direct me to a reputable source for the water grains, or maybe someone here can sell/trade me some? Thanks!
 
Deku Buu
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I would trade with you but my poor grains are not growing fast enough yet to share. They have only tripled in the last month or so that I have had them, so they are just about to start making 3 cups of water kefir every 2 days. (Unlike my milk kefir grains which have produced so much kefir that I have a back log of 3 gallons in the refrigerator with about 1 pound of excess grains hibernating too, and I am still producing half a gallon of milk kefir a day with the grains out of the refrigerator.)

I bought my grains from "thekefirlady", she sells and ships them priority mail, so depending on where you are in the US you should get it in 1-2 days. It's $15 per culture with $6 shipping. Here is her site : http://kefirlady.com/. Use the contact form to order. She ships them fresh or dehydrated, if you get them fresh then your kefir will start producing good drinkable water kefir more quickly.

A couple of super important things to keep in mind with kefir grains of any kind:
  • don't use chlorinated tap water
  • don't use reactive metal or silicone (wood and stainless steel)
  • if use you distilled water, you need to add extra minerals (an egg shell, black strap molasses)
  • water kefir likes to be kept at a steady warm temperature, around 70-80° Fahrenheit (this will make them reproduce quicker, otherwise, like mine, they will be slower to multiply)
  • experiment with extra grains (some acidic fruits, like lemon, cause cause your grains to become mushy)
  • if you want your water kefir carbonated you will need to tightly seal it in a bottle and let it ferment for longer (take care, there have been incidents of bottle explosions)
  • water kefir takes a bit longer than milk kefir, usually a minimum of two days, if it is exceptionally warm or cold in your home, it will affect how the grains are fermenting, so keep an eye on them as their temperature changes

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    Chad Sentman
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    I"m starting to dabble with this.  My wife sent me this link, and we've been following the tibicos recipe:

    https://www.milkwood.net/2016/12/19/easy-permaculture-kitchen-ferments-and-how-we-make-them-tibicos-jun-sourdough-kefir-kraut/

    I've never heard of most of the terms used here, and it took me a while to figure out that tibicos is another term for water kefir, which is different than milk kefir, but possibly not so different than kombucha.

    The article mentions SCOBY so I reached out to a friend who does kombucha, and she gave me one of her SCOBYs, but after reading Jami McBride's comment here from 2009, I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong or not by using the kombucha SCOBY.

    Anyway, we started our first batch about 5 days ago, and we've done the two fermentation process recommended in the recipe, but it's not fizzy, and it tastes and smells a bit like Apple Cider Vinegar.

    After bottling up the first batch, we started a second, which has been sitting for two days now, but is not bubbling like the first did.

    I"m excited to start this path, but like everyone else at one point, I have no idea what I'm doing, and whether it's wrong or right, or if it matters.
     
    Deku Buu
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    A SCOBY from Kombucha would be used to make Kombucha, a fermented drink that uses tea and tastes like a weak vinegar.

    Here is the recipe I use to make one gallon of Kombucha:
    8 black tea bags
    1 cup of sugar
    2 cups of finished Kombucha(can be store bought if you do not have Kombucha on hand)
    water to make up the rest of the gallon

    Steep the tea in some of the water, stir in the sugar and let cool. Once cooled, add the SCOBY and finished Kombucha.

    Let sit in a jar with a secured tight weave cloth cover (Kombucha needs to breathe but you don't want fruit flies getting in) for 5-7 days or longer if you prefer a more vinegar-like flavor. You can start taste testing by sneaking a straw in along the SCOBY and draw out some of the liquid. Pull it when you like it and being again. For storage, simply leave the SCOBY with some finished Kombucha until you are ready to use it again.

    The acidic content of Kombucha is fairly weak and should not be used as a cleaner but it can be used for a vinegar hair rinse.

    If you want to carbonate your Kombucha, you will need to source proper glass/plastic containers rated for pressure (bottles from a homebrew store or Soda Stream bottles). Caution must be taken when carbonating beverages in glass containers, even ones rated for pressure can explode and cause damage.

    If you want to do water kefir, you will want to pick up water kefir grains.

    Happy brewing!
     
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