Today, I am trying my hand at brewing homemade kombucha. To rip off Wikipedia, kombucha is "a fermented tea that is quaffed for medicinal purposes. Kombucha is generally fermented using a visible solid mass of microorganisms called a 'kombucha culture'." There is a great post on how to do this over on Sustainable Table, check it out.
So where to start? First, I needed a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Luckily, due to the high rate of reproduction of these little slimy fellas, there are plenty of good-hearted souls looking to unload their extra SCOBY "babies" over on the Kombucha Exchange. To my surprise, one of the few PA volunteers lives in the next town over from me. How convenient! Within a few days of email, my new SCOBY had arrived home.
So now to make the tea. I decided to only make about a half gallon (in our one-gallon pickle jar), so as not to overwhelm my new SCOBY. I brewed up enough rooibos tea, added organic sugar and some vinegar, and let it cool. It took overnight, due to the heat (ugh). This morning, I added the SCOBY:
(Sorry for the lousy-lighting cellphone pics)
Here's a closer shot where you can kind of see the little disc of culture (the SCOBY):
So now the waiting begins! According to my research, it should take a week or so to ferment. Only time will tell...