Field Lilies. Recall, Becki is posting weekly about one new thing in her life. She wrote, "I’m not going to set goals or make rules. I want this to be a discovery process, not a to-do list. Actually, the challenge may be better worded this way: I’m simply challenging myself to record here one new thing I explore, or learn about, or interact with… each week."
So I've been trying to also post about one new thing each week. This week it's something really, really new to me -- getting a start to making maple kombucha. You can see all of the how-tos here at Souly Rested.
Years ago, I used to make my own kombucha pretty regularly. As you may know, kombucha is basically fermented sweet tea. The sugar gets "eaten up" in the process, so it's actually a very healthy beverage and so good for you in so many ways. Back then, I stuck to the basic flavor using either black or green tea and never experimented with fruit flavors and so on (which can be done using actual fruit or with fruit juices, doing what's called a "second ferment").
As Michelle, at Souly Rested, points out, drinking kombucha has been shown to rid the body of toxins, improve energy levels, prevent the body from absorbing heavy metals, and help us better absorb nutrients from our food. You can read more about Michelle's favorite kombucha products here, and even download a free ebook about this amazing beverage. And it's delicious and inexpensive too (that is, it's inexpensive if you make your own -- but not if you buy it at the grocery store).
With all these benefits, you may justifiably wonder why I ever stopped making kombucha. I made it for a few years and successfully managed to even go on vacation more than once without ruining anything. Then one day a batch of kombucha went moldy. I traced the problem to a fruit fly that must have gotten into the sweet tea as it was steeping.
But I just didn't have the heart to try again. I'm thinking that life got really busy right about then, with eldercare responsibilities. We drank up what kombucha we had on hand, washed the jars and bottles, and put them away.
Fast-forward to 2021, when my young friend Jennifer got started making kombucha. As we talked by phone one day in December, I asked if I could get a SCOBY [symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast] from her so I could begin again. Her prompt reply: "I'm already brewing one for you."
So just like that, in 2022, I have gotten into kombucha-making again. I've now made 3 gallons and we're going through it quickly. I've learned how to do a second ferment using fruit juice (which will probably turn into another One New Thing post) and discovered how easy that is.
From the start, though, I was so intrigued with the idea of maple kombucha. My hubby and I are trying to increasingly eat less sugar, so I wanted to learn to make kombucha without refined sugar. I knew that in order to make kombucha using maple syrup, I would need to grow my own maple SCOBY. As you can see from Michelle's post here, the simplest option for coming up with a maple scoby is to grow your own -- scroll down to the section titled Growing a new scoby with maple syrup.
So the moment I got my new scoby from Jenn, I followed the directions and snipped off a tiny piece to begin growing a maple one. And it worked! You can see it in a pint jar below.
|Not the best photo, so I placed the jar on the hutch at eye level and tried again:|
The scoby is now, I believe, thick enough to use in beginning a half-gallon batch of maple kombucha. We have a busy week coming up, so I'll likely wait until the second week in March to begin the process. I'll keep you all posted on how it turns out!