Confession…Until recently, I was guilty of not washing most of my produce. Sure, I rinsed the dirt off, but that was about it. A client mentioned to me the other night that she keeps a spray bottle of vinegar by her sink for washing her fruits/veggies. (Thanks, Nancy!) Because this was the second time in a matter of weeks that this idea was mentioned to me, I decided I’d better get with the program!
Regular white, distilled vinegar is a proven anti-microbial; it kills most bacteria, molds and viruses. So no need to buy those veggie washes they sell at the store. Just get a spray bottle (I found this one at Lowe’s for about $2) and some regular ol’ white vinegar and mix them together in a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. (Don’t worry, your food won’t taste like vinegar, just be sure to rinse with water afterward!)
My client also mentioned that she uses the solution to spray down her sink from time to time, and I know others who use it for everything from countertops to toilet bowls.
I’ll be using these tips, as well, because I cannot stand the smell of most cleaning products. And, as far as household cleaners go, it doesn’t get less toxic than cleaning with something you can eat! (Don’t worry, the smell dissipates quickly!) And with a cost of about $2 per jug, vinegar is way less costly than veggie wash and most cleaning sprays!
Folks are always asking me, “What can I drink besides water?!” I know they’re hoping I’ll present them with a recipe for diet soda that’s homemade and somehow magically healthful for them, but unfortunately that doesn’t quite exist. LOL! So why not try some Kombucha!! It’s a fermented tea – full of healthful probiotics. Pretty much the opposite of soda pop! 🙂
You can buy it at the store, but it costs about 4 bucks per bottle!!! So we save $$ and make our own!!!
The steps of this recipe are organized with the assumption that you have in your possession some Kombucha starter culture(s), called SCOBY – “Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.”
My hubby Chad makes 6 half-gallon jars at a time, so you’ll need to divide this recipe by about 6 if you want to make just one jar. Each jar nets you about 5 cups to drink when all is said and done. (Click any pictures to enlarge.)
*6 kombucha starter cultures (“SCOBY”)
*6 cups kombucha (store-bought or from previous batch)
*3 cups organic cane sugar
*20 green tea bags – we prefer the taste of Whole Foods’ 365 brand OR Uncle Lee’s Organic Green Tea from Walmart)
*6 Liters water
*1/2 -1 Liter ice
Bring 6 liters of water to a rolling boil in a large stock pan. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, place each SCOBY in a half-gallon jar. Add 1 cup of pre-made Kombucha (from a friend or the store – – for each following batch, you can use some of your own!) to each SCOBY/jar. This is done to acidify (lower the pH of) the new solution right away, which will prevent most molds and pathogenic bacteria from growing in it.
After 10-12 minutes, remove tea bags from the water (feel free to compost these!). Add 3 cups cane sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add ice and allow tea to cool completely.
Divide the sweetened tea into the 6 SCOBY jars. Cover each jar with a coffee filter, fastened with a rubber band. This will allow air to escape without allowing fruit flies in!
Store in a warm, dark place for about 1 week. We store ours in the cupboard above our fridge.
After 5-7 days, taste your Kombucha to see if you think it’s ready to drink.
When the Kombucha is ready (according to your taste), proceed with the following steps….
You’ll need to strain the SCOBY out of each jar, so set a fine mesh strainer atop a large container (our blender pitcher works great for this). If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, any strainer lined with a paper towel will work just fine. Cheesecloth would likely work, as well.
Pour the kombucha through the strainer. If necessary, use your finger to keep the SCOBY from falling out of the jar.
Rinse the SCOBY to remove any “gunk” from it.
Divide the SCOBY if necessary. See video demonstration…
NOTE: The extra SCOBY can be composted or given to friends (along with 1 cup of your Kombucha if you’re feeling extra generous)….or you can save it in the fridge (with enough Kombucha to cover it) so you can increase the number of jars you’ll be able make next time!
Return the SCOBY to a half-gallon jar and add 1 cup of your finished Kombucha.
Transfer remaining finished Kombucha to storage or drinking containers/jars.
BE SURE TO STORE FINISHED KOMBUCHA IN THE FRIDGE to halt the fermentation process!
At this point, you can store your SCOBY in the fridge (with enough Kombucha to cover it) or make more right away (like we do) by starting over with the steps at the top of this page.
Chad drinks quite a bit of Kombucha, so we make this much once/week! It may take a while to get a feel for how often you’d like to make it for your own use and to figure out how many jars you’d like to make at a time.
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If you have any tips/suggestions about our recipe, please leave us a comment below. Just because we make our own kombucha, doesn’t mean we have it all figured out. ; )