The other month I jumped into the world of homemade kombucha. On a $100 week budget for 5 people, 2 of which are growing boys, I can’t afford my $3.50/16 ounce kombucha. Especially when I have 2 kids who love the stuff as much as I do. Going through withdrawal after 3 weeks without, I finally knew I was no longer scared to “see where it comes from”.
Perfect timing since I was just at Eat, Write, Retreat. I happened to mention to a local fermenter, Amanda at Phickle, that I was ready to go for it and she not only offered me a SCOBY but brought it with her the next day of conference. I carried that SCOBY around the whole day. Well, the poor SCOBY sat in a jar on my counter for a week before I had a chance to nurture it but it was a brave little fighter and lived. Let’s go on a week long journey in kombucha land, but first off, here is the kombucha recipe I am using.
Every morning I added a new picture for the day but I will try to describe the smell since there is no smell-o-transporter yet. Sweet and vinegar and taste are what are going to be really noticeable in this journey.
Day 1: Very vinegary smell as I hadn’t added the sweet tea mixture to my SCOBY yet.
Day 2: There’s a mix of sweet with a dash of vinegar happening today. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow offers.
Day 3: Smells like honey with a whiff of some acidic scent.
Day 4: Smells slightly honeyed with the acidic scent getting stronger
Day 5: I missed a day!
Day 6: Smells very sweet but I can also smell the acidic scent. Almost smells like iced tea that sat a few days. Oh wait, that’s kind of what it is except it’s been been building all sorts of healthiness. I forgot to buy a plastic mesh strainer, which is a necessity so it will have to wait one more day.
Finally on Day 8 I could wait no longer. I had to take a taste. Still not enough “oomph” so I let it sit 2 more days.
Day 10 I grated in about 2 tablespoons fresh ginger and fermented it for 2 more days. Really though, why didn’t I take pictures of the finished product?
Perfection. A beautiful effervescence and two quarts of kombucha lasted 2 days.
Batch #2. I let it set for 8 days without touching it. The SCOBY was absolutely beautiful. Went to pour it off and wouldn’t you know, the one in a million chances happened to me. Grossness coming right up: Somehow I didn’t seal it well enough and a fruit fly apparently laid some eggs. We won’t go into what I found but it wasn’t pretty. I cried when I dumped what I know was the perfect kombucha down the drain and threw away my now contaminated SCOBY.
Waiting for a new SCOBY and it isn’t easy….not all journeys start out sweet and vinegary but hopefully the next leg of this one will be much sweeter and more effervescent because man do I miss my homemade kombucha.
What “frugal” adventures have you taken that didn’t turn out quite right? Please do share.