NatRecipe: Kombucha Like Fine Champagne

Kombucha is an artisan product, and like all hand-crafted foods, the best results require patience and time. A good hand-brewed kombucha is like a fine champagne, fizzy with tiny bubbles, a delightful combination of sweet and sour, and even slightly viscous on the tongue.

Image and blog courtesy of Sally Fallon Morell and nourishingtraditions.com.

The secret is plenty of time—it takes about 30 days to make kombucha that tastes like fine champagne.

Here’s the method I have developed over the years. I use the 2-gallon kombucha crock from kombuchakamp.com, along with the heating element and the cloth cover (“brewer cap”)—and your SCOBY culture of course. You’ll also need plenty of airtight bottles. I prefer 16.2 fluid-ounce bottles (which I have accumulated by saving bottles of store-bought kombucha) but you can also use bottles with wire-held stoppers, which come in 16 and 32-ounce sizes. If you use the smaller 16-ounce bottles, you will need 3 sets of 16 bottles, 48 in all. If you use quart-size bottles, you will need 3 sets of 8, or 24.

Your ingredients are organic cane sugar and organic black tea—I have found that the best buy is Paul Newman’s organic tea, purchased in boxes of one hundred tea bags each.

KOMBUCHA BREW

2 gallons good quality water
2 2/3 cups organic sugar
12 tea bags

Place water and sugar in a large pot, bring to a simmer, stir to ensure the sugar is dissolved, and add the 12 tea bags, with the strings wrapped around a wooden spoon (this makes them easier to remove). Turn off heat and allow the liquid to cool; this will take several hours.

Pour the liquid into your crock, place the SCOBY on top, cover with the cloth cover, and attach the heating element. Leave for ten days.

Image and blog courtesy of Sally Fallon Morell and nourishingtraditions.com.

After ten days, brew a second batch and allow to cool.

Now it’s time to transfer your first batch into bottles. I don’t use the tap on the kombucha vessel as the liquid runs out way too slowly. Instead, I remove the heating element and the cloth cover from the crock and pour the liquid through a strainer into an 8-cup Pyrex measuring pitcher, set into a sink. If you pour carefully, the SCOBY will remain in the crock, but if it spills out, the strainer will catch it.

Now pour the liquid through a funnel into the individual bottles, leaving a little room at the top. Then add ½ teaspoon organic sugar to each 16- or 16.2-ounce bottle—add 1 teaspoon for quart bottles. Put on the wire stoppers or screw the screw tops very tightly. Leave these on the counter for ten days, while the second batch is brewing.

Now repeat the process, making a new batch of kombucha and transferring your second batch into more bottles, adding the extra sugar to each bottle. At this point, you have one batch of kombucha brewing, and two batches in bottles, sitting on the counter at room temperature.

After another ten days, you can transfer your first batch into the fridge—allow to cool and your kombucha is ready.

Now make another batch of kombucha; transfer batch number 3 into the third set of bottles and your liquid into the crock.

Image and blog courtesy of Sally Fallon Morell and nourishingtraditions.com.

Once you get the process going, you will have at all times, 1 batch brewing in the crock, two batches in bottles brewing on the counter, and one batch that you are working through in the fridge.

To serve the kombucha, open the bottles carefully, as they tend to be very fizzy. They will also have developed tendrils of SCOBY or even little whole SCOBYs in the bottle, so you need to pour through a strainer.

Flavored kombucha? This kombucha is so delicious, it really doesn’t need flavoring. However, I do flavor occasionally, using the juice left over from stewed fruit. (My husband is a real stewed fruit lover, which he makes with fruit, a little added organic sugar or honey, a little water and plenty of grated ginger.) Add about 1 tablespoon stewed fruit juice instead of the ½ teaspoon sugar. The result will be some lovely subtle flavors and extra fizziness.

UPDATE, October 4, 2016. Recently I made a batch and did not have enough 16-ounce bottles, so put some kombucha in a quart-sized bottle with a wire stopper. It had been on the counter about 15 days when it exploded–leaving glass all over the kitchen. Fortunately, this happened at night, when no one was in the kitchen. So I think it best to amend this recipe to stipulate only 16-ounce sized bottles (which I have never had any problem within over 2 years). If you want to take an added precaution (for example, if your kitchen is very warm), put the bottles in the fridge after 10 days, and let the last 10 days of brewing take place in the fridge.

Sally Fallon MA

Sally Fallon Morell is best known as the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This well-researched, though-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.

Sally’s lifelong interest in the subject of nutrition began in the early 1970s when she read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price. Called the “Charles Darwin of Nutrition,” Price traveled the world over studying healthy primitive populations and their diets. The unforgettable photographs contained in his book document the beautiful facial structure and superb physiques of isolated groups consuming only whole, natural foods. Price noted that all of these diets contained a source of good quality animal fat, which provided numerous factors necessary for the full expression of our genetic potential and optimum health. Sally applied the principles of Dr. Price’s research to the feeding of her own children, and proved for herself that a diet rich in animal fats, and containing the protective factors in old-fashioned foodstuffs like cod liver oil, liver, raw milk, butter and eggs, make for sturdy cheerful children with a high immunity to illness.

When the youngest of her four children became old enough to attend school full time, Sally applied her writing skills and training in French and Mediterranean cooking to the subject of nutrition and began work on a comprehensive cookbook that would combine accurate information on nutrition with delicious, practical recipes. She teamed with Mary Enig, PhD, an expert of world renown in the subject of lipids and human nutrition. With over six hundred thousand copies in print, Nourishing Traditions has stimulated the public health and medical communities to take a new look at the importance of traditional foods and preparation techniques, and to reexamine the many myths about saturated fats and cholesterol. The book places special emphasis on the feeding of babies and children to ensure optimal development during their crucial growing years.

The culinary ideas introduced in Nourishing Traditions have stimulated the growth of a variety of small businesses providing traditional nutrient-dense foods including lacto-fermented condiments, kombucha and other lacto-fermented soft drinks, bone broth and genuine sourdough bread. Raw milk production is flourishing as are direct farm-to-consumer buying arrangements.

Sally is frequent contributors to holistic health publications. Her work is widely respected for providing accurate and understandable explanations of complicated subjects in the field of nutrition and health. Several articles on the dangers of modern soy products have generated intense controversy in the health food industry. Her presentations on Nourishing Traditions Diets and The Oiling of America have earned highly complimentary reviews throughout the US and overseas.

Sally Fallon Morell is founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org) and editor of the Foundation’s quarterly magazine. The Foundation has fifteen thousand members and almost six hundred local chapters worldwide. The Foundation has changed the conversation about what constitutes a healthy diet and has stimulated many fine writers to challenge the legitimacy of the lowfat, low-cholesterol paradigm. The Foundation has also alerted the public to the dangers of modern soy products, especially soy infant formula.

She also founded A Campaign for Real Milk (www.realmilk.com). At its inception in 1998, the website listed only twenty-eight sources of raw milk in the U.S. Today there are over two thousand, with many hundreds more not listed. Raw milk is the fastest growing agricultural product in the US; this growth has been largely stimulated by the information provided at realmilk.com.

She is also president and owner of NewTrends Publishing, serving as editor and publisher of many fine books on diet and health, including other books in the Nourishing Traditions series. Her most recent titles are The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (with Thomas S. Cowan, MD) and The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children (with Suzanne Gross).

Sally is also the author of Eat Fat Lose Fat (Penguin, Hudson Street Press, 2005), co-authored with Dr. Mary Enig and Nourishing Broth (Grand Central, 2014), co-authored with Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN.

In 2009, Sally and her husband Geoffrey Morell embarked on a new venture: they purchased a farm in Southern Maryland. P A Bowen Farmstead (pabowenfarmstead.com) is a mixed-species, pasture-based farm that produces award-winning artisan raw cheese, whey-fed woodlands pork, pastured poultry and pastured eggs. The farm does not use corn, soy, GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, hormones or antibiotics.

Sally received a Bachelors Degree in English with honors from Stanford University, and a Masters Degree in English with high honors from UCLA. She speaks French and Spanish. Her interests include music, gardening, metaphysics . . . and of course cooking. She lives in Brandywine, MD with her husband Geoffrey Morell. She has three beautiful grandchildren, all brought up according to Nourishing Traditions principles.