28 May 2007


Mushroom Tea

Kombucha's roots stretch back to ancient China, where, as early as 221 BC, a tea called "the remedy for immortality" was brewed from fungi said to have magical properties. Kombucha eventually made its way into the natural health world of Germany in the early 20th Century, and debut in the United States in the 1960s. Kombucha is also made here at Tiruvannamalai by a Dutch woman and sold at several outlets.

Making your own Kombucha at home is cheap, quick and easy. The hardest part is coming across Kombucha "mother" live yeast culture. If you can't get from friends you can buy online at sites like http://www.getkombucha.com/

Timeframe: About 7 days

2 quarts filtered water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons loose black tea or 4 teabags
1 cup mature acidic Kombucha
Kombucha mother

1. Mix water and sugar and bring to a boil in a small pot.

2. Turn off the heat; add tea, cover and steep about 15 minutes.

3. Strain tea into a glass container. Allow tea to cool to body temperature.

4. Add mature acidic Kombucha. When you obtain a culture, it will be stored in this liquid. Place the Kombucha mother in the pot. It is fine if floats or if it sinks.

5. Cover with a clean cloth and store in a warm spot, ideally 70 to 85 degrees, undisturbed.

6. After a few days to one week, depending on temperature, you will notice a skin forming on the surface of the Kombucha. Taste the liquid. It will probably still be sweet. The longer it sits, the more acidic it becomes.

7. Once it reaches the level of acidity you like, start a new batch and store your mature Kombucha in the fridge. You now have two mothers, the original one you started with, and a new one, the skin that formed on your first batch. Use either the new or the old mother for your new batch, and pass the other one on to a friend. Each generation will give birth to a new mother and the old mother will thicken.

As with all foods, care must be taken during preparation and storage to prevent contamination, although in most cases, the acidity and bacteria present in this ferment along with its anti-microbial activity will prevent growth of unwanted contaminants. In the event that mold does grow on the surface of your Kombucha, it's best to follow the motto, "if in doubt, throw it out," and start over. Reports of adverse reactions may be related to unsanitary fermentation conditions, leaching of compounds from the fermentation vessels, or "sickly" Kombucha cultures that cannot acidify the brew.

To find out more about the fermentation of foods, check out this link

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