Thursday, April 9, 2020

How to Make One Half Gallon Kombucha (fermented tea)

To make fermented tea, you will need the following:
  • SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) * If you don’t have a SCOBY see the bottom of this recipe.
  • Filtered or spring water / de-chlorinated if from city or county sources
  • ½ cup starter tea *If you don’t have starter tea, see the bottom of this recipe
  • ½ cup sugar (not honey due to its antibacterial properties)
  • 4 black or green tea bags or a combination (Black makes a stronger culture due to its high tannin content. (I use 2 black and 2 green OR 1 black, 2 hibiscuses, 1 green)
  • A clean ½ gallon canning jar, a clean cloth or coffee filters, rubber bands or string
                            Brewing Method
Pour hot, boiled water into a ½ gallon canning jar, filling it to about half or so, add ½ cup sugar, stir to dissolve then immerse 4 teabags and lightly cover to keep steam in and dirt out of your jar. Steep the tea for at least 20 minutes. (I leave my tea bags in the jar all day or all night.) When cooled to room temp, add approximately ½ cup of starter tea* and your SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) on top. It might sink, that's ok. Fill your jar with fresh water to the shoulder.  Cover securely with cloth or coffee filters (I use 2 filters together) and secure with a rubber band or string. The cover is important to keep bugs out, but it must let air in. Mark the date of brewing on top of the coffee filter, or use a piece of painter’s tape and a marker. Set aside in an undisturbed place out of direct sunlight and away from other cultures or any source of bacteria or mold.  

Fermenting (the first ferment)
In my kitchen, and at this time of year (fairly warm), I let the tea develop for about 7-10 days.  It will go longer in winter. You can test your tea simply by removing the cover, slipping a straw between the SCOBY and the side of your jar, cover the top of the straw with finger and draw out some tea (several times) to put in a small glass for tasting.  Finished tea will be lighter in color than your original brew.  It should not taste sweet. It will have natural carbonation and will taste something like cider/tea. The culture has eaten most of the sugar and has left behind a beautiful batch of probiotic-rich and tasty fermented tea.  Catch it before it turns vinegary (though even at the vinegar stage it is still safe and drinkable).  You can consume it now, refrigerate the rest, OR you can take your ferment to a new level (A SECOND FERMENT) with other flavors, described below.

Important!!!  Now is when you will want to start another batch.  So be sure to set aside your SCOBY and ½ cup starter tea and repeat the instructions above.  I save mine in a clean bowl covered with a small plate, up to a day while making the next batch.  Each brew will make a new SCOBY.  I leave the SCOBY stack together for several batches.  If it gets too thick, discard the bottom portions in compost, feed pieces to your pets, or share with a friend.

It is time to get creative with a second ferment!
Most kombucha drinkers enjoy the first ferment, above, but they also like flavored, bubbly Kombucha.  For a second ferment, you will need your choice of the following: canning jars with canning lids (not the plastic ones ), or quality kombucha bottles from kombucha you’ve purchased at the store, or QUALITY spring- top bottles. OR what I currently use -- glass juice bottles. They work great!
With the second ferment, you are feeding the brew again and you are holding in the carbonation. Whatever kind of glass jar you use, you need to be able to keep the air out and the bubbles in, so SECURE the lid!  You should also check your brew daily, relieving the pressure by unscrewing the lid briefly. Always leave plenty of space in the top of your jar and always open slowly and carefully due to internal pressure that is naturally building up inside

ADD Fresh or Frozen Fruit
Any fresh or frozen fruit will make a tasty brew.  Here are some ideas: Cover the bottom of your jar with any fresh or frozen fruit. Fresh grapes 
work wonderfully well. In fact, adding fresh grapes to any flavor will make it super fizzy. My current favorite is to put about ½ cup of frozen organic raspberries into a clean 32 oz.  glass juice bottle and fill it to the shoulder with your 1st ferment. Secure the lid as tight as you can get it. Let it sit on your kitchen counter or shelf for a day or two or three --just long enough to get a big fizz when you carefully unscrew the top.  Then refrigerate and enjoy. 

Or use your favorite fruit juice. You can use any kind of fruit juice for this process.  Use  4-6 ounces of juice for each quart. The higher the sugar content the greater the bubbles will be. (Once again, most of the sugar will be eaten by the pro-bacteria.)  I have had great success with blueberry, apple, pear, and pomegranate.  You can also add spices. This is where experimentation comes in.  There are lots of recipes online as well.  One of my favorites is ½ cup organic pear juice with about a tablespoon diced candied ginger. 

Oh! and I also add a pinch of LOVE to all my recipes. 

NOTE: When you add your first ferment to your jar for a second ferment, you will want to strain the tea, using a mesh strainer and a funnel as there will be a few remnants of the SCOBY, the yeast strings in the tea. They are harmless and necessary, but most people find them unpleasant to have in their booch! 

Always mark your bottles with the brew date and the flavor and be sure to burp your bottles every few days. Gasses will build up quickly.  I let my tea second-ferment for about 3 days. Refrigerate and enjoy. 

Save your SCOBYs and at least ½ cup of starter for each half-gallon you want to make. Remove it with a clean tong.
* If you do not have starter tea (absolutely necessary) or a SCOBY, you can make your own. Buy some fresh kombucha from the store and use the brewing method above. Wait for a SCOBY to form. It might take several weeks.  Then use your SCOBY and ½ cup of the starter to follow the instructions above.

Oh! and I also add a pinch of LOVE to all my recipes.

To print the recipe and also remove the photo, simply click the Print-friendly button below. This button might not show up on a phone, you might need to open the link on a computer or open the "web version" button. 
    Pin It!

    Monday, December 24, 2018

    Cinnamon Mandarin Cranberry Holiday Kombucha

    You will need: One quart finished 1st ferment kombucha starter tea. (Our favorite kombucha ferment is made from 2 Organically Hip Hibiscus tea bags and 2 Paul Newman’s Organic Black tea bags to ½ cup sugar and ½ cup starter and ½ gallon filtered, de-chlorinated water, and one SCOBY.)  If you don’t have starter tea and a SCOBY, you can ask a friend or buy online.

    Recipe: Decant 32 ounces of starter tea to a fermenting vessel of choice. We often use quality glass juice bottles, quality fermenting bottles or, canning jars with canning lids.  (It must be able to tightly seal out air).
    Add 1 teaspoon quality cinnamon (We use 4 Ceylon Cinnamon capsules).  Peel and add 2 fresh mandarin oranges and 6 fresh or frozen cranberries, and one pinch of LOVE.

     Ferment for one or 2 days,  Chill, strain, and enjoy!
    Pin It!

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017

    Yummy Fermented Cabbage and Carrot (Kraut)

    We've learned to love fermented cabbage. This food is often referred to as kraut or sauerkraut but is very different from kraut in a can.  Fermented kraut is healthy, full of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and vitamins.  Most importantly, it is delicious.

    Below is my tried and true recipe.  It contains several tasty additions to basic kraut.

    Materials needed:
    1/2 gallon glass mason jar with canning lid
    Quart sized canning jars with canning lids
    1/2 gallon spring-top, Fido-style fermenting jar. (that is what I use now)

    Optional but helpful:
    2 glass weights from
    Painter's tape and marker

    1 green cabbage
    1 purple cabbage
    4 peeled and shredded carrots
    1/4 cup whey (I use kefir whey) You could also use whey from yogurt.
    5 teaspoons Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea Salt (for minerals, crunch, taste, and integrity of kraut)
    Spring water or dechlorinated water
    1/2 cup or more of  beet kvass
    1-2 tablespoons fresh caraway seeds
    One pinch of LOVE.  I add this to all my recipes.

    Wash cabbage and remove outer leaves, cut in half, place flat side down and make thin slices with a long knife. Cut the long slices in half. (Some people use a food processor.  I prefer the shredded texture)
    Clean and shred carrots.
    Mix sliced cabbage and carrot together in a large bowl with salt and optional caraway seeds.
    Begin to load cabbage mixture into your jar(s). Use a wooden spoon or pounder to pound and press as much kraut as you can stuff into the jar, up to the shoulder of the jar. The more you pound and press, the better because the salt will begin to make juice.
    Add the whey (if using more than one jar, add whey to each jar)
    Add the optional beet kvass
    Add enough water to cover kraut and press down again.
    Top with the glass weights. (You can do it without these, but they are helpful to keep the kraut submerged.

    Secure the top, or the lid, depending on your jar type, and use painter's tape to mark the date.

    Set aside, away from direct sunlight, for 3 days and refrigerate.

    Once your kraut is cold it will keep for months, though you will eat it long before that!

    We eat kraut as a side dish with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It is also yummy with cooked apples or on a sandwich.

    In case you were wondering, my fermented dill pickle recipe is on my other blog.

    Blessings to you and yours!

    Click the Print Friendly button if you want to print the recipe, with or without the photo.

    Another Kraut Recipe we love to eat: 
    If you love spicy food, click on this link and try the  Buffalo Kraut recipe from Cultured Food Life.

    Pin It!

    Sunday, January 1, 2017

    Dear Me, 2017

    This year you want MORE!  
    More quality time spent on refreshing or purposeful activities.
    More time with God, family, nature, and art.
    More gratitude.
    More understanding of the differences in others.
    More kindness. 

    You also want LESS!
    Less concern over things outside of your control (which is most things)
    Less stress (created by not doing the above)

    And you want MORE of LESS!
    Last year you reduced clutter and plastic. You want more of less clutter and plastic.

    You also want LESS of MORE!
    Enough already!  Computers were supposed to reduce paper piles and files. You want much less of paper clutter! Figure it out! Digitize those photos while you are at it!

    Only 4 things....
    That is all. 

    Pin It!

    Thursday, December 31, 2015

    Dear Darling Motherless Daughter

    If you are reading this, you are invited into a grieving heart.

    A redeemed heart

    One full of love

    Aging, maturing, remembering...

    A heart missing someone who called me darling

    And pointed the way to Jesus

    Who remembered every birthday

    And laughed at my jokes

    The playful one who called me "playmate"


    Dear Darling Motherless Daughter,

    I am no longer at the other end of the phone line, or at an email address, or even in my lovely home full of things that remind you of me.

    I can not hold your hand or pray over your problems or point you to heaven for answers.

    Though my scent lingers on that sweatshirt in your drawer and my old copper ring encircles your finger, I am, and forever will be, in a different place than the things I left behind.

    You know, Darling, that I delighted in being your mom.

    You know I was proud of my children.

    You know I gave you everything I could give to help you in life. You still have every part of me that existed, except my body. You have me stored in your memory.

    I know you miss me. I missed my mom too.

    But, Darling, you also know where I am and you know with confidence that where I am, you will also be one day.

    What a day that will be. Trust me!

    Now dry your eyes and hug your wonderful husband, knowing you are loved.

    Always and Forever,


    Pin It!

    To Subscribe by Email :

    Enter your email address:

    Precious Readers

    My Father's Words

    "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." Love never fails

    Father's Love Letter

    An Intimate Message from God to You:

    My Child,

    You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

    I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

    I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

    Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

    For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

    In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

    For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

    I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

    I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

    You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

    I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

    You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

    I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

    And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

    I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

    I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

    And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

    Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

    I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

    For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

    Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

    For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

    My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

    Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

    My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

    And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

    I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

    For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

    I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

    And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

    If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

    Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

    For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

    I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

    For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

    When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

    As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

    One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

    And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

    I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

    For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

    He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

    He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

    And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

    Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

    His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

    I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

    If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

    And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

    Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

    I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

    My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

    I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

    Love, Your Dad.... ...Almighty God

    PERMISSION TO COPY:The printed version of Father's Love Letter can be copied and used for free distribution providing the following copyright information is displayed... 'Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2008

    If you would like to look up the verses...copy and paste to the search bar on this site: Bible Gateway