Adventures in Kombucha Brewing

 

Anyone else love kombucha? I first had some several years ago while living in Baltimore (found it at Whole Foods) and quickly grew to love the sweet/tart taste. Since then my interest in making some myself has grown. It’s not quite as common in Brisbane as it is in the US however there is a local company (Buchi Kombucha) that makes the tasty drink on a commercial scale and yet still sells at the local farmer markets. I bought my kit last weekend and started my brew on Monday.

In my kit was a glass jar containing some started culture, a SCOBY, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, sugar, tea, and a cotton cover. By the way, who likes my attempt at adding text to a photo? Need to work on this a bit.

There’s my SCOBY! Looks like a gross gelatinous mass but it’s what causes the goodness to grow. Think of it like sourdough starter or friendship bread; get a little bit from someone else and you can make all you want.

After making what amounts to simple syrup, the tea needed to seep for 10-20 minutes. Clips are so useful in the kitchen. Not just for keeping bags closed, but also for brewing large amounts of tea.

Fill it up to the top! Ok, more like 2 inches/5cm below the top and cover with cloth to keep out dust/fruit flies/whatever.  About water: most instructions say to use spring or purified water since too much chlorine and fluoride might kill the SCOBY. As much as I didn’t want to kill this project I also didn’t want to carry this much water back from the store. A little bit of googling and I found someone that has been using tap water (from Detroit!) and getting good results. I filtered my Brisbane tap water through a Britta filter, boiled it and let it cool. Don’t put hot water on your SCOBY!

Day 1 and it was growing well!

Day 2 and it’s looking stranger and stranger!

Day 3, look at those beautiful bits.

Day 4 and the tentacles are attaching to the side of the jar.

I find myself peering into the jar several times a day; it’s neat that something is alive and growing in there. I’ve got a few more days until the first fermentation is ready to taste. And then maybe a second fermentation to get some bubbly action going on.

Anyone else have experience growing fermented foods? What’s the weirdest fermented thing you’ve ever eaten? Any suggestions for useful photoshop brush presets? Seriously had issues adding it to that photo. It helped once I got off a random adjustment layer and onto a dedicated layer.

Vegetarian Chinese Food!

YUM! SO! TASTY!

I haven’t found any Chinese places in Baltimore that do vegetarian food made with wheat gluten (yet… there may be a place in Charles Village?).  So when Mr. EG told me that he needed to return to Philly today I requested that he bring me back food from Chinatown.  Specifically Sweet & Sour “Chicken” and some General Tso’s “Chicken” from Kingdom of Vegetarians.  It pretty much survived the bus ride back to Bmore and I’ve devoured half of the sweet n’ sour.   I’m now feeling the “Chinese food coma” but because I’m so happy to have good vegetarian food, that I haven’t had to cook, I felt the need to do a post.  Behold, the wonderful food!

Sweet n’ Sour “Chicken”

Remains of Mr. EG's General Tso's "Chicken"

Leftover General Tso's

Leftovers! I love leftover Chinese food!  It means I don’t have to cook tomorrow night and I get to have food  that is not readily available to  me (again!!!).

When I first moved to Philly in 2005 I was so happy to find out that there were so many veggie places.  And Chinese food?  I was ecstatic!  That sort of food didn’t exist in northeast Ohio.  And it doesn’t exist so much in Baltimore.

Please Baltimore, won’t you give us Vegetarians some love?

Don’t get me wrong Bmore, the Indian restaurants are great, but I can’t eat Indian every time I eat out.