Monday, January 23, 2017

Kombucha, the Skynet of our Times

I just finished my latest attempt at making kombucha, and as I wrote in an earlier post, I followed ALL the directions. I checked. I double checked. I re-checked. I washed my hands. I measured the tea and sugar, and carefully filled the crock. I added the Scoby. And then I added the other Scoby. I check the directions again.

And guess what? It worked!
I made kombucha!
                                Woohoo!
I made KOMBUCHA!*

It looks so sweet and innocent, sitting back there in its crock.
*For about ten minutes. Apparently. I don't really know because I missed the actual kombucha part.

Here's something important to know about making kombucha - you need to check the progress frequently. Did you know that if you miss the window, that stuff keeps right on brewing? That little bacteria plantation in there keeps right on plugging away, converting sugars into your worst nightmares.

You heard me.

Your. Worst. Nightmares.

I'm now convinced that we don't need to worry about Skynet and the robot apocolypse, or about the polar icecaps melting and the resulting floods wiping us all out. No. Humanity's downfall will be via kombucha gone wrong.

Apocalyptic Invaders from the Kitchen. That's what the movie
version will be called. I'm guessing. We'll all be dead by then.
You see, I followed the directions, and on the appointed day, I poured out a half a shot glass worth of brew and tossed it back.

The fireball that seared through my mouth and down my throat left me staggering blindly for the sink. I dropped the shot glass, tears streaming, sinuses aflame.

I managed to get the faucet on, and my face under the stream.

No help there.

 I reached to the side and fumbled the drawer open, pulling a hand towel out. Wiping my burning tongue with the towel did nothing other than attract the attention of a passing kid, who, between belly laughs managed to ask me what I was doing.

To this day, I'm still not sure who it was. My streaming eyes and the steam pouring from my ears made it impossible to tell.

I went to answer, only to discover I had no voice.
             NO.
                       VOICE. 

None. Just a croak. That stuff literally took my voice away! The shock to my vocal chords was so great that I couldn't actually talk for nearly ten minutes.

And that, my friends, is how it's all going to end. The Scobys are all going to turn rogue, fed up with all our clumsy brewing attempts, and we're all going to lose our voices, and then our minds. It's the only logical conclusion.

Robot apocalypse, pfft.

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While losing my voice would obviously be considered a positive by my kids, I'm fairly certain that it's not a preferred outcome for most kombucha drinkers. Here's how to avoid my mistakes:


1. Make sure that you've found clear instructions. There's a ton of great information out there about making kombucha. I like how simple the Yemoos website is, and how well it describes the process. I especially liked these encouraging words, even though I know find them a teeny bit suspect now...
Your own kombucha will be your best teacher, and you will inevitably find many of your answers through time, trial and error.  ... as a word of advice, just as in all things, use your best judgement in the end! Remember, kombucha is not an exacting science, so relax and have fun!
Riiiiiight. Have fun...

2. Clean, clean, clean! You really don't want to go to all the work of trying to make kombucha only to have it turn into something wonky.

3. Label your brew. Use a marker, pop on a sticker, slap a post-it on it. Just put the date you started it, and maybe the date you want to start checking it. 


4. Post reminders to yourself. This is where I went wrong. My kombucha is tucked in a corner in the kitchen, and while I see it every day, I don't really see it every day. Next time, I'll be setting an alarm on my phone, and putting a note in my daily planner, and possibly writing post-its to place all over.

5. Don't trust anyone. While I think this isn't necessarily the best way to go about things, it's a good rule of thumb when trying something new for the first few times. While all the directions I found said it takes 5 to 10 days, mine apparently took less. All sorts of variables will affect your brew. Check it frequently until you get the hang of it.

6. Have your bottling supplies ready. If you aren't ready to harvest the kombucha, it's just going to keep mutating into killer voice silencing hazmat drink, and before you know it, you'll be contributing to the fall of mankind as we know it. 

7. Have some milk handy. In case you catch it too late. It may help with the burn. Probably not. You're doomed. Better have your will updated before you try it. 

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Resources:
  • Need bottles? Ikea and Cost Plus have some of the best deals on pop top bottles. Amazon also has them for reasonable prices. I don't recommend using second hand bottles. They're too hard to clean, and who knows what they've had in them.
  • Want to learn more? Check out Yemoos - this website also sells stuff for making kombucha, including Scobys, in case you don't have one laying around already. My favorite site for kombucha making info - The Wellness Mama. She lists all sorts of helpful charts and things, and if you follow her directions, it's less likely you'll end up like I did...
  • And if you do end up like I did... 5 Uses for Kombucha Vinegar
  • Hankering for Flavors? Check out all the fabulous suggestions on the Common Sense Homesteading site in this How to Brew Kombucha post!
  • Visual Learner? This is a great video by Joanne of Heritage Homestead.

1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of it going too long! Of course you managed to find a way. �� ❤ you! --Joy

    ReplyDelete