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The last post, I shared how we make our kombucha. In our family, we like our kombucha to be fruit flavored. Super easy and incredibly delicious.
But before we get into it – a word about allergies… Earlier in the season on our Facebook page, I shared this fun little video explaining the horrors of pollen season in the South.
It is so true.
Currently and to varying degrees, my whole family is suffering from an unknown outdoor allergy – my reaction being the most severe. Brings to mind several movies of plants trying to kill humans… Except this is real life. Terrifying.
During this season, I’ll admit to failing the schedule, homemaking, and, in general, life. The closest that I will get to accomplishment is pinning stuff on Pinterest and watching all the homemaking videos when my eyes are not too swollen to see.
I can be found me laying somewhere in my unkempt house in my frumpiest – probably dirty – clothes, next to a box of tissues as well as a pile of used tissues. It is possible that I will be feverishly shouting about my “bomb” – not threateningly but begging someone – ANYONE – with my uncontrollable nasally voice to get me my mom because she is the only one that can care for me the way I need when I am not feeling well.
This reminds me that this weekend is Mother’s Day and that I love my mom. Maybe I’ll make her some kombucha…
The Second Fermentation (aka The Flavor)
As we talked about in the first post, my preferred brew jar is a glass drink dispenser. Same for the second ferment. I have also used quart jars and other bottles that contained store-bought kombucha tea, but having a dispenser with stand on the counter has been time and mess saver for me.
These are the jars that I have. The reviews are horrible, but I have had yet to need to replace the jar or spigot and we use them almost daily. After I clean the jar and spigot, I do a leak test with water. Because the lids of these jars corrode quickly, I set those aside for times that I need to be fancy. The rest of the time, a bit of plastic wrap does just fine.
The KomBUCHA tap
During the 5-7 days we let the marvelous SCOBY do its work up in the cupboard – the corner cupboard that’s practically useless but for containing the two things we love the most: ‘bucha and our giant bowl of popcorn.
I scoot the first brew to the edge and tap all but about two to four cups of kombucha tea for the next first ferment.
The freshly tapped kombucha tea is ready for the flavor.
The KOMBUCHA Flavor
I started out using fresh fruit, strawberries being our favorite, but then I found it too difficult to keep enough fresh fruit around long enough for the next brew. Now I mostly use juice – it’s easier in every way. I don’t always believe easier is better, but at this stage in my life, I have no extra time or energy to be a purist. I have come to peace with this.
The first juice we used was mango carrot peach but then our local store stopped carrying it. I swear they get us hooked on products and then rip it away from us like the monsters that they are… But I’m over it because, after all, I found my absolute favorite – white grape peach. Blueberry apple ginger was a big winner with the young’uns. Aldi’s Black Cherry Plum is the latest trial and it is mellow and delightful…
The KOMBUCHA wait
I have found the larger the vessel, the faster the fermentation. We start drinking out of the large dispenser at 3 days, quart jars at 5 days and bottles at 7 days. Fermentation does vary with the juice used, room temperature, the phases of the moon, and the quality of your music choices, etc., so be sure to taste test.
For any jars or bottles that have tight-fitting lids, I loosen the lid briefly every couple of days as the fermentation does create gases and without intervention will cause jar blowouts.
Blowouts – no matter whether in relationships, tires, diapers or ferments – are the worst.
The smaller the container the more carbonation you’ll get. Usually, we sacrifice a fizzy drink for the accessibility for the beasties with the drink dispenser. None of us mind.
Kombucha Place of Honor
Kevin will have a bit of kombucha from time to time, mostly under coercion. (I think he’s still afraid of the SCOBY crawling out of the jar and finding him to attach to his face while he’s sleeping…) He’ll roll his eyes when I speak lovingly about my SCOBY and talk about the benefits.
Yet, my wonderful man made me this flavoring and tap station for Christmas, complete with a small chalkboard for labeling flavors. When he presented this beautiful gift to me, he had written, “My family is symbiotic.”
It’s hilarious and incredibly sweet. I couldn’t bear to erase it… I adore this man.
That’s it – tap, add flavor and wait.
Seriously – game changer.
I don’t know if you can tell how much I love kombucha, but for sure my absolute favorite thing about this brew is that I have visiting young Iron Hearts who run to the kitchen to get a tiny cup, with their tiny hands hold it out to me, and with their tiny voices ask, “Aun’ Tatie, I have ice an’ ‘bucha?”
Have you tried second ferment kombucha? If you have, what is your favorite flavor?