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Homemade Kombucha

Tired of shelling out almost $5 for a bottle of fizzy, tart kombucha? You can make it at home for much less. You’ll need something called a SCOBY. (It stands for Symbiotic Cultures of Bacteria and Yeast.) You can get one by mail here—but be prepared: The jelly-like disc is a bit slimy—which means kids will love it.

kombucharecipe
  • Yield: 1 gallon

Ingredients:

  • 8 tea bags (unflavored)
  • 1 cup white table sugar
  • 1 SCOBY
  • 1 ½ cups starter liquid
  • 1 gallon glass jar

Steps:

  1. Step 1

    In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.

  2. Step 2

    Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 7 to 10 minutes, then remove the bags and add the sugar, stirring until it’s completely dissolved.

  3. Step 3

    Pour the tea into the glass container, then add water until the liquid is a few inches from the top. Let cool to room temperature.

  4. Step 4

    Add the SCOBY to the top of the liquid (kids will have fun with this part) and then pour the starter liquid over the SCOBY.

  5. Step 5

    Cover the glass container with a breathable cloth and secure with a rubber band. The kombucha will be ready in 7-15 days (test occasionally with a straw to see when it reaches your desired level of fizz and tartness). Bottle in tightly sealed bottles, adding fresh fruit (cherries or pomegranates are great choices) or ginger, if desired. Store bottled kombucha in the refrigerator. (You can re-use kombucha bottles from the store if they’ve been cleaned thoroughly.)

  6. Step 6

    To make another batch, just reserve a cup of starter liquid and place it in a clean bowl along with the SCOBY. You’ll notice your original SCOBY (“the mother”) probably has a new layer (“the baby”). They can be separated—give the second one to a friend to try their own batch.