Fun With Mushrooms (No, Not That Kind)

April 14, 2014
Kombucha mushroom

Kombucha mushroom

About two years ago a friend gave me a small jellyfish-like Mushroom, a “Scoby”, in a glass mason jar. I had heard for years about Kombucha tea and all of it’s health benefits, but had only tried bottled comercial varieties. This little guy got me off to a fun brewing process that provides us with a delicious morning drink. Kombucha tea is universally famous for all kinds of health purposes such as providing beneficial gut bacteria and liver de-tox among other claims.

In the picture above, you see me holding a pancake-sized mushroom. After you obtain the “Scoby”, the process is to boil a large pan of water and dissolve 1 cup of sugar into it. Molasses or other sweeteners could be used, but it’s good to stick to a basic recipe such as this when starting out. I put three tea bags in the sugar water and when it cools I put it in a gallon jar.

boiled water, 1 cup sugar, three tea bags

boiled water, 1 cup sugar, three tea bags

I have the mushroom temporarily in a bowl, along with a good bit of culture from the last batch to kickstart the new batch.

last weeks culture ready to go in mason jars

last weeks culture ready to go in mason jars

It’s important to wash your hands and all containers to prevent contamination, but I’ve never had a problem yet. Below you see the brew has been poured into jars. I put one at a time in the fridge and leave the others out at room temp. You must cover the new batch with a paper towel, cheesecloth or other breathable cloth, and seal with a rubber band. We don’t want any dust or contaminants to get into the brew.

The new batch is ready

The new batch is ready

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The mushroom floats happily on top of the tea, digesting the sugar and creating a cider-like drink with just a very, very small touch of alcohol. That also helps keep the batch from contamination.
I have not tried any other variations of this method, but I know others who have added ginger and other healthy stuff to make their Kombucha unique.
If anyone else has some good ideas, please feel free to write in a comment,
Cheers!

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2 Responses to Fun With Mushrooms (No, Not That Kind)

  1. Cameron on December 27, 2014 at 6:53 am

    What do you do with the scoby after each batch?

    • DR on December 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      Hi Cameron;
      You keep it in for the next batch, with fresh water and sugar and tea bags. Just like a goldfish, they will get as big as the container they are in.
      Last week I cut a bunch of “flesh” off a big one and gave it to a friend to start a batch. Both pieces grew back to full size very quickly, and it seemed to energise the old piece and give it more zing. People keep them in baggies in the fridge if you have to stop making tea for a while, and I think they are even shipped as a dried mushroom.
      You can’t go wrong, just stick with the basic recipe until you are confident to experiment.

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