5 Kombucha Recipes You Must Try

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There is so much more to a brewing a satisfying batch of Kombucha than a scoby, some tea and some great flavor ideas like the ones listed below.  Use the first fermentation to get a great base for a finished product – my recipe has been refined over time to yield a consistent brew.  Although invariable conditions are ideal, tasting at the end of the first fermentation is critical, regardless of whether a second fermentation is to take place.  This takes into account factors such as weather, temperature, and location as well as tea blend, scoby health and age, and other inevitable variances.

So flavors.  Second fermentation.  I recently came across this article that offered some great flavor combinations as well as valuable insights into brewing techniques – definitely worth a read.  Other suggestions? Be sure to use natural fruit juices with as few ingredients as possible, organic is best.  Be aware of pH levels of fresh fruits as these will affect fermentation and may result in exploding brews or non-carbonated ones.  Use whole, fresh herbs whenever possible – dried ones become more ‘generic’ tasting as they age and are harder to remove before consumption.

Blueberry Lavender

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 4 x 8″ lavender sprigs and stocks, cut in half
  • 90 ml natural blueberry juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

Mango Ginger

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 2″ knob of ginger, peeled, thin sliced, cut to fit in bottle
  • 90 ml strained natural mango juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

Strawberry Peppercorn

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp whole pink peppercorns
  • 90 ml strained natural strawberry juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

Apple Mint

  • Each of 8 x pint jars: 
  • 1/3 granny smith apple- peeled, cored, sliced
  • 6 fresh torn mint leaves
  • 60 ml natural apple juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave 1/2″ to 3/4″ at top

Cherry-mary Pomegranite

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 1 x 3″ rosemary sprig
  • 45 ml natural cherry juice (organic)
  • 45 ml natural pomegranite juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

 There’s wiggle room in any recipe and there’s no exceptions here. Be as food-safe as fermentation allows, follow your tastebuds, and have fun. Happy brewing. 

Thanksgiving – This is One Turkey You’ll Think Twice About Preparing

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Happy Thanksgiving

If you’ve never heard of Morton Thompson’s Turkey, you’re about to.  Every Christmas and Thanksgiving and pretty much any opportunity to talk turkey and stuffing, I bring up this bird.  The original recipe as I first read it is great, but I’ve included a printable version that might be easier for shopping and preparing.

You might ask, “But is it worth the trouble?”  I would  answer with a resounding, “Yes!”  The turkey is as tender as you could imagine, and the stuffing is pretty incredible.  I know, your stuffing recipe is the best, but you really should give this one a try.

Morton Thompson's Turkey
Definitely worth the effort. Substitute ingredients as close as possible.
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
  1. 1 turkey - 7 to 9 kg (16 to 20 lb)
Basting Broth
  1. 1 bay leaf
  2. 1 tsp paprika
  3. 1/2 tsp coriander
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. 4 cups water
  6. 1 cup cider (added after turning off simmer)
Bowl One (medium-sized)
  1. 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  2. 1 orange, peeled, seeded, and diced
  3. 1 twenty-oz can, crushed pineapple, drained
  4. rind of one lemon, grated
  5. 2 five-oz cans water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
  6. 3 tbsp chopped preserved ginger
  7. 1 cup cider
Bowl 2 (large-sized)
  1. 2 tsp powdered mustard
  2. 2 tsp caraway seeds
  3. 3 tsp celery seeds
  4. 2 tsp poppy seeds
  5. 2 1/2 tsp oregano
  6. 1 crushed bay leaf
  7. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1/2 tsp mace
  9. 4 tbsp parsley, well-chopped
  10. 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  11. 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  12. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  13. 6 large ribs celery, chopped
  14. 4 large onions, peeled and chopped
  15. 1/2 tsp marjoram
  16. 1/2 tsp summer savory
  17. 1 tsp poultry seasoning
Bowl 3 (really-big-sized)
  1. 6 cups fresh bread crumbs, or 3 packages bread crumbs
  2. 3/4 pound ground veal
  3. 1/2 pound ground fresh pork or sausage
  4. 1/4 pound butter, softened
  1. 2 egg yolks
  2. 1 tsp powdered mustard
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  4. 1 tbsp onion juice
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  7. 1 tsp lemon juice
  8. Enough sifted flour to make a stiff paste
  1. Rinse the turkey, inside and out, and then season the same with salt and pepper.
  2. In a stewpan put the chopped gizzard and the neck and heart. Add the remaining basting broth ingredients along with salt to taste. Let this simmer slightly while you prepare the dressing.
  3. Mix each bowl thoroughly. "...mix it well. Mix it with your hands. Mix it until your forearms and wrists ache. Then mix it some more. Now toss it enough so that it isn't any longer a doughy mass."
  4. Turn oven on high, as hot as it goes. Really hot.
  5. Stuff bird. Prepare basting Paste.
  6. Place turkey in oven and brown evenly all over. No to worry about cooking it, just make it look picture perfect.
  7. Remove turkey from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.
  8. While still hot, "...paint it completely all over with the paste. Put it back in the oven. The paste will have set in a few minutes. Drag it out again. Paint every nook and cranny of it once more. Put it back in the oven. Keep doing this until you haven't any more paste left."
  9. Remove the basting broth from the simmer but keep warm. Baste the bird every 15 minutes with the basting broth.
  10. Internal temperature should be 160°F. Remove from oven, remove crust, cover and rest.
  11. "You do not have to be a carver to eat this turkey; speak harshly to it and it will fall apart."
  12. Enjoy.
  1. The original recipe suggests flipping the turkey a few times during roasting: "After the bird has cooked about an hour and a half turn it on its stomach, back in the air, and let it cook in that position until the last fifteen minutes, when you restore it to its back again. That is, unless you use a rack. If you use a rack don't turn it on its back until the last half hour." I prefer to just let it do its thing and baste only.
Adapted from from "Joe, the Wounded Tennis Player" by Morton Thompson
Surfing-Chef http://www.surfing-chef.com/

Kombucha – My Kind of Homebrew

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The Kombucha Chronicles – Part One


I’ll be the first to admit that I jumped on the Kombucha bandwagon – like most people – quite recently.  As it was with my mullet, I was a bit late joining the fad, but my dedication to the art and execution have remained unwavering once becoming hooked.  Unlike my mullet however, my partner likes my kombucha and it remains a socially acceptable topic of discussion and display.  The Kombucha Chronicles  document my exploration into the world of SCOBYs and mothers and probiotics.  Comments and suggestions are welcome: the little time I’ve spent brewing and reading about brewing is all because of comments and posts I’ve read online.  I owe my biggest thanks to JL, a co-worker who gave me my first mother and put my fermented tea train in motion.  She continues to make the consistently best Kombucha I’ve tried, and sets the bar high for my own brews.

This installment of the Kombucha Chronicles will outline my basic recipe and procedure.  If you want to read the pins and posts I’ve based my bottled fiascos on, here’s my repository:  My Kombucha Pins.  Additional links in the comments below are appreciated.  Future posts will highlight some variations on the basic recipe and technique for brewing Kombucha outlined below.  I do recommend reading through the whole recipe and procedure thoroughly before any brewing commences, especially if it’s your first time.  Furthermore, I would suggest reading through this Food Renegade post by Kristen Michaelis – this was my first introduction to Kombucha and is the genesis for my recipe.  Have fun.

Basic Kombucha
How to make Kombucha, the double fermentation process. Yields about 8 pints in 7 to 10 days.
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
For the Tea
  1. 1 large glass jar - at least 1 gallon
  2. 2 cups (500ml) fresh, filtered, non-tap water
  3. 1 cup white sugar
  4. 6 bags black tea or
  5. 1 tbsp loose leaf tea
First Fermentation
  1. 3 qrts (3lt) fresh, filtered, non-tap water - slightly chilled
  2. 1 Kombucha mother, aka SCOBY
  3. 2 cups minimum previous brew, mothers' home liquid
Second Fermentation
  1. 1 quart mason jar and lid
  2. 8 pint mason jars and lids
  3. 2 cups fruit juice, no sugar added, no pulp or solids
  1. Read notes on sanitation and safety below. IMPORTANT.
Make Tea/First Fermentation
  1. Boil distilled water, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Add tea bags, let steep 20 minutes, stirring 2 or three times
  3. Strain tea into gallon brewing vessel and add about 3/4 of chilled water to cool tea
  4. It is important that the diluted tea is not warmer than room temperature
  5. Add liqueur from mothers' home (reserved from previous batch of Kombucha) to gallon jar
  6. Top jar with remaining chilled water to within 1.5 to 2 inches from top of jar, at shoulder
  7. Gently place mother on top, brownest side down
  8. Cover jar with a clean towel or cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band or twine
  9. Let rest in a dark place at room temperature for 7 to 10 days
  10. Check periodically that there is no mold growing, that the SCOBY is just a SCOBY
Second Fermention
  1. Use a straw to sample the brew. After 5 or six days it might be getting close - bubbles and nice balance of sweet and sour. Usally minimum 7 days.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup (65ml) of fruit juice into each of 8 pint jars
  3. Remove mother to quart jar, cover with fermentation liquid. Cover and refrigerate for your next brew.
  4. Distrubute fermented tea evenly between the pint jars, leaving at least 3/4 of an inch at the top
  5. Don't fear the solids at the bottom - add some of them to each jar at this point too. They can be filtered later if desired.
  6. Cover each jar with lids, let rest in a dark place at room temperature for another 2 days
  7. Do not shake the jars, the lids should not click when pressed, they should be firm
  8. Place in the refrigerator and let chill. Consume at your leisure.
  1. There is such a thing as too clean - not too sanitized, but too clean. Ensure everything is cleaned and sanitized with soap and heat etc. For sure. However, do not use any utensils or vessels that have not been rinsed with vinegar. Keep a little bottle of apple cider vinegar handy. Any equipment used at any point during a brew should be rinsed with it. Soap and chemicals can cause serious harm or even kill the SCOBY - we want Mother alive and well. I try to avoid plain white vinegar and stick to the apple cider variety. A quick swirl in clean jars, brief splash over utensils, brisk rinse of my hands before handling Mother - it all helps.
  2. Avoid using metal where possible, as well as all clays and ceramics. The boiling of distilled or filtered water is okay in stainless steel pots as there no long term exposure to acids. Use only glass for the first and second fermentation processes, and try to stick to wooden utensils.
  1. Keep in mind you are fermenting a liquid. Take care at every phase to deter any foreign debris or microorganisms that mean you harm or may lead to hazardous molds or bacteria. Best rule of thumb, "If in doubt, throw it out" and start again. Poisoning yourself or others is not worth the risk.
  2. It is also important to note that pressure may cause explosions - shards of exploded jars embedded in walls are not unheard of. Ensure your jars are not chipped or cracked before using. I usually wrap my second fermentation in a towel just in case. Don't shake the jars. I would even suggest wearing eye protection when first learning about the second fermentation. Until you get to know your brews and your recipes.
Adapted from The Food Renegade
Adapted from The Food Renegade
Surfing-Chef http://www.surfing-chef.com/