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Bacterial Elixirs: Kombucha, Kvass, and GB


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#1 xlcor

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Posted 22 August 2020 - 04:56 PM

Hello friends. I'd like to present some experiences I've had growing my favorite, legal, entheogens: Kombucha, Kvass, and Ginger Bug (GB). I'll describe my recipes, modifications, experiments, and how they've affected me.

 

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea. The fermenting agent is a SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, which is also called a mother of kombucha. The SCOBY develops an immune system as it develops. A critical part of this immune system is the acidity of its media; a starter tea of kombucha is vital to brewing more kombucha, since adding the starter tea creates the acidic environment for the SCOBY as it begins to ferment a new medium.

 

Kombucha has a vinegary taste that develops with age. It can be brewed with any kind of camellia sinensis based tea: jasmine, black, green, white, oolong, pu-erh, etc. are all fair game. I've found that black tea bases are the most common, but I prefer jasmine tea bases. There's some debate over whether using a green-tea base is kombucha or jun, or whether there needs to be further modifications before it's jun.

 

Personally, I like kombucha for its unique taste, unparalleled energy highs, and its GI benefits. I've almost completely remediated my irritable bowels through regular consumption of kombucha. In all possible ways, kombucha is that fucking go-juice.

 

Recipe:

  • Ingredients
    • 1 SCOBY
    • 1 cup starter tea
    • 1 gal of water
    • 6 tsp tea
    • 1 cup sugar
    • Ice cubes for temperature control
    • 1 1-gal container
  • Preparation
    • Bring water to boil
    • Steep 6 tsp of tea in boiling water. I steep each tsp for five minutes apiece, typically in batches of 2-3 tsp at a time (depending on what I can find at the time, I'm very disorganized.)
    • Stir sugar into steeped tea
    • Stir ice into sweetened tea until it's room temperature
    • Inoculate sweetened tea with SCOBY and starter tea
  • Maintenance
    • Store inoculated tea in container, with a piece of paper towel fit closely over the top. Do not close the container! Kombucha requires air.
    • Start tasting daily after about a week. Once it tastes good, it's done.
    • Bottle fermented kombucha into mason jars and consume as desired. Fermentation continues during this stage as well; it is called the secondary fermentation.
  • Secondary fermentation modifications
    • 3 rose hips per quart
    • 1 tbs lavender per quart
    • 1 tsp peppermint, 1 tsp spearmint per quart
    • 1 tsp turmeric per quart
    • Fruits (I like sour tangerines!)

 

Kvass

Kvass is a fermented beet drink. It's actually a secondary fermentation of kombucha supplemented with a bunch of beet. The resulting drink is like a salty, earthy, beet-y soda. I really, really recommend using golden beets for kvass; the flavor is much milder. Kvass with purple beets is an acquired taste for me. I'm looking forward to trying it with white beets!

Recipe:

  • Ingredients
    • 3 large beets
    • 1 quart kombucha
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 quart storage container
  • Preparation
    • Dice beets into chunks
    • Put diced beets into container
    • Fill the rest of the container with kombucha
    • Add salt
  • Maintenance
    • Let rest undisturbed for three to five days, depending on taste. This will be developed largely through trial and error.
  • Modifications
    • I really, really recommend brewing a kombucha with all of the non-fruit modifications recommended in the previous section, and then using that kombucha as the base for a kvass. Golden beet kvass made from lavender/rose/mint/turmeric kombucha is stunning.
  • Interesting experiments
    • I suspect almost any root might be amenable to a kvass fermentation. I intend to try with carrots, turnips, and potatoes, although I don't have high hopes.

 

Ginger Bug & Ginger Bug Sodas

Ginger bug is a bacterial elixir made from the soil microbes found on the skin of a ginger root. The ginger bug itself is a wort which can be developed into ginger ale, or it can be used as a base for various other nutriceutical sodas. Highly recommended! Interestingly, ginger bugs are not used to brew ginger beer; ginger beer plants are used to brew ginger beer. Go figure!

 

Recipe:

  • Ingredients
    • 3 tsp & 5 x 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 quart storage container
  • Preparation
    • Pour water into storage container
    • Mix 3 tsp grated ginger and 1/2 cup white sugar into water
  • Maintenance
    • Cover storage container with paper towel. Ginger bug requires air to breathe!
    • Let sit for five days, each day stirring in another 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • Soda recipes
    • Apple cider soda
      • 1 quart freshly prepared apple juice
      • 2 tsp cinnamon
      • 2 tsp nutmeg
      • Boil all together, cool to room temp, inoculate with 1/2 cup ginger bug.
    • Grape soda
      • 1 quart freshly prepared grape juice
      • Inoculate with 1/2 cup ginger bug

 

I'm especially fond of the grape soda! It tastes great, almost like a dry wine soda, but it will induce a heft bowel movement within half an hour of consumption.

 

Unfortunately I don't have a ginger ale recipe :(


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#2 Myc

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Posted 22 August 2020 - 07:46 PM

Ha! I make my own ginger-beer with a ginger bug.

My recipe was developed for proprietary reasons. I moonlight at a brewery / cider making facility.

The key to a good beverage is choosing fresh citrus fruit. Playing with the proportion of lemon to lime juice will really reveal the overall character of the recipe. I also recommend not peeling the ginger - just wash it and leave the skin intact.


Edited by Myc, 22 August 2020 - 07:50 PM.


#3 xlcor

xlcor

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 05:02 AM

Ha! I make my own ginger-beer with a ginger bug.

My recipe was developed for proprietary reasons. I moonlight at a brewery / cider making facility.

The key to a good beverage is choosing fresh citrus fruit. Playing with the proportion of lemon to lime juice will really reveal the overall character of the recipe. I also recommend not peeling the ginger - just wash it and leave the skin intact.

Oh really? That's super cool to hear! I was promised up and down that it wasn't possible so I've just left that dream to die. Ginger beer is one of my favorite drinks, though, so you've given me hope.



#4 Myc

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 11:05 AM

Make the ginger bug as you've described. I used this as a guide initially:

https://nourishedkit...com/ginger-bug/

 

The ginger ale wort is made of:

Water

Fresh ginger root - skin on

Cane sugar - or something with low molasses - piloncillo is pretty tasty

Salt

Spices and citrus zest from the citrus peel

Fresh lemon juice

Fresh lime juice

Ginger bug - decant some liquid from the culture

 

Once the wort has boiled and the spice additions have been made, I load it into EZ Cap bottles and "pitch" the ginger bug into the wort which has cooled to 84*F. Let that sit on a kitchen counter for a couple of days and you'll start to see carbonation. You may have to "burp" the bottles to prevent over-pressure and eruption at opening. As the beverage ferments it will "dry out" since the wild yeast are consuming the sugars in solution and converting them to alcohol. It takes awhile to learn when to put things in the refrigerator to slow the fermentation process - but it never stops unless you somehow kill the yeast - so this beverage has a short shelf-life.


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