Tag Archives: honey

Jun 101

13 Jun

I originally posted the directions for Jun fermentation as an after thought under my Kombucha 101 recipe, because it’s such a similar process. However, I get a lot more emails about Jun than I do for Kombucha sharing, and everyone has questions about it. So here, by popular demand, is:

JUN 101

  1. Get a glass jar that holds ¾ gallons to 1 gallon of water. You might obtain a free one at your local health food store—their discarded olive or pickle jars will do the trick. You can purchase one for about $10 at a kitchen supply store.
  2. Brew the tea. Pour hot filtered water over 4-5 green tea bags or the equivalent of loose tea. Organic is better because anything added to the tea leaves to kill pests can also kill your culture. Add 1c honey and mix well. Only use honey. That’s what the jun culture is adapted to. Let the sweetened tea sit until the temperature is comfortable to the touch—usually I let it sit overnight. If it’s too hot, you’ll cook your mother: she is alive!
  3. Strain out the tea leaves.
  4. Put your SCOBY mother (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) on the top of the culture. She might float down to the middle of the jar. That’s okay. Add ¼ to ½ cups (I just throw in a good sized “glurp”) of starter jun liquid, from your last batch. You can add even more if you want. Using starter liquid from your last batch helps create a pH environment that is inhospitable to molds, so if you have had mold trouble with other ferments, you might want to use more starter.


    My latest Jun mother, aka SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). This one formed in 8 days.

  5. Cover it securely with a towel. You want it to be able to breathe, but you also don’t want bugs to get in. I suggest securing it with a couple of rubber bands.
  6. Leave it in an out-of-way place, out of direct sunlight for 1-3 weeks. After 1 week, taste it. If it’s too sweet for your liking, then it’s not done. Put it back and let it keep going. If it’s too sour, you let it go too long. It’s still okay, just not as pleasant. Batches will ferment faster in warmer temperatures.
  7. When the batch is done, you will notice that a new SCOBY has formed at the top of your jun liquid. Now you have two mothers. You can save one as a back up, give it away, compost it, or look for other options: if you look online, you’ll find people who have developed recipes for SCOBY (eeeeww). I’ve also heard of people drying them and turning them into fabric.
  8. You can leave your finished jun in a big jar, or you can bottle it. Bottling the jun will help it to build up more bubbles, because you are not constantly opening and closing the same container and the pressure can build a little. If you are bottling, this is also a good time to flavor it. A few pieces of chopped ginger will make an extra fizzy one, or you can add other herbs. I like to use a few dollups of frozen juice concentrate (my favorite lately is pineapple). Edible aloe vera can make an interesting addition to your jun cocktail as well.
  9. Once you have bottled your Jun, you may leave it out for about a day, especially if you have flavored it, to create a secondary ferment which will let the flavors sink in and build up bubbles. Soon, you will want to put it in the fridge, to slow down the fermentation process, or you’ll end up with a super sour and potentially explosive brew (see Cherry Explosion).
  10. Make another batch! If you wait in between, you can store your SCOBY in a little bit of jun liquid, sealed in a jar in the refrigerator. She will lie dormant until you are ready to rock. You can also store her at room temperature in a little liquid, with a towel covering the container. This is what has been referred to by fellow fermenters as a “SCOBY hotel.” If you leave her at room temp, she will continue to grow, so you should check periodically to make sure that there is still liquid in your hotel.

Tips and FAQs:

1. It’s a pretty no-fail recipe, but sometimes things can happen. If you see mold growing on your mother THROW IT OUT! If flies invade, throw it out. But, if there are little brown strands hanging off the bottom of your mother, or if the mother has air bubbles in her, it’s okay.

2. Jun, like kombucha and tibicos, will corrode metal. If you handle your Jun brew or SCOBY intermittently with metal implements such as a fork, or a metal strainer, that’s okay. You do not want it in prolonged contact with metal, or you will both contaminate your SCOBY mother and ruin your metal.  You probably don’t want it in prolonged contact with plastic either.  I can just imagine what creepy chemicals that would leach out.

3. What does it taste like?  My Jun has a ‘lighter’ taste than kombucha, perhaps more astringent.  If you let it go too long, I think it gets even more vinegary than kombucha.  Sorry I can’t be more specific– I don’t have the language of a wine connoisseur.

4. What’s the difference between kombucha and Jun? Kombucha is a culture adapted to fermenting tea and sugar, whereas Jun takes green tea and honey. That’s the big difference.  I’m sure a bioscientist could tell you more specifics about the organisms in there.  I have found that my Jun tolerates cooler brewing temperatures better than kombucha in the winter, and it will grow a thicker SCOBY more rapidly.   Jun also tends to develop more sediment than Kombucha at the bottom of the bottle. This is the lees, in brewers terms.  Lees forms in wines also.  You can drink the sediment or filter it out.

The batch after I bottled most of it.  Notice the cloudiness at the bottom of the bottle, from the sediment.

Marshmallow Marshmallows

23 Feb

Okay, so this recipe is not a fermentation.  I feel that it’s a worthy addition to this blog’s subject matter though, since I’ve touched so frequently on herbalism.  I’ve been curious about the discrepancy between marshmallow the herb and marshmallow candy for some time. Same name, very different thing! A little research will tell you that the original marshmallow candy was, in fact, made with the mucilaginous sap of the marshmallow plant, and the candy was first developed as a kind of ancient variation on the cough drop, since marshmallow herb is soothing to sore throats. The Egyptians combined marshmallow sap with honey, nuts, and grains.

Marshmallow image from riversidegarden.wordpress.com

The French turned marshmallows into a confection in the 1800s, whipping it into egg whites, much like a merengue. Eventually, marshmallow root was replaced by gelatin because of practical concerns, aka, money. Marshmallow root is much more expensive these days than gelatin. The other thing you will find with modern marshmallows is that they are all made with corn syrup: an ingredient I’d rather avoid.  I searched a while to find a marshmallow I’d rather eat, and I came across a recipe at herbmentor.com that combines marshmallow with rose water and honey. This recipe doesn’t use the marshmallow as a binder anymore: gelatin is added to the mix as well. Not having any rose water on hand, I replaced changed the recipe a little and added some rose hips, which I find always go nicely with hibiscus that was already added to these marshmallows. My results were fluffy and a little fruity. Quite good, and very unique!


Marshmallow-Marshmallows with Hibiscus and Rose

Combine 1 c water with 1 T marshmallow root powder, 1 T dried hibiscus, and 1 T rose hips in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let them cool in the fridge. When cool, strain the mixture and add more water so the liquid equals one cup.

Take 1/2 cup of your tea concoction and mix with 1 packet of gelatin in a medium bowl. Mix until well dissolved.

Put the other half in a small saucepan. Combine with 1 c honey, 1 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until your mixture reaches 230-240 degrees Fahrenheit. This is called the soft-ball temperature in candy-making terms. Use a cooking thermometer to keep track. I found that the temp is hard to keep low enough on my gas range– the mixture kept fizzing over, so you may have to babysit the process quite a bit.  A flame spreader might also come in handy to diffuse the heat.  This is the tedious part.

When your mixture is hot enough, slowly combine it with the gelatin mixture, mixing on low, using a whisk attachment on your mixer or hand-blender.  Once they are combined, mix on high for several minutes, until the whole mix is frothy. The color will be brown-pink-creamy.

Line an 8×8 pan with oiled parchment paper. Pour your mixture into the pan, and let it set at room temperature. You could also set them in the fridge. I’ve been storing mine in the refrigerator. If the mix didn’t totally emulsify, like mine, then you might end up with a thin glaze of honey on the bottom of your marshmallows.


A few days later: Marshmallows half eaten!


Benefits of Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis):

Marshmallow root is primarily wonderful as a demulcent, meaning that it creates a soothing film over mucus membranes.  This makes it useful for conditions like bronchitis, ulcers, or inflammations of the mouth.  It can be used on the skin for conditions like boils or abscesses as well.  Both the root and the leaf can be used.

Jun Bread in January

6 Jan

Months ago, I was very excited to read a fellow blogger’s creation of kombucha bread, adapted from a beer bread recipe from the Upslope Brewing Company. I’ve been meaning to try it ever since, and I finally got around to the task yesterday. I made an adaptation of her adaptation: thank you to Tea Foodie for your post!



Jun Bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.

Whisk together:

2 c white flour

1 c whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp salt

3 & 3/4 tsp baking powder

Mix in:

1/2 c honey

2 c Jun (see my Jun recipe for details under Kombucha 101)

Transfer your dough to the pan, and bake for 45 min. Remove the pan from the oven, and carefully drizzle

1/8-1/4 cups of melted butter

on top of the loaf.  Careful– it will be puffy and the butter can easily drip down the sides of the pan, making a mess.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Once done, let the bread cool a few minutes before you remove it from the pan.

I’m sure this bread would be great hot, but I baked it right before we went out for an enormous Italian dinner.  I got a hold of the bread this morning for breakfast, however, and enjoyed it with a slab of Ronnybrook Dairy cinnamon butter on top.  The already butter-glazed bread barely needed anything on it, but the additional butter made it extra extravagant.  It’s a sweet bread, and the honey comes through strongly.  Next time I’d like to add raisins, currants, or nuts before I bake it.

Old Ways Herbal: Juliette Abigail Carr, RH (AHG)

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