Tag Archives: SCOBY

Strawberry Jun in June: Summer flavor mmm!

21 Jun

Happy Solstice!

 

I have been fermenting away but too busy to write about it very much lately. I have to confess:  with flavoring I can get rather boring because once I hit on a flavor winner, I tend to make that one over and over until I get sick of it.  This month is the month of strawberries, probably my favorite fruit.  So, naturally, Strawberry Jun is the way to go.  The recipe can’t get any simpler, either:

 

English: A home-grown Camarosa cultivar strawberry

 

 

Fresh Strawberry Jun

 

1.  Brew your jun.  (See my jun 101 post.)

2.  When the jun is ready for consumption, fill a serving bottle  1/4 full of fresh, quartered strawberries.  Cover the chopped strawberries with jun to the top of the bottle.  (You could bottle your jun in portable pint sized containers for on-the-go, or make a larger batch of flavored stuff in 1-2 quart sizes to keep in the fridge.)

3.  If you are feeling more adventurous, add about 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger per pint.

4.  Put it in the refrigerator.

5.  Wait at least one day for the flavors to merge, and then consume!  You can eat the strawberries straight out of the brew.  They make an attractive addition to the bottle.

I don’t have a real picture to show you, because I CONSUMED IT ALL!  This is my problem with strawberries.  They have a very short shelf life in this house.  In fact, when I’m chopping them for a prepared item, half of them are in my belly before they hit the bowl.

P.S. Two days later, I found a hideaway in the fridge. Here’s your pic!  

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Healthy Jun Mother

4 Mar

I’m sending a fresh Jun mother out to Kathleen in Missouri. Here is the SCOBY in her batch of Jun just before I packed her up. Notice the old SCOBY is still floating low in the brew. Jun tends to make more sediment than Kombucha, which you can also see at the bottom of the jar. The brown stuff hanging down from the SCOBY is strands of yeast, to my knowledge. This can be consumed in the beverage or filtered out. The new Jun Mother is floating at the very top of the brew.

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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.

    20130613-231712.jpg

    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.

Kombucha: Getting the perfect fizz.

18 Sep

I could write up a list of troubleshooting tips for kombucha, but if someone else has already done an exemplary job, why should I bother?   Len Porzio’s site is a great reference for kombucha makers who want a more consistent batch, complete with a handy trouble-shooting chart.  I have certainly run across a lot of variation in my brews, but I never disliked a batch enough to put so much thought into brewing time for the tea and such….  Yes, my connoisseurship is lacking.

Happy brewing!

1000 views, and SCOBY goes global!

13 Sep

Yesterday, Brooklyn Alewife reached a milestone:  this blog has been viewed 1,000 times.  That might happen to some people in a few days or in one day, I don’t know.  For me it took a few months, and the number feels significant.

Meanwhile, my SCOBY has become a world traveller.  The first great adventure for SCOBY mother of kombucha was a few years ago:  my friend Monica brought her to Argentina.  I believe there are still pieces of this mother haunting Buenos Aires, even though Monica has since returned to NYC.  Last week was a big one, though.  Congratulations to Annie who adopted a Jun SCOBY which I shipped to Iceland, and Naz, who flew a kombucha mother from New York to Turkey.  In honor of milestones and worldly cultures, I offer you a picture of my current batches.  These were both taken on September 10– what with travelling I let them go pretty long, so they are both on the vinegary side.  It’s interesting to see the two ferments next to each other:  you can really see the difference in the brews.  Note how I started them both on the same day.  The scummy looking stuff hanging off the kombucha SCOBY is yeast strands.  That Jun mother sure did take over the jar, just as she seems to be planning to take over the world!Image:

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Confetti SCOBY

5 Aug

I recently decided to use beets and sugar in a ferment with my tibicos grains. The resulting drink tastes just like beet kvass, so I wasn’t all that excited about it, but the fun part is that my grains got dyed a wild purple-red color! Here’s a shot of my recently beet-dyed tibicos mixed in with the rest:

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Kombucha tips: Is it good, or do I throw it?

10 Jul

A very moldy SCOBY (I didn’t grow this).  Credits to http://www.kombuchakamp.com

There have been many times over the years in my kombucha making process where I’ve come across a weird looking SCOBY.  Many variations occur within the normal growth process.  The main question is:  is it mold?  Holes in your SCOBY are not mold.   Air pockets are also normal and healthy.  In searching for a good illustration of what’s good and bad, I came across this website:

http://www.kombuchakamp.com/2011/01/kombucha-mold-information-and-pictures.html

They had some tips in there that I hadn’t heard of before.  So this is a great read if you are having any kind of compromises in your kombucha growing.   That being said, I’ve found that most of the time, it’s pretty hard to mess up.

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