Tag Archives: starter recipe

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.

Tibicos!

30 Apr

My newest SCOBY is Tibicos, or water kefir.  I am loving water kefir because it is relatively fast, it makes a nice milder brew that tends to be easier on the belly than kombucha, and it is very versitile.

There are many variations on this recipe, but here are some starter instructions for water Kefir.  I adapted this recipe from yemoos.com, which is a great resource but also a little overwhelming.

1.  Obtain the tibicos culture.  I “adopted” mine from a lovely site called yemoos.com.  If you live in NYC, you could adopt one from me.

2. Put together in a 1 to 2 quart sized glass jar:

1/4 cup tibicos grains

Here’s what tibicos looks like

4 cups water  filtered or spring water is best– if you use tap water treated with chlorine, then you should let it sit out for a day to let the chlorine evaporate.

4-6 T (about 1/4 c) of sugar.  White, brown molasses, whole cane, or maple syrup all work well.  Tibicos needs both sugar and minerals, so if you use all white sugar, you should definitely add some dried fruit.

small handful of dried fruit (optional).  The fruit adds flavor and provides the culture with minerals as well as sugar.  Dried apricots and raisins work particularly well.  Make sure that the fruit is unsulphered.

a wedge of lemon (optional).  Lemon can help balance the pH of the fermentation.  If you are having a hard time with your culture or waking it up after a period of dormancy, you would do well to add the lemon.  Make sure it’s organic, or if it’s not, then take off the rind.  Don’t squeeze the lemon, just put it in.  It will slowly release it’s stuff into the culture over time.

3.  Stir it all up.  It is helpful to do this a couple times a day, but not essential.

4.  Cover with a cloth, so the culture can breathe but so flies and dust can’t get in.

My latest batch brewing. Note: this is not the basic recipe, so it’s darker than this recipe will look, and I’m doing a double batch here (2 quarts).

5.  Wait 2 days.  Then taste it.  If it’s too sweet for your liking, leave it another day.  It should be milder than kombucha, but it often takes on an almost bitter flavor.

6.  Strain it.  I use a metal tea strainer on top of a funnel, and strain it straight into the bottle I’m going to use.  Beware:  tibicos will corrode metal if it stays in contact with the metal for a long period of time, so I’m always quick to clean the strainer straight after this step.  Once you’ve done this, your grains are free to start a new batch.  If you don’t start a new batch right away, store your grains in the fridge mixed up with some sugar water.  They should keep well for about a month.

6.  Bottle it.  I like to use Grolsch beer bottles, or glass screwtop bottles from seltzer water or wine.  Leave the bottled brew out at room temperature for another day to allow it to build up some bubbles.  If you dare, leave it for two.  If you leave it too long, then the bottle will explode when you open it, and you’ll end up with a mess+ only half of your brew.

7.  Refrigerate, and drink!

Kombucha 101

25 Apr

 Kombucha was my first fermentation experiment, and I have already spread my love of making it to many other folks already.  Whenever I give away a new SCOBY, I offer this set of directions for people.

  1. Get a 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 boiling hot water over 4-5 black 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 sugar.  Plain, cheap, white sugar.  Let it 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.  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 kombucha liquid.  This could either be from your last batch or from some plain flavored live active cultures kombucha from the store.
  4. Cover it securely with a towel.   You want it to be able to breathe, but you also don’t want bugs to get in.
  5. Leave it in an out-of-way place, out of direct sunlight for 1-2 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.
  6. When the batch is done, you will notice that a new SCOBY has formed at the top of your kombucha.  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 (eeeewwww).  I’ve also heard of people drying them and turning them into fabric.
  7. You can leave your finished kombucha in a big jar, or you can bottle it.  Bottling the kombucha 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.  I like to use a few dollups of frozen juice concentrate, or if you ever see Jamaican woodroot tonic, that’s delicious in it.    Edible aloe vera can make an interesting addition to your kombucha cocktail as well.
  8. Make another batch!  If you wait in between, you can store your SCOBY in a little bit of kombucha liquid in the refrigerator.   She will lie dormant until you are ready to rock.

P.S.  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!

Variation:   Jun.   If you think that Kombucha is mysterious, check out Jun.  I’ve looked online and nobody agrees as to what it is.  That being said, I got my culture from a friend, and the instructions are identical to that of Kombucha, only you use green tea and honey instead of black tea and sugar.  It’s got a lighter taste to it and a little more sediment.  Be extra careful sealing up the top:  I’ve had more problems with fly infestation in my Jun!

 

Healthy Kombucha  SCOBY growing on top of the batch.

Old Ways Herbal

Vermont Herb School, Clinical Herbalist, Plant Remedies, & Herbal Farmcraft Wisdom.

thesoporificcabbage

A great WordPress.com site

Naturally DIY

Homemade solutions for healthy living

Brooklyn Alewife

a record of home brewing experiments

Conscious Baby

Sessions, classes, & resources for the first two years

Tea Foodie [by Zanitea]

a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes

Adventures in Local Food

A blog of the Food Action Committee of the Ecology Action Centre

Urban Herbwifery

your source for herbal wisdom, green living tidbits, and natural pregnancy and labor information

martinezyoga

Salvador Martinez, NYC, RYT 500

nourish

Learning to live healthy while living with Fibromyalgia.

%d bloggers like this: