As I’ve posted previously (Continuous Kombuchaness ), I heart kombucha.
But every once in a while (especially since I’m the only one in my family who will drink it), I have to take a little break from brewing the ‘booch.
Shortly after my last kombucha post, I was preparing for an extended work trip and had a bunch of other stuff going on, so I bottled up the kombucha I had already brewed and put the SCoBY up in the pantry (in a jar with some starter tea) for storage. (As mentioned previously, and contrary to common knowledge, the SCoBY is not the most critical factor in brewing kombucha. It’s actually the starter tea, which contains all the yeast and bacteria necessary for making kombucha. The SCoBY is sort of like the house that the bacteria builds to live in – so you can make kombucha without a SCoBY: the bacteria will just build one as part of the brewing process!)
Sorry, I got sidetracked.
Anyway, I set my kombucha brewing aside for a few months, but the other day I got a hankering for a glass of crisp, tart, sparkling kombucha.
I pulled my big ol’ jar of SCoBYs and starter tea out of the pantry. Inside were a couple of SCoBYs that had gotten SUPER FAT while they were hanging out in the cupboard:
Actually, the above SCoBY pictured above is so fat that it’s technically two: these suckers grow and divide constantly (which is why, if you know a kombucha brewer, they are always more than happy to give you a SCoBY/starter tea – we don’t know what to do with all these creatures!).
I decided to use the above-pictured SCoBY to start my new batch of ‘booch (though, as the sake of being redundant, it is not necessary – I could just use some of the starter tea I’ve saved, or some kombucha from the store, for that matter).
There was, however, another fat SCoBY still hanging out in the SCoBY hotel (as it’s called). It was kind of sad-looking and ugly, and even though this has no impact whatsoever on the brewing process, I decided to sacrifice it in the name of science.
Now, I’ve done a lot of things with old SCoBYs. I’ve made SCoBY fruit leather (I wasn’t yet blogging when I did this, so stay tuned, I’ll do a SCoBY fruit leather blog at some point – the kids love it!!); I’ve made SCoBY facial masks (meh); I’ve chopped it up and added it to smoothies.
But I’ve never fed it to chickens before! So I decided to try an experiment to see if chickens would eat SCoBY. (“Because, SCIENCE!!” as my son would say.)
So I took the ugly old, dead-yeast covered SCoBY, and I chopped it up:
Now, let me tell you something: chopping up a SCoBY is not for the faint of heart.
There is something weirdly visceral about a SCoBY. The only thing I can compare it to is a placenta. So, imagine chopping up a placenta, and you’ll pretty much know what chopping up a SCoBY is like. (When I make SCoBY fruit leather, I have to puree it in a the VitaMix – now THAT is a terrifying experience.)
Anywho (man, I am DISTRACTIBLE today).
I took the chopped up SCoBY outside and tossed some in the chicken run to see if anyone was interested in it:
It’s hard to tell from this pic, but they went for it! They didn’t descend upon it the same way they do with mac & cheese, or bacon (two of their favorite treats – I know, chickens are weird) but they did eat it!
My dog, however, was not interested:
With that little science experiment done (every time I say the word science, my son’s voice echoes in my head: “SCIENCE!!” He gets really excited about science.)
So I went back inside to start my ‘booch batch, which was the whole point of this post to begin with.
I set aside some of the starter tea (in a wine glass because I’m fancy like that).
And brewed some fresh jasmine green tea.
I’ve made kombucha with a lot of different teas over the years and I’ve discovered I don’t care for kombucha made with black tea nearly as much as I do kombucha made with green tea. It’s milder and mellower (it’s also somewhat similar to jun tea, I hear, though I haven’t tried it. Jun is made with a different bacteria/yeast strain and honey instead of sugar. I’d like to try that someday, but I really don’t need any more projects, so the kombucha is just fine for now).
Once the tea was cooled, I added sugar and watered it down to the correct ratio (actual kombucha-making instructions are here: Making Kombucha (I’ve been doing this long enough I just go by feel, but there is an actual recipe). Then I mixed in the starter tea from the fancy wine glass, added the completely unnecessary SCoBY and forgot about it for a few days!
I checked on it this morning and it’s already growing another SCoBY (“SCIENCE!!”).
Looks like the chickens will be having another SCoBY snack soon. 😛