Archive for 2017

Kombucha for digestion

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Over the last year or so I’ve been making Kombucha (about a gallon per week) and I’ve enjoyed the process along the way. I began doing this to avoid the $2.34 per liter cost of kombucha when buying in bulk at costco. Now my cost is about 50 cents per gallon (for sugar and tea). I first tried ordering a scoby online but it was too hot here in September (in Phoenix, AZ) and I think it died in the mailbox on a 118 degree day. Then I found someone nearby on craigslist who I could buy a live scoby from.

I actually had to buy a scoby twice because the first time I was trying to use raw sugar and the molasses contained in it caused the kombucha to smell like puke, especially after a few weeks. Since then I’ve been strictly using white sugar and haven’t had trouble.

Kombucha ready to harvest

Kombucha ready to harvest

My weekly process goes something like this:

  1. Make about a gallon of black tea (I use 4 bags) with 2 cups of white sugar mixed in
  2. Wait until tea cools or put ice in it to cool it to room temperature
  3. Get 6 glass quart jars out, and a bowl for holding the scooby while harvesting kombucha
  4. Take the scoby out into the bowl from one of the gallon jars of kombucha, and peel off any old layers of scoby. I used to throw this away, though I had thought of making a foot scrub as described in Kombucha Revolution. But this time I fed the extra scoby to my worms.
  5. Pour the Kombucha into smaller jars and seal them
  6. Rinse out the gallon jar before filling it about halfway with sweet black tea
  7. Add about half a quart of kombucha back in before gently placing a scoby on top.
  8. Cover the lid with a dry paper towel secured by a rubber band. This allows the kombucha to breathe while keeping flies (and kids) out.

The small jars contain kombucha which is becoming carbonated in the second phase of the process. I usually leave them on the counter a day or two before putting 1-2 jars in the fridge at a time. I like mine cold, but you could drink it without refrigeration.

Harvested Kombucha in the quart jars and extra scoby in the bowl to feed my worms.

You can open it up and stick a straw in it to taste it every couple days to tell when it’s done, but I noticed that it always tasted sweeter after being in the fridge so I stopped doing that and just try to keep to a schedule (+/- a day or two).

When you procure a scoby from craigslist or from amazon, the first batch will be smaller based on the size of the scoby and how much kombucha starter you get. But a healthy scoby can double in size over a week or two depending on the temperature (In the summer it grows faster than the winter at my house).

Vermiculture for kids

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

I decided to start composting using worms to speed things up and reduce the smell and flies, and I wanted to start with a controlled environment so I chose to start with an indoor worm farm, aka vermiculture.

First I ordered the worm “house”, then I was looking at purchasing worms online. I was planning on purchasing the “Uncle Jims” brand worms, but then I found the Arizona Worm Farm about a half an hour from my house. I planned a trip after getting my vermi-hut (so I would have a place to put the worms when I brought them home) and took a couple of my kids with me to get them.

After bringing home the worms, I setup the worm “house” and soaked the coco-core which came with it in water, then my kids took over and it was the best I could do to keep up with them while reading the directions in the provided manual that came with the VermiHut.

I knew the worms would be an attraction but I was pleasantly surprised at how hands on my kids got. I barely got to see the worms because they were so into it. 🙂

vermiculture for kids

My kids took over the setup of our new VermiHut.