Kombucha - care
Kombucha is a friendly symbiosis of vinegar sticks and yeast. It appeared in our area back in the last century, and for the first time they began to cultivate it in the countries of the East.
It has several names - Japanese, Manchu or sea mushroom, fango, kombucha, tea kvass or tea jellyfish. Its infusion is a wonderful drink that perfectly quenches thirst, strengthens health and gives additional strength.
To obtain the mushroom infusion, place the mushroom in an absolutely clean and sterile three-liter jar and keep it constantly covered with gauze. Periodically, the mushroom must be washed with warm water. Feed it every two days with infused weak tea (preferably green) with sugar at the rate of: 2 tbsp. l. granulated sugar in a 3-liter jar.
Insist at a temperature of 25-30 degrees for 1-2 weeks. During this time, yeast fungi will actively ferment sugar, converting it into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and various types of acetic acid bacteria will convert alcohol into various acids, enzymes and other useful substances.
Medusomycete (this is the scientific name for kombucha ) looks like a thick film of white-yellow-brown-pink color floating on the surface of a nutritious liquid - infusion of sweet tea. The sugars in the liquid can be different (glucose, sucrose, fructose), the type of tea does not matter either.
The researchers noticed that Medusomycete practically does not consume the components of the tea infusion (aromatic, tannin and other substances), but is extremely sensitive to its absence. For example, without tea, it does not synthesize ascorbic acid, which is necessary for the life of kombucha.
If favorable conditions are created for the kombucha, then on the fourth or fifth day of growth it begins to produce a pleasant-tasting and very healthy drink reminiscent of strong, highly carbonated kvass ("tea kvass" or "kombucha"). Bubbles of carbon dioxide with which the drink is saturated and acetic acid are jointly produced by yeast and acetic acid bacteria. Tea and some types of yeast give a specific aroma to the drink.
Instructions for making a kombucha drink
- First of all, it is necessary to determine the capacity in which the mushroom will be located. Usually a 3-liter jar is used at home. If possible, it is advisable to take the jar with a wide neck (do not use metal utensils for preparing and storing the drink).
- We prepare not very strong sweet tea (about 5 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of black or green tea infusions per 1 liter of water), pleasant to the taste. It is recommended to brew tea for at least 15 minutes.
- We are filtering tea. The sugar should be completely dissolved, and there should be no particles of tea leaves.
- Let the tea cool to room temperature. The culture will die if placed in a hot solution.
- For young mushrooms: a little infusion of the mushroom from the jar where it was previously contained as a "starter culture" should be added to the tea (the amount of infusion should be about 1/10 of the total volume of liquid).
- Place the mushroom in the jar. We close the neck of the dishes with gauze or a paper napkin and fix it with a braid or elastic band so that the kombucha can breathe, but so that small midges and dust cannot enter the jar. We put the jar in a dark, warm place - the ideal temperature for a vat mushroom is about 25 ° C.
- After 4-10 days of infusion, Kombucha is ready to use. The fermentation time depends on the air temperature in the room - the higher the temperature, the faster the drink will be ready.
- When the drink reaches the acidity you want, remove the kombucha with clean hands, rinse it under cold running water and put it in a jar of cold sweet tea prepared in advance according to the same scheme.
- Pour the finished drink into a glass container with a tight lid, filling it to the brim. To get the maximum pleasure from the drink, let it ripen for several more days in a cool place (at least 5 days) - bacteria cease to function without air access, and the yeast continues to work if the container is tightly closed, the gas resulting from the activity of the yeast will not be able to escape and you have a delicious fizzy drink. Strain the drink through cheesecloth or a plastic (not metal) strainer before drinking.
A mushroom at a venerable age reaches a thickness of several centimeters (its area depends on the area of the container in which it lives) and allows you to drink the infusion every day directly from the jar containing the mushroom (of course, you must remember to replenish the infusion with a new portion of cold, sweet tea).
It is convenient to have two identical cans in stock: in one will live the kombucha, and in the other you will pour the finished drink. In the refrigerator, hermetically sealed glass containers with infusion of the chanterelle mushroom can be stored for quite a long time, retaining their healing and taste properties.
If you are going to drink the entire supply of infusion within the next five days, immediately make a new "bay". When a new portion is not needed, send the mushroom to rest: in this case, you can simply fill it with water (preferably boiled), but it is preferable to place it in a weak tea solution.
The mushroom should be washed with warm boiled water: in winter - once every 2 weeks, in summer - once a week.
The more layers a mushroom has, the stronger and healthier it is. But this is more difficult to handle - it is not easy to take it out of the can, rinse it properly. So if your mushroom has grown fat, it is better to remove one or two layers.
You need to separate fresh, that is, the upper layers. "Beard", on the contrary, should be cared for and cherished, because these are colonies of acetic acid bacteria that synthesize organic acids - the basis of the healing potential of kombucha. Only those fibers of the beard are removed that have set off on their own to float.
What if the mushroom does not float to the surface of the tea solution? This happens with a young mushroom, or when several layers are separated from a mature mushroom at once and it becomes too thin. Wait a few hours - maybe it will come up. If not, reduce the amount of the tea solution. Even if it turns out to be very small, it does not matter: after one or two dressings, the mushroom will gain strength and will soon be able to water the whole family.
If you forget about the kombucha, then all the liquid can evaporate, then the mushroom needs to be poured with sweet tea and allowed to stand for a week.
Fungus treatment : brown spots on the surface of the fungus are granulated sugar burns. Take your time to throw out such a mushroom, first try to cure it. To do this, you just need to ... stop pouring sugar on the mushroom. He will do the rest himself, while there are few brown spots. If the burns are large, it is better to remove the top layer: the fungus cannot breathe with the affected parts of its "body", and oxygen is vital to it.
- The taste qualities of the mushroom infusion are not lost when stored in the refrigerator, but improved.
- The finished infusion tastes like strong, well-carbonated kvass. Drinking it is a real pleasure.
- Pouring the finished solution into a storage container, strain it through 3-4 layers of gauze.
- Keep the jar with the mushroom in a dark place - he does not like direct sunlight.
- Start with five days of aging (although you can try it already on the 4th day).
- Put a piece of paper next to the jar and write down the dates of the "bay" on it so as not to be mistaken with the number of days of exposure.
- For a young, thin mushroom, a liter of solution can be a lot: it will not be able to float to the surface. In this case, you will have to reduce the amount of solution. An old 5-6-layer mushroom with a large "furry" beard can be poured in two liters.
Photo: Yuri Podolsky.