I love the idea behind the Crazy Ingredient Challenge (CIC); we are assigned two ingredients to cook and create. This month, Kelly of Passion Kneaded and Lori of Lori's Culinary Creations are hosting. So, here goes...
Since my husband has been brewing his own kombucha for several months now - and always uses black tea as his base - I asked if he'd add in some lime leaves for one batch. He agreed. Sweet!
I had some Black Dragon Pearls where each tea pearl is comprised of 30 handpicked leaves and buds. They are rolled immediately before the leaves can dry. They are so pretty! And - for the lime part of the challenge - I opted to use thin shards of Makrut lime leaves. Click to read about Makrut limes (I used to call them Kaffir limes): here.
Now a bit about kombucha, if you're unfamiliar. Kombucha is the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir.” It’s been around for more than two millennium and has a vibrant anecdotal history of health benefits such as preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. Kombucha is brewed from sweetened tea that is fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, also known as a SCOBY. Our SCOBY is named Scooby! This is Scooby. I know it's not pretty, but it produces some amazing, healthy drinks for us.
makes 1 gallon
- 2 T black dragon pearls (or substitute black tea leaves if you wish)
- 4 C water + more cool, filtered water
- 1 C organic granulated sugar
- 2 T shredded Makrut lime leaves (I got mine at Whole Foods)
- Also needed (all included in the Kombucha Brewing Kit*): 1 gallon brewing jug, thermometer, muslin reusable tea bag, SCOBY, cheesecloth, individual bottles, and large funnel
Once the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from heat and submerge your tea bag in the water. Let steep for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag, pressing all the liquid from the leaves as much as you can.
Stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the sweetened tea into your gallon jar and fill until the liquid sits just below the shoulder of the jar. Once it comes to room temperature, approximately 66 degrees, gently pour in the SCOBY and 1/2 C of the previous brewing liquid. If you don't have any previously brewed kombucha, you can use a store bought kombucha; they sell them in most grocery stores these days.
Cover the jar with cheesecloth and rubber band it tightly. Put the jar in a warm area where it can stay between 64 and 68 degrees. Let ferment for 12 to 14 days. Then you can bottle the kombucha for its secondary fermentation with the lime leaves.
Place a pinch of Makrut lime leaves into the individual bottles. Remove the SCOBY and place into a sterile jar with 1/2 to 1 C of the brewing liquid for your next batch. Using your large funnel, pour the kombucha into the individual bottles. Close tightly and let ferment for another 7 days. After that, it should be tart with a touch of sweetness and have light carbonation.
And, in case you're interested in trying your hand at homemade kombucha or other fermented drinks, Delicious Probiotics is a must read. I've also linked up to the brewing kit we've been using and one more book on kombucha that I found helpful!
*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.