Ever since we’ve lived in South Carolina, we’ve been enjoying drinking freshly made kombucha. For those who don’t know, kombucha is a cultured and fermented tea. This means that basically you take sweetened tea and add some yeast and bacteria to it. These eat the tea and sugars and make a very nutritious drink. It kind of combines how yogurt and beer are made, since yogurt is made with bacteria and beer is made with yeast.
Kombucha has lots of health benefits. It has amazing probiotics in it, and a lot of people think it can help with a lot of illnesses.
A couple of weeks ago, Brad’s aunt Nancy asked me if I wanted to make my own kombucha (she had been making it for us for the past few years). I figured that since I am feeling better with the pandemic and have more time on my hands, that I’d like to give it a try. And boy did I! I have jumped in with both feet!
Not only have I been making kombucha, but I’ve also made SCOBY candy. What is SCOBY? Well SCOBY stands for a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. That means that a bunch of yeast and bacteria get together and form something that is like a really thick jello consistency on the top of your growing kombucha.
SCOBY looks kinda gross. Brad’s cousin Tamara calls it a “body part” growing in her kombucha. It basically looks like a flattened jellyfish or something of that sort– not very appetizing. Your SCOBY grows every time you make kombucha, so people very often have an abundance of SCOBY. Most people have so much SCOBY lying around that they don’t know what to do with it!
Well, I decided that I couldn’t just throw it away so I would eat it! I made SCOBY candy with it in the dehydrator from a recipe I found here!
I will detail how I make kombucha and SCOBY candy below, and then after that I will put in some pictures of my kombucha and SCOBY candy making process.
By the way, thanks to my friend CJ telling me I should use the word culture to describe bacterial growth (it is commonly used in the lab) and Brad’s creativity, SCOBY candy can also be called “candy with culture” he he he!
Making kombucha is really easy. First I boil 1 quart of water. I add 8 teabags and let it steep for 15 minutes. I like to use green or black tea that has flavors in it, especially fruit flavors.
While it is steeping, I pour 1 cup of honey into a gallon glass jar.
After 15 minutes, I take the teabags out and pour the hot tea into the gallon jar and stir to dissolve the honey.
Then I add 2 quarts of water and let the tea and honey mixture cool to room temperature.
When it has cooled, I add 1 cup kombucha from the previous batch and some SCOBY from the previous batch. For those making kombucha for the first time, you can order your own starter kombucha and SCOBY from Cultured Food Life. Or if you’re local to me, just ask me for some and I’ll happily give you some of mine!
Then you cover with a coffee filter or a clean cloth napkin, using a rubber band to keep it in place, and let it sit at room temperature for 7 days.
At the end of 7 days you take the SCOBY out and 1 cup of kombucha and set it aside. Then you pour the kombucha through a filter (I use a mesh screen) resting on top of a funnel and into bottles.
Set the bottles on the counter for another 2 days with lids closed to develop more fizz. Then refrigerate and enjoy!
I have chosen to make my kombucha with honey as I try to avoid any cane sugar. Honey ferments faster than sugar. You can use the same amount of sugar, just leave it in the gallon jar one more day before bottling it.
When your SCOBY gets thick you can divide it up and keep only part of it for the next batch. With the leftover old SCOBY, you can make SCOBY candy!
To make the SCOBY candy you cut the SCOBY into pieces and put it into a glass or plastic bowl (metal reacts badly with kombucha). Cover it with honey, and put a cloth napkin or coffee filter over the top. Let it sit at room temperature overnight.
The next day, put parchment paper on your dehydrator trays and lay the SCOBY pieces on the parchment paper. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for about 2 days. Peel the pieces off the paper and store in an air tight container.
It makes candy that tastes like fruit leather and has the texture of a sticky old gummy worm. I love it!
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven. But if you use an oven (or a cheap dehydrator that doesn’t have temperature settings), then it will cook the SCOBY candy at a high enough temperature to kill most of the bacteria and yeast. If you dehydrate at a low temperature, these organisms can stay alive which makes the candy better for you. But I bet it’d still taste good even if it was cooked!
Below I’ll put pictures of my kombucha and SCOBY candy experiment!