Kombucha Fermentation and It’s Antimicrobial Activities

Below you will find studies on kombucha cultures of yeast and bacteria and how it produces antimicrobial compounds for
protection from foreign invaders.  Besides acetic acid, which is produced during the fermentation process,
kombucha is thought to have other factors and compounds
that may aid in these protective factors.

Kombucha Fermentation and Its Antimicrobial Activity

Journal Agric Food Chem. 2000 Jun;48(6):2589-94
Sreeramulu G, Zhu Y, Knol W.
Department of Applied Microbiology and Gene Technology, TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, Zeist, The Netherlands.

kombucha lab testingKombucha was prepared in a tea broth (0.5% w/v) supplemented with sucrose (10% w/v) by using a commercially
available starter culture. The pH decreased steadily from 5 to 2.5 during the fermentation while the weight of the “tea fungus” and the OD of the tea broth increased through 4 days of the fermentation and remained fairly constant thereafter. The counts of acetic acid-producing bacteria and yeasts in the broth increased up to 4 days of fermentation and decreased afterward. The antimicrobial activity of Kombucha was investigated against iaa number of pathogenic microorganisms. Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella sonnei, Escherichia coli, Aeromonas hydrophila, Yersinia enterolitica,  Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae, Staphylococcus epidermis, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteritidis,  Salmonella typhimurium, Bacillus cereus, Helicobacterpylori, and Listeria monocytogenes were found to be sensitive to Kombucha. According to the literature on Kombucha, acetic acid is considered to be responsible for the inhibitory
effect toward a number of microbes tested,
and this is also valid in the present study.

However, in this study, Kombucha proved to exert antimicrobial activities against E. coli, Sh. sonnei, Sal. typhimurium, Sal. enteritidis, and Cm. jejuni, even at neutral pH and
after thermal denaturation.

This finding suggests the presence of antimicrobial compounds other than acetic acid and large proteins in Kombucha.

kombucha in lab


The Yeast Spectrum of the ‘Tea Fungus’

Mycoses. 1995 Jul-Aug;38(7-8):289-95
Kombucha’.Mayser P, Fromme S, Leitzmann C, Grunder K.
Department of Dermatology and Andrology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany.

kombucha yeat spectrumThe tea fungus ‘Kombucha’ is a symbiosis of Acetobacter, including Acetobacter xylinum as a characteristic species, and various yeasts. A characteristic yeast
species or genus has not yet been identified. Kombucha is mainly cultivated in sugared black tea to produce a slightly acidulous effervescent beverage that is said to have several curative effects. In addition to sugar, the beverage contains small amounts of alcohol and various acids, including acetic acid, gluconic acid and lactic acid, as well as some antibiotic substances.

To characterize the yeast spectrum with special consideration given to facultatively pathogenic yeasts, two commercially available specimens of tea fungus and 32 from private households in Germany were analysed by micromorphological and biochemical methods. Yeasts of the genera Brettanomyces, Zygosaccharomyces and Saccharomyces were identified in 56%, 29% and 26% respectively. The species Saccharomycodes ludwigii and Candida kefyr were only demonstrated in
isolated cases. Furthermore, the tests revealed pellicle-forming yeasts such as Candida krusei or Issatchenkia orientalis/ occidentalis as well as species of the apiculatus yeasts (Kloeckera, Hanseniaspora). Thus, the genus Brettanomyces may be a typical group of yeasts that are especially adapted to the environment of the tea fungus. However, to investigate further the beneficial effects of tea fungus, a spectrum of the other typical genera must be defined. Only three specimens showed definite contaminations. In one case, no yeasts could be isolated because of massive contamination with Penicillium spp. In the remaining two samples (from one household),
Candida albicans was demonstrated.

The low rate of contamination might be explained by protective mechanisms, such as formation of organic acids and antibiotic substances.
Thus, subjects with a healthy metabolism do not need to be advised against cultivating Kombucha.
However, those suffering from immuno-suppression should preferably consume controlled commercial
Kombucha beverages.

Happy Culturing!

Yogurt Types – Mesophilic Yogurt Starter Cultures

yogurt starter
In the culturing world, one of the biggest varieties of culture starters are of the yogurt type.  The type of yogurt starters we carry are mesophilic, which means they can culture and ferment at room temperature and are able to be used as a starter, repeatedly!

Each yogurt starter makes a delicious homemade yogurt that is ideal for the home food culturist.  No need of boiling and cooling milk before use or incubating your yogurt starter in a warm oven or home yogurt maker for hours before it will set. These yogurt starters are mesophilic yogurts or room temperature culture starters. In about 12-24 hours, these yogurt starters will have set and made tempting homemade yogurt, which after chilling, is ready to be flavored, eaten plain, or made into fresh pro-biotic cheese. No need for the extra expense and bother of a home yogurt maker or heating mats to produce a finished product.

Tanekin Kefir Yogurt – NEW!

Tanekin kefir-yogurt starter contains live active bacteria and cultures at room temperature on the counter: no yogurt maker required!  One packet of our yogurt starter can be used to make unlimited amounts of homemade yogurt as it can be serial cultured, reserving a small amount of yogurt from the current batch to inoculate the next batch of homemade yogurt.  With care, this yogurt culture can be used to make homemade style yogurt indefinitely.

  Our Tanekin yogurt starter makes a wonderful cultured beverage.  Originating from Japan, it has a number of uses including making an excellent base for salad dressings, healthy breakfast, or at anytime of the day.  This yogurt culture can also be added to milk and consumed as a dairy beverage.  Doing so adds beneficial cultures to the milk and many people feel it helps replace beneficial bacteria lost during the pasteurization process.

LångFil Yogurt Starter – NEW!

  LångFil is a style of Filmjölk with a characteristic long and almost elastic texture due to Lactococcus lactis var. longi, a strain of bacteria that converts the carbohydrates in milk into long chains of polysaccharides, which cause the long consistency.  Traditional comes unflavored only.  More common in northern Sweden. Sometimes eaten with ground ginger.  Has been in the Swedish language since 1896.  Långfil is a dying product, gradually disappearing from stores’ shelves.

  Its mild flavor makes an excellent base for dressings and smoothies.  – Cultures at 70-78°F, no yogurt maker required!  – Reusable culture with care a little from each batch
can be used to make the next batch

Matsoni or Caspian Sea Yogurt

matsoni yogurt culture
Matsoni yogurt (pronounced Madzoonee) is also known in Japan as Caspian Sea Yogurt. A slightly tart yogurt, Matsoni is excellent sweetened with a bit of honey or served with fruit.  Matsoni yogurt has a thick viscous consistency, what is known as ‘ropy’.

This yogurt is easy to make and requires no heating for culturing.  Just add the culture starter to fresh milk and allow it to sit for 12 to 24 hours.  After this time, you will have healthy yogurt ready to eat.   With proper care, the Matsoni/Caspian yogurt culture can be used to make homemade yogurt indefinitely.  Just save some of the last batch as a starter for the next batch.

Buttermilk like Grandma Use to Make

butter milk pancakes
This buttermilk, organic grown culture, allows you to make fresh homemade buttermilk without all the additives in commercial products.  Homemade buttermilk can be used for baking, drinking or can be added to cream to make crème fraiche (European-style sour cream) or cultured butter.  The taste of this real buttermilk culture cannot compare to the thick, super tart commercial
brands that are found in the stores.

This culture starter is easy to maintain just add some of the starter to fresh milk and allow to set for 12 to 24 hours.  Once ‘setup’ the culture is ready to consume or used in your favorite recipes.  Make buttermilk pancakes or biscuits that will be the best you ever tasted by far!  Recipe here

Buttermilk culture contains the following lactic acid bacteria: Streptococcus Lactis.   With proper care, the Buttermilk culture can be used to make homemade cultures milk indefinitely.  Just save some of the last batch as a starter for the next batch.

Piima Yogurt Starter

  Our Piima yogurt starter makes a thin cultured beverage.  Originating from Scandinavia, it has a number of uses including making an excellent base for salad dressing, cultured butter or for making Piima cream (a sour cream type condiment).  This yogurt culture can also be added to milk and consumed as a dairy beverage.  Doing so adds beneficial cultures to the milk and many people feel it helps replace beneficial bacteria lost during the pasteurization process.

  Mild flavor, makes an excellent base for dressings and smoothies – Very thick beverage-like consistency – Cultures at 70-78°F, no yogurt maker required! – Reusable culture with care a little from each batch can be used to make the next batch

Viili – A Traditional Cultured Milk

viili starter
The flavor is mild, not tart, and it forms a creamy, thick honey-like texture.  This culture starter is also ‘ropy’, but not as much as the Matsoni.  Each culture becomes the starter for the next, so make sure to save some for your next batch.  Use soymilk, plain or flavored, and dairy viili culture for a virtually dairy-free soy drink.  We recommend making your soy viili in a different container than your dairy viili to keep a pure culture.  You can also make viili cream cheese, plain or with fresh herbs.

  Over 215 years old, this viili culture is and still going strong!
Start a yogurt tradition yourself.

Customer Comments: “After talking with a brewer at Organic-Cultures, am very happy with the viili product. Growing up in Finland, this yogurt culture is the same as my grandmother would make each day…very happy!”  Dave, NY, NY

Very active culture on arrival.  Very mild tasting, excellent “ropey” texture, just what I was searching for!  – Jane R., San Diego, CA

Fil Mjölk Dairy/Soy Starter Culture

At breakfast buffets in Sweden, it is served from a large bowl with a ladle and is found for sale in every store that sells dairy products.  Each culture becomes the starter for the next, then the next, etc.  Any pasteurized milk from nonfat to
half-and-half may be used.

Dairy Fil Mjölk starter and soymilk makes a rich cultured soy drink.  Directions for the Fresh Fil Mjölk Starter explain the easy, moderate room temperature culture method, how to keep a starter going, some simple soft cheese recipes,
and a soymilk variation.

Also known as Crème Fraiche or European Clotted Cream if made with half-and-half;  a close relative and good
substitute for Piima.

Amasi Heirloom Yogurt Starter – NEW

amasi culture starter
Our Amasi yogurt starter makes a thin cultured beverage.  Originating from Africa, it has a number of uses including making an excellent base for basting meats, addition to dishes, or drank like a beverage.  This yogurt culture can also be added to milk and consumed as a dairy beverage.  Doing so adds beneficial cultures to the milk and many people feel it helps replace beneficial bacteria lost during the pasteurization process.

  As a mesophilic yogurt culture, this yogurt starter cultures at room temperature.  To make a batch of homemade yogurt, the yogurt culture is simply added to milk, stirred, and then allowed to culture on the counter before being placed in the refrigerator.

This yogurt culture can be serial cultured: a small amount of homemade yogurt from the current batch is reserved to inoculate the next batch of homemade yogurt.  With proper care, the piima yogurt culture can be used to make homemade yogurt indefinitely.  Just save some of the last batch as a
starter for the next batch.

Our yogurt starters are maintained on organic cow’s milk, packaged and shipped fresh to you.  We send enough starter to get you making you own culture, plus some for a backup.

Feel free to order any yogurt starter from our secure online store.  All starters are 10% for a limited time, order today –
http://store.organic-cultures.com
http://store.organic-cultures.com/datystcukebu.html

Microwaves bad for food, bad for you…

microwave

We gave up the microwave 20 years ago, no good can come from zapping your food.

  1. Microwave dishes are highly processed
  2. It messes with the vibrational energy of the food
  3. Take the time to love your food by slow cooking or eating it raw for the best benefits

Rasta Man say so, Yogi Brahmans say so, I and I say so, too.

Eat raw, live well.  Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods!

http://www.naturalnews.com/039404_microwave_ovens_vitamins_nutrients.html

Kombucha Culture Strains Worldwide

  The name Kombucha or Kombu Cha refers to any of a variety of preparations of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea beverages that are commonly used as functional beverages for their detoxifying and other health benefits. Kombucha is found in many cultures in
China it is called: chájūn (茶菌),
Japanese: kōcha-kinoko (紅茶キノコ),
Korean: hongchabeoseotcha (홍차버섯차),
and Russian: chaynyy grib (чайный гриб).
kombucha tea culture
In this Blog page, we are talking not of different flavorings of kombucha, whether through herbs, fruits or sugars but to different strains themselves.  Today in the west, other kombucha type ferments or stains are known as kombu tea SCOBY, JUN or Jun Honey culture, Snow leopard, Monk Tea, Himalayan strain, and Kocha-Konko Kombu. Much is unknown on the origins of the strains, how they traveled the globe, and their culture makeup.  We have traveled throughout the world looking for new cultures, like our water kefir strains and yogurts.
We have brought back kombucha tea cultures from many places.
Friends and customers have sent them, too.

  Many call the kombucha culture a ‘mushroom’, however, KT does not produce spores like fungi mushrooms and really is a culture or SCOBY of yeasts and bacteria. Kombucha production starts by fermenting a tea/sugar solution using a “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast strains (SCOBY)”. The actual contributing microbial populations in the kombucha cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces and other species, and the bacterial component usually includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to
acetic and other organic acids.

kombucha showing CO2Common Kombucha Strain – Most widely known strain in the USA and the west. Many sellers are producing cultures for sale over the internet. The culture produces the familiar taste and
standard flavor used by commercial and home brewers alike.
Traditionally kombucha maintained with black tea and cane sugar.

Monk Kombucha teaKombucha Monk Tea Strain – A strain from Tibet made with raw honey, Pu-erh tea, and herbs like goji berries. This strain produces a rose-colored culture and taste unlike the standard strain. Procured from monks in different Tibetan monasteries,
it is one of our favorites!

forbidden city strainsImperial Place Strain – Imperial Place strain is not very renowned or even seen by the common masses. Said to be for royalty only. Chinese legend says that even the palace workers may not view the culture. This culture type seems unavailable to the public and only known through legend. The stories may be true or
just a myth, only time may tell.

kombucha tea cultureRussian Red Rose Strain – A strain called ‘chaynyy grib’, said to have survived World War II by using ingredients on hand. In this culture strain’s, upkeep and tradition, brewing happened mainly with herbs (such as rose hips and elder berries) vs. tea, with the introduction of honey or sugar beets as the sweetening agent verses processed cane sugars. Tea and sugar was rationed or unavailable to the common person at that time. Over time, this culture has adapted to the new ingredients. It produces a red colored culture from the beets and herbs
used in the brewing cycle.
Today many people use sugar again due to availability, however,
traditionalist still use the old style recipes.

Japanese Kombu ChaJapanese Kocha Kinoko Kombu Strain – Supported with matcha green tea and sea vegetables Kombu Cha is very healing culture strain. Kombu Kombucha provides umami flavor, nutrients, anti-oxidants, and minerals from the matcha tea and seaweeds used. This strain produces a very clear white culture unlike
the traditional kombucha culture.

Himalayan Kombucha Himalayan Kombucha Strain – Regionally sustained kombucha strain from Northern India. Most likely, this strain of scoby migrated from China or Tibet through the trade routes. This kombucha strain is maintained on raw sugars and fruits, with no tea used in the fermentation process. Tea is an expensive commodity to many in India and may be why this strain developed without the need for tea in the brewing process.

JUN honey cultureJun Honey Culture – Becoming more popular in the west.  Some brewers and sellers of cultures try using a kombucha culture with honey; however, this does not make it JUN.
However, close to kombucha culture it is a culture strain unto it’s self. Sometimes it is called kombucha honey culture.

It is widely found in parts of western Tibet. Each province of China has a version of Chang beer, in some parts of Tibet the beer has Jun in it. The most easily found and tastiest Jun in Tibet comes from the Khampa Nomads – former monks turned physical and spiritual warriors who learned their knowledge of how to make Jun from the Bonpo monks. The warrior/monks would carry the JUN with them as they rode into battle using it as a tonic,
energy booster, and maybe a little alcohol, too!

JUN snow leopard strainSnow Leopard JUN Strain – The rarest form of Jun is the “snow leopard” and one taste gives the equivalent effect of increased energy and stamina.  The Bonpo monks who produce this fine Jun are of Taoist, Buddhist, and Shamanic origins and are thought to have been gifted a heirloom culture by Lao Tzu.
This Jun strain is very, very hard to find.

We hope you have found this blog page helpful in learning more about kombucha types and introducing people to new strains from other areas around the world.  We are always on the lookout for more cultures to add to the ‘culture bank’, which allows others access to less common culture types.  We have some of the culture strains listed above that are available at our culture store/bank.  Instructions for the cultures we maintain can be found on our main website www.organic-cultures.com.

Happy Culturing!
Live, Grow, and Share Cultured Foods.

Cultured Cheese Stromboli – Meatless Mondays #12

What is Stromboli?

Homemade stromboli

  Stromboli, on the other hand, is more of a sandwich than a turnover, although you might mistake it easily as calzone because of their similarities in appearance. The dish, however, does not contain the sheep’s milk cheese, ricotta. Although it can be considered as an Italian dish, it was made up somewhere in the United States, although the location is not quite known, some say in Philadelphia, some say in Washington state.

The Stromboli is rolled with a stuffing of choice before cooking. You can add many different ingredients to create some great flavor profiles. Try fresh herbs, sun dried tomatoes, or wild leeks &mushrooms! Other cheeses like a mix of ricotta, aged Parmesan, and mozzarella. Stromboli is great for a lunch or as a main for dinner. Below is what you need for two different styles.

What is Needed…

Style I – Cheese and Vegetable Stromboli
• 10 ounces pizza dough
• 1⁄3 cup cultured cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese
• ½ cup sliced artichoke heart
• 3 chopped roasted red peppers
• 1⁄3 cup chopped black olives
• Herbs of choice like fresh basil, thyme, and parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste

Alternatively…

Style II – Cheese, Spinach, and Garlic Stromboli
• 10 ounces pizza dough
• 1⁄3 cup cultured cheese or fresh mozzarella
• 1 or 2 fresh garlic cloves or fermented garlic honey cloves
     Note: If fresh garlic is too strong of flavor fry in a little olive oil before stuffing
• ½ cup chopped fresh spinach, well drained
• Salt and white pepper to taste

Directions…

Have the cultured cheese ready to go a few days in advance. The cheese needs to be a ‘hard’ cheese with little moisture, so that it stays within the crust.
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with olive oil.

stromboli ready to roll

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
4. Spread the cheese, leaving a 1-inch border.
5. Add the other veggies.
6. Roll like a jellyroll and crimp the edges.
7. Score the tops almost through and brush the top with egg white wash or olive oil for a golden top, if desired
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted through.

stromboli
Serve hot with a side of marinara sauce, if desired. Being versatile, stuff Stromboli with many different ingredients for a change from old style pizzas. For the holidays, make smaller sized Stromboli for ‘finger food’ at gatherings.

Feedback: This recipe, though simple, is delicious. Being vegan I substituted home made soy cheese for the mozzarella, and I made my own pizza dough. I also added some fresh basil leaves. Yum. This would be great made in miniature versions as finger foods for a holiday get-together.

3HO Solstice Hot Sauce – Meatless Mondays #11

Solstice Hot Sauce
By 3HO org

This is a great condiment that is used on the tantric burgers during summer solstice.  Easy to make.  Use it during any meal for a spicy, tangy fermented sauce to bring some heat to any dish…Enjoy!
hot chilli

What is Needed…

3 large onions, chopped and/or diced
¼ cup dried crushed red chilies
8 ounces tamarind concentrate
16 ounces hot water
1 ½ cups sesame oil
1 tablespoon turmeric
10 whole small dried red chilies
2 cups apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

Put the onions in a large bowl.
Sprinkle with the crushed chilies.
Melt tamarind concentrate in hot water.
Add sesame oil and diluted tamarind to onions.
Sprinkle with the turmeric.
Add the whole chilies and vinegar.

Stir and cover.
– Let sit overnight or several days for the fullest flavor and mild fermentation.
– After the sauce is to your liking, in taste and flavor, store in the refrigerator.
– The sauce will keep a long time and gets better with age.

Yields about 2 quarts.
Use on veggies burgers or as a fermented condiment!

Cashew Rice with Peas – Meatless Mondays #10

This is a simple and easy to make recipe for lunch or dinner.

Start by steaming rice, Basmati rice is traditional rice from India. Basmati is imported from the east and available at all Indian grocery stores and many health food stores. Substitute with white or brown rice if needed, however, basmati rice is extra special in that it is nutritious and has very good flavor.
cashew rice

What is Needed:

2 to 3 cups steamed basmati rice
½ cup roasted cashew pieces
½ cup of peas
2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of hing (a spice used in many Indian dishes)
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Fresh tomatoes diced, for garnish
Freshly chopped coriander leaves or dry spice

Once the rice is steamed, the dish is ready to assemble…

Add the ghee to a clean pot, and then add the steamed rice.
Add turmeric, hing, coriander, and salt. Stir ingredients together until well mixed, making sure not to crush/over work the rice.
Add cashews and peas, blend into rice mixture and heat through.

Garnish with the tomatoes and more coriander.
Serve with chapatis or flat bread if desired.

Hint: Replace the ghee with extra virgin olive oil to make a vegan dish.
Serves 4

~ pH Readings for Kombucha & Fermented Food Cultures ~

Why Check pH Levels in the Kombucha Tea Beverage & Other Ferments?

Though pH readings is not always needed, adding pH checks to the culturing process helps to maintain proper viable and healthy culture strains/starter. Each type of starter culture will produce different amounts of acid as part of the fermentation process. Checking these levels, insure that your cultured foods and ferments are safe to consume. For the safety factor, all ferments should measure below 4.6 on the pH scale, as per FDA regulations. This insures that the cultured food is free of human pathogens, safe to consume, and that the desired bacteria/yeast cultures are viable and does not become overrun by foreign yeasts or bacteria.

pH test strip,
How Does Fermentation/Culturing Work?

Fermented foods, which are foods produced or preserved by the action of microorganisms, are great for health and well-being of the body systems (especially the intestinal/gut system). In this context, fermentation typically refers to the fermentation of sugar to alcohol using yeast, but other fermentation processes involve the use of bacteria such as lactobacillus, including the making of foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.
The art and knowledge of fermentation had been around for 1000’s of years and the scientific community calls it zymology. We call it wild fermentation or raw cultured foods.

It all starts by choosing the culture starter medium, such as kombucha tea culture or kefir grains, then ‘feeding’ the culture with the correct food source. After the recommended fermentation time the cultured food is ready to consume or used for making other cultured food products. An example would be making milk kefir and then using the ready cultured milk to make RAW living cheeses. Testing the pH before and after the process insures that the finished product is safe for consumption.
Many pickled or soured foods ferment, thus dropping the pH levels, as part of the pickling or souring process, like Japanese pickles. However, many preserved/fermented food stores go through a process of brining, vinegar induction, or the addition of other acidic foods sources such as lemon juice.

How to Test pH Correctly

Correct procedures when checking the pH levels allows for the most accurate readings. A short-range strip (o-6 pH) works the best over a broad range strip (0-14 pH). Human or saliva testing strips will not work due to the range of the product, from 5 – 8 pH. If you have purchased testing strips from us then the process is very easy. Simply open the roll of kombucha ‘test strip papers’ (0-6 pH range) and remove about an inch long piece of testing paper. Make sure the hands are clean and dry.

Check the pH reading by pulling a small sample of the ferment vs. placing the test paper in the ferment. Use a straw, spoon, or ‘wine thief’ to pull a sample to test. Dip the kombucha/culture test strip into the liquid to check. Then with a flick of the wrist, remove any excess liquid and immediately check the pH against the color-coded chart. The check should be within the desired range for the ferment tested, see below.

pH and Dairy Cultures

dairy kefir grains
With dairy type cultures, such as milk kefir or yogurt starters, the pH is high to start with a drop in pH as the milk is cultured. There is not a starting point to check pH with dairy cultures. At the end of the process, the pH should read 4.5 or lower on a
color-coded pH chart.

pH and Water Kefir Strains

Water Kefir Grains
Water kefir grains act somewhat like the dairy kefir in that the initial pH test will be on the alkaline side of the scale. Depending on the strength of the old starter liquid, the test may fall within the correct range. Why we recommend use a slice of lemon to lower the pH and keep it below 4.5 pH.

pH and Kombucha Tea Cultures

kombucha tea culture
For kombucha tea beverage, you should take two pH readings. One check is done when adding the starter tea to the new batch of tea/sugar solution and the second at the end of the brewing cycle.
This first pH test reading should be 4.5 pH or below, if it is too high then keep adding starter tea from your old batch
until the desired pH is reached.
Many kombucha recipes found online have a certain generic amount of starter tea added to a new batch. However, depending on the acidic strength of the old starter tea the amount added will vary from batch to batch. One may find that only a small amount is needed from a strong sour batch and much more required from a sweet batch of tea.
Adding the correct amount of starter, by reading pH, insures that the fresh tea solution is acidic enough to combat any human pathogens, foreign molds, or yeast.

Measure the second pH test at the finish of the brewing/culturing process. After your tea has brewed for the required amount for time,  7 to 14 days in most cases, then it is recommended to test the pH until it is at, or close, to 3 pH.
The desired range of the complete kombucha tea
is between 3.2 and 2.8 pH.
This reading tells you that the brewing cycle is complete and the tea is at the correct pH point to drink. Of course, this can very a bit to suit your needs and taste. If this final pH is too far on the alkaline side of the pH scale, then the tea will need a few more days to complete the brewing cycle.

pH and JUN Honey Culture

jun honey culture
Many people now have access to the JUN honey culture. JUN is much like kombucha culture, yet a different strain and results. The ingredients in JUN are different from kombucha tea culture. Kombucha is made with black tea and cane sugar, whereas, JUN is created using honey and a lighter tea,  such as white or green tea.
For checking pH levels, the steps and range is the same as kombucha tea.

We hope this post on checking kombucha pH levels in kombucha and other ferment will help in producing healthy and safe fermented beverages.  See all our products at our culture store.

Happy Culturing!
Live, Grow, and Share Cultured Foods

Trinity Rice with Spiced Chapatis & Cultured Yogurt – Meatless Mondays #09

Trinity Rice with Spiced Chapatis

Here are two easy to make dishes from India, which works with Ayurvedic medicine system.  Chapatis are Indian flat breads that do not require resting or yeast.  In the Ayurvedic system, onions, garlic, and ginger are the ‘trinity of roots’.
The rice and flat breads make a nice simple meal.
Serve with fresh cultured yogurt on the side.

Trinity Rice

India trinity rice

What is needed…
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
1 cup basmati rice or a short grain white rice
½ to ¾ cup ghee (known in the West as clarified butter, buy or make your own)
1 tomato, peeled
4 to 5 cups assorted vegetables

Directions…

Rinse the rice thoroughly.  Sauté any spices desired and then add the trinity roots of onion and ginger until onions are cooked through.  Then add garlic and cook another minute.
Add tomato, assorted vegetables, and rice along with 4 cups of water.
Cover and let simmer on low heat, checking frequently. Add more water if necessary.
Cook until vegetables are soft and rice is done.

Yields 4 servings. Serve with spiced chapatis, recipe below.

Spiced Chapatis

Chapati flat breads

What is needed…
2 cups whole-wheat flour
Ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom seeds, pods removed
1 tsp fennel seeds

Directions…

Place flour in a bowl.  Mix in spices. Stir in enough water to make a soft dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl.  Add more flour if needed.  Remove dough from bowl and knead on a floured surface until it becomes smooth, soft and springy.  The dough should not be sticky at all.

Heat an iron skillet over a medium-high heat.  Form dough into ping pong size balls.  Flatten balls into squat patties.
Flour patties on both sides and roll out on flour covered board into 6-inch diameter circle and 1/8 inch thickness.

Place in hot skillet.  Cook on the first side until lightly crusted, but not browned.  Flip over and cook second side the same way.  Next, place the chapati directly over a gas flame, flipping it once or twice so that it puffs up, or flip it over in the skillet and lightly press to make it puff up.  Then flip and puff the other side.

chapati puffed

Note: When properly done, there should be only a small amount of browning on either side.  If the chapati browns too rapidly, the heat is to high.
As each chapati is done and still hot, spread ghee (or melted butter) on top of each one and stack.

Yields 8-12 chapatis

Enjoy this great light and easy meatless dish for lunch or dinner…enjoy!

Tsukemono Pickled Garlic – Three Great Recipes for Japanese Garlic

Pickled Garlic – Three Great Recipes for Japanese Garlic Tsukemono

In our quest to provide you with culturing recipes to use with your ferments, we have three great uses for garlic in the Tsukemono Japanese style. All the recipes are easy to make and provides the healing properties of garlic. Try a small batch of each to see which ones you like best! Recipes from the book: Tsukemono – Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu

Garlic in Miso – Ninniku Miso-zuke

This reminds me of the ‘stamina’ soups we would get at little Japanese shops in Tokyo and Atsugi (厚木市, Atsugi-shi is a city located in central Kanagawa Prefecture)
Known to be the ‘stamina builder’, which is used as an appetizer, condiment, or pickle. Just a little goes a long way. The strong garlic smell will reduce in time of about a month or more. The miso will preserve the garlic for long-term storage.

garlic in miso

What is Needed:
– 9 oz of fresh garlic
– 9 oz of aged miso (We suggest using a dark miso, however, any miso will work)  Make sure to use an unpasteurized miso.
– 3 to 4 tbsp mirin (or a sweetener if you cannot find mirin)

Directions:
1. Start by separating the cloves of garlic, trim off the roots and outer skin. Make sure to remove the thin membrane under the outer skin.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the garlic. Briefly cook the cloves, remove, and drain
3. Pat the garlic dry, being careful not the break or damage the cloves.
4. Combine the miso paste and mirin.
5. Place a layer of miso in the bottom of the packing jar. Add cloves and cover with more miso. Keep adding layers of miso and garlic. Top off the packing jar with a layer of miso. Make sure no garlic is exposed.
6. Seal the packing jar or container and allow to sit in a cool place for a month or more. Store the container in the refrigerator during the summer months or in hotter locations.

garlic miso eggplant
Japanese eggplant with garlic miso paste

Once ready for use, the cloves can be either eaten by themselves or added to other dishes.  Use a light miso for a sweeter batch and a dark or brown miso for stronger taste.  Try making a little of both and see which is liked best.  Makes a great garnish for barbecued meat dishes.  Also, nice to thinly slice and add to stir-fries or to season plane rice. Enjoy

Garlic Honey – Ninniku Hachimitsu-zuke

This is a great cultured ferment for the winter season!  Easy to make and loaded with cold and flu fighting properties.  We recommend using RAW honey for the best taste and beneficial remedies.  The honey is ready in as little as 2 to 3 days. Wait around a month or more to eat the garlic cloves.  The garlic will start to break down if left to sit to long, best to make smaller batches to use within a month or two.
The honey gives a nice sweet garlic flavor for many dishes.  The garlic infused honey when thinned down with water makes a great hot or cold drink to enjoy or as a cold remedy!  One can find many benefits to using this recipe for health and well being.

garlic in raw honey
Garlic steeped in raw honey

What is Needed:
– 10 oz (300g) Fresh garlic
– 7 to 9 oz (200-250g) Raw Honey

Directions:
1. Start by separating the cloves of garlic, trim off the roots and outer skin. Make sure to remove the thin membrane under the outer skin.
2. Wash and pat the garlic dry, being careful not the break or damage the cloves.
3. Prepare a small packing jar by boiling in water to sterilize also called a water bath.
4. Pack the garlic cloves into the sterilized container. Pour over the honey. Allow the honey to set for a minute and top off, making sure to cover all the cloves.
5. Cover with lid and allow to sit in a cool dark place.

Garlic in Soy Sauce – Ninniku Shoyu-zuke

This recipe works well to rid the garlic of the strong odor.  This recipe comes from Korea, but incorporates well into many dishes. Fresh garlic is the best.  Use a local source if possible(Support your local farmer).   Select well-proportioned bulbs as they are served in halves.  Takes about two months before ready for use or when the odor diminishes.

garlic in soysauce
Garlic steeped in Shuyo

What is Needed:
– 10 whole garlic bulbs
– 2 cups rice vinegar
– 1 ¼ c shoyu or favorite soy sauce
– 2 tbsp sugar or mirin to taste

Directions:
1. Choose round uniform bulbs that will form pretty plum blossoms when cut horizontally in half.
2. Peel the outer skin leaving only a single layer of skin to hold the garlic bulbs together. Trim away the stem for better packing.
3. Prepare a small packing jar by boiling in water to sterilize also called a water bath.
4. Pack the jar or container with the garlic bulbs. Add the rice vinegar and allow to stand, covered, in a dark space for two weeks.
5. After the two-week period, pour off 2/3rds of the vinegar (keep for other uses such as salad dressing).

garlic in shuyo
Both the rice vinegar soaking and shoyu steeping

6. Mix the soy sauce and sugar until sugar dissolves. Warming the soy sauce will help combine the sugar.
7. Pour the mixture into the garlic/vinegar mixture and cover with lid.  Date and label jar to know when the ferment is ready.
8. Just before serving, cut horizontally in half. Enjoy!

Enjoy these new uses for garlic throughout the winter time for stronger
immunity and health.
Happy Culturing…Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods!