Flower Power Herbal Kombucha
Makes 2 ½ quarts
This combination of fragrant, uplifting, and naturally sweet flowers is the perfect tonic for spring. Rose petals soothe and relax; St. John’s Wort is detoxifies the liver; red clover purifies the blood; and chrysanthemum is anti-inflammatory and aids digestion. (See cooks notes for contraindications for these herbs.)
Before you make herbal kombucha set aside a mother mushroom that has not been in contact with herbal brew. The addition of herbs may change the composition of bacteria and yeast in the s.c.o.b.y.. Discard any mother or daughter mushrooms that have been in herbal teas or use them to culture future batches of herbal brews (but not regular brews (see cooks note)). If you are making kombucha to maximize the specific health benefits that are associated with the tea please follow the recipe for 5-Step Kombucha.
3 quarts clean water (well, spring, or filtered)
1 cup evaporated cane juice (preferably organic and fairly traded)
3 tablespoons organic rose petals
1 tablespoon St. John’s Wort blossoms and leaves
1 tablespoon red clover blossoms, about 3 large
1 tablespoon chrysanthemum blossoms, about 3 large
1 tablespoon organic green tea
½ cup finished kombucha or ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 kombucha mushroom (s.c.o.b.y.)
1. Bring one quart of the water to a boil. Pour the water into a one-gallon heat safe glass bowl or jar. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the herbs and tea to a muslin spice bag, or oversized tea bag. Steep the mixture for as little as 15 minutes, or until the tea is cool. Remove the tea bag. Add the remaining 2 quarts of water.
2. Add ½ cup kombucha from a previous batch or ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (this acidifies the tea and prevents contamination from other microorganisms). Place the mushroom dark side down in the liquid.
3. If you are using a bowl cross several strips of masking tape over the top (to keep the cover from falling into the liquid). Cover with a cloth or paper towel. Secure the cover tightly with a string or rubber band (insects may be attracted and must be kept out!). Label with the date made. Store in a warm, well-ventilated place, out of direct sunlight.
4. Depending upon the room temperature, the kombucha will be ready after 6-12 days. Kombucha is ready to drink when it looks relatively translucent and a ‘baby’ kombucha mushroom has formed above the mother. It will cease tasting of tea. Most people prefer kombucha sweet to pleasingly tart. After it has fermented about one week taste it daily. When the flavor suits your taste, bottle the tea.
5. To bottle kombucha, remove the mother and the baby mushroom from the brew. Use a funnel and glass jars or bottles with tightly fitting lids (or flip-top bottles). Fill the jars to the top. Place a sheet of wax paper underneath the lid. (The paper prevents the acidic kombucha from contacting the lid.) Store in the refrigerator.
To restore effervescence to chilled kombucha, remove from the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Strain the tea just before serving.
The mother and baby mushroom can be separated and used to make additional batches of flower power or other herbal kombuchas. Don’t use them for regular kombucha because the balance of bacteria and yeast within the s.c.o.b.y. may be altered.
Don’t use rose petals if you are pregnant. Don’t use chrysanthemum if you have a known allergy to ragweed. Don’t use St. John’s Wort if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you take any of the following medications: cyclosporine, tacrolimus, irinotecan, and imatinib mesylate, protease inhibitors, or nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Don’t use red clover if you are pregnant or nursing, taking oral contraception, estrogen or progesterone therapies.