This post is a follow-up to last week’s post - How to Make Kombucha – A Visual Guide. Reader question answered…
Roxanna wants to know:
What do I do with all the scoby babies?
While you can find lots of answers out there from stir-fried scoby to dog treats and leather substitutes, I think the best options are:
- Give away your extra scobies
- Save your extra scobies for later (in a lidded jar with some reserved kombucha in the fridge)
- Compost your older scobies – plants love kombucha fertilizer! For best results, give them a quick chop in a blender or food processor before adding them to your compost pile.
- Start a ‘bucha business! – You’d be surprised how many folks would be happy to pay rather than make their own.
Jackie likes to used distilled water…
Is it better to use distilled water when making kombucha?
Some kombucha brewers swear by distilled water to make a “stronger and purer” finished product or to prevent mold from developing. Personally, I have never had mold occur except for when I’ve used flavored tea or recently had some potatoes go moldy in the ‘bucha pantry. I prefer water that is more like it occurs in nature than a science lab, so I use filtered water (ours is reverse osmosis with the minerals added back in). Whether you choose distilled or filtered be sure to use water that is free of chlorine and fluoride which aren’t good for the health of your scoby or you!
Cassandra asks -
After you brew your first batch and plan to make another, what mushroom is best to used? The mother you first started with in the last batch or the new mushroom that grew? Does it matter?
Use either the new scoby or a nice uniform mature scoby for your next batch. It is fine to leave a few in your brew, but when it starts to get crowded, remove the older scobies that are looking ragged and tired and compost them.
…and can you start a continuous brew in a ceramic container with a spout or does it need to be glass?
You can use ceramic or glass for your brews, but make sure the ceramic is sealed. I have heard varying opinions on whether the spout should be plastic or metal. Try to choose a spout that is least likely to corrode and break down with the fermenting ‘bucha.
I love drinking kombucha but I heard recently that it can be damaging to the liver because it attracts all kinds of micro-organisms, good and bad. Is this true?
Great question! Well, for starters, the whole planet is covered in micro-organisms. We have become a bit of a germ-o-phobe culture, but the truth is, we NEED good bacteria and yeast for optimal health. When properly prepared, kombucha will naturally contain the proper balance of healthy bacteria and yeast. A bad batch will be evident by the appearance of mold – black, green, or blue.
As for kombucha and liver health, one of the active ingredients - glucaric acid – is thought to actually make the liver more efficient. Those who have never consumed kombucha before and certainly individuals with weakened immune systems should always take caution when trying something new.
Ultimately, you know best, so see how kombucha feels in your body. Some people experience a “die-off” of un-healthy flora as new healthy bacteria and yeast colonizes their digestive tracts. While this is a completely normal process, if you suspect that this is occurring, seek support from a qualified health practitioner.
Leah wants to know…
Would it be ok to give kombucha to an 11-month old? My baby recently had to take a dose of heavy-duty antibiotics for a bacterial infection and I’m trying to counteract the digestive results by giving her lots of fermented foods.
Here’s a great answer from Maredith another reader:
I gave my babes sips of Kombucha starting pretty young, probably less than 11 months. I always water it down a bit for the kids, and stick to just a few sips for babies. And just to be safe, I don’t give it to them close to a bed or nap time, usually its a morning shot with breakfast.
I agree with Maredith – Kombucha is great for kids, and most love it when you start them young. Just start with diluted, tiny amounts. Also, because kombucha may contain small amounts of caffeine, avoid giving it to children in the afternoon or near naps, and observe your child to see how they react to drinking it.
Kombucha and other cultured foods are wonderful any time, but post antibiotics, I would recommend taking a high-potency, high-quality probiotic supplement for at least one month to give the body an extra boost of healthy bacteria.