After weeks of gagging at the very thought of kombucha, I caught myself eyeing the pricey bottled stuff at the health food store today.
The last time I drank kombucha was the night before I found out I was pregnant. It was from my continuous brew, and flavored with juniper berries. (Juniper berries are BIG no-no if you're pregnant, by the way.) Shortly after I started making kombucha, I found a beautiful ceramic crock with a plastic spigot at thrift for $9.00. So naturally I was all, "Why make three quarts of kombucha at a time when I can make two and a half gallons?!" After water, kombucha was my homebrewed kombucha was my favorite pre-pregnancy beverage.
I haven't even touched the continuous brew crock since December. I wasn't sure what to expect when I removed the cloth cover and checked on the brew. I was afraid that the SCOBY might have completely taken over the container, but it hadn't. The house has been so cold over the winter, I think my SCOBY may have been hibernating.
I considered removing the monster SCOBY and starting over, as I'd done back in September when the continuous brew became a fruit-fly hotspot (thanks to my neglecting to secure the cloth cover well enough). But everything looked and smelled healthy. Also, I tend to think of my SCOBYs kind of like pets—or at least beloved, anthropomorphic science projects. It pained me to compost the infested SCOBY last fall. (It was enormous, looked like a cross between a tree truck and a placenta.) Kombucha, like all fermented foods, is a living thing.
Instead of starting over completely, I made some fresh sweet tea to feed the brew. I also drew off about a quart of the "hibernation brew" and bottled it. Kombucha that's been hanging out for weeks isn't easily drinkable—it tastes a lot like straight apple cider vinegar—so I'll be using it in marinades and salad dressings.