I could not be more excited today! My mother-in-law gave me my very own mother culture to ferment my own Kvass! Now... I know that sounds weird, but let me explain!
I call this drink Kvass, because that is Vladimir's family calls it. In Russia/Ukraine it is commonly called Tea Kvass. Regular Kvass is actually a drink fermented from rye bread. The kind we are making is known as Kombucha elsewhere in the world. It has a lengthy history with roots in China and Japan that spread all over Eastern Europe. This is a non-alcoholic beverage that is made from fermenting tea with a mushroom type bacteria. This drink has many health claims; including improving sight, boosting energy, easing digestion, cleansing the liver, and many more. It's also delicious, especially in the summertime. You can buy small bottle of premade Kombucha at specialty health stores, but it's so cheap and easy to make at home!
I still remember the first time I tried this drink. My mother-in-law showed me this giant jar filled with an orange tinted liquid that had a giant mushroom floating on top. She poured me a glass and I was completely thrown off guard! I didn't know what to expect, but I tried it anyway. I was delightfully surprised! It tasted like sweet tea, slightly carbonated like beer, and with a hint of citrus. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted and I immediately fell in love. Once I discovered the health benefits, I couldn't get enough!
Vladimir and I have been wanting to make our own for years now and finally have the chance! It's so simple to make, and you can keep making it over and over with the same mother culture. We were lucky enough to get a piece of my mother-in-law's mushroom, which will now grow on it's own in our jar, but you can buy them online as well! To find them online, just search "Kombucha mother culture."
For this drink you will need:
1 Kombucha mother culture, or as we call it "giant mushroom" ;)
1 Large Glass Jar
7 Black Tea bags
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
Filtered Water to fill
Fill the jar almost to the top with filtered water, but leave enough room for another 2 cups or so.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
In a separate container, place 7 bags of black tea. I used 4 caffeinated and 3 decaf; but that's completely up to you. If you have children that will be drinking this as well, I'd recommend more decaf than not. Add about two or three cups of boiling water. Let the tea sit and mull for a good while. You can use different types of tea if you'd like, but we found that black tea gives this drink the best flavor.
Once it's cooled, add it to the large jar.
Then add your giant mushroom.
Don't use a lid to cover the jar, cover it with a paper towel and enforce it with a rubber band.
Let it sit without disturbing it. The mushroom works better in a warm humid space, so if you have a Florida room, it will ferment faster. We keep ours right on our kitchen counter above the oven. It takes just about 7 days to ferment the drink properly. If it tastes too tart, you can keep fermenting for a couple more days.
Once it tastes right, strain your drink into smaller jars (I'd recommend glass jars if possible) and keep refrigerated. Leave the mother culture it the same jar and start all over! It's the gift that keeps on giving :)
I'm so excited to try ours out next week!