Frugal Tuesday: Homemade Kombucha

Several years ago, my hippier-than-thou (well, hippier than I, in any case… I aspire to his hippie greatness) brother introduced me to the wonderful, sweet-sour elixir known as kombucha. It’s good stuff, said to be filled with all sorts of probiotics and other life-giving properties. For me it was love at first sip, and before long, I was spending $4 a bottle on some of the delicious brews put out by GT Dave’s, Buddha’s Brew, and others. Some health food stores and farmers markets even let you bring your own growler, and buy kombucha waste-free, just like beer. But it still ain’t cheap.

You know what IS cheap? Tea bags and sugar. Which is all you really need to brew your own kombucha. Well that, and a “mother,” the colony of yeast and good bacteria that hang out in some sweet tea and magically transform it into a healthy beverage. Fortunately, the “mother” is easy enough to make, using a bottle of raw, unflavored kombucha. Do it right, and it could be the last bottle you ever buy.

I follow this recipe from The Kitchn, and it turns out beautifully for me every time. In hot and humid central Texas, my kombucha likes to ferment quietly on a shelf in my clothes closet, where it is safe from mold spores and fruit flies.

IMG_3259(You can actually see the “mother” hanging out on the bottom right of the jar… just doing her thing…)

I’ve been experimenting with fruits and juices, and second ferments, and have come up with some pretty good flavors. And best of all, it no longer costs four bucks a glass!

What do you make at home that you used to buy?

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