Hi everyone – while I am traveling overseas for my day job, I have some guest posters stopping by to introduce themselves. First up is Meagan of Growing Up Herbal with some great ideas for flavoring your kombucha + a how-to on how to make your own kombucha! I cannot wait to try these when I get home!
Kombucha is a fermented tea product that aids the body in detox, digestion, boosting the immune system, and overall bodily health, but no matter how good we parents know it is for us, it can sometimes be difficult to get our kids to happily drink it.
Kombucha has benefits and is very healthy for the whole family. Kombucha is many times referred to as “kombucha vinegar” because it can have a very vinegar like taste to it. Not always. It just depends on how long you let it ferment. But, this vinegar-like taste can be a turn off to kids who are less likely to take something because it’s good for them. They’re all about the taste, right moms?
So if you’re wondering how you can get your kids to drink more of what the Chinese refer to as the “immortal health elixer”, read on because today I have 3 flavored kombucha recipes you’re kids will love to drink. Not only have they been doctored up a bit to make them taste less vinegar-like, but they’re still full of beneficial properties for your little one’s body. I bet they’ll love them so much, they’ll constantly be asking you for them!
To get started making your flavored kombucha, you’ll need a fresh batch of kombucha that you’ve fermented over the past 8-10 days. If you’re new to making kombucha, it’s not that difficult. Here is a great ‘how to make kombucha’ tutorial which will get you started. And here is a link to get great kombucha making supplies.
Now that you know how to make kombucha you’re going to follow these next steps to make your flavored recipes.
Take your finished kombucha, remove your scoby and your starter kombucha that you’ll need to make a new batch, and pour the finished kombucha into 3 glass jars. You’ll need one quart sized jar of kombucha for each of the following recipes. If you want to make more of one later on, you’ll need to adjust your measurements to taste.
Strawberry Lemonade Kombucha
Strawberry Lemonade Kombucha is hands-down, my favorite kombucha! I love it, and my kids love it. In fact, my 18 month old gets really excited if I ask him if he wants a “bucha berry”, and don’t even think about taking it away from him!
Here’s how to make it.
You’ll need some organic strawberries and a few slices of fresh lemon. That’s it!
Just plop 3-4 berries and 3-4 half slices of lemon in your kombucha, put a lid on it, and let it sit for 24 hours on your counter to give it just a bit more fermentation (and extra fizz). Your kombucha will turn red like your berries and it will take on some of the sweet and sour of the berries and lemon. Delicious!
This is another kombucha recipe that I’m loving right now, especially as warmer weather comes through the cool mountains. It makes me feel like I’m at the beach sipping on some pina-colada flavored fizzie drink! Plus, my kids love the sweet coconut flavor this one has!
All you need for this recipe is some sliced pineapple, 3 TBSP of pineapple juice concentrate, and 1/2 – 1 tsp. of coconut extract.
Put it all in your kombucha, put a lid on your jar, give it a good shake to mix it all in, and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours to let the flavors infuse.
Enjoy, and join me at my imaginary beach!
Cinnamon Apple Kombucha
This is the last recipe I have for you today, and this one has a nice subtle flavor. If you like the taste of plain kombucha, this one is close to it. Not only is it not overly sweet, but it has that hint of apple that makes it smell delicious!
You’ll need some sliced organic apples and a cinnamon stick. If you’d like to punch up the flavor a bit more, you can add in 2-3 TBSP of apple juice concentrate and 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon.
Put these things in your kombucha, cover with a lid, shake well, and let it sit on your kitchen counter overnight so your flavors mingle together.
This is a great kombucha drink for fall as well!
After 24 Hours
After you’ve let your kombucha jars sit on your counter for another 12-24 hours, they’re ready to drink. Put them in your refrigerator to store them and when you’re ready to try one, pour your flavored kombucha through a tea strainer to catch anything you may not want to drink. You can always eat the fruit after you and your kiddos have finished drinking all the kombucha!
Want even more flavor ideas?
Try this Peach Kombucha from Thank Your Body.
Click here to check out some great kombucha making supplies.
Enjoy and be healthy!
What’s your favorite flavor of kombucha? Share with me in the comments below!
Meagan Visser is the owner of Growing Up Herbal on Etsy where she offers natural, herbal skin care products for children. She also teaches parents how to take charge of their children’s health naturally on her blog, GrowingUpHerbal, and she’s enjoys living a simple and healthy life with her husband and 3 little boys in the southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. Connect with her on her Blog, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Susie Gallardo says
Can I use frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit?
Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says
Absolutely! I use frozen a lot!
Kaly Teaff says
I am very ready to begin making my own kombucha at home. But recently I was told by someone I know that she doesn’t use the sugar like most people do because it turns it into an alcohol. Is this true and what are alternative ways of making it if it is? I have strong beliefs against drinking any type of alcohol and wouldn’t want to unknowingly be going against that belief. Is the alcohol content actually that much?
Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says
Yes… the sugar in the tea is what causes the kombucha to ferment, and the fermentation process causes a very small amount of alcohol to be produced. Like Anine said below, it’s around .1% or .2% which isn’t very much. My guess is that you’d get more alcohol in an herbal tincture or in an OTC children’s medicine.
I’m not sure if you can use other forms of sugar. I’ve never tried it personally, and I’d think it could cause your kombucha to taste different. I’ve also heard that if you change it up it won’t totally go through the fermentation process and that will cause it to go bad and mold… which is no good.
If it were me, I’d leave it as it is, but if your convictions won’t allow you to drink it there are plenty of other fermented/ cultured things you and your family can consume. Hope that helps you! Best of luck!!
The MamaS says
Kaly – I totally understand your concern with the alcohol issue. I’m a school bus driver and I worried that my love of kombucha could lead to me loosing my job. (not because of bad driving caused by the kombucha, but for the zero tolerance of BAC numbers above .00) So I did a test: I drank a full bottle of kombucha, waited 15 minutes, then did a breathalyzer at the drug and alcohol testing lab in our area hospital. I came up as .00 which was good enough for me. One way to minimize the possibility of alcohol is to not allow it to ferment as long, less fermenting time=less alcohol. But honestly, the alcohol content is about the same, if not slightly more, than OJ. If you add fresh fruits after brewing, letting them sit too long to flavor could possibly add to the alcohol content, especially with grapes. Hope this helps!
Kombutcha contains very, very little alcohol. I test my batches regularly, and they have never been over 0,2%. Never seen any difference regarding type of sugar either, And I’ve tried most of them. Also, my ywo year old drinks kombucha every dag, I would never have given him anything with alkohol. Enjoy your kombucha, and good luck!
Just another comment regarding the sugar. I have use coconutsugar, rapadura, white organic as well as sugar combined with stevia. All went well, but recommend white or coconut tastewise.
Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says
Awesome Anine! I did not know you could use other sugars and have it turn out okay. I’ll have to look into that more. Thanks!
I’ve heard you can use jaggery as well 🙂
I’ve just started brewing my own bucha and am currently halfway through my second batch, I can’t wait to add some pineapple! That’s a fabulous idea! I made Apple-Ginger with my first batch and it would definitely be better with some cinnamon in there! I’ve wanted to try strawberries too, I was going to make a strawberry puree to intensify the flavor, would you recommend fresh, whole berries instead?
Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says
I’d think the puree would give it more flavor, but I’ve never tried that. We love using the whole berries since they’re nice to eat afterwards. They’re kinda fizzie like! My kids love them!
Where do we buy culture and starter for Kombuca.. I couldn’t hear Sarah from the video. Tanks
Did you ever find a Scoby? If you didn’t, you can buy a scoby from Cultures for health or you can find one locally. I normally give mine away for free to local people who are willing to pick them up from me. There is a Kombucha/Culturing group on facebook, If you’d like i can add you to that group on FB, so you can possibly find someone local to you who may have a free scoby 🙂
The MamaS says
I’ve been brewing my own kombucha since March ’13! I just upgraded my brewing from 1/2 gal. to 4.5 gal (with a continuous brew system)I love experiment with different flavors, so I’m excited to give these recipes a try. My 3 yr. old DD LOVES (and I mean addicted to) kombucha. I just bottled 96 oz, and I flavored 2 bottles each of fresh red raspberries, black cherries, and strawberries. (In fact, we had some strawberry ‘bucha while in the vehicle, and she told me that she was going to hold it and take care of it… which of course translated into: “I’ll take care to drink it as fast as possible so mommy doesn’t get any” well played dear child… well played” I’ve also done strawberry/kiwi, strawberry/blueberry, blueberry, ginger root, and of course, just plain kombucha. I’ve used both fresh and freeze dried fruits. The end flavors when comparing the two are very similar, but I prefer the fresh produce since it’s more appetizing to eat the fruit afterwards. I have some leftover honey rhubarb juice from canning, I’m thinking of trying some of that in a plain bottle, but adding just before drinking so the honey doesn’t kill off all the good bacteria. Another new family favorite is water kefir (with a bit of vanilla extract added before drinking – it’s like cream soda!) It brews quicker, so it’s a good in-between while you’re waiting for ‘bucha to ferment, and it makes a nice break from kombucha, sometimes you just want that super light crisp soda like taste, water kefir does that!
Harriette Jensen says
So far, my favorites have been lemon-ginger and raspberry. However, I’m looking forward to trying some of these recipes. The strawberry lemonade looks perfect for my granddaughter.
Hubbys favorite is rasbeery lemon about 3/4 cup fresh or froze rasberries and juice of a small lemon.(per half gallon) My favorite is strawberry kiwi. 5-6 whole strawberries two kiwi sliced peeled in half gallon jar. We love kombucha tea that I make 2 gallons on Sunday and one gallon on Wens. It is so healthy and so refreshing and it actually quenches the thrist! Love having a large glass after hours spent weeding in the gardens! I have also used flavored herb teas and they are good.
Rhonda L. says
When you are done flavoring and store them in the fridge for drinking do you put the regular metal mason jar covers on? Do they taste better cold?
Lindsey G. says
Yes – you can put the metal mason jar cover on them after flavoring to store in the fridge. You need to store them in the fridge or they will continue to ferment, get fizzier, and explode (like when you shake a can of coke and open it)! And yes–they do taste better cold.
Faith Mitchell says
This all looks delicious, but slightly overwhelming 🙂
Is there a brand you would recommend I try before committing to making it myself?
I just stumbled across this posting and enjoyed your flavoring ideas.
The reason I’m posting, however, is to address the alcohol issue discussed in the comments. A couple of points, in particular, stood out to me:
– Meagan: “Like Anine said below, it’s around .1% or .2% which isn’t very much.”
– TheMama S: “less fermenting time=less alcohol”
To be non-alcoholic kombucha must be .5% or less alcohol. This is an incredibly difficult number to hit. Nearly impossible, in fact. It takes years of brewing, temperature control, colony control and a great reduction of sugar in order to even hit >.% The idea that people are at .1-.2% is, to me, impossible. We’ve made kombucha using high temperature (80 degrees) and 150 grams of sugar per gallon and still ended up with .6% alcohol. I’ve spoken with many kombucha companies that have produced and sold kombucha knowingly in the 2-5% ABV range, and I’ve personally tested packaged kombucha and found it over 1%.
The idea that brewing shorter reduces ethanol is a misunderstanding of the process. There are many scholarly articles on kombucha fermentation which show the rise and fall of ethanol levels during the fermentation process, but understand that the yeast product ethanol which the acetobacter transform into acetic acid. Stopping that process early leaves alcohol. There are processes for reducing alcohol, and perhaps this is more helpful for the poster interested in non alcoholic kombucha.
The only–ONLY–way to have a non-alcoholic kombucha is to pasteurize your booch using heat. This will remove the carbonation as well, but it’s the only way. To reduce alcohol use less that a cup of sugar per gallon, use almost all green tea, only take your starter from the top of the previous batch, filter your yeast through a paper towel, and don’t secondary ferment with anything containing sugar or starch. This will ensure you have low levels of alcohol, but, even still, getting to .2-.1% would be somewhat impossible. You can research other ways to remove all alcohol from the brew.
There are many people who feel a slight bit of alcohol is actually extremely helpful to the digestive system. Also, personally I’d be more worried about giving my kids a product made with black or green tea since both leave caffeine in the final product and tea, particularly green tea, is very high in fluoride.
In the end you need to look at why you would drink kombucha in the first place. It’s delicious and healthy, but the health benefits can be had elsewhere if the risks are too high.
Just my 2 cents.
I enjoyed your article and the comments. I love getting information from people who are experts at something I have just started. I am currently consuming (myself and the children LOVE it) my first batch of Kombucha. I tried 6 different flavor combinations and my current favorites (in order) are lemon/ginger/honey, strawberry/basil and blueberry/rosemary.