In February I came home from a fermentation workshop with a new pet. She is called Scoby, a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. My daughter was not impressed “Ugh gross!” was her reaction.
Scoby, used to make kombucha, does resemble a fairly revolting, rubbery alien-life form, but is just one small vowel short of being a dog with a rapacious appetite and an ability to solve crimes. Scoby was certainly the pet for me: we have so much in common. Like me, Scoby loves tea. To produce kombucha, leave Scoby in two litres of tepid, sugary tea in a large glass jar. The jar needs to be covered; I used a piece of old school shirt tied on with ribbon, allowing Scoby to breathe, but preventing any insects falling in. Over the course of a week, Scoby transforms the tea into an effervescent drink, simultaneously creating a copy of itself – baby Scoby! When not in use, Scoby occupies a container in the fridge known as a Scoby-hotel.
The health benefits of kombucha are debated, but it is a refreshing drink. I am confident that it must be better for me than a large glass of red wine and cheaper to make at home than to buy at a health food shop.