I’m one of those people who brews homemade kombucha, shares as many kombucha mothers as I can, but still cannot bring myself to actually dispose of the extras I have. My SCOBYs are living communities of organisms and to put my mamas in the trash just feels wrong, heartless even. Go ahead, call me sensitive.
One morning, I was making a new batch of kombucha and I finally faced the fact that I had to figure out something—my brewing vessels were about 80% filled with mothers and 20% tea, and for the sake of counter space, I was not going to add another jar to my ”fermentation station” table.
I remember wondering “could I make something tasty out of those mothers?” I knew that clothing was being made with SCOBYs, but what could be made out of that crazy looking pancake that folks would want to eat? Could it be eaten? That afternoon, my copy of The Art of Fermentation arrived and I placed it on my bed knowing that reading it would be my treat after a long day.
(photo from YumUniverse instagram)
That night, I read a passage where author Sandor Katz talks about a friend of his who makes kombucha candy out of leftover mothers. Yes! How timely. High-five, universe.
The next day, I experimented, and played, and tasted, and came up with a recipe for an “Apple Pie” kombucha candy. I thought it was delicious—dark, caramel-colored, sweet, slightly acidic and chewy like gummy bears. However, the real, unconditional taste test would have to come from others—people who would have looked at the SCOBY and said “there’s no way I’m eating that.”
Since I’m posting the recipe, you can guess that the reviews were rave. Even from the biggest skeptics—my sweetie (who I thought for sure would say “no way” to even trying it) lit up at first bite. He smiled, eyes wide, and said “wow, that’s really good” as he reached for more.
So, the following is the recipe I came up with but it’s only a guideline that I hope you’ll take and run with. Please do play around with quantities and flavors as you see fit.
Have you made it this far in the post and are wondering “what’s kombucha”? “What’s a SCOBY”?
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is created using a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Yeasts and Bacteria). SCOBYs are also lovingly called “Mothers” or “Mushrooms” even though they aren’t fungi. I have two posts on the site that walk you through making kombucha at home, so check them out if you want to learn more:
You’ll most likely get a new mother each time you brew a batch of kombucha and after a few months, you’ll have enough mothers to start making some “Sugar Mamas.”
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Hold on a minute—is it safe to eat?
If you brew the tea responsibly and successfully, and drink the tea, you can eat the SCOBY. It’s simply a probiotic-rich by-product of the fermentation process—bacteria, yeasts and cellulose (an insoluble substance that is the main constituent of plant cell walls and of vegetable fibers).
You can read more about kombucha, SCOBYs and safety troubleshooting in the posts I mention above.
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You can prepare this candy in a dehydrator—which will maintain the most probiotic benefit—or in the oven. Note that the oven will diminish probiotic activity a bit—the heat kills some of the probiotics.
Large sauce pot
Kitchen Scissors or a Chef’s knife
Glass baking dish
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
Two 7″ diameter, 1/2-1″ thick SCOBY Mamas*
“Apple Pie” Syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sucanat (plus more for texture if you like)
3/4 tsp fine-ground sea salt
1 red apple of your choice
2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (optional, but adds nice depth of flavor)
2 cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp ground)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (use Ceylon cinnamon if you can find it)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I bet real vanilla bean is amazing if you wanted to try that—let us know)
* Should look a bit like this—healthy—but each mama is unique. Shapes and thickness vary, so does darkness. Usually the more mature the mama, the darker she is. This is a SCOBY babe below…
Let’s get started:
1. Make a syrup by bringing “Apple Pie” syrup to a boil in a large sauce pot.
Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally for about 15–20 minutes until syrup reduces a bit.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely to room temp. If you used a cardamom pod or two, fish them out once syrup has cooled and discard.
3. Using a clean cutting board, and a knife or kitchen scissors, cut a SCOBY into 1″ pieces.
4. Repeat with the second SCOBY.
5. Transfer pieces to a clean, glass baking dish.
6. Pour cooled syrup (including apples) over pieces, making sure to coat/cover all of them. Once dry, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the apple and the kombucha.
7. Place baking dish on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 95°F for 8–12 hours, or until dried out and chewy. If you are using the oven, dry candies at the lowest temp possible—probably 170°F— for 8–12 hours, or until dry and chewy.
8. You can skip this step, but I love the deep caramel color and flavor that comes from sucanat…
… so, sometimes, halfway through the drying process, I’ll remove candies and sprinkle with extra sucanat.
I also like to do this once candies are done—it makes for great crunch factor.
Wrap them in unbleached parchment and pretty string or paper to share…
I am SO curious what YU all think of this recipe, and what you come up with on your own, so leave me a comment below.
What else can be done with extra SCOBYs?
1. Feed them to your pets.
2. Add pieces to your smoothies.
3. Blend and apply as a natural enzyme-peel face mask.
4. Compost them.
BE SURE TO SEND ME YOUR QUESTIONS:
I’ll be interviewing my favorite Fermentation advocate, author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation, Sandor Katz, in a few weeks (!!!), so please leave a comment below if you have a question you’d like me to ask him!