I love ferments! Our gut has anywhere from 600-1000 different microbials working to keep us healthy. We tend to do a lot of things that negatively impact these microbials – diet is one and antibiotics is another. I don’t do antibiotics any more and am grateful that my youngest (12) has never had them and my oldest (14) hasn’t had them since we got her out of the hospital!!
But many of us have taken them over the years and they effect our gut balance for YEARS, some any say generations as we pass our gut issues on to our babies.
One thing we can do to help is to consume a variety of ferments. There is NO need for expensive store bought probiotics. Not only are they unnecessary and expensive but really don’t do the job. Most store bought probiotics only have a few strains and that just isn’t very helpful.
Consuming an array of whole food probiotics, on the other hand, provides your body with the variety it needs to remain healthy. Remember the bulk of our immune system is in our gut.
So, I’ll post about other probiotic options in the future but today I want to talk about kombucha. Kombucha has been around for a long time, some report thousands of years. I’m not sure about that but it’s been a long time 🙂
It is a fermented tea that provides a variety of beneficial microbials and is a nice beverage alternative for soda. It is also believed to have detoxification effects. Pat from Heal Thyself, reminds everyone to be aware that kombucha can mobilize mercury, so to use caution if you have mercury fillings. She talks more about the issue here. I don’t have any fillings, so this hasn’t been an issue for me. I am just able to enjoy a yummy, healthy drink! Hopefully, that will be the case for you too! If not, I’ll post about water kefir soon. It is another fermented drink and it is not a problem for people with fillings.
I’ll post the recipe below but let’s look at some pictures now:
So, these are two batches that are ready to be harvested. You’ll see the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) on the top. I have groovy positive statics on the side of the jar too 🙂
This is a shot of just the SCOBYs.
I remove them from the jar and place in
a dish with about 2 cups of the made kombucha (for the next batch).
I like to do a secondary ferment. Here is a picture of that:
For the berry one, I use organic mixed frozen berries from Costco. The lighter one in the picture uses fresh ginger (our Asian market sells this in bulk for pennies!). I love this ‘ginger-ale’ type taste. It’s delicious and you get all of the benefits of ginger. You can read more about those here.
In order to start making your own kombucha, you will need to find a SCOBY. If you have a local group, you can post there. Heal Thyself has a sharing cultures section. You can check that out here. I sell my extras at my site Anna’s Kefir Grains. I charge as little as possible to cover shipping and time/supplies, etc. There are other places that sell cultures too, you can just google. I know Cultures for Health is another place you can check.
Here is the recipe that I send out with my SCOBYs. It includes how to make the secondary ferment.
You will receive your SCOBY with a bit of Kombucha (liquid), that’s important, don’t dump it.
1 gallon size, glass jar
1 tea towel, cloth napkin, dishtowel, etc.
1 large rubber band
1 cup sugar (I use organic to avoid GMO issues)
6 black, green or white tea bags (I use Twig Tea)
Mature kombucha (liquid)
- Warm several cups of water in a sauce pan, hot but less than boiling (If it boils, it’s fine)
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve
- Remove from heat and add tea bags
- Steep for 15-20 minutes
- Add this tea to your gallon jar
- Add additional COLD water (so that overall temp is cool-warm NOT hot)
- Stir to combine
- Lay your SCOBY on the top
- Pour the Kombucha liquid on top of the SCOBY
- Cover with towel and rubber band to secure (keep on counter, in cupboard, etc.)
- Check between 7 and 14 days to find the taste/sweetness you enjoy. (I harvest every 2 weeks)
When you are ready to harvest:
- Remove SCOBY, place in dish, add 1-2 cups of the mature kombucha
- Remove remaining kombucha, I strain this because there will often be yeast floating around. That’s ok, great even but not so pleasant to slurp up 🙂
- Bottle in jars of your choice and store in the refrigerator (**Or read below for 2nd ferment)
- Repeat steps above to start new batch.
**This is the time to do a secondary ferment, if you want “flavored” kombucha. The possibilities are endless but here are three of my favorites:
Fill bottom of a quart jar with frozen, organic, mixed berries (about 2 inches up). Fill jar with mature kombucha. Leave on the counter for 2 days, strain and enjoy!
Add fresh, peeled and chopped ginger to a quart jar of mature kombucha and let sit out for 2 days. This is a yummy “ginger ale” kombucha.
Pour an inch or two of organic grape juice in a quart jar, top off with mature kombucha and let sit out for 2 days. This reminds me of the old GT Dave’s Grape Divine Flavor!
New SCOBYs will grow ~ share with friends!