One night this cold winter I fed my craving for a glass of kombucha before bed. Then I wanted another, which I gulped, followed by a third. Okay, one more. That was unusual for me as I probably only have a glass every few days. In the morning when a child of mine woke with the flu, and a second kiddo got it that week as well…and I never did (a miracle there!) Can I assume my body wanted the healthy probiotics from this drink to fight off the bad guys? It is very probable.
Recently I had the immense pleasure of teaching Life Skills Classes to teenagers that had pre-chosen the variety of topics we covered over six weeks. The Fermented Foods Class included Kombucha; some of them already had a batch going on in their kitchens, and at least a half dozen took SCOBY’s home for the first time. For their ages, they are so far ahead in their pursuit of healthy living than I was even just a decade ago. (I’m so proud of them!) The following is for those that missed it, or maybe you dear reader.
WHAT AND WHY
Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent super healthy sweetened black or green tea drink produced by fermenting tea using a SCOBY (for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). The SCOBY essentially eats the sugar, tannic acids, and caffeine in the tea, and creates a cocktail of live beneficial microorganisms and probiotics. SCOBY’s constantly grow and reproduce so you can share the wealth.
Originating centuries back in northeast China, kombucha was known as “Immortal Health Elixir“. Here is why…
Kombucha contains high levels of:
Antioxidants (strengthens immune system)
Enzymes and b-vitamins (boosts energy)
Probiotics (detoxification and digestive system including leaky gut)
Glucaric acid (cancer fighter)
Acetic acid (also in vinegar, kills bad bacteria)
Polyphenols (weight loss)
Glucosamine (eases joint pain, prevents arthritis)
It also kills Candida (yeast), helps assimilate nutrients, improves pancreas functions and helps with anxiety and depression…mood booster.
We drink it in our home because… we just like it, we purpose to stay healthy, and there is absolutely nothing better for an upset tummy.
IN A NUTSHELL
To make your own Kombucha, you need a “mushroom” like SCOBY culture (online or from a friend), large sterile jar, tea, sugar, and a cloth. You simply make sweet tea adding the culture (SCOBY) once it has cooled, along with some of the stronger kombucha at the bottom of the jar.
~~~Ready for some “Immortal Health Elixir”?
Directions for 1/2 gallon.
(however you may want to double or have two or three gallon jars going depending on your consumption)
(1) Boil 6-7 cups water and add
1/2 cup white sugar stir until dissolved,
1 tablespoons loose tea or 4 tea bags
brew 10-15 minutes (longer if you like stronger tea)
cool to around 100 degrees (or it will kill the culture)
I use at least 25% black tea if using green tea
(2) Add 1 cup starter tea (the bottom of the jar is the strongest…use that) with the SCOBY,
cover with a cheesecloth/tight-weave fabric/t-shirt/coffee filter so oxygen gets in and fruit flies stay out….keep this at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for 7-10 plus days, depending on the temperature of your room and on your preference of tartness. I add a sticker with the ‘date-started’ jotted on it.
(3) Pour kombucha off the top of the jar for consuming by filtering the now fermented beverage into another clean jar with a tight fitting lid. (photo shows filter suggestions). Retain the SCOBY and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as a starter tea for the next batch.
(4) Flavor with juice/fruit/herbs/extracts or drink it now, OR you can ferment it a second time for it to become fizzy simply by bottling it tightly at room temperature another 24-48 or longer depending on the temperature and your taste.
As the SCOBY grows and multiplies its layers, the new “baby” can take over your production
and the older “mama” layer(s) can be added to a jar called a “SCOBY Hotel” covered with their own sweet tea and set aside in a dark, room-temperature place to give away later, as my sweet friend Jessica did to get me started years ago. Hotel’s with their occupants can live several months before refreshing its liquid with about 50/50 sweet tea and fermented kombucha.
As with any fermented foods, not much fermenting goes on when the temperature goes below 65 degrees, but in moderate temperatures (up to 85 degrees) the yeast feeds off the sugar, so little to no glucose is consumed, and the “good guys” flourish and turn into this fermented gold. The colder it is, the longer to ferment; the hotter your kitchen…mere days. Keep tasting!