Kombucha is not new to many of my readers. However, I wanted to start at the beginning with the wonderfully healthful drink. By sharing information about Kombucha and getting everyone up to speed on it we can all move forward on the same page. I have future posts planned for all kinds of yummy variations and ways to use kombucha that might be new to those who have been using it for years. So first things first.
What IS Kombucha? What makes Kombucha unique is it's special culture called a SCOBY (which stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). It is often called a "mushroom" but it is not. It does not have any fungal properties. You may also hear it referred to as a "patty". It is similar to the "mother" in living vinegar. Some people might think it is gross...and it kind of is...when you think about putting a bacteria laden yeast patty in your drink on purpose!! That's a gross thought at first. However, when you are willing to let go of the "sterilized and pasteurized scare" that we have been programed with in the recent years if modern history and you are willing to learn about the beautiful cycle of life that YHVH (GOD) has put in place to help us be well...then all the sudden it's not so gross. :-) Kombucha is nothing new...these methods and understanding have been used for hundred and hundreds if not thousands of years...in many cultures (get it?) all over the world, including our early America.
Why is it good for you? The following constituents may be found in the Kombucha Tea: a very small trace of alcohol, carbon dioxide, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12. folic acid, acetic acid, Glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, oxalic acid, usnic acid, fructose, dextrogyral (L-Latic Acid+), enzymes and minerals.
Kombucha detoxifies and has diuretic properties. The active components that are in Kombucha Tea seem to bind harmful toxins, supplementing liver and immune functions. Kombucha may also help sustain beneficial intestinal flora and, in this way, aid digestion and prevent growth of unfriendly bacteria--which is very important to over all health and disease prevention. The tea contains B vitamins that may work as co-enzymes in stimulating metabolic processes. These B vitamins are also important for healthy skin and blood formation.
There is a whole host of things it is said to be "good for" in maintaining health drank regularly in one's lifestyle. (I an not say these are "cures" The FDA would not like that...blah blah blah) Here are just a few that I found online:
- Improves sleep
- Assists weight loss
- Lowers blood pressure
- Relieves PMS
- Acts as a gentle laxative, helping avoid constipation
- Aids in the relief of arthritis and muscle pain
- Cleanses the colon and gall bladder
- Aids in healthy digestion/ulcers
- Relieves colitis and stomach cramps
- Returns gray hair to it's natural color
- Helps stop non-infectious diarrhea
- Relieves bronchitis and asthma
- Clears up Candida yeast infections
- Regulates the appetite and reduces fat
- Aids with stress and insomnia
- Improves eyesight, cataracts and floaters
- Relieves headaches including migraines
- Increased immune system function
- Puts Lupus into remission
- Helps reduce the alcoholic's craving for alcohol
- Eliminates menopausal hot flashes
- Clears acne, psoriasis and other skin problems
- Thickens hair and strengthens fingernails
- Enhances the sense of smell
- Revitalizes the physical body and adds energy-including sexual energy
- Personally speaking, I have found it to be very refreshing and rejuvenating and it provides a gentle even "energy" unlike coffee or tea; More in a nourishing kind of way...it is hard to explain.
Wikipedia offers more of the technical information on it, if you are interested.
What does it taste like? The taste varies based on the preparation. It is typically made in a tea base, but different teas can be used. This changes the flavor. Likewise, it can be sweetened with different whole sweeteners. This too effects the taste. Also, its fermentation time is a huge factor in it's flavor. It can range from slightly sweet and mild, to something more like a cider, and on to a real tangy vinegar. There are other things that can be done to season and flavor the kombucha too. Really the variations are vast! My husband didn't care much for the "plain" most commonly made, black tea version...yet I wanted to keep this drink in our reguar lifestyle. So I started (and continue) to experiment and I am looking forward to sharing the things I have learned with you in future posts.
How do I make it? First, you will need to acquire a SCOBY. You can do this by asking a friend who makes kombucha, it is always growing and they might not have enough to share right when you ask, but before long they will. You can also buy them. Just look online...OR you can follow this little tutorial on how to grow your own from scratch. It does require some prepared kombucha that has not been pasteurized. You can often find this for sale in the refrigerator section of a health food store. The only thing I might do differently is put more sugar in than he did. I think that would help it grow faster.
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR MAKING KOMBUCHA:
1. Do not use metal utensils
2. Use a glass jar or bowl. (We prefer jars.)
3. Do not steep your kombucha near other foods that are culturing (like keifer or veggies)
4. When steeping you kombucha do it in the dark.
5. Taste it and make it how YOU like it.
6. Use only non-chlorinated, clean water
THIS IS HOW WE MAKE OUR KOMBUCHA: This recipe is for a 1 gallon batch.
1. Bring 1 qrt of water to boil, turn off the heat.
2. Add 1C of cheap white sugar and stir to dissolve.
3. Add 6 bags of black, green or white tea (or 6 tsp bulk) into hot water, and cover to steep. (about 10 minutes) Squeeze out bags and discard/compost.
4. Pour tea into a clean gallon jar. Add 2 1/2 more qrts of COLD water to speed cooling. When you are confident that tea is completely cool (under 100 degrees) you may proceed.
5. Add 1 1/2C finished kombucha tea from the previous batch and the SCOBY. Cover with a towel, muslin or jelly bag and rubber band it to secure it. Put in a dark warm place for 1 week. (Give or take based on how hot it is.)
6. Taste test. Then REPEAT for the next batch. Refrigerate Kombucha and enjoy or.....(to be continued)
Maintaining and Storing Your Culture (SCOBY) Your culture is always growing-- it is prolific. You just always keep a batch going. If you find its more than you can drink, cut your recipe in half. it is most common to make it by the gallon, but you can make as little as a quart at a time if you wish. You can always freeze or dehydrate your culture if you are not going to be making any for long season of travel or something. You can also refrigerate it in a fresh batch of solution to slow the activity.
Now...we can move forward. :-)