What is Kombucha?
I had heard about it a few times but never really knew what it was until this Thanksgiving when my aunt brought some for us to sample. I was not quite sold on it, but she recommended for me to buy the Reed’s brand. Next time I was in Columbia, I stopped by Natural Grocers. I bought the Lemon Ginger Raspberry, Coconut Water Lime, and Passion Mango Ginger. I loved the Passion Mango Ginger and was hooked. So I decided to start making my own to save on money. My aunt gave me the information I needed and my first scoby to start my first batch. Plus she gave me a jar of blueberry. Yum! I watched my first batch closely to make sure that it would turn out. A week later I started my second fermentation to add my flavors. My first was Peach Ginger. Not one of my favorites, but okay. My second batch was blueberries, raspberries, and ginger! Loved it! I already have another batch going.
So really what is Kombucha? According to the Merrian-Webster Dictionary: Kombucha is a gelatinous mass of symbiotic bacteria (as Acetobacter xylinum) and yeasts (as of the genera Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces) grown to produce a fermented beverage held to confer health benefits; also : the beverage prepared by fermenting kombucha with black tea and sugar. Pronunciation: kômˈbo͞oCHə/
In my terms Kombucha is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, a scoby. Kombucha dates back well over 2,000 years ago from China and is believed to have “healing” powers. It is a tea-based probiotic packed with micro nutrients and bacteria that is beneficial for your immunity, digestion and detoxifies the body. It usually takes anywhere from 7-31 days to ferment. A scoby is also needed to work its magic with the tea and sugar. Scoby stands for a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. To be honest it almost looks like something that should be on the shelf in your science lab at school!
My first time making Kombucha
What you need for one gallon: 8 organic black tea bags, 1 cup of organic sugar, 13 cups of distilled water and 2 cups of starter tea. Bring your water to a boil, dissolve the sugar, and then steep the tea. Next remove from the burner and let it go back to room temperature. Next poor it into a gallon jar, add your scoby, then cover it. I used an old tea towel and a rubber band. Put it in a dark, warm place to start the fermenting process. I tasted the kombucha the 4th day in. Taste each day until you like the taste. The longer you leave it the less sugar it will contain because the scoby “eats” it during the process. Also the longer you leave it the more of a vinegar taste the kombucha will have.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF KOMBUCHA TEA?
There are numerous websites that list the benefits of kombucha, but I really like this list found at www.foodrenegade.com. Drinking around 4 oz daily and drinking my Shakeology daily, I am noticing a difference.
#1 — DETOXIFICATION
Detoxification produces healthy livers and aides cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver.
#2 — JOINT CARE
Kombucha contains glucosamines, a strong preventive and treatment all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.
#3 — AIDS DIGESTION AND GUT HEALTH
Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.
#4 — IMMUNE BOOSTING
Kombucha is extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.
You can drink the kombucha from the first fermentation. But I like it flavored. I love blueberries so one of my batches contained blueberries, raspberries, and ginger. I let it sit for two days. On the second day I burped my bottle and BAM! There was some fizz as it sprayed my kitchen and me! I just laughed and of course had to send a text to my aunt to let her know what had just happened. I put it in the fridge and a few hours later the fizz had gone down. The end result–Delicious!
Hint for next time when I burp it: place the bottle in a bowl and cover it with a towel. 🙂