Kayla’s Nutrition Corner: Kombucha!
Kombucha is a sweetened, fermented tea. Don’t be afraid of the picture! Okay I admit, it IS a little scary looking. When I started making it at home, anyone who came over would be just a smidge creeped out at my “jelly fish” or “alien” in a jar of liquid haha. But really- nothing to fear. The jelly looking part on top is the “SCOBY” (Symbiotic Colony of Yeast and Bacteria). You brew the sweetened tea with the Scoby, which eats the sugar until about 90% of it is gone. This creates an acidic drink that is rich in vitamins, enzymes and probiotics.
Why drink this stuff?
Our hyper-sanitized culture is disrupting our internal “microbiome” – the balance of good and bad bacteria living in our gut. Everything from taking anti-biotics to drinking chlorinated water is killing off these incredibly important bacteria which then contributes to mental illness, IBS, food sensitivities, candida overgrowth, a depressed immune system and a host of other issues. So, how do we replace these good bacteria? By eating fermented food! This isn’t anything new, by the way. Almost every traditional culture has some type of fermented food they’ve been eating for years and years. Liver detoxification, improved mental health, increased energy and better digestion are just some of the benefits of consuming Kombucha.
How do I make it?
First of all, you need a SCOBY – the jelly looking disk that floats in the jar. It isn’t something you can generally buy in a store. If you know someone who brews their own kombucha, ask them for an extra (they produce little “babies”). If you are interested, I can give you one from my large “MAMA BUCH” as I like to call her. Just ask me at the front desk or call the office. You can also order one online at http://store.kombuchakamp.com/
- 4 quart size clean glass jar
- 4 quarts of brewed sweetened tea (ratio is 1 cup of sugar per 4 quarts of tea) Black or Green teas work best. Use unbleached, organic cane sugar if possible, but regular granulated sugar works too.
- a SCOBY and ½ cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha
- coffee filter or thin cloth and a rubber band
- Prepare your tea and let it cool down to room temperature. If the tea is too hot it can kill your SCOBY.
- Pour tea into jar leaving a few inches of room at the top.
- Pour the Kombucha liquid from the previous batch into jar
- Gently place the SCOBY on top of the liquid. It should float, but if it doesn’t just let it sink. It should start to float in a couple days.
- Cover jar with the coffee filter and wrap elastic band around it tightly. It will attract flies like crazy so make sure it stays sealed!
- Leave for about 5-10 days in a warm area of your house (around 21-26 degrees C). The length of time it takes will depend on the temperature. As it heats up in Kelowna it will be ready much faster. You can give the tea a taste- it should be tart and a little sweet!
- If you want to make the tea fizzy it will need a second ferment (see below). If not, just pour into glass jars with airtight lids and put in the fridge.
For Fizzy Kombucha:
- Pour any type of fruit juice (except citrus) into jars, filling about 1/5 full. I’ve also used frozen berries instead of juice and it’s turned out delicious!
- Add Kombucha tea, leaving about an inch of space at the top.
- Seal with airtight lids and leave for another 2-7 days at room temperate until carbonated.
- Refrigerate and enjoy!
You are ready to drink all the wonderful, healthy goodness that is Kombucha! 🙂
NOTE: start with a few sips at a time- if you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it may make your stomach a bit upset. Don’t worry, this is very mild and a good sign.
Please feel free to give me a call or email with any questions or if you want a starter SCOBY! Happy brewing! 🙂