Kombucha, the Tea of Gods

I was six or seven months into a high raw food diet several years ago, when I discovered Kombucha.   Kombucha is a fermented, sweetened tea that employs a colony of bacteria and yeast to consume sugars and transform the tea mixture into a living drink.  The microbe colony responsible for this friendly ferment forms a gelatinous layer that floats on the surface of the tea.  This floater is referred to as the “mother” of living vinegars and is often referred to as SCOBY, “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.”

As with all living foods, enzymes, probiotics, and concentrated nutrients engender these foods with health-supporting properties.  Research in Europe has shown Kombucha to be supportive of digestive function.  Other potential benefits include immunity support, cancer prevention, and improving liver function.

 

What a wonderful beverage!  I bought several bottles from our local health food store, and then learned how to make it myself.  Since then it has been a staple in my refrigerator that I enjoy often, particularly in warm weather.  It’s tart and tingly, reminiscent of champagne, soothing as it travels down the channel into the belly where it does its job of providing pro-biotics, positive, digestion-enhancing, constipation-relieving  microbes to the system.

 

For those of you who would like to make your own Kombucha, here’s how.

 

Equipment
A one gallon GLASS jar.
6 air tight bottles suitable for bottling liquid.  (I use bottles saved from my store-bought Kombucha – they’re perfect.)
Plastic spoon

 

Kombucha in starter tea
Ingredients
1 Kombucha culture* in some starter tea
4 black or green tea bags (black is best)
1 cup sugar (organic is best)
The best water available; spring water is wonderful, otherwise filtered is good.
* If you don’t have a Kombucha mother in some starter tea, you can often find one by asking at your local health food stores.  People there often have them in their refrigerators waiting for good homes.  Some health food stores sell packaged Kombucha starter kits.  Alternatively, the bottled kombucha available in health food stores, if it is unpasteurized, can be used to grow a culture (“mother”).  Just one bottle will do it, along with some patience.

 

Empty the bottle of Kombucha into a glass quart jar, and cover it with a cloth or paper towel (so it can breathe) and an elastic band. Keep it at room temperature for two weeks without touching the jar.  The culture is slowly growing.  That “baby” can be used, then, to start your own batch of Kombucha.

 

Directions
Boil 1 gallon water
Remove from heat and add 1 cup sugar.  Stir until it is dissolved.
Add the 4 tea bags and stir gently.  Let steep until the mixture is room temperature.
Pour the liquid into the gallon jar.
Add the mushroom and the starter Kombucha.
Cover with a towel or paper towel….something that breathes.
Label the mixture with the date. Let sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
Taste it after about a week with a non-metal spoon.  If it tastes like vinegar, it’s ready.  If it’s still quite sweet, taste it every couple of days until the tastes suits you.  When you think it’s right , (and it really is all about taste here), remove the mother and ½-1 cup  liquid to a jar.  Cover with a tight lid and store in refrigerator until you’re ready to make another batch of Kombucha.

 

Decant the new Kombucha into glass airtight bottles. Refrigerate.

That’s it!  You have Kombucha.

Notes
The mother must be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make more Kombucha.  It will grow at room temperature.
 The next time you make Kombucha using that mother, it may grow so much that it grows a “baby.”  If it does, you can peel the baby off for a second jar.  If it doesn’t detach easily, just leave it attached, and it should be easily detached after another batch or two.

If you like your drinks on the fizzy side, just leave your freshlybottled batch in a warm place for 3 or 4 days, and then checkon it.  Be careful, as they might get really bubbly  or even explode if left for too long.

Enjoy!
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