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If you have been on a real food journey for awhile, chances are good you have at least heard of kombucha and likely have tried it (maybe more than once!). If you are new to real food, early in your journey, or have just never taken the kombucha plunge, today I am going to give you a very brief explanation, and maybe you too will be encouraged to jump into kombucha!
What is Kombucha?
To state it simply, kombucha is fermented tea. It is made using a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), also called a ‘mushroom’ or ‘the mother.’ The SCOBY is firm, gelatinous, and basically…kinda gross looking.
Why would anyone drink anything made from that? Well, first of all, it is delicious! But more importantly, it is packed with gut-friendly probiotics, as well as enzymes and good acids. Kombucha detoxes the body via the liver, and has been shown to fight cancer. Some sources state that kombucha can be beneficial for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, as well as many other ailments. We started drinking it out of curiosity, and as we learned about the health benefits we realized it was going to be a staple in our house!
Where to Find Kombucha
You can purchase kombucha in individual bottles in a variety of flavors. In the last couple of months, I have started to see kombucha pop up in our local Asian grocery, Whole Foods, and just two weeks ago it was a ‘new item’ at our local grocery store. The kind you buy at the store comes in a variety of flavors and some even come with chia seeds in them (if you haven’t tried grape chia flavor kombucha, I highly recommend). Unfortunately, store-bought kombucha is very pricey. $2.99 appears to be the going rate for a 16 oz. bottle of goodness. If you are drinking a bottle a day, this can get very expensive (and if your husband or kids are drinking it too…you can see how this is not an economical solution!).
The way I recommend? Make it yourself! It is fairly simple, and it is dirt cheap. I make it by the gallon (128 ounces) and my total cost is under $1.00…for the entire gallon! That works out to less than 1 cent per ounce. There are few other foods I am aware of that provide that much nutritional punch for that low of a price.
If you have a friend who already brews her own kombucha, call her now and ask for a SCOBY. She might have some in her refrigerator just waiting for a new home, and if not, she will likely have one soon (every kombucha brew produces a new SCOBY). If you don’t know anyone who makes kombucha, you can grow your own SCOBY (this is what I did). It does take time…although probably less time for those of you in warmer climates than I.
While you are waiting on your SCOBY, check out the video that Kate from Modern Alternative Mama made. This is the video that first gave me the courage to take the kombucha plunge, and I am so glad I did. This video completely breaks down the kombucha process and shows you every single step. Kate also wrote an accompanying kombucha ebook that is free for you! This ebook gives you step-by-step instructions on how to brew your own kombucha and grow your own SCOBY, kombucha recipes, and troubleshooting tips. It is a wealth of information and super handy for when you get stuck or forget something.
In her ebook, Kate offers a variety of ways to flavor kombucha during a second fermentation. Personally, I really enjoy ginger, ginger with lemon, and raspberry. The way I did raspberry was by juicing enough raspberries to produce about ½ cup of seedless juice per gallon of brewed kombucha. I mixed the two and allowed the kombucha to sit on the counter for another 2-3 days, then placed it in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process. We drank one bottle on the first day and it was great, but when we drank our last bottle 5 days later…that was the best! I highly recommend letting your second ferment sit in the fridge for 5-7 days to really develop flavor.
Do you brew kombucha or are you going to start?
**This post is entered into Allergy Free Wednesdays.**