Regardless of where you are in life we all want to be able to do as much as we can while looking and being as healthy as possible. So of course, I read all the trending ideas of how to have healthy this or that. Some I try and some I’d rather not. Some ideas make more sense than others. At my last visit to my OB/GYN she went into why having probiotics was so essential and gave me a recipe for homemade Kiefer. I tried it for a while, but warm dairy products sitting on my kitchen counter started to turn my stomach at sight…. let alone knowing I had to drink a half of cup a day. That was my motivation to move on to the next idea for natural probiotics. I began my search.
After a lot of “googling”, which sometimes I wonder if ‘that’ much information is good or bad. I kept seeing the benefits of fermented drinks, particularly kombucha. Kombucha can help maintain cholesterol levels, strengthen immune system, helps with arthritis and aids in maintaining cellular health. The cellular health part resonated with me because I have heard that some cultures that eat a lot of fermented foods maintain their youthful looks longer which appealed to my 54-year-old face. It also helps to detoxify the body, aids in digestion, boosts energy and helps fight inflammation. Those are all great reasons to at least try it, so I did!
I love kombucha but not the price of commercially sold kombucha. Pre-bottled, commercially sold kombucha’s even at Costco or Sam’s Club are pricey if you want to drink a bottle a day. The breakdown for an 8 bottle case is $2.00 a bottle. That is not bad, but it can be home-made a whole lot cheaper and I think even tastier. Flavors of homemade kombucha are endless and fun to experiment in making. So far, I have mastered pineapple with ground fresh ginger and turmeric root (I keep them in the freezer to keep them fresh & they are easier to shred on the cheese grater when frozen). Yummy and my newest addition is chai seeds for an added benefit of proteins and other important nutrients, antioxidants, fiber (which can make you feel full and help you lose weight) and they contain Omega-3 fatty acids.
To start making kombucha at home you need to start with a SCOBY which is an acronym for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’. A starter SCOBY can be purchased on-line or ask around: your friends might be secretly making kombucha and might have a ‘baby’ from their mother SCOBY. Get a hold of one and start today. It takes a couple of weeks to ferment depending on the temperature in your house, the warmer it is the faster it ferments. You will need a large container that holds at least a gallon, cheese cloth and bottles to harvest your batch. Gather the ingredients listed below and you are on your way to saving money and feeling better while looking great too!
1 kombucha SCOBY
1 gallon purified water*
4 green tea* *bags
4 black tea* *bags
1 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
*have extra water on hand when harvesting to dilute the flavor if needed after adding juices.
**must be caffeinated tea
Heat 4 cups of water to seep tea bags for at least ten minutes and add sugar to dissolve. After tea has seeped, remove tea bags and stir water to ensure all sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the gallon of water to mixture and place in container.
Once the mixture has reached room temperature add the SCOBY (just like in making bread the SCOBY is yeast and can NOT get too hot). Place cheese cloth over the container and secure with a rubber band. Do not let it in direct sun light. I lightly spray the cheese cloth with vinegar daily to stop bacterial growth on the cloth.
The process takes anywhere from 10 to 21 days depending on temperature. After 7 to 10 days you may want to stick a straw down the side of the container and taste the mixture. If you like it than it is done, if you want more fermentation let it continue to sit and taste test every couple of days. Helpful hint: mark on your calander when you start your batch.
When it is just right take out the SCOBY and a cup of the mixture. Put it in a tightly sealed jar for your next batch and store in the refrigerator. The cold temperatures stop the fermenting process but keeps your SCOBY fresh. If you want to flavor your kombucha this would be the time to do it. Add fresh juice to taste. Then bottle the contents and refrigerate if you like the taste. OR you want to ferment longer keep it on the counter in the continer with cheese cloth secured with rubber band. Taste it as the days go by to see if you like it.
Rumor has it that you can grow your own mother SCOBY on your kitchen counter in a glass jar containing plain kombucha. The jar needs to be covered with cheesecloth and let it sit for a week or so. Eventually a skin will form on the top of the mixture and that is SCOBY!!!
NOTE: I did not grow my own SCOBY because I had a friend secretly making her own kombucha and when I told her I wanted to make it as well she gave me her SCOBY baby. SCOBY gets thicker and can be peeled off in layers…. those layers are babies to share (or toss).
Good luck and have fun! You are off to a healthier, younger looking YOU