There was a time when I would not make a trip to the health food store without picking up a bottle of Kombucha. It was my treat. Some kids like the free cookie at the grocery store bakery. I looked forward to the Mango Kombucha in that pretty glass bottle with the mandala on it.
There was a girl in my last yoga teacher training that made the best homemade Kombucha. She gave me a SCOBY so that I could make my own. I put it in the fridge and promptly forgot about it. There went that.
My husband recently went on a fermentation kick, and so we came round again to the prospect of making our own Kombucha. We acquired a SCOBY from a good friend and this time put it to work. We have since grown and shared our own to many the delighted Kombucha lover.
First thing's first: What on earth is a SCOBY?
It is a starter culture or “mother” that stands for Symbiotic Culture of friendly Bacteria and Yeast. Most of us are familiar with the Friendly Bacteria craze. We want those hard working bugs in massive quantities to keep us on the healthy track to better life. I’m a fan. A SCOBY looks a bit like a thick rubbery pancake and is your key to making great Kombucha. These days there is usually a friend of a friend of a friend that makes their own and has plenty to share. Put your feelers out.
From that starter culture, you can turn your basic sweet tea into a tasty vitamin and mineral delivery system. A Kombucha mother is filled with enzymes that aid detoxification, glucosamines that help to prevent arthritis, and packs a probiotic punch that helps control harmful yeasts and promotes a happy bacterial situation in your digestive tract.
The immune boosting qualities as well as mood enhancing benefits of this wonder drink are enough to make anyone jump on the Kombucha bandwagon. I mean, who doesn’t like a 2000 year old elixir that has been linked to preventing cancer and other degenerative diseases?
According to the Food Renegade, a popular website and blog on the healing properties of food, the health benefits of Kombucha include: detoxification, joint care, digestion aid and gut health, and numerous immune boosting antioxidants. Visit the link above to learn more from the Food Renegade.
You’ve acquired a SCOBY. Now what?
Let’s make some Kombucha. This recipe comes from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
1 quart pure water
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp loose/2 teabags black tea
½ cup acidic kombucha (when you receive your SCOBY it will be stored in this liquid)
a Kombucha mother/SCOBY
In a small pot, mix water and sugar and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add tea. Cover and steep about 15 minutes. Strain the tea into a glass container. (I use a wide mouth Mason jar.) Add the acidic kombucha liquid. Place the SCOBY in the liquid, with the firm, opaque side up. Cover with a cloth and store in a warm spot, ideally 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
In about a week or less you’ll see a thin skin forming on the surface of your Kombucha (this is a new SCOBY forming). Depending on your tastes, you can drink it now or let it sit a bit longer. The longer it sits, the more acidic it becomes. Once it arrives at a desirable taste for you, start a new batch and put the current one in the refrigerator. You now have 2 SCOBYs. Pass one on to a grateful friend.
You are now on your way to a more healthy and vibrant life. The health benefits of Kombucha are plenty and there are lots of folks out there that have experimented with different flavorings for their mixes if that’s your thing. Give it a google search and you’ll see!
Have fun, and if you find a yummy recipe to flavor your Kombucha, please share it here. I’m always happy to try new ways of enjoying this awesome drink!