It seems that everyone is jumping on the probiotic bandwagon these days. And for good reason! Probiotics are essential to a healthy gut and a healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system. The question is how to get all that good bacteria without spending a fortune. Kombucha is a perfect solution "if" you make it yourself. And I have THE recipe to whip up a tasty batch!
I have to admit that I never gave much thought to probiotics until my daughter started having an allergic response to milk. As part of my research I learned that food allergies are an immune response and about 70-80% of our immune system is located within our digestive system, or gut. So, healthy gut = healthy immune system? Well, it's definitely a good start. And what's one of the important aspects of a heathy gut? Good Bacteria!
I was on a mission to heal the gut and I wanted to start upping the probiotics and prebiotics in our diets. Probiotics are the good bacteria we add to our diet where prebiotics are the foods we eat which help to feed that good bacteria and encourage it to flourish. In the past I used those little packets of powdered probiotics but in my research I learned that we could get additional strains of good bacteria by making our own fermented foods and drinks. So, I started fermenting salsa, making homemade saurkraut, sourdough bread, water keifer and kombucha. I had A LOT going on and kept it up for a while, but slowly ran out of steam and took a break. After a couple months, I noticed more colds and ear infections and knew that I really needed something to start replenishing the good bacteria. This time I settled on doing just one thing that I could actually keep up with - Kombucha.
I found a method which created a pretty tasty drink and only required attention once a week! Kombucha can get really involved but this is the recipe I use and it's so simple. The addition of herbal tea makes it tasty as well even without the addition of fruit juices or a 2nd Fermentation. Check it out!
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup Kombucha Starter
- 1 SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast)
- 1-Gallon Mason Jar or Glass Jar with plastic pouring spout
- Coffee Filters
- 4 Organic Black Tea Bags
- 3 Organic Herbal Tea Bags (I love peach)
- 1 cup Organic Cane Sugar Crystals
- Filtered Water
- Wooden Spoon (no metal utensils)
Bring a quart of filtered water to a boil in a saucepan. Once the water is boiling, remove from heat and stir in sugar. After sugar is dissolved, add all tea bags. Allow tea to steep until cooled (even overnight). Once tea is cooled tea bags should be removed and discarded.
Pour 1 cup Kombucha starter, your cooled tea/sugar mixture and 2 quarts of filtered water to into the kombucha vessel and stir to combine. Place your SCOBY on top of the tea mixture. Cover the opening of your glass jar with a coffee filter secured in place with a rubber band. This will allow the tea to breathe but will keep out any small bugs. Your SCOBY may fall to the bottom but don't panic, it will not affect your results!
Place your mason jar in a dark, well-ventilated area to ferment. Ideally the temperature will be between 70-80 degrees.
Begin checking your tea after 7 days. You want to brew to your taste. Depending on the temperature of your location it could take longer than 7 days. If you're new to Kombucha and unsure when your tea is "done" you can always use a PH tester to check it in conjunction with your taste test.
Once your Kombucha is done. Set aside 1 cup of tea to use as a starter for your next batch along with the SCOBY and pour off the remaining Kombucha into mason jars and refrigerate! By refrigerating you will slow the fermentation and stop the Kombucha from over-working before you can drink it.
Things you might be thinking:
That's a lot of sugar! It is, but it won't be left in your fermented Kombucha. The sugar will feed the Kombucha and will turn into good bacteria, which is exactly what you want!
Why do I need a PH tester? You don’t, but having one could help you feel more comfortable about your ferment. Once the PH of your tea is between 2.5 - 3.5, you'll know that it's ready to be bottled. This type of check can help you gain peace of mind that your Kombucha is "working" correctly!
Where do I get a SCOBY and starter Kombucha? Normally you can find a SCOBY and starter available for sale or possibly free by other home brewers in your area. There are several Kombucha groups on Facebook that can help you locate someone close to you. I purchased mine from a local health food store that sells Kombucha and they supplied me with a one from their brewer for $20. It was definitely worth the investment since I was buying $4 bottles of Kombucha quite often.
So, if you're like me and want to incorporate good bacteria into your family's daily life but have limited time I hope you give this simple method a try! I'd love to hear how this adventure turns out for you.