An Angel in the Kitchen is a real food and family recipe blog.
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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Kombucha

It seems everyone you meet these days has a different idea about what constitutes healthy eating, yet I've never heard more complaints about food allergies & intolerances & general pickiness. I no longer bother debating the ins & outs of these things, what I do know, is that it's all about the gut & who lives there! 80% of our immune system is tucked in there in our guts...trillions of bacteria both good & bad. So many things contribute to the balance between them all & how that works out for us. We've been taught all our lives that we get sick because bugs come along & jump on us but that's just not true. Those good & bad microbome that comprise our immune systems are effected by so many variables: antibiotics, diet, sugar, stress etc & if they get all out of kilter so do we.
We can give up meat & do the no more sugar thing, we can become vegan or go paleo but what really matters is the state of the trillions! 
Donna Schwenck of Cultured Food Life says it this way:
"The Trilogy! Kefir, Kombucha, Cultured Vegetables. My powerhouse team. When first starting out I recommend picking one and learning to make and consume it. They are very powerful and will detox your body like nothing else! Together they provide different strands of good bacteria and help heal the body in similar but diverse ways. The more diverse your gut bacteria, the healthier you are!"

So...let's begin with kombucha.
Fermented tea.
When we first began making kombucha we made it this way. The weird looking thing in the jar, floating in tea is the scoby (mother).
The thing about change or trying new things is we all tend to resist it (a bit) or flag quite quickly & then waste our resources.
So however we do it we need to find a way that we can manage...long term, 'cos that's what's going to make the difference. If you're keen you can look up kombucha making, join a group or read a book. This is the way that works for us & it is so very simple. It puts you right there in touch with your booch & you're not going to end up with exploding bottles or vinegar because you left your brew too long. However you make your kombucha you're going to need some good strong flip top bottles. These ones are Grolsch beer bottles found in various op-shops & at galas.
We brew our kombucha right there in the bottle.
So...if you've got yourself a little scoby like this one below, you'll need to brew some tea.
Black tea is best. Try it first before you go getting all fancy-pants about your flavours.
We have 5 2 litre bottles that we work through on a rotational basis.
As we get to the end of one bottle (leave a cup or so at the bottom & the scoby) we boil the jug, grab the large trusty teapot, stick in 2-3 tea bags & let it brew & go cold.  Next time you see it sitting there tip the pot full of tea in to the bottle (through a funnel & sieve if using tea leaves) along with a 1/3 cup of raw sugar.
Flip down the lid & there you go!
Our favourite brew is hibiscus (or 1/2 hibiscus 1/2 organic dried rose petals) which is produces a light, delicious & effervescent brew that is universally popular. Use a large heaped tablespoon of hibiscus tea to a 6 cup tea pot for this variation.
Now here is the rhythm- each day or every second day, you'll need to release the lid & "feel" the pressure (you can tip some out & taste it if you like so you know what's going on) After about 3- 5 days (longer in winter, shorter in the heat of summer) you'll have a good fizzy brew that tastes delicious.
Start out small, (same bottles) drink small amounts & gradually build up the quantity so that you don't go & overwhelm your body & make yourself feel sick or feel burdened  about care-taking your brews. This stuff is alive & powerful. Kombucha is your friend!
About every six months we clean out our bottles & check the little scobies, halving them if necessary.
If you're going away & can't find a kombucha sitter just pop the bottles in to the fridge.
Once you've got clever & you're loving it, then you can start experimenting with the kinds of tea-adding juices or fruit to make a second ferment & so forth.
 If I've given you a scoby (or you've sourced one) & you're not quite sorted when you get home, don't worry it can just sit there in a jar with sweetened tea for quite a while 'til you're ready.

You can also add kombucha to a smoothie, soak mustard in it, make it in to a jelly....
If you want to brew yours another way or need a bit of support there's a good New Zealand group on Facebook. You can find them here.

Good Luck!!
Catherine

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