We love our ferments in this house - and there are cultures and starters on various counters, shelves and the top of the fridge in our kitchen. Kefir, yogurt, sourdough, and yes, kombucha!
Kombucha, for those who have not yet gotten excited about this delicious tonic, is an ancient probiotic health drink. It originated in Russia, and has been used for centuries in that culture to promote longevity, general health and well-being, mental clarity, digestive health, immune boosting, and a myriad of other health benefits.
Kombucha is easy to make - it takes some diligence to keep it going, just like feeding a sourdough starter each week, the kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) needs attention each week or two as well. There are 5 steps - a) brewing tea and adding sugar (usually black tea, but also green or white or rooibos can work well); b) fermenting the tea with the SCOBY "mother" culture (usually 7-10 days, depending on house temperature); c) straining the tea and reserving some of this fermented tea to use in next batch with SCOBY; d) adding flavour (juice, fresh fruit, dried fruit, herbs, spices); e) carbonation in glass bottles (usually 1-2 days).
Our favourite combinations so far have been: white tea infused with organic peaches and lavender; green rooibos infused with organic lemon juice and ginger root; and our homemade grape juice added to a black tea ferment. By the way, this kombucha ends up being very low in sugar as the SCOBY feeds on the sugar, so in fact you (or your kids) are not drinking a sugary drink, but a lightly sweetened elixir. We also drink it in fairly small doses, a quarter glass a day or so. We think of it more as a tonic than a thirst quencher. I especially love adding herbs into the mix to get some added herbal medicinal benefits.
Delicious! Want to learn to make your own kombucha in one of our hands-on classes? Sign up for our Kombucha making workshop coming up March 12, 2016.