I love kombucha

Bottled kombucha
I mean I really love kombucha. For me, it even tops chocolate. I get lots of questions about kombucha so I thought I would do a 'how to' post. I took a couple of pictures when I was making a new batch the other day.

 A little about kombucha, according to whatiskombucha.com:

Kombucha is a tea-based beverage that is often drunk for its health benefits or medicinal purposes. Kombucha is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the Kombucha culture. The result can taste like something between sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use. 

 The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty. It was known as “The Tea of Immortality”. Kombucha tea has been reported to be a cure-all for a wide range of conditions including baldness, insomnia, intestinal disorders, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and cancer. 

 Supporters say that Kombucha tea can boost the immune system and reverse the aging process. Kombucha tea is said to contain antioxidants, compounds that block the action of free radicals (activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells). For people who have cancer, proponents claim the tea can improve the body’s defenses (especially in the early stages of cancer) by detoxifying the body and enhancing the immune system. After the body has been detoxified, the tea is said to help repair and balance the body and fight off disease. In rats it’s been shown to protect against stress and improve liver function. 

 Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the “mushroom” or the “mother”.

I don't know about all the cure-all benefits but I do know how it makes me feel and that is nothing short of awesome! I no longer have coffee in the morning but have 2 glasses of kombucha (please do not start drinking that amount from the get-go, start with 3 oz and work your way up - your digestive tract will thank you!). I have more energy than I ever thought possible. I'm getting more accomplished in day than I ever thought I could. I feel, for a lack of a better word, cleaner. Meaning, my body seems to be functioning better.  Workouts at the gym feel like nothing. I'm making weight gains lifting every few days. My joints feel like they've been lubed up and oiled. I'm stretching as part of my gym routine but I seem to be getting more flexible than I have been in years.

Brewed tea with sugar cooling on the counter
  1. I make mine in 1 gallon glass jars. Be very careful about using ceramic or any other kind of reactive container as the acidity of the tea will leach nasties into your drink. For 1 gallon of kombucha, boil approximately 1 gallon of filtered water in a stock pot and add one ounce of loose tea or about 10-12 bags of your tea of choice. My favourite is jasmine green tea. Let it steep for about 15 minutes or so. 
  2. With a fine mesh colander, remove the tea while transferring the liquid to your vessel of choice.
  3. Add one cup of sugar to the brewed tea. Any type works, I just use a white sugar. Make sure you are using sugar cane though and not sugar from sugar beets as this is a GMO. Stir until dissolved.
  4. Let the tea sit and cool to room temperature. The next step is to add the scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and if you add it too soon, you could kill it. You can get a scoby (also known as a kombucha mushroom or mother) online or from a friend who brews. I got my starter kit from Oregon Kombucha on Amazon.
  5. Make sure that the tea is room temperature and, with clean hands, add the scoby and one cup of kombucha from the previous batch. If you have a starter kit, the scoby will be swimming in kombucha, just add the entire contents to your sweet tea.
  6. Put a clean tea towel over the mouth of your vessel and secure with string or elastic. This will keep out dust and bugs while enabling your scoby to breathe.
  7. Store it in a dark cabinet/area for anywhere between 7-25 days. Start tasting after 7 days, the drink will be sweeter as the scoby will not have consumed all the sugar. Just keep tasting everyday until the flavour is perfect for you. I personally love a 15 day ferment, slightly sweet with a vinegar/acid tang.
  8. Once it's ready, remove your scobys (there will be 2 now because a "baby" would have formed during the ferment) and put put them, along with 1 cup of kombucha, in a large bowl (these are ready to go for your next batch).  You can bottle your bucha and start drinking right away or you can store it in the fridge for an extra 2 days for a secondary ferment which will produce more carbonation. When you transfer it to covered bottles/containers, this is also the time to add flavourings if you like. One of my favourites is lemon and ginger juice.
  9. And repeat until the end of time!!
Too hot!! Should be around 72F
Scobys in the pool awaiting the next batch

Fermenting with scobys
Covered and fermenting in my pantry

Enjoy this fabulous drink!!



What's in my pantry

Some of my friends and family have been curious about what is in my pantry and what I use to make paleo/primal recipes on a regular basis. Well, here it is:

It may not seem like a whole lot but most of my food is fresh and in the fridge in the form of veggies, fruits, grassfed butter, tallow, nuts, seeds and almond flour. My proteins are generally in the freezer (except for the 6 dozen eggs in the fridge). If people want, maybe I'll do a "what's in my fridge".

So, top shelf - organic coconut chips (bigger than shreds, good for toasting and snacking), shredded unsweetened coconut, brewing kombucha (fermented sweet tea, full of probiotics and everything good), brewing red wine vinegar (just because I can).

2nd shelf - you can't see it but I have organic chicken stock, then organic (and bpa-free) diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, pickled beets (not sweetened), cans of wild caught salmon, sardines, oysters in olive oil, cans of tuna, organic coconut milk (also bpa-free), dry roasted almonds, primal fuel protein powder (a la Mark Sisson's primal nutrition), nori sheets (great for wraps, sandwiches and snacks), teas.

3rd shelf - box of white wine for sauces, various salts (pink, coarse, fine, etc), bragg's apple cider vinegar, other vinegars (red wine, balsamic, etc.), gluten-free noodles (made by my MIL for thanksgiving, they are tapioca flour based and the kids love 'em), stone ground spicy mustard, honey, grassfed gelatin, almond butter, sun butter and various coconut oils (extra virgin, deodorized, etc.)

4th shelf - appliances and flours including arrowroot, tapioca, coconut and ground golden flaxseed meal. 

I also store sweet potatoes and onions in the bins at the bottom of the pantry but aren't shown here.

I also have a ton of goodies in my lazy susan:

My organic dark chocolate (every lady needs a stash!), vanilla (be sure that it is gluten-free, if it doesn't say it, assume that it does), liquid stevia, baking soda, canning salt (for fermenting veggies), tea and then a million spices fill up the rest of it. We recently bought a smoker so we've been experimenting with dry rubs as well.

So that's about it, no cookies, crackers, or boxed processed food of any kind.

I should mention that on the counter we have a cookie jar for kale chips and one for veggie chips (which currently has beet chips in it - sometimes plantain crackers).

Let me know if you have any good suggestions on how I can expand my pantry selection. I'm always up for some variety.


Now on Facebook....

I finally got around to doing this!! I try to blog at least one a month, sometimes it happens, sometimes not but here's an easier way for me to update in conjunction with the blog. Check out the new Facebook page for daily advice, happenings, the latest research and everything paleo and autoimmune disease. Please like my page!!