I learned about kombucha (Kom-Booo-cha.) from my Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and have since heard about it from many different blogs, websites and other books I've read. I was convinced of it's health value, but still nervous to try it.
Whole Foods Market sells bottled GT kombucha. It's almost $4 for a 16 oz glass. I tasted the mango one and really did not like it. But after much research, I decided it was something I had to add to our daily fare. I finally located a 'SCOBY' from my local Amish Farmer, paid $6 for it and followed this simple tutorial at Food Renegade's Blog. Now, I drink about 16 oz. each day, and I'm hoping to get Drew up to the same, and some for the kids daily as well. That would add up to about $300 a month for the kombucha from WFM. With my homemade brew, it costs under $10. I win all around!
It's even catching on in the 'main stream'.
Some of the health values of Kombucha (and some random websites about it):
1. It cleanses the body of toxins (detoxing): according to this article from Weston A Price Foundation's website (amazing website BTW): 'Kombucha is rich in B vitamins and a substance called glucuronic acid which binds up environmental and metabolic toxins so that they can be excreted through the kidneys. Glucuronic acid is a natural acid that is produced by the liver. Kombucha simply supplies the body with more and boosts the natural detoxification process. '
2. It's great for filling that craving for a soda, since it has the same fizz. I do not care for it plain, but when I add about 1/2 cup of my favorite juice (mine is red grape juice), it's divine!
3. It aides in digestion. Which is why I am trying to get us to drink it with our lunch every day. We all have some definite digestive issues, and I hope this will help us on our road to fixing them. The SCOBY basically eats the black tea/sugar mixture for 5-7 days, breaking it down into easily digested, highly 'alive' enzymes. So it's similar to eating fermented veggies with each meal (which we still don't do, but will someday...).
4. It seems to aid in metabolism as well. That one, I can attest to personally. I started drinking it a few weeks ago and I could honestly tell my metabolism has sped up. I lost a few pounds, and hopefully will continue to. I had read it, but didn't really believe it. But it really does seem to be doing that-for me anyway. Here is a great 'question and answer' on making kombucha.
5. It's so easy to make! Here is how I do it:
What you need to make your own:
Black Tea bags/leaves
SCOBY (anyone making it will have 'offspring' you can have)
Glass Jars (2 preferably-although bowls and crocks work to)
1 cup of organic white sugar
cheesecloth or light-weight towel
1/2 cup of organic juice-preferably freshly juiced, but bottled works too
I take a gallon of water, boil it and add 8 tea bags (black, organic is best), or the equivilant in tea leaves. Steep for approximately 30 minutes.
Add 1 cup of organic white sugar, stir well, and then let come to room temperature.
Put tea into a glass container (I use a gallon glass jar I bought for $2), put SCOBY on top and pour leftover liquid over mushroom. Cover with cheese cloth.
Leave it for 5 days in a warm place (I put mine on my counter, a few feet from my stove).
After day 5, I put a cup of organic juice in another glass gallon container.
I take out the SCOBY and put it in a larg bowl with about 1 cup of kombucha (very important to keep some from every batch for consistency and safety).
Then I pour the rest of the kombucha in with the juice. I use organic red grape juice from WFM, no additives at all, but I've also juiced apples (kids and Drew preferred it) and white grape juice. Be sure and mix well.
At this point, I strain them into 16 oz bottles leftover from Drew's Lipton's bottled ice tea drinking days. It all fits in 8 bottles. Or, I pour them into quart canning jars and put the plastic lids on them.
Leave them out for another 2 days, to get fizzy and eat some of the sugars from the added juice.
I do prefer them cold, so I refrigerate them after the 2 days are up.
Then I pull out a bottle for lunch every day, or throughout the day if I'm thirsty. And, if you live in the area, I'm happy to provide a 'baby' from my own SCOBY, as they produce offspring every couple of batches.
That's it. It's really so simple once you get into a 'routine' with it. It takes time, but very little maintenance. I find that is true of the most nourishing foods in life (sourdoughs, bone broth, fermented veggies and fruit, kefir).