Tuesday, May 13, 2014

doing the kombucha-cha-cha!

Does the title of this post make you scratch your head?  Or do you know exactly what I'm referring to? Well, if you're in the former category, it wasn't that long ago that I was right there with you - if someone had asked me 6 months to a year ago if I knew what kombucha was, let alone had I ever tried it - I would have shaken my head in ignorance.  At the very least, I probably would have ventured a guess that they were referring to some sort of variation of kimchi...and I would have been kinda, sorta in the ball park, given that both kombucha and kimchi are created through the process of fermentation.  But they are two very different things - in its simplest form, kimchi is fermented cabbage and served as a pungent and savoury side dish - whereas kombucha is naturally effervescent fermented tea - (no surprise, you drink it!)

Hmmm.  Fermented tea??? If that doesn't sound immediately appetizing to you, first a few words about fermentation.  The benefits to be gained from eating/drinking fermented foods and beverages are many - mainly due to the fact that they are loaded with healthy probiotics that help with digestion, and boost your immune system. But please - don't give yourself a pat on the back if you think you're already achieving those benefits by eating Activia yogurt...read this eye-opening article by clinical nutritionist Josh Gitalis that debunks the claims made by Activia, while at the same time expanding on the benefits of the beneficial probiotics found in fermented foods. 

But back to kombucha.  So once I knew what it was, during a visit to Whole Foods, I picked up a bottle of GT's Kombucha to give it a try.  I wasn't sure about that floaty stuff sitting in the bottom of the bottle, but hey, I'll try (almost) anything once!  Aaaaaanddd.....I liked it!!  It was a tad tart, a tad sweet, and 100% refreshing - the flavour I tried was "Gingerade":

My fave store-bought flavour
And now I'm just slightly addicted!  I honestly find myself having cravings for the stuff during the day.  It's not something you want to drink TOO much of in a day - it actually does contain  trace amounts of alcohol (that occur naturally during the fermentation process) - and it does also contain sugar (a necessary ingredient in fermentation).  The only real down side to my new-found love for kombucha is the cost - (The average cost is approximately $4.00 a single-serve bottle).  But here's the good news - kombucha is something you can make at home - for almost pennies a gallon!  And as we speak, I'm brewing my first-ever batch at home:

How about that GINORMOUS mason jar - with a spout, no less! (found at Walmart for $10!)
It's actually ridiculously simple - all you need is:

Approximately 8 teabags (green or black)
A gallon of water
A cup of organic sugar
And a SCOBY!!!  (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) 

My "baby" SCOBY - isn't she lovely? ;-) 
I'm going to leave the full instructions for how to make kombucha to those who have done it successfully several times before - I'm still a newbie at this, but I will say that mine has been happily fermenting away on my kitchen counter for just over a week now, and when I taste tested it yesterday, it tasted like....kombucha! So I must be doing something right...and saving myself some major dinero at the same time... :)  In fact, I put together a little 50/50 mix of my home brew with some fresh-pressed pineapple juice yesterday and made myself a little kombucha cocktail: 

And if I do say so myself, it was delicious!  (Not to mention gut-cleansing and anti-inflammatory!) ;-) 

How about you?  Is kombucha something you'd be willing to try?  Or are you already a kombucha lover? :) 

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