Making Kombucha Fermented Tea

So, I’ve decided to try my hand at making Kombucha at home. I have my SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), from Cultures for Health. This will be a long process, apparently. First I have to activate the SCOBY since it’s a dried SCOBY. I’ve used dried sour dough starter, and I think it’s the same sort of process. The activation of my SCOBY will take the same amount of time as brewing a batch of Kombucha, and can be used as a drink but may be a stronger vinegar flavor than other batches will end up being. That means it may be more useful as a substitute for ACV (apple cider vinegar) in recipes like salad dressing.
Anyway, the point being if I can make a fermented tea at home far cheaper than I can buy a bottle in the store, I’m all in. The cost of Kombucha has been part of why I don’t drink it more often. And I love making things in the kitchen, not to mention making fermented foods!
I always have plenty of bottles for storing and bottling. I have SCOBY, and now all I need is super awesome pure water, black tea and sugar. Those can be acquired tomorrow. But let’s talk about fermentation and why fermented foods and beverages can be so good for your health.
You may have heard about your biome, or at least of probiotics. Your biome in your digestive system is important because it helps you to digest food more completely, keep bad bacteria at a minimum and increase overall ability to resist illness. Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics, they encourage bacteria to grow. Now it’s important to point out that while antibiotics tend to just kill all bacteria they can reach, probiotics tend to feed the bacteria that allow digestion of certain foods and keep damaging bacteria at a healthy balance.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, preserving food was significantly different than it is now. Where we now have refrigerators and artificial preservatives and freezers, we used to have canning, brining/fermenting/pickling and simply eating fresh whatever was available for harvesting or gathering. Meat was preserved using bacteria and salt which is where some of our tastiest meats came from before we could freeze them.
I enjoy canning, and canned vegetables can still be one of the healthy choices for eating unadulterated foods. Fermenting foods was similar to canning, but easier for certain foods and began the process of breaking down the foods by using bacteria. Fermenting using wild bacteria, water and salt to bring a pickled flavor to any number of foods. You should know of pickles, sauerkraut and sour dough breads. These are all traditionally fermented foods. You can buy pickles and sauerkraut are pickled using heat instead of bacteria and time, and some commercial sour dough breads only taste like sour dough but weren’t made with actual sour dough starter.
We gained more from fermented foods than simply preservation of food for months in storage. We gained a continuous supply of healthy bacteria that would help us to digest and keep our body functioning well. They are also the types of foods that the beneficial bacteria in our bodies loves to eat on! Cabbage is a food that beneficial bacteria like, but sauerkraut also brings the bacteria to our bodies to give it a good boost of the bacteria itself!
I’ll happily write more about fermented foods and health later on. I’ll also keep you updated on my Kombucha! Since we’re just starting spring, I hope to also share some recipes for fermenting vegetables this year, although much of what I have tried since moving to this particular house has unfortunately molded. We won’t be living here too long, just until the new house is built, but I might find it worth the investment to get some new fermenting weights and air escapes. Fermenting causes gases to build up, similar to how gases can build up when you digest beans, broccoli or cabbage! Having a release is necessary, but letting air in can cause contamination.

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