If you are into any kind of a health journey, you are bound to have heard the word “probiotic”. You may or may not have heard that 80% of our overall health resides in our gut.
Per Dr Mark Hyman, the impact the gut has on the entire body should not be underestimated, but unfortunately in conventional medicine it often is.
We are shuttling pounds and pounds of food into this tube we have called the digestive system several times a day and we don’t give it a second thought—it’s pretty crazy when you think about it. The gut is responsible for our ability to turn food into fuel; to absorb and even create certain nutrients; to rid the body of harmful toxins on a daily basis. We rely on it to do so much for us. So, why don’t we give it the TLC it deserves?
Enter kombucha. Made from black (sometimes green) tea, this fizzy drink elicits either a love or a hate reaction. There are no grey areas with this potion! I’ve had guests that either wrinkle their faces in disgust or those that ask for a second helping.
For a few years, we purchased kombucha from our grocery store. Slowly, as this drink got popular, we started noticing that the added sugar content was creeping up. And so was the price! Probably to satiate the sugar-addicted palates, and to cash in on the rising demand.
Luckily, I met Gagan Maur (check out his blog on the Ancient Wisdom of Fermentation here) who was brewing kombucha at home and was willing to share his knowledge and his SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) with me.
There has been no looking back since. We love our homemade ‘booch’! I’ve shared my ever-growing SCOBY with several of my friends. I’ve tried creative ways to infuse the basic kombucha recipe with fruit and herb flavors – some are lip-smacking. Today’s recipe is really the very basic kombucha you can brew with just a few spices thrown in. Once you get the hang of it, you can start to experiment.
Kombucha is relatively easy to make, provided you can lay your hands on the SCOBY, which essentially is a starter culture Check your local Meetup groups or ask your friends and neighbors- someone’s bound to have some to share. The SCOBY keeps growing, so in a matter of just a couple of months, you will be able share yours with another newbie. How cool is that, right?! Best of all, you can brew kombucha at home for literally pennies!!
Let’s talk about the importance of keeping contamination at bay while brewing kombucha at home. As with other food preparation, always make sure that you have a clean and sterile environment – use clean glass jars and dishes and remember to clean your hands well before handling the SCOBY.
Why is this Healthy?
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years. Not only does it have the same health benefits as tea — it’s also rich in beneficial probiotics. Kombucha also contains antioxidants, can kill harmful bacteria and may help fight several diseases.
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Make Your Own Probiotic Kombucha
- 8 Cups Filtered Water
- 1/2 Cup Cane Sugar Use organic
- 3 Teaspoons Black Tea Loose Leaf
- 3 Cloves Optional
- 3 Cardamom Pods Optional
- 1 Star Anise Optional
- 1 Inch Cinnamon Bark Optional
- 1/2 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds Optional
- In a thick-bottomed dish, add 8 cups of water. Add 3 teaspoons of loose black tea to the water.
- Add any kind of spices you wish to. Some great ones are fennel seeds, star anise, clove, cardamon, cinnamon bark, dried hibiscus flowers, freshly crushed fresh ginger root etc.
- Allow the spices and tea leaves to come to a full boil. Allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes and turn off the heat. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and stir well until the sugar melts. Allow the sweet tea to cool.
- Pour out the tea into a large wide-mouthed glass container via a fine mesh sieve. Discard the tea leaves and spices into a compost.
- Add the SCOBY culture to the sweet tea in the glass container.
- Cover with a thin muslin cloth or paper towel and let the tea ferment at room temperature for 5-7 days. During the fermentation process, the yeast in the SCOBY breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases probiotic bacteria. Insert a straw after Day 4 and taste the kombucha daily until it reaches the desired combo of sweetness and tartness.
- Filter out the fermented kombucha into another glass bottle and start the process all over again with the SCOBY (boil the next batch of sweet tea)! Refrigerate the fermented kombucha batch and enjoy!