There has been a lot of buzz over the last wee while about Kombucha. What is it? How do I make it? What is it good for? Can I buy it pre-made? Is it alcoholic? etc etc. 🙂
For those who don’t know much about it I will give you a brief overview and then you can go off and do some of your own homework.
Kombucha is just black tea and a little sugar, which is fermented with the aid of a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY floats on the top of the brewing tea and looks a little like a mushroom which is why it is sometimes called Mushroom Tea. The bacteria and yeast eat up the sugar and ferment the tea into a mild slightly bubbly, slightly yeasty tasting drink.
There are an awful lot of almighty claims out there about the miraculousness of this tea and its powers, however to keep things on the level there are actually very few creditable studies done to prove these claims. Having said that, the first records of kombucha being made are (some say) in China back around 220 BC, and similar drinks have been made as health tonics across many cultures ever since. So while it may not have too much scientific backing (yet) it has quite a bit of street cred backing it up.
Some of the claimed health benefits are:
* Beneficial to gut bacteria thanks to it being naturally ferment and containing live bacteria and yeast
* It is reputed to be a good liver tonic/cleanser
* It contains Glucosamine, which is beneficial for joint health
* It contains lots of the B Vitamins, but most significantly B12 which is extremely critical for nervous system health and function
* It is immune boosting
* Contains antioxidants which can help counter the effects of free radicals/oxidative stress/aging on our body.
I have been making kombucha for us since the end of last summer, and we all drink it, including my two year old on a regular basis. Not in huge amounts but just a glass in the afternoon or whenever. Interestingly enough, none of us have had a sick day at home all winter! Maybe the odd runny nose here, or little cough there but nothing you would consider staying home for. Now I don’t credit this entirely to kombucha, however I think it is significant considering Macey spends three days a week at preschool and my husband is a plumber (Germs galore in both environments) So yeah, I will continue to make it, and we will continue to enjoy this ancient beverage with wild health claims. 🙂
And I have been experimenting with it as well, of course….. on the left we have green tea kombucha (some people say you can’t do this, I beg to differ. It is about understanding and reading the health of your SCOBY), in the middle we have kombucha blended with frozen strawberries to make a delicious cold “daiquiri’ type drink, and on the end is pure clear and simple black tea kombucha. All amazing chilled and healthy summer drinks.
If you are interested in making your own kombucha, leave a comment and I can put up a post with my method and hook you up with some SCOBY as well to start you off if you live in Marlborough. Otherwise keep your eyes peeled in fruit and vege shops, health shops and wholefood cafes because it is taking off and making an appearance in various forms