We now know a huge percentage of our immune system comes from our digestive system. Additionally, science is now showing that anywhere from 80-90% of our feel-good hormones also come from the gut. So naturally, we know the health of our gut is a good picture of our overall health. Everything from allergies to depression to diseases are linked to gut health. This has given rise to the many probiotic products, active culture yogurts, pills and much more. Are all of these effective at helping our digestive system and in turn our immune systems? How can we manage our own health? Can we help boost our immune systems so everything stays healthier?
A few years back I became interested in the idea of home brewing kombucha, to aid my families digestive issues and boost our overall health. I did all the research, learning that it’s actually a very old practice and has been connected with a multitude of health benefits. And since different members of my family had always suffered from digestive issues ranging from chronic constipation to other with chronic IBS type symptoms, I thought it was definitely worth a try. So knowing we are no foreigners to DIY health and learning as we go, we gave it a go and never looked back.
This may seem complicated at first but after a few batches, you realize it is the easiest thing ever!
What you need
- organic green or black tea
- organic sugar
- filtered water
- glass brewing container
- glass storage bottles
- organic fruit/ juice or similar
Your scoby (which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is your live culture. This will feed on your sugar in the tea, therefore removing much of the sugar, in turn fermenting the tea, leaving behind healthy little gut healing microbes. Sounds weird, and the scoby doesn’t look particularly attractive, but it does its job well. The scoby ferments tea, you drink tea which is a live-culture food, probiotics go to heal and aid your digestive system and in turn your immune system. See a total winning process.
The kombucha process
Here is our little scoby saved from our last brew. We do a continuous brew, so we start this process again at the end to keep kombucha in constant supply.
Be sure to use glass fermenting vessel. Plastics are a big no-no in kombucha! Plastics will leach harmful toxins into your kombucha (in fact removing plastics from as much as you can is a great idea that’s why we save all sorts of glass to reuse).
Make sure to use organic tea and sugar. Many conventionally grown crops use herbicides and pesticides that kill microbes which will also kill your scoby. I don’t use sugar in much except kombucha, but I buy it in bulk which makes it so affordable. This is where I shop for most organic foods (and find they are much more affordable this way) here.
1 gallon filtered water
2 Tbsp. Green or black tea
1 cup sugar
Bring your 1 gallon of water to a boil. Turn off the heat then steep tea for 5-10 minutes then remove tea. Add 1 cup of sugar to tea and stir till completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Pour your cooled sweet tea mixture to your cleaned 1-gallon glass jar (little side note here, we rinse our gallon jar with white vinegar, just to prevent mold spores from forming). Next you want to add your scoby or live culture and starter fluid that comes with it (try to avoid touching it if at all possible).Cover your jar, but makes sure to cover it with something breathable, but very secure. A tea towel and a string is what we use. (The kids call it an Abraham jar) Now you let that set on the counter or somewhere room temperature for 1-4 weeks, while the fermentation process completes. The longer it sets the less sugar that will be left and the more healthy it will be. However, the longer the fermentation the stronger the vinegar taste it will have. For us we have found 2-3 weeks is about right.Here is the kombucha finished with the first brew, and it can be drank this way. We like the flavor so we do a second brew to add flavor and carbonation, this makes it much more enjoyable. Notice a new scoby has formed at the top of the liquid, that’s what you will save out for the next brew, along with about 1 cup of the liquid.
This second process only needs a few days 2-4, depending on your liking. However, new yeast stands will form on your fruit and at the top, this is totally normal. Also, it will begin to bubble, burp your lids a few times.
After a few days, the kombucha will look more colored like the fruit you used, and the fruit will have less color like these strawberries (sorry for the bad photo, the glass on the side of the bottle is distorting the image I am trying to get)
a basic kombucha recipe
- 1 gallon filtered water
- 2 tbsp green or black loose leaf tea or (6-8 tea bags)
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 1 scoby with 1 cup starter fluid (kombucha from the last batch)
bring the gallon of water to a boil.
steep tea 5-10 minutes
remove tea bag(s), stir in organic sugar until completely dissolved.
let sweet tea mixture completely cool.
pour sweet tea mixture into your glass fermenting vessel.
*for extra precaution rinse glass container with white vinegar first (do not clean with an antibacterial soap this will kill the scoby)
add your scoby and 1 cup of starter to your sweet tea mixture.
cover jar with a breathable fabric (I use a tea towel), secure with a string.
leave this out to ferment for 1-4 weeks. 1 week will still be very sweet 4 weeks will be more vinegar tasting but also more detoxifying.
A new scoby will form on the top which you will want to save for the next batch, along with 1 cup of kombucha.
either bottle and store your kombucha or flavor using any number of fresh fruits or juices, leaving it to further ferment 2-4 days.
Strain, bottle, and store in the fridge. Enjoy!
Kombucha may seem like a new craze, in reality, it has been around for a very long time. With all that science is learning about our gut health and our overall health, probiotics are a must. Kombucha sells for an average of $3 a bottle at the store. The good news is you can make a gallon for a fraction of that price! How great is it to know you can manage much of your own health and wellness right from your own kitchen for nothing more than a few bucks at a time. Health is priceless this healthy and delicious drink makes it a breeze♡♡♡
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Beth is a mother of 5 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.