Kombucha

Prior to coming to Panama, my relationship with kombucha was only via pre-made bottles in my local Co-op. Filled with chia seeds and bursting flavors, I mainly drank it as a treat every now and then (mostly due to their price tag $$). Now that I am in the campo, kombucha is less of a treat and more of a staple. As I do not have daily access to natural probiotics, like yogurt, this special drink has taken on that role. Every morning I drink a small cup, sprinkled with chia and hemp heart seeds. It is a great way to start the day and stay healthy here in the campo.

Kombucha has various health benefits which include maintaining good flora and Ph levels, warding off viruses, supporting the autoimmune system by adding in probiotics (good bacteria) into the gut and thus, fighting against infections. That is all extremely important here in the campo, where infections and viruses can spread quickly.

Kombucha is essentially a fermented tea. A kombucha scoby is a living yeast and bacteria culture. The two parts of your tea include a Mama scoby and a Baby scoby (the new layer on top of the Mama). To make kombucha read below:

What you’ll need:
~ A kombucha scoby from a friend (with some juice from their batch)
~ Green or Black tea
~ Sugar
~ A glass or plastic jar
~ A piece of fabric (to cover the top of the jar)
~ Elastic band to secure cloth

What you’ll do:
1. Brew a hot batch of tea then wait for it to cool
2. Add it to the kombucha scoby in a jar. There should already be a bit of juice left with the previous batch (or friend’s batch).
3. Add sugar until the bottom of the jar has about half an inch
4. Cover the jar with a piece of cloth and secure with an elastic band
5. Let it sit for two weeks, more or less. The longer it ferments, the stronger and less sweet it will be.
6. Transfer your juice into another jar (with a sealed lid) to make a creative batch- add lemongrass, fruits, other teas, honey- but make sure to leave a little juice with the scoby for the next batch.
7. After every batch, the kombucha scoby will grow another layer. Peel it off and give to a friend, place in your compost, or just leave it.

Do not repeat my mistake: if you wish to drink chia kombucha, WAIT until the day you drink it. Do not put chia seeds in your fermenting batch, or your second closed-lid batch. If you do, they may explode all over your kitchen when you open the jar. Again- only put them in your daily cup of tea.

To learn more, go to culturesforhealth.com or any other website featuring information about making kombucha. More resources are provided regarding different tea and sugar types, creative ingredients to add to your second batch, and more. Enjoy:)

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