No, it‘s not a Jellyfish, OK!?
Being immersed in the world of health & nutrition, I often forget that a lot of the foods that I think are perfectly normal are in fact completely strange and unheard of by most.
I recently had a few friends over that I hadn’t seen in many months. As any good host does, I offered them something cold to drink. Water, club soda, kombucha, iced tea, WAIT…… what…? Kom…. huh? I promise I’m not making words up.
I proceeded to explain to them that Kombucha was a fermented tea drink that is full of amazingly beneficial bacteria (similar to yogurt). Then, I made the mistake of showing off (proudly of course!) my home fermentation of my next batch of Kombucha. One friend asked “OMG, is that a jellyfish on top?”. Thinking that she was joking, I replied “yes” and had a chuckle. I honestly thought she was joking, and being a big fan of jokes myself, I went along with it.
It wasn’t until later that evening, as we were down at the beach looking at actual jellyfish, that the topic came up again and I realised that she thought I was being serious. I had to quickly backpedal and explain to her the truth about how it’s actually made and more importantly why she should be drinking it. The conversation went something like this…
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that has been around for centuries and is thought to have hailed from the far east. It’s made from tea (black, green or other types), sugar, and the oh so important SCOBY or bacterial culture.
The delicious tea that is produced through this process has a taste similar to apple cider with a hint of vinegar. The taste depends on how long it brews for, as well as what type of tea is used. After the initial fermentation stage (7-10 days), most kombucha is then flavoured using natural flavors. The process of flavouring also creates natural carbonation for those who love a fizz. I make my own at home and flavor with things such as ginger, orange, mint, blueberry, strawberry, and lemon. The addition of extra flavors creates a delicious and refreshing summer tea!
Why should you drink it?
Since Kombucha’s revival over the past 10 years, there have been various studies done on its health benefits. The fermentation process creates a drink rich in B Vitamins (for digestion and stimulating metabolism), Vitamin C (immune system support), and Iron (to carry oxygen in your blood). Kombucha also contains small amounts of essential minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese, nickel & cobalt which are required by the body to support various functions.
Most importantly, Kombucha contains an array of “healthy” bacteria. These good bacteria are incredibly important to have in our digestive systems. They give us the ability to absorb nutrients through our intestinal walls, keep “bad” bacteria in control, & produce essential vitamins to support our body functions. There is a lot more to this story, but I won’t bore you today! Just remember, that we could all benefit from introducing more good probiotic foods into our diets.
Kombucha has also been recorded to help with:
Immune system support
What is a SCOBY?
I’ll tell you what it isn’t… a jellyfish. So please, don’t panic. It’s completely safe and quite an amazing feat of science. The SCOBY stands for “Symbotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast. It’s the bacterial house that sits on top of your tea and does all of the magic. It uses the sugars and enzymes in your tea to ferment and create all of those amazing bacteria and enzymes. You do NOT eat it, nor do you drink it. The SCOBY is pulled out of the tea before bottling and can be used indefinitely in new batches of tea.
How do you try it?
Weren’t grossed out by the photo above and ready to give it a try?
You’re in luck! Since Kombucha is becoming more prevalent these days, you can find it in almost all grocery stores and health food stores. If you’re daring enough like me, you can also make it easily at home. Once you learn your first batch, it’s a simple processes and allows you to have a continuous supply of kombucha in your home. Not to mention, making it yourself will save you big $$$ as the brand’s that you buy are considered a luxury health food item and are priced accordingly. No thanks! I’ll make it myself:)
Around my house we use Kombucha in our smoothies as well as mixed with club soda for a refreshing summer “spritzer”.
Have you tried it yet?
Are you hooked like me?
Love & Kombucha,
I just got my first SCOBY in the mail today! My only problem was I don’t have a huge jar yet to brew it in (I got a huge jar of pickles just so I could use the jar but they are not gone yet). I brewed tea, added the sugar and put it into a quart size jar. Do you think it will be ok in there for a week or so until I have a larger jar?
That’s so exciting that you now have a SCOBY! As long as it’s in some sort of jar with tea/sugar – with a breathable cloth & elastic band on top – it should absolutely be fine for a week or two. Then when you’re ready to brew, just make a fresh batch of tea and transfer to your bigger jar when you’re ready. Could you transfer your pickles into smaller quart sized jars now? Be sure to clean that pickle jar very very well before using it. I hope that helps! Happy brewing!!!