Kombucha For Beginners

Chances are if you have not tried Kombucha, you have at least heard of it.  Having been around for centuries, it first made an appearance in US health food stores sometime during the 1990’s. Gaining popularity, probably due to the reported health benefits, Kombucha can now be found at most local grocery stores. 

What is it?

Kombucha is a fermented beverage made with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), black tea, and sugar.  The SCOBY consumes 90% of the sugar during the fermentation process which usually takes between 7 to 12 days. Once the process is complete you are left with a tangy beverage full on vitamins, beneficial acids, probiotics, and enzymes known for the positive effects they have on your health.

Benefits of Kombucha

While there have been numerous benefits reported on the nutrient dense beverage, from better digestion to arthritis prevention, it is important to note that there is still much research to be done. Here are some of the most common benefits believed to be found in Kombucha in layman’s terms

Detoxification

Full of enzymes and bacterial acids, it is believed that Kombucha can aid in the bodies natural detoxification process. Gluconic Acid found in Kombucha binds to toxins and helps to expel them from the body. Glucaric Acid, produced during the fermentation process  may help boost the efficiency of the liver.

Aids in Digestion

Good gut bacteria can be depleted over time by such factors as alcohol use, antibiotics and stress. Kombucha helps replenish some of this good bacteria that aids the body in the digestive process.

Boosts the immune system

Probiotics found in Kombucha help cultivate a healthy gut and strengthen our defenses against harmful microbes and some forms of illness. It is also a natural source of antioxidants which can help detoxify the body and help to protect against diseases.

Joint Health

Glucosamine, which is another compound found in Kombucha, enhances hyaluronic acid production, which helps to protect cartilage and reduce arthritic pain.

While it’s too soon to be declared a cure all, it definitely seems like a great addition to your diet.

Steps to Make Your Own Kombucha

While it can be found at your local market, it may be beneficial to try your hand at making your own. Here is an easy process:

Utensils

  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Sugar
  • Black tea
  • SCOBY ( available from many online sources. I got mine from poseymom.com)

Directions

  1. Gather sterilized equipment
  2. Make  1 gallon black tea
  3. Add 1 cup sugar
  4. Pour brewed tea into glass jar once it has cooled
  5. Add 1 cup brewed raw Kombucha (which usually comes with Scoby
  6. Place Scoby on top, ideally it will float on top to seal air, but it will grow over the course of fermentation
  7. Cover with cheese cloth and store in a warm dark place
  8. Allow to ferment for 7 to 12 days.
  9. Remove Scoby and 1 Cup of Kombucha. The original Scoby (mother) will have formed a second scoby (baby). Use the baby along with the cup of Kombuca to start a new batch.

Some people flavor with juice and added fruit.  If you choose to do this it would be 1 part juice to 4 parts Kombucha. You will then need to cover and let sit for 1 to 2 more days.

Precautions

As with any fermented product those pregnant, or nursing and those with health conditions should check with their doctor before consuming.

If made incorrectly, Kombucha can contain harmul bacteria that could be dangerous. This is rare, but caution should be taken when brewing at home.

Some bloating may occur do to the presence of probiotics and carbonation.

How To Host A Perfect Potluck

Gatherings do not have to be complicated or stressful.  With a little planning ahead of time potlucks can be one of the most stress-free and economical ways to host a get together.

 

THE OCCASION

 Any occasion is a great for a potluck! Whether it be a work luncheon, pool party, or something more formal, wherever there is a gathering of  people that need to eat a potluck can be incorporated.  Some of the best times are shared over a meal.

THE PLANNING

Unless you want a very eclectic spread, you may want to set a theme such as “Italian” or “Comfort Foods” to narrow down what type of cuisine you will be having. However, it is definitely not a requirement.

Once this is decided, it is time to figure out how not to end up with 40 appetizers and no main dishes. One common method is to have a sign up sheet broken down by the following categories: appetizer, salad, main dish, dessert, and drinks. Then have your guest let you know  what dish they would like to bring. Be sure to let them know how many people are attending so they know how much to prepare.

As host, in addition to the dish you are making, it is customary for you to provide the location, utensils, plates, cups, and bowls.

THE SPREAD

 When setting foods out for display you will want to organize them according to what type of dish they are.  Start with the appetizers, then move on to soups and salads,  main dishes, and finally your desserts.

It may be a good idea to have labels and markers on hand to label guests dishes.

After Party

Once all is said and done, you will usually have plenty of volunteers that will help you clean up, which makes clean up a breeze.

Make sure guests remember to take home their serving dishes and offer them some send  some leftovers home with them.

It doesn’t get much easier than that! Good time, good food, and good friends!

What are your favorite dishes to take to a potluck? Please comment below!