I’m sure that you’ve heard of kombucha by now. You can get it everywhere from some healthy restaurants to Whole Foods. But what is it? It’s basically fermented sweet tea, and it’s sold for around $5/bottle at the grocery store. It is really healthy for you, since it comes full of good, healthy gut-healing probiotics; but it’s not so healthy for your wallet if you buy it already made. Homemade kombucha has all of the same healing properties, at a much lower cost. You can easily make it at home for pennies, and it is something that everyone can benefit from!
The reason that kombucha is important to my diet is because I have an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system gets confused and attacks part of your body as an invader, which in my case, is my thyroid. While there are many things that lead to the development of an autoimmune disease (genetics, stress, injury, etc.), most research boils down to leaky gut. When you have leaky gut, it allows particles to get into your bloodstream that shouldn’t be there, which sends your immune system into a tailspin.
Healing leaky gut can take years, because it takes years of eating the Standard American Diet to create it. Sugar, gluten, pesticides, dairy, and other junk damages the stomach lining. There are many theories on how to heal it, but for the most part, it comes down to clean eating, supplements, and probiotics/fermented foods (to add loads of good bacteria back into the gut to aid in healing).It’s important to take care of our gut and keep the bacteria balanced because the gut works hand in hand with our immune system. If our gut is compromised, so is our immune system. And if our immune system is compromised, that opens the door to many more issues that we don’t want to have to deal with.
The gut also affects the brain, as crazy as that may sound. In many cases, depression, anxiety, and other cognitive disorders can be linked back to leaky gut. This is why it’s important for everyone, not just those with chronic illness, to be intentional about taking care of their gut. Homemade kombucha is a great way of doing that.
Homemade Kombucha Recipe:
- 4 cups of water to boil
- 8 tsp tea of your choice (I use Organic Kombucha Tea Blend)
- 1 cup Organic Cane Sugar
- Cotton Tea Bags
- SCOBY starter culture (SCOBY is symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) which is the delicate, living, slimy, weird thing that ferments the tea and gives it all the good bacteria for your gut!
- 1 gallon sized glass jar with lid (for second ferment)
- cotton cloth and rubber band to cover the jar
- Litmus pH Test Strips
*White vinegar is also needed for cleaning your hands and jars. Don’t use antibacterial soap, it can kill the SCOBY!
I wanted to make sure I was super careful with this, since it was all new to me and I didn’t want to ruin it. So for the first time, I bought this Kombucha Starter Kit from Amazon. It was so easy, included everything you needed, and gave step-by-step directions. However, if you are lucky enough to get a nice SCOBY from a friend, then just purchase the additional ingredients and get started!
So first thing you do is clean out the jar with white vinegar, and start the 4 cups of water boiling on the stove. Put the 8 teaspoons of the tea blend into a cotton tea bag. When the water is boiling, turn off the stove and remove it from the heat. Add the tea bag to the pot and steep for 5-6 minutes. Then, remove the tea bag from the water and add 1 cup of organic sugar. Stir till it dissolves.
Now it’s time to add the sweet tea to the clean jar and add enough cold water to fill the gallon jar (leaving one inch of head space) so it’s brought to room temperature. This is where you add the SCOBY and the 1 cup or so of kombucha that it should be living in. Pour it in and mix it all together with a wooden spoon (metal will kill the SCOBY). Test it with a pH test strip, it should read below 4.5. If it’s higher than that, add 1 tbsp of white vinegar and test it again after stirring.
So now, we come to the easiest part. Cover the jar with the linen, and leave it in a dark corner for 1-3 weeks. I left mine for 2 weeks here in Charlotte. It may need to ferment longer in cooler areas, or for a shorter period in warmer climates. Don’t touch it, don’t mess with it, it’s doing it’s thang!
After the first week, you can use a straw to taste it. Put the straw in, and then put your finger over the end so you bring the kombucha out to taste. Don’t double dip the straw to avoid introducing other bacteria. Once the kombucha is done and to your liking, you take out the SCOBY (after washing your hands in vinegar) and put it in a glass container with a cup of the finished tea, seal it, and put it in the fridge until you’re ready for your next batch. Or, you can start one immediately! Then, take the tea and funnel it into glass bottles. Note: Don’t store the kombucha or SCOBY in plastic, since it can leech the toxins or flavors from it and make it all funky. Kombucha is funky enough, no need to add more!
If you want to do a second ferment (this makes the kombucha carbonated), then leave the homemade kombucha in the large jar that you brewed it in, and screw on the top tight. This is also a good time to add any other ingredients to make delicious flavored kombucha!
Store it in the fridge so the fermentation process stops and enjoy! Don’t drink too much at first if you’re not used to it, it can give you a stomachache. It’s best to start with 1oz per day, and then increase every few days.
Hope you like it! What is your favorite flavor of homemade kombucha? I need more to try!
I am not a doctor and this information should not be considered medical advice. You should seek the advice of your own medical professional for your own situation.