Monday, May 23, 2011

Kombucha (More helpful information)

Kombucha - Ancient Chinese and Russian Home Remedy as Fermented Tea

Kombucha Rejuvenates, Restores, Revitalizes, Recharges, Rebuilds, Regenerates, Replenishes, Rebalances and Renuews!

Correctly brewed Kombucha contains healthful enzymes, probiotics for gut integrity plus all the benefits of green tea.

Kombucha supports...
Immune system function
Appetite and weight control
Liver function
Body alkalinity
Cell integrity
Healthy Skin and Hair

Getting Started: Gather the following...
A one gallon or 3 liter glass container, (not plastic or metal) with wide mouth
Water; enopugh for your container to within a couple inches of top, pure and chlorine free (boil tap water for 5 minutes without lid or let set 24 hours uncovered) Use high alkaline water if available.

Kombucha colony (starter) from previous batch or a friend (about 1/3 cup of previously made kombucha tea). This is the fermented tea with microbes in it. About 1/3 cup.

Sugar; organic sugar, or regular white. Don't worry about ingesting sugar, if your colony is well and healthy, they consume the sugar and produce healthful enzymes and acides within a week to 10 days or longer. Finished Kombucha should not taste sweet. Don't use honey as it will kill microbes. For one gallon use 1 cup. Cut back for smaller batches.

Tea; Green tea, decaffinated green tea, regular black tea, or yerba mate tea in bags. If you experiment with other herbal teas, keep the ratio with green tea 3:1 for best, most healthful results. For 1 gallon of tea use 5-6 bags.

Vinegar: this should be only fermented apple cider vinegar like Bragg's. For one gallon use only 1 tsp. or less per batch. This helps keep the tea on the alkaline side of ph scale. Kombucha is a high Alkaline tonic. Although apple cider vinegar tastes acidic, it is really alkaline. If you can get 8ph water - no need for vinegar.

Paper for cap; coffee filter papers work fery well for keep ing the top of jar covered but open to air. Paper towel would work also. Write the date of your Kombucha on the paper cap and the ingredients. Use an elastic to hold it in place during fermentation.

Warm place: Kombucha ferments swiftly in a warm place. In winter I use a heating pad set on low and pack a towel around it. This place should not be around moldy bread or places where pet dander or other dust accumulates. Limited direct sunlight it OK.

Batching; Heat water, maybe half of what the total is, until almost boiling. Turn off heat and add the tea bags. Let steep for an hour or more and cool down. Take the tea bags out and squeeze dry if you like, then add the sugar and vinegar. Stir to dissolve and pour into clean glass jar. Add more pure water. Before adding starter and "mushroom", test temperature. You should be able to leave a little finger in the solution and not be uncomfortable. Add the starter and "mushroom" then cap the jar with the paper and elastic. Set in warm place and leave it alone.

Fermenting: You can check on the tea as it ferments. You will see bubbles rising and the "mushroom" will be growing. You may see some floaty stuff in it which is normal. You may also see some brown stuff hanging on the underside of the "mushroom" and this is also normal. It is kind of a rudimentary root system. The top of the "mushroom" should look shiny and kind of white and opaque. There may be some liquid on the top this is also normal. If the "mushroom" falls to the bottom that is OK, it will eventually come back up. The microbes (combination of bacteria, fungus and lichen... all friendly) make this cap to protect themselves from harmful microbes. If temperatures slip lower than 75 degrees the microbes will still keep reproducing by they slow down. They will keep working even in the fridge after decanting.

Decanting: This is the pour off. Test your Kombucha after a week with a straw or spoon. If it tastes very "dry" and a bit vinegary with some fizz to it, then it is ready. If it still tastes sweet then it could use another couple days of fermenting. This fermenting process does produce some alcohol but it is very minimum... like less than .5% and if you compare that to wine which is approx. 11-12% and beer or ale at 5-6% then .5% is hardly noticable.

Use a clean fork to take out the "mushroom" and place in a clean bowl. Use a fine strainer as you pour off the Kombucha into another clean container. Kombucha can be stored in smaller glass jars with tight fitting lids. They keep refrigerated for many weeks and months. Some microbes may accumulate in the bottom but this is normal as the microbes keep living and reproducing even in the cold.

Keep about 1/3-1/2 cup Kombucha in the bottom of the fermenting jar to start the next batch. WIth clean fingers, separate the two layers of "mushroom" and use the top one or parts of it for the next batch. The new one is sometimes called the "baby" and the bottom one is the original one and sometimes called the "mother." This "mushroom" cap can be eaten. I chop it up and add some salt, dill onion and a.c. vinegar and make a sort of pickle out of them. They can be thrown away or ground up and used in compost. Old "mushrooms" can also be kept in a Ziplock bag or plastic container in tnhe fridge for months.

Consuming: Drink about 4-8 ounces a day diluted with pure water or with fruit juice.

Kombucha is very beneficial for anyone trying to detox the body or recover from illness especially when antibiotics have been taken. Using friendly microbes to fight pathogenic microbes is good medicine and the way the ancient peoples did it. For those who want probiotics but do not consume dairy products like yogurt, this is a great alternative.

*Information taken from a flyer handed to me by Joanne Seal who produces starts for many healty cultures such as. Sourdough, kombucha, kefir pearls, yogurt, and Prill Beads for pure water.

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