It's Booch for me please....
One of the key lessons I have learnt from the past months of research for my latest book on skin (about which more to come very soon!) is that one of the keys to skin health and indeed health at large lies in keeping our guts happy. This is where Kombucha - or Booch as it is fondly termed - comes into its own, as this sugar-sweetened fermented tea is overflowing with the bacteria needed to help our guts thrive.
As readers will already know I'm a huge fan of fermented foods (see here here and here for more) and like other fermented foods (kefir, sauerkraut etc) kombucha provides a wealth of beneficial probiotic bacteria, organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids and anti-oxidants that together enhance digestion, immunity, neurological health and overall health, while also supporting our skin's elasticity and helping to keep it clear and fresh.
Although starting out on your kombucha journey sounds a little daunting, once you get your first batch up and running and taste the result of your efforts, you will quickly see just how easy it is to have your own kombucha on tap to enjoy through the day! Even my children love it - especially when flavoured with blended fresh pineapple - or other fruits for that matter. Super nourishment balancing for growing teens too prone to mood swings, hormonal-related breakouts, rashes and other skin problems.
The Cultured Club
The following recipe is from the immensely talented Dearbhla Reynolds of The Cultured Club who truly is an expert on all things fermented. her book (of the same name) is widely available and she holds workshops around Ireland - check her website for further more.
- 100g raw cane sugar
- 8 bags of black tea, green tea or a mix (or 2 tbsp. loose tea)
- 250ml starter tea from the last batch of kombucha (or from a bottle of kombucha from reputable manufacturer)
- 1 kombucha SCOBY (aka a symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast - from health shop)
- 2 litres filtered water
Add the sugar to one litre of boiling water to dissolve. Drop in the teabags and allow them to steep until the water has cooled*. Once the tea is cool, remove the teabags (or pour the tea through a sieve to remove loose leaves) and stir in the starter kombucha.
Pour the mixture into a clean 2-litre jar and top up with another litre of cool filtered water. When mix is at room temperature of thereabouts gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the jar with a few layers of tightly woven cloth, coffee filters or kitchen paper secured with a rubber band. Make sure this cover doesn’t let any insects through, as they will be attracted to the sweet brew.
Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and allow to ferment for at least seven days. It’s not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom or even sideways during fermentation. However, a new cream-coloured layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. You may also see stringy brown bits floating beneath the scoby or sediment collecting at the bottom. These are all normal signs of healthy fermentation.
After about one week, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
Then prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. Measure out your starter tea from your freshly brewed batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch, which you can begin to make now.
Transfer the fermented kombucha into clean bottles using a small plastic or glass funnel.
Kombucha loves a second ferment. This stage enhances both carbonation and flavour and the options are endless: simply add any juice, herbs or fresh or frozen fruit (diced or blended) and keep the bottles at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for a further one to three days.
If you would rather drink the fresh brew without a second ferment, then store the freshly bottled brew either in fridge or at room temperature where it will last for some weeks (as long as temperature not too high).
*The flavour of the kombucha will be influenced by the tea used at the initial stage of fermenting. Choose from black, green, white, oolong, pu-erh, lapsang souchong or even mix of these. They all make especially good kombucha.
NOTE: Do not use metal objects at any stage during the fermentation process. The bacteria do not like it
Your gut - and your skin will thank you - I promise!
& do let me know how you get on.....