I realize it’s already a thing, considering it’s now a $600 million annual industry, but I thought I didn’t like it. I couldn’t have been more wrong, I’m happy to say. I haven’t been this excited about a new thing (for me!) since I started making cheese.
In fact, it’s not at all new, just popularized and mass marketed these days. Kombucha has an ancient and fascinating history and far more uses than just a really healthy and delicious beverage. I’m just learning about them all, but I’m keen to incorporate this little miracle into our homestead lifestyle.
Sally Fallon, my favorite cookbook author, believes as I do that, “the craving for both alcohol and soft drinks stems from an ancient collective memory of the kind of lacto-fermented beverages still found in traditional societies.”
And it’s so much more than just a wonderful beverage.
“Kombucha’s numerous applications make it a natural component of ‘closed-loop’ systems, in which its waste products can be converted into toxin-free commodities. Whether as compost or foodstuff, there is some way to turn every by-product of the kombucha brewing process into something useful.” The Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory
If you’ve only tried commercial Kombucha you might be like I was and think you don’t like it either. My home-brewed version taste nothing like the store-bought brands I tried. And, the first time I tried home-brewing I was doing it all wrong. I’m so grateful to a friend who gave me another SCOBY and insisted I try it again. Following the tips and tricks from several great resources, I’m hooked.
A SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) is kind of like a sourdough starter, shared among friends and self-replicating.
There’s far more information available than the first time I tried home-brewing many years ago. The key to my new love is the 2nd fermentation bottling with flavors, when the tea becomes carbonated. Even if you’re not a tea-lover you might be surprised, I think it tastes more like a mild, flavored soda. Some Kombucha lovers have claimed it helped them kick their cola habit and replace it with something far healthier in every way—for the body, the paycheck, and the environment.
Besides the excellent book mentioned above, these sites are also great resources to help you get started, learn more, or stay addicted.