by Julie Kamin-Martin, founder of OlyCultures
Kombucha was referred to as “The Tea of Immortality” when its use was first recorded in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty in China. Soon after, this refreshing, fermented tea beverage made its way to Eastern Europe, Russia and Japan, where it has since been enjoyed for several centuries.
Kombucha can be consumed either after the first fermentation period, or after a second fermentation period. The first fermentation period lasts 7-14 days. If kombucha is consumed at this stage, you will enjoy a refreshing drink with just a hint of carbonation, just like it was consumed centuries ago. Another option is to bottle it after the first fermentation using your favorite fruit or combination of fruits. It then can be fermented another 2-3 days to create even more carbonation, achieving that incredibly natural and popular fizz, without the use of forced carbonation. If you have a pop drinker in the family, the kombucha product produced after the second fermentation is a great alternative.
The art of making kombucha can be enjoyed by the whole family. Each person can create their own custom flavor combinations with each ferment. Fruit, herbs and even veggies can be added to build up a flavor that suits individual tastes. A person can be very creative here. Children especially love picking out their own fruits for their very own custom flavored bottle of kombucha.
Kombucha is not only popular and enjoyed as a refreshing beverage; it is being consumed more and more by those who are becoming aware of its many suggested health benefits. Kombucha is rich in B-vitamins, antioxidants, glucaric acids, enzymes, bacterial acids and so much more. It has been suggested that drinking kombucha not only supports your immune system, but may help in detoxing the liver, helps prevent cancer, can ease arthritis discomfort, aids in digestion, aids fighting candida overgrowth, helps with anxiety and more.
What else can you do with your fermented kombucha? There are many other wonderful things that can be made by incorporating this probiotic drink. Try fermenting mustard seeds in kombucha and making your own mustard. Let your kombucha ferment for a few months and you now have an alternative to apple cider vinegar. I then use my kombucha vinegar in making catsup, hot sauces and more. The kombucha vinegar can also be used in place of apple cider vinegar in recipes, such as salad dressings.
You can easily incorporate kombucha in your daily life, consuming it as a drink or adding it as an ingredient condiments. At Marlene’s you will find wonderful resources for more ideas on how you can begin or build on your kombucha journey; kombucha starter kits and numerous howto classes on fermentation are a great way to start. Remember don’t be afraid to get creative!
Julie Kamin-Martin is the founder of Oly-Cultures, based in Olympia, Washington. Oly-Cultures provides starter kits for kombucha, kefirs and cheese to help start your fermentation and cheese making journey, as well as a six part workshop called “The Art of Fermenting at Home” that includes a certificate upon completion. Their website is always being updated with new, exciting classes on fermentation, canning, culinary and fungi. For more information, visit olycultures.net.