This popular fermented tea is loaded with probiotics—and flavor—and is a cinch to make at home.
“Most health problems today begin in the gut,” says Joe Gady, proprietor of Farming for Life in Rochester, Indiana, and member of the Weston Price Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education foundation. During a one-hour class last winter at Maple City Market in Goshen, Indiana, Gady shared a variety of his own fermented food recipes, including a tutorial on how to make the popular fermented tea beverage known as kombucha. This supercharged probiotic beverage originated thousands of years ago, but is still used today to supplement good intestinal bacteria.
I’m no stranger to the benefits of healthy bacteria. Years of home remedies from my health-conscious mother ingrained in me the importance of taking preventative measures to stay out of the doctor’s office rather than relying on pain medicine to control existing problems.
Joe Gady shows off a big, beautiful SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).
Cost-Effective and Healthy
Along with my family’s enthusiasm for natural home remedies, I’ve also inherited my mother’s frugality. Why buy what you can make yourself at home? A quart of kombucha at a big chain health-food store costs about $3.69 for 16 ounces. Considering one starter SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) can literally make endless kombucha, it’s really no contest. Still, the idea of making my own kombucha was a bit daunting.
Gady had insisted that the recipe was foolproof, but still I had to ask, “Is there any way I can mess it up?” When he talked about the starter, I was immediately nervous, remembering many a failed experiment with bread starters. He reassured me: the method was simple. Armed with our quart glass jars, we started with a cup of Gady’s own finished kombucha. We then added fresh-brewed tea with sugar and the real magic ingredient: the SCOBY, which looked to me like a small cream-colored blob.
At home, I covered the jar with a breathable cotton cloth to let in plenty of oxygen as instructed. I let it sit for a week before I began tasting it every day. Eleven days later it tasted only slightly sweet. To my delight, a beautiful baby SCOBY had formed attached to the
one I was given. I filtered out the kombucha and began the process again using my baby SCOBY as a starter.
After a few successful batches, I was convinced: I can make my own
delicious kombucha right at home!
Farming for Life
7481 N. 50 W.
Local organic kombucha from Farming for Life’s Joe Gady is available at two Northwest Indiana co-ops: Maple City Market
in Goshen and the Purple Porch Co-op
in South Bend. Edible Michiana
editor Maya Parson loves the ginger kombucha for its spicy kick. Other flavors—all deliciously tangy and refreshing—include apple, jun (green tea and honey), ginger
jun, turmeric jun and more. Discover which is your favorite!