If you have been in the US since the 1990s, you’ve likely heard about the outstanding health benefits of kombucha. I can’t speak to the miracle claims from personal experience, except to tell you that if you are experiencing a post-Thanksgiving food or drink hangover, skip the self-recrimination and go for a gigantic slug of the big K. I can feel myself getting my soul back as it moves through my system. And there is actual science that says kombucha supports liver function.
Making kombucha is super simple once you get the key element: the SCOBY. SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeast (cute, right?) and it is sometimes called the mother or the mushroom. The best place to get your own scoby is from a friend or fellow fermenter. SCOBYs auto-reproduce in the kombucha-making process, so anyone who regularly makes kombucha will probably have an extra or two laying around. The SCOBY plus a bit of kombucha from the last batch will get you started. I got my most recent SCOBY from Allyson Kramer, the amazing blogger and photographer at Manifest Vegan. She is also the author of the cookbook I’ve been using to make my friends and family crave gluten-free, vegan food for the past several months, Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. (Seriously, I made dudes watching football unknowingly devour gluten-free vegan things and ask for more.) I can honestly say this is the best SCOBY I’ve ever had, it makes babies like a (vegan?) mofo and produces the most delicious kombucha I’ve ever had, bar none. I used to be a sometimes ‘boocher, but with this SCOBY, I’ve started experimenting with constant fermentation and making a batch every week.
Once you have your SCOBY and your starter kombucha, you are ready to go! Don’t freak out about the sugar. It gets partially or entirely converted (depending on how long you let your big K ferment) and your guts will thank you for giving them all the healing bacteria and the glucaric acid which may help the liver function more efficiently (see previous hangover comments) and may have anti-carcinogenic properties.
Makes 1 gallon of kombucha. You can adjust batch size to your needs/projected hangover level.
A note on carbonation: The best way to get super bubbly ‘booch is to do secondary fermentation. Your kombucha is done when the sweet/sour level is where you like it, not when it’s bubbly. That said, in the warmer months, your bubbles may be vigorous in the first round of fermentation. See after the recipe for the simple secondary fermentation how-to.
Recipe after the jump.