Our bodies naturally have healthy bacteria in them and this bacteria helps us run smoothy. For every human cell in the body there are 10 microbes! When the healthy bacteria in our gut is compromised by harsh antibiotics, heavy metals, food coloring, digestive distress or environmental pollutants it negatively affects the ease at which we digest and use our food for fuel. Common obvious symptoms of an unhealthy gut are constipation, diarrhea, asthma, inflammation or allergies. Even if you think you have a healthy gut there could be signs you are missing and since getting probiotics into your diet is easy and delicious you might as well give it a try! Probiotics come in many forms, pills, fermented drinks or foods. Of course I am all about real food so I recommend getting your probiotics from kombucha, kefir or fermented veggies and fruits!
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a tea that has been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast called a scoby or mother. To make kombucha you need to start with a scoby, you can get a scoby from buying it online or getting one from a trusted source.
1 gallon glass container
1 cup sugar (I use Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar)
8 tea bags (I use green tea)
2 cups of kombucha (if this is your first fermentation batch you can skip)
Boil one gallon of water, turn off heat, stir in sugar and add tea bags. Once water has cooled to room temperature , pour tea into glass gallon jar, add in scoby and 2 cups of kombucha. Leave a little room at the top of the jar for another scoby to grow. Cover top of jar with a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band and leave on counter. It takes about 7-10 days for the tea to ferment. Taste along the way and once your tea reaches your desired taste either bottle up that tea in glass jars and place in fridge or take tea through a second fermentation to make kombucha soda.
To do a second fermentation, pour the fermented tea into flip top style bottles or quart sized mason jars. You can add fruit juice, fruit slices or herbs into the jars as well. For second fermentation you put the lid on. Leave on counter for 1-3 days. Taste as you go. Then place bottles in fridge!
What is kefir?
Kefir comes in two kinds, milk and water. Milk kefir is like runny yogurt while water kefir is more like kombucha. Kefir, like kombucha, is made from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast called grains (not actual grains but thats what the little clear pebbles are called). You can buy water kefir grains or milk kefir grains online as well. Water kefir has the same steps as kombucha except you just use water instead of brewed tea.
Water Kefir Grains
1 Quart Glass Container
1/4 cup Sugar
Boil water and stir in sugar until dissolved. Let water cool to room temperature. Place water kefir grains into a quart glass container and then pour sugar water in. Cover with coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Let kefir ferment for 1-2 days. If you want to do a second fermentation it is the same process as kombucha.
What is fermented food?
You can ferment pretty much any food you want. Cabbage to make sauerkraut. Tomatoes, jalapeños and onions to make salsa. Cucumbers to make pickles. Berries to make a topping for yogurt or to mix in smoothies. The combinations are endless and so are the recipes.
- Lacto-Fermented Berries
- Fermented Yams
- Fermented Radishes
- Fermented Grape Tomatoes
My favorite resources for recipes are:
- Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
- The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World
- Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictators
- Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods