Doing the booch.

Kombucha, a piece of cake!

Kombucha, a piece of cake!

 

I brew this stuff so often I’m actually surprised that I’ve NEVER blogged a reliable recipe before now. However, I’m pretty stoked to get this recipe in when the right lighting is used and I had such an anomaly of a mother to show you all!

The snow was falling outside and I wanted to buy myself a little time before heading out to plow our 130 foot long driveway in the minus temperatures. I figured I would do a little spot on Fermentation because I don’t find a lot of people talking about it, and I find the process rewarding and meditative.

In order to start a brew you are going to need a SCOBY or a mother. A SCOBY is a symbiotic culture of bacterial yeast. You cannot find these just anywhere and much like a sourdough starter, you need to either have one gifted to you or find your own.

If you’re looking for a free mother, I have lots, just drop me a line. To find your own, I suggest picking up a couple of bottles of store-bought bottled Kombucha and using any of the remnants inside the bottle to inoculate your first batch. You can test your store-bought booch for potency by removing the lid, placing on a light cloth and allowing it to sit on your counter top for a week or so. You should find that a bottle-sized SCOBY will begin to appear on the top. If not, you have no live bacteria – try again.

Kombucha (and Kraut) are the two greatest sources of beneficial bacteria for the human gut. Yogurt and any other pasteurized (heated) commercial products claiming to be loaded with probiotics are, well, frauds. Besides, all Yogurt is is cholesterol and diabetes in a jar with little-to-no bacteria left after heat pasteurization. Beware false claims.

To start this process first find yourself a very large glass or crock-ware vessel. Do not use metal or plastic ever. The vessel you choose should be able to hold at least 5 litres of liquid.

Ingredients:

2 cups Kombucha for inoculating

Kombucha mother/SCOBY

4 litres of water – 2 boiled & 2 cold

2 cups sugar (kombucha loves cheap horrible refined sugar the best, but I use organic sugars)

5 bags of tea (green, white, black work the best – you cannot use tea with essential oils such as Earl Grey as this will mould in your brew and you will have to toss everything out. Unlike sauerkraut, Kombucha mold cannot be skimmed off of the top. )

Flavouring: berries, herbs, fresh juices, vanilla beans. These can be frozen or fresh!

 

Method:

Bring 2L of water, sugar and teabags to boil on the stove top. Allow to sit and cool for an hour or so.

Remove tea bags.

Place boiled water and cold water in your brewing vessel.

**It is imperative you ensure your brew is cool enough to inoculate! If too hot, your mother will melt!

Inoculate with starter reserves and mother.

Brewing begins.

Brewing begins.

Cover loosely with a tea towel and wait approximately 5 days to taste. On days 3 & 4 you should notice a skin starting to form on the top of your vessel. This is a new mother and it is perfectly fine! If you notice no change (ie: no new mother) wait 2 more days. If still nothing, you need to start over, your SCOBY was dead!

If you DO see changes and no mold by day 5, have a taste, if it’s to your liking now you can add your flavouring but first, we separate out at least 2 cups of tea and at least one active mother to store in a small glass vessel until our next brew.

Flavouring should be done in separate batches without mothers to avoid tainting with flavour if at all possible.

Some sink, some float.

Some sink, some float.

Tips:

Some mothers sink, some float – that’s fine and dandy.

You can brew until you like the flavour. The longer, the stronger/more sour.

Try all types of teas with caffeine for different flavours. Booch lives on sugar and caffeine so it can’t be brewed with herbals.

If you brew too long, you’ll have vinegar, but it’s great for salad dressings!

Brewing times shorten in the summer and are longer in the winter OR are shorter when the brew stays warmer as a rule. Sometimes I place my vessel on a heat register to keep the brew warm in winter.

Keep bottled brew in the fridge or it could explode. Collect old bottles with toppers (like Grolsch beer) to bottle individual brews.

Note your brew times and flavour combos for reliable brewing every time.

Sasha, what do you eat?

There have been quite a few people lately who have asked what I eat. I’m not sure where that question comes from. Surely I hope it isn’t to achieve some physical representation of my shape – lets face it, we are all different. If we weren’t I’d be at “As Seen on TV” buying a thigh master and becoming Suzanne Somers.

So, now that we’ve cleared that up a titch, let’s throw in a caveat: I AM NOT A FOOD ELITIST. What does this mean? I observe certain dietary practices for my own personal reasons. I do not expect that it would be my way or the proverbial highway for everyone else -that’s insane. What I do know, from experience and education, I share. That’s it.

There’s no Goosey/Gander B.S. here. 

So, in an effort to stop running off at the mouth…here’s what I ate for dinner last night: 

Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes), red potato, carrot, brussel sprouts, garlic, leek and some olive oil. All baked at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. I *nearly* ate all of this until I had to stop myself with about a handful left. I love food.

AAAAAnnnndd…here’s what I had for lunch today:

Homemade sourdough bread, homemade kraut, red leaf lettuce salad with tomato and avocado. Homemade dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tamari, nutritional yeast.
So that’s it, that’s typical, and that’s what I find tastes AMAZING. Most of you know I make my own granola. So I had that with Almond milk and a banana this morning. I usually snack on homemade (dehydrated) kale chips, and drink about 1/2 a litre of homemade kombucha daily. 
Am I vitamin or mineral deficient? Nope. Do I have to mind this regularly – yep. Any more questions, hit me up at: humblerootswellness@gmail.com 
Happy eating loves. 
Sasha

Fermentation – Why you need to get into it!




As I am turning a new leaf here in Calgary, I feel the need to bring some of my most “basic” nutritional classes to the masses. My favourite? Fermentation. From Kombucha to Pickles, Kimchi to Root Beer…this ancient tradition is the stuff healthy guts, skin and hair were made up of. 

Why you ask? Well heres a few cents and a closer look into fermentation and it’s benefits.

Fermenting means converting a food’s carbohydrates to alcohol (not the kind that gets you drunk). Examples include kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchee, vinegar, tempeh, miso, yogurt, kefir and pickles.
Fermented foods are rich in enzymes, which help speed up digestion and absorption in our system. They are also rich in good bacteria, specifically lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a beneficial flora found in the gut. Consuming the healthy bacteria found in fermented foods restores and balances the flora in your gut leading to better vitamin and nutrient absorption. Another plus is that fermented foods have a long shelf life, without containing harmful preservatives.


1. Kombucha (also known as mushroom tea, kvass, etc) is a fermented drink made from tea, sugar, live bacteria and yeast. It’s readily available at health food stores and even some grocery stores but at astronomical prices that I just cannot agree with. Benefits include improvement in digestion and liver function, as well as stimulation of the immune system. Kombucha does not have a high salt or sugar content and can be enjoyed daily.
2. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. It’s typically made with just two ingredients: salt and cabbage. Korea has a version of sauerkraut called kimchee, which is fermented spiced cabbage. Sauerkraut and kimchee contain beneficial bacteria that help with the digestive process and are a great way to naturally cure yeast infections. There’s also research linking kimchee with high antibiotic potency and longevity. 
3. Miso is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans that is a great source of manganese and zinc — two important mineral antioxidants. Miso contains healthy bacteria that supports intestinal microflora, the amino acid tryptophan which is important for sleep and is a great source of dietary fibre. During the soybean fermentation process, grains like barley, rice, or buckwheat may be added to achieve a certain flavour, but in most cases soybeans serve as the basis. Miso soup is also often prescribed to patients undergoing chemotherapy as it’s believed by some to aid in absorption of essential nutrients. Miso can be used to add flavour to soups, sauces, marinades, salad dressings or vegetables dishes, but is high in salt so use cautiously.
4. Coconut kefir (similar to milk kefir without the dairy) is fermented coconut milk. It contains a host of probiotic cultures that support your intestinal system that are not found in yogurt. Coconut kefir helps to minimize sugar cravings and, because it’s not made from animal milk, people with lactose intolerance can partake minus the nasty side effects. Enjoy it on its own or in a smoothie or make it into a dip similarly to how you’d use yogurt.