Blueberry Thyme Kombucha
FOLLOW YOUR GUT!
Our bodies are comprised of about ten trillion cells, and our microbiome (the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in and on our bodies) outnumber human cells by a factor of ten. Widely considered "the second brain," and the source of our sixth sense and intuition, the gut regulates a significant majority of our body functions—and our microbial partners are the gatekeepers of the outside world. The microbes in our gut digest our food, control inflammation, and synthesize key vitamins and neurotransmitters in exchange for calories and a warm place to live. Our bodies are complex and interconnected, and the gastrointestinal system sits at the core of it all!'
WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, believed to have originated in China around 220 BC, travelled throughout Europe, Asia and Russia and eventually became a health-food craze in North America over the past two decades. A popular legend says that it was named after a Korean physician Kombu who healed the Japanese Emperor Inyko with the tea, naming the drink after him “Kombu” + “cha” (tea).
In simple words, Kombucha is a fermented tea. It is made by adding a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to sweetened tea and allowing it to ferment for several days. The term SCOBY was appointed by kombucha enthusiast Len Porzio in the mid-90s, and as with many fermented drinks like wine and beer, the fermentation process extends the shelf-life of kombucha and also develops its unique flavour. In the case of, beer and wine, they become alcoholic during the fermentation process, whereas kombucha generally contains less than 0.5% alcohol.
WHY DRINK IT?
The healthy "soda-pop," as some people might call it, attributes its health benefits to the bacterial culture used to create it—which include microbes like Lactobacillus and healthy bacteria. The theory is that these bacteria can help colonize our gut, which early research suggests may improve a range of bodily functions, improve digestion, decrease anxiety and depression, boost your immune system and regulate your stress levels.
Michael Roussin, a kombucha lover, decided he wanted to know what exactly was in this drink that made him feel so good. With the help of a professional lab, he spent 18 months testing 1103 samples of kombucha, from batches all over North America and parts of Europe, with different teas, sugars, temperatures and brewing times. The study might not have confirmed all the health claims, but it certainly didn't stop him from continuing drinking it.
There’s little scientific evidence to back up all the health claims, but some elements of the drink may be good for you. We can say the health properties of kombucha are likely to be similar to drinking tea or other fermented foods that contain live microorganisms, like cheese, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. What scientists do know is that, as transient microbes, probiotics travel through your colon, interacting with your immune cells, gut cells, dietary nutrients, and existing bacteria to, directly and indirectly, deliver benefits.
BOOCH ORGANIC KOMBUCHA
The number of kombucha brands keeps rising with more flavours, colourful labels and eye-catching designs, making it difficult to choose one from the other. In the end, it's all in the small print and little details, and that is why we're lucky to have Booch Organic Kombucha here in town. Founded by Shannon Kamins in 2014, Booch is not about "flavour trends." The brand started our of self-care and love; In an effort to heal her own gut disturbances, Shannon began to brew her own kombucha while finishing her studies in Western University. Fast forward 5 years and Booch is rapidly growing, expanding her distribution across Ontario and conducting research in partnership with Western University—running a series of studies on her own SCOBY.
In Shannon’s own words, “I care about connection, love, passion, and healing. Healing from the inside out. Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut”... and simultaneously, all health begins in the gut. By repairing our digestive tract, adding in beneficial living bacteria and yeast, and increasing the biodiversity of the microbiome in our gut, we will find more connection and ease within our entire bodies.”
Learn how to prepare this ancient elixir by the hand of Shannon Kamins, founder and master fermenter at Booch Organic Kombucha.
BLUEBERRY THYME VANILLA HONEY KOMBUCHA
by SHANNON KAMINS
DRINK • INTERMEDIATE •FOREST CITY COOKBOOK PAGE 112
PREP: 20 minutes • COOK: 5 minutes • FERMENT: 9-12 days • SERVES 4
Sourcing my ingredients close to home is a personal value of mine. It means I can have full confidence in the quality of the ingredients going into my brew. It allows me to connect with the seasons and also educate consumers on what is grown locally in London and surrounding areas. It also means superior flavour! The colour of this recipe is stunning bright purple. The flavour, a smooth fruity blueberry blend with hints of vanilla, thyme and spice. It marries together perfectly. Now pour it into a wine glass, take a deep breath and enjoy this ancient elixir of life!
4 cups dechlorinated water
3 tea bags of black or white tea
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup acetic kombucha vinegar
1 kombucha SCOBY
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Add organic sugar and stir. Remove tea bags from water and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain into a large glass jar. Add acetic kombucha vinegar and SCOBY. Cover the jar with a cloth and tie with an elastic. Allow to ferment in a warm environment, out of direct sunlight, for 7 days. Taste daily until the ferment is sweet-sour enough to your liking. Remove the SCOBY and 1 cup of kombucha mother. Reserve in a covered small jar for next brew.
FLAVOUR INSPIRATION: BLUEBERRY THYME VANILLA HONEY
1/3 cup blueberries
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
1/2 tbsp vanilla honey
Add all ingredients to the large jar of kombucha previously prepared. Allow to ferment for 1-2 days with an airtight lid until the flavour meets your liking. Strain fruits and herbs and continue fermenting at room temperature with an airtight lid for an additional 1-3 days to increase carbonation. Check daily by opening slowly to test carbonation. Once carbonation suits your liking, store in the refrigerator.