Many people have heard the “breaking news” that supporting good gut health is not only good for helping with digestion, but that it is foundational if you want to improve your overall health and well-being. Learning how to naturally breakdown my own gut health barriers changed our family’s life forever. Hippocrates is quoted saying that “All disease begins in the gut.” With modern day advances and technology, we are just scratching the surface on how important this amazing system is and how connected it is to our entire body.
Naturally supporting a healthy gut is nothing new, but some may feel like it is, because many of the earlier gut-health-supporting practices just go unnoticed or have not been taught from generation to generation. Things like Sauerkraut, Kefir milk/water, Kefir cheese, yogurt, and other fermented beverages and foods have been around for centuries, even before they were made in mass quantities and sold in chain super markets. Shocking, I know! Different cultures have their own version of supplementing their meals with some type of fermented or cultured side sampling. Things like fermented ginger served with your Sushi or Kimchi with your Bulgogi or Sauerkraut with your hot dog. You get the idea. They serve to help better breakdown your food and help with overall digestion and absorption. These two were part of my missing health puzzle. And let me tell you that whole organic food (cultured, raw, fermented or not), staying active and even supplementing with “natural” products were not enough to address my unique needs or get to the root cause of my health issues. I had to bring in the “big guns” to help balance my body from the inside out, but more on that on another post.
In the meantime, there are several things that our family does to help support our bodies, including naturally supporting a healthy gut garden. In addition to feeding ourselves the best natural foods we can buy and/or grow, we supplement with quality plant-based supplements and we culture, ferment, and sprout some of our foods and beverages as often as we can. We also make most of our meals at home and from scratch or semi-scratch. (smile) One of the things we like to make from scratch is this delicious and healthy Elderberry and Ginger Kombucha. I know that there are hundreds of products out there that you can easily purchase, but making your own fermented foods at home can offer even more health benefits and even higher amounts of all the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that your body needs to have a healthy gut garden.
In our Western society, it is common to rely heavily on processed and cooked foods with an occasional raw snack here and there. I would like to challenge you to eat at least 2-3 raw foods per day to help keep your system active and working well. Whether that be a handful of healthy raw nuts, a smoothie with raw veggies and berries, or a healthy dose of raw greens with your dinner or lunch. Our body needs real food that is “living” and that will feed the good bacteria in our gut in order for important systems and organs to function, repair, regenerate, and thrive.
If you have purchased store-bought Kombucha, you know that a bottle can get pretty pricey. So, today I am sharing one of my family’s favorite recipes from our friends at the BulkHerbStore.com. When you see how easy this truly is and taste your homemade version, you may never look at store-bought Kombucha the same again. Not to mention how much money you’ll save by brewing it yourself. (wink) Let’s get brewing!
A good local friend of ours had plenty of homemade SCOBY to share.
What you’ll need:
10 c water
3/4 c organic sugar
1 SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), you may be able to find these locally, but if you can’t, you can purchase one like this here online. Plus 1 1/2 c Kombucha (liquid) from previous batch (what you grew the SCOBY in)
12 tsp Organic Black Tea, I purchase most of my dried herbs from my friends at the BulkHerbStore.com.
Cheese cloth or kitchen towel. Comes in handy for other homemade applications.
Glass jar, I like to use these here with a spigot to make transferring the brewed Kombucha straight into the fridge. These make it easier for the whole family to help themselves when they want to enjoy a refreshing and healthful drink.
If you want to have more fizz in your Kombucha, you can add the fermented mixture to brewing bottles like these here and let sit for longer to build up more carbonation.
- Pour water, black tea and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- After completely cooled, strain off sweetened tea using a fine sieve or cheese cloth. Pour strained sweetened tea, along with 1 1/2 c Kombucha from previous batch (or liquid that comes with your online SCOBY purchase), into a clean glass jar (a gallon jar works well).
- With clean hands, gently place SCOBY to float on top. Cover jar with cheesecloth or kitchen towel and secure with rubber band.
- Place jar in a safe place out of direct sunlight and let it brew. Start tasting it after about 4-5 days and continue to ferment to desired tanginess.
- Remember to save some for your next batch.
You can make plain Kombucha with just the Black Tea, but our family loves adding Elderberry and Ginger to spice it up a bit.
To add herbal flavors, you will need:
1/3 c dried whole Elderberries Use link code to receive $5 off your purchase.
4 slivers of fresh ginger root
2 1/2 c water
1/4 c organic sugar
How to make it:
After your base Kombucha liquid has had time to ferment and you’re ready to place it in the fridge, you can make your herbal mixture. Simply place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Strain off herbs and add liquid to your pre-fermented Kombucha.
Place in a glass jar with lid and let ferment in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. Bottle and store.
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Until next time, cheers to your health!