Browsing a second hand store in Albany last year, I picked up a little book at random and flicked through the pages.
A hand written note dropped out, titled, “Recipe for Kombucha Tea”. Fascinated, I read on, finding that to make this curious beverage, one would need tea, sugar and something called a ‘kombucha mother’. Where on earth would I get one of those, I wondered.
Six months on, two new friends sent me home from their New Year’s Eve party carefully nursing a small jar. Within it – a kombucha mother!
Kombucha is a bubbly, sweet-sour tonic beverage, made by fermenting sweetened tea. My word, it is delicious, and not only that, very good for one’s health, loaded with pro-biotics and B vitamins. I feel sooo good drinking this stuff, small cups with each meal, and sometimes a ladylike swig straight from the bottle.
It’s cultured using a “mother” or “mushroom”. This is a jelly-like “symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast”, also known by its acronym, a SCOBY.
Making a batch of kombucha takes about 6-7 days, depending on the room temperature it’s stored at. By “harvest time”, the mother has grown a second mother, which can be left alone, or gently torn off and passed on to a friend.
There’s some dispute whether kombucha originated in China or Japan but regardless, it’s been popular in many countries over time, especially Russia, where it’s known as “kvass”.
There’s so much more to learn about the world of wild fermented foods and drinks for health. I recently gave a fun introductory workshop at Fair Harvest Permaculture. If you and some friends are keen to learn, let me know.
And lastly… after a kombucha mother yourself? If you’d like to visit us in Manjimup, I’d be more than happy to pass one on.
There are also lots of site on the net that connect you with people sharing kefir grains and kombucha mothers.
You could also seek to connect with a local Weston A Price chapter/organisation, they work with traditional nourishing foods and food sources and may be able to help.