Kombucha & Diabetes
My very intelligent and beautiful daughter introduced me some time back to a New Probiotic, kombucha. Well it was new to me. After doing my research I found out the earliest record of kombucha dates back prior to 400 B.C. That alone doesn't mean it's good for you, lets face it, blood letting can be traced back that far too. But being that old and still around makes it worth further investigation.
It turns out that it's kind of like carbonated yogurt. But only in the philosophical way. It's made with tea instead of milk and the skoby (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) is genetically engineered to survive in a low pH environment like our stomachs and intestinal track. Yes, genetic engineering has been going on since man decided he was tired of hunting.
Being diabetics put's us on a low carbohydrate diet. This causes the skoby that naturally live in our bodies to starve. They require sugars and we cut them off. Without these healthy bacteria, we are more susceptible to Norovirus, E. coli, Salmonella and other harmful bacteria. There's plenty of sites on the internet that list the benefits of probiotics.
Being a good patient, I asked my doctor. Her answer was, "Due to regulations I can not recommend kombucha, but I drink it every day." I guess the pharmaceutical companies have more lobbyist than the homeopathic medicine groups. And note, she said the same thing about my brand of muli-vitamins.
So How Do I Make It?
Kombucha is not a fast process and different people have their own ideas on how it's made. My research has led me to MY process. At present I make 2.5 gallons (8 Bottles) every 5 weeks. See, NOT FAST! I should get that up to 4.5 gallons within the next 6 months. I have to wait till the babies are grown. The babies can be seen in little mason jars.
The large 1 gallon jar with the blue handle is the one I use to fill the bottles. The other one is 1.5 gallons. The skoby loves to grow in the spigot and attaches itself to the rubber stopper inside. This makes this kind of spigot useless, so if your thinking of making your own you'll be better off replacing it with a plastic stop cock valve.
I use a double fermentation process, the first being for 3 weeks. The mommy skoby, tea, sugar, and starter(a cup left over from the last batch) is place in gallon jars and placed in my homemade incubator. Here it will spend the next 3 weeks at a temperature of 82 °F . I made the incubator after my first failed attempt where my kombucha was damaged by mold. During the winter it's not uncommon for my house to be between 60° and 65°. Unfortunately skoby growth is slow if not dormant at that temperature giving mold time to make a foothold. Once mold is detected, the whole batch must go in the composter. The optimum temperature for skoby is 82°F.
When the kombucha is done, you can drink it just like it is. But I like it better with a little flavor and carbonation. So I bottle it, adding fruits to add the flavor. The 2.5 gallons is enough to make 8 bottles. I make 7 as production bottles and 1 as experimental bottles. This months experiment "Black Cherry". I place 10 pitted black cherries in the bottle along with a little of the sugar water that they came in. It looks good, I'll let you know how it is. The production flavors are pineapple, peach, and my favorite mandarin orange.
These bottle are kept between 70 °F and 75 °F for another 2 weeks. The fermentation continues during that time and the kombucha creates it's own carbonation. The alcohol and sugar content by the time I drink it is very low. Mine taste nothing like the stuff you buy at the store. To me it taste like a dry champagne. Some people like it, some don't. Doesn't matter because I like it.