Herbal Kombucha add-ins

14 Oct

I remember when I was first introduced to kombucha: Synergy’s Gingerberry flavor was my gateway drug, so to speak. Flavoring is certainly helpful if you want to convert a newbie to the kombucha club, as straight-up kombucha is an acquired taste. By the time you start making your own brews, you’ll probably already like kombucha enough that you don’t require extra flavoring, but it can be fun for variation. Also, herbs can give even greater therapeutic qualities to this already strong elixer of health.

Below are some of my favorite herbal add-ins. I add the herbs AFTER the initial fermentation process. I put them in when I’m bottling my kombucha, and then I put the bottled brew right into the fridge. Wait at least a day for the flavors to seep in from the herbs. You can also leave the bottles out at room temperature for a little while to speed absorption of the herbs into your brew– this will help your kombucha build up bubbles if you like it fizzy since the brew will continue to ferment, unhindered by the refrigeration process. Use about a teaspoon of most herbs for a pint bottle of kombucha, or vary your amounts to taste. You can also mix and match the flavors:

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Hibiscus will make your kombucha turn a tempting red and develop a pleasant, fruity floral taste! This is the only type of kombucha that my skeptic boyfriend will drink– I think it’s the red flavor that draws him in. When you drink it, you can strain out the hibiscus as you pour it, or if you’re like me, you might like to eat the hibiscus pieces. Hibiscus is high in Vitamin C. It is also mildly diuretic and laxative. I personally find it very helpful in reducing phlegm. Research has indicated that hibiscus might also help lower blood pressure.

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Elderberry: Get dried elderberries at your local herbal or health-food store. Put them in your kombucha. The brew turns purple! Elderberries are great for colds and the flu.

Rose hips: mildly fruity in flavor, these will add a boost of Vitamin C to your drink. They are another great way to boost your immune system against colds and infection. Also help with mild constipation and are a tonic for the gall-bladder.

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Ginger: Grate or finely chop fresh ginger root and toss it in. Ginger helps to make more fizz. You can eat the ginger pieces or strain them out when serving. Ginger has a multitude of medicinal uses. It’s great as a digestive (promotes gastric secretions and tones the stomach) and for menstrual cramps and promoting menstruation. It is diaphoretic (aids the skin in eliminating toxins and promotes perspiration, therefore good for fevers), stimulant (particularly stimulates circulation)and is also indicated as soothing for sore throats.

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2 Responses to “Herbal Kombucha add-ins”

  1. fxj March 28, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    I am getting a kombucha SCOBY from a friend soon. While unflavored kombucha is enjoyable (does anybody else think it taste’s apply? What causes that?), I am also looking forward to flavoring it too. I am definitely going to try ginger, maybe with lemon juice added in–but I’m also considering hibiscus.

    Do you just add in the flower pieces, or do you brew Hibiscus tea first, then add the tea?

    • Adele March 29, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

      I just add in the flower pieces, and I add them to the kombucha as a second ferment– after I’ve brewed the kombucha and removed the scoby. When I pour a glass, I usually filter out the flowers with a tea strainer, although sometimes I actually just like to chew on the flowers, too! I have also been following a Facebook message board where there are a bunch of people making kombucha and jun with hibiscus instead of regular tea as their first ferment. Apparently hibiscus is high enough in tannins that it works pretty well. If you experiment like this, I always recommend trying something new with a spare scoby– make sure you have a backup in case it doesn’t work out!

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