Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea. Depending on what flavour you try, it’s just like drinking a refreshing carbonated beverage – one that happens to be good for you. Of course, one should never overdo a good thing (unless it’s reading), but a well-brewed kombucha really does make you feel better.There are several things to consider in order to produce consistently tasty batches of kombucha, but the process is very forgiving. And, if you’ve ever brewed your own kombucha, or tasted a home-brewed batch, you’ll know that the flavours are stronger and with greater depth than many of the supermarket varieties. Sure, much like reading a great book, brewing kombucha or creating fermented foods takes time, but both are well worth the effort – nourishing your mind and gut.
“Straws that last in your drink, not our environment.”—
The Big Book of Kombucha
By Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory
There’s a lot to love about this book. It’s packed full of recipes, presents techniques thoroughly, outlines what to do if things go wrong, and showcases the process beautifully. This book will inspire you to give kombucha a go, while having your back while you learn and experiment. But the best part of this book? Hannah and Alex’s story.
Hannah was introduced to the curious concoction that is kombucha in a friend’s apartment mid-ferment. It piqued her interest enough that she went and bought a few bottles to try. Previously, Hannah’s idea of cooking was the magic of pressing the button on the microwave and hot food coming out, so the slow approach of kombucha was a new concept. Within a year, Hannah’s interest in brewing kombucha grew to the point where she was eagerly sharing the information with whoever would listen, which led to her designing a workshop she called Kombucha Kamp.
Alex, Hannah’s husband, was never really interested in trying this “healthy stuff”. He took a few sips every now and again to be polite, but it wasn’t until about a year later when Hannah had developed a recipe that added strawberry, lemon and thyme to the kombucha’s second ferment that Alex was finally won over. He swapped out energy drinks for kombucha and thereafter his life began to change. Alex had no intention of changing his diet, but he found that over the next 18 months or so his tastes changed. He didn’t feel like having the processed foods he’d previously been consuming, and even more to his surprise, he actually felt like eating less bread and pasta and having vegetables instead. Alex is absolutely convinced that the good bacteria present in the kombucha helped him make this dietary change.
By Holly Davis
Although Holly’s book is not only about fermented drinks, I absolutely have to mention it here. Holly is Australian, and it’s great to have an Australian reference for fermenting.
It’s quite interesting, and even useful, to compare the recipes and advice in Holly’s book to other fermenting books we have.
Holly’s lifestyle includes ferments of all sorts and her book reflects this with loads of recipes and suggestions on how to use these ferments. The variety is truly amazing – from sourdough to kvass. For example, this is the only book that I’ve found with a really good recipe for curing olives.
By Kirsten and Christopher Shockey
This book is produced by the same publishers as The Big Book of Kombucha and the breadth of recipes is huge. It also has a great backstory.
It was a gift of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) and a traditional foods recipe book that first introduced Kirsten and Christopher to the fermentation world. The years that followed included lots of experimentation, lots of books and lots of equipment.
After spending years developing terrific new flavours, they started to sell their ferments at local farmers markets, grocers and restaurants.
Soon, their ferments became so successful that they found themselves needing to scale-up if they wanted to keep up with demand.
After much thought, they decided that growing their business would mean losing the artistry, experimentation and sharing that they loved so much. So, boldly, they scaled down and wrote this book to help all of us on our fermenting journey.
(Then they wrote a few more, including The Big Book of Cidermaking, Fiery Ferments and Homebrewed Vinegar.)
If you haven’t explored the art of fermenting, we hope that one of these books will inspire you to give it a try!
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