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How to make your own kombucha and kefir – Irish Times

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Captain Kombucha California Raspberry, SynerChi Ginger & Lemon, Blakes Always Organic Natural Kefir and A&K Real Food Ginger Kombucha
While kefir might seem a modern obsession of clean-eaters, it has been around for at least 3,500 years, according to Holly Davis, writing in her excellent book Ferment. Every generation seems to rediscover it.
Milk kefir, water kefir and kombucha are all made using a scoby – a symbiotic community of bacteria and yeasts – which, given the correct culturing medium, environmental conditions and time, produce a fermented drink.
It is argued that they are full of various healthy pre- and probiotics, as well as vitamins and all sorts of other beneficial nutrients. More importantly, they taste delicious and are virtually alcohol-free (kefir and kombucha can actually contain between 0.5 per cent and 3 per cent alcohol, depending on how they are made. Most commercial versions contain less than 0.5 per cent and can therefore be labelled non-alcoholic.
To make milk kefir, you need to get hold of some kefir grains – small, rubbery lumps that look a little like cauliflower. Milk kefir is simply milk that has been left to ferment with grains at room temperature for 24 hours or so. It is an acidic, sometimes creamy, occasionally lightly fizzy drink, not unlike a runny yogurt. The grains need to be fed regular doses of fresh milk, but otherwise the procedure is fairly simple.
Water kefir is made by fermenting water kefir grains (small glassy globules), water, fruit and sugar together for two to four days. It is generally refreshing, and mildly fizzy. You can ferment it a second time with various fruits, berries, spices and herbs to create an effervescent and very enjoyable complex drink.
To create kombucha, you add the starter culture to sweetened green or black tea. A kombucha scoby is a strange sight: a large, floppy, rubbery, jellyfish-like object that grows to cover the surface of your fermenting brew. As with water kefir, you can add flavours and ferment a second time.
Kombucha is made from tea, so it will contain caffeine. Some commercial drinks producers add sugar or stevia to make them taste sweeter. Commercial water kefir is not easy to come by. The best I have tasted was from Ballymaloe Cookery School (a hive of bacterial activity); it is available from the shop there. There are plenty of other drinks to try out too, such as kvass and ginger bug.
You can, of course, buy ready-made kefir and kombucha in many shops, but making your own at home is fun, costs much less and allows you to experiment with flavours. Scobys can be bought in health shops, online, or from the burgeoning online fermentation community. Once you get started, so long as you keep your scoby alive, you can simply reuse your own grains time after time. 
Captain Kombucha California Raspberry (organic, vegan)
€2.75-€3.75 for 400ml
I’m not quite sure why we need to import kombucha from Portugal and raspberries from California, but this was a refreshing, fruit-filled kombucha. It was certainly the sweetest of those I tasted, but pleasant nevertheless.
From Health-food shops and SuperValu
SynerChi Raw Organic Live Ginger & Lemongrass Kombucha (organic, vegan)
€2.95-€3.10 for 330ml
Made in Co Donegal, this was a mild, refreshing kombucha, with light citrus and a subtle kick of ginger. A very attractive drink that would please those new to kombucha.
From Health-food shops and SuperValu
Blakes Always Organic Natural Kefir
€2.80 for 250ml
An organic milk kefir made in Co Leitrim. This was smooth and creamy with a good kick of acidity, and a lightly cheesy note. A great way to start the day.
From Health-food shops
A&K Real Food Ginger Kombucha
€2.95 for 330ml
Made in Co Wicklow, this was my favourite kombucha, fizzy, fresh and tangy, with a full-on spicy gingery kick. Highly recommended.
From Health-food shops
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Masaba Gupta 'Swears By' This Healthy Drink; Shares Its Health Benefits – NDTV Food

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Apart from being an ace fashion designer, Masaba Gupta is a hardcore foodie. She advocates clean eating habits. And, at times, she also shares glimpses from her healthy meal diaries. Today, Masaba decided to talk about safed petha juice. Masaba posted a snapshot of a glass filled with the juice on Instagram Stories and wrote about its benefits. Masaba said that she often ends up asking herself this – “Are we uselessly chasing weight loss, when we should actually be chasing an alkaline body?”

(Also Read: Masaba Gupta’s “Recovery Plan” Is The Motivation We All Need)

Masaba Gupta further explained that Ayurveda “pushes you to have an alkaline system. And, it does wonders”. She compared it with the benefits of having safed petha (Winter melon, Ash gourd) juice on an empty stomach. Masaba went to add, “I am a pitta type and I break my fast with it now.” Listing the benefits of the juice, Masaba said that the drink is a diuretic and helps relieve sciatica pain. It also cleans the small and large intestines and has anti-ageing properties. Best part? It cools the body. She then advised, “Drink as is or with a pinch of black jaggery or salt. See if it works.” Masaba also added the hashtag “Masaba swears by,” to her Stories.

Take a look:

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Seems like Masaba Gupta has been consuming all things healthy of late. On Sunday, she shared a picture of jujube fruit on her Instagram Stories. She captioned the post as, “Ber, jujube fruit or Chinese date – call whatever you want – many names, many benefits.” The designer explained the benefits of the first which include sound sleep, better digestion, anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamins B and C (glowing skin). She stated, “It’s a blood purifier, contains 18 of the 24 essential amino acids the body needs to stay healthy and helps reduce stress. It’s in season now and eating seasonal fruit is the best thing you can do for your body.”

(Also Read: Revealed! Masaba Gupta Shares Her Diet And Healthy Indulgences; Take Notes)

Healthy juices make Masaba Gupta happy. And, we have proof. Some days back, she dropped a picture of her healthy glass of drink. Masaba simply captioned it saying, “Warm water, lemon, basil seeds (sabja).”

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