Kombucha and Jun

A major turning point in my recovery from the abuse of years of antibiotic use was when I discovered the power of ferments.

I’ll be going into this in much greater depth later, but I don’t take probiotic pills. Instead, I get living cultures from a variety of food sources, and the ones I make are the ones I trust the most.

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There was a time when my kitchen was literally alive with cultures. The countertops were crowded with krauts and various vegetables in brines. The fridge was stuffed with a sourdough mother, and fresh batches of kefir, yogurt, and cheeses. Each kind of ferment has something different to offer and each helped bring me back to health.

Some of my favorite ferments are kombucha and jun, and I’m excited to share with you how to brew your own.

They are so easy to make, and you’ll be sure you’re getting the most potent version of the drink, flavored exactly how you like it. Plus, you’ll save yourself a ton of money.

You probably know about kombucha. It’s that super expensive drink found in most stores, now on offer in a huge array of flavors. I’m glad it’s easily accessible, but too often I’ve been really bummed to open a bottle that had turned to vinegar in the shipping process, or had been left with too much sugar. The worst is when I read the fine print and realized it had been pasteurized, meaning it had zero benefits. What a waste!

Jun is less well-known but is my favorite. While kombucha is made from black tea and sugar, jun is made from green tea and raw honey. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and other healthy compounds. Raw honey, especially local honey, is great for battling allergies and has other great health benefits too. Plus, it’s lighter in flavor which in my opinion makes it a better carrier for other flavors.

Kombucha and Jun are made from different SCOBYs – short for symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast. Also referred to as mothers or mushrooms (not related at all to mushrooms or fungi), these are what actually convert the tea and sweetener into a powerful probiotic drink. There are different SCOBYs on the market and you should know that some of them are garbage.

I feel really lucky that years ago I discovered a source called Kombucha Kamp founded by Hannah Crum, and I’m happy to share the resource with you now.

Hannah Crum calls herself the Kombucha Mama, and she’s kooky about the subject in the most delightful way. Her website has been an awesome resource for me over the years and her products are super high quality and totally reliable. I’ve never had a culture from her fail, whether it’s kefir gains or a SCOBY. That’s why I’ve chosen to become an affiliate of hers.

Learn about Kombucha, brew your own Kombucha, shop supplies for your Kombucha, you can do it all in The Kombucha Kamp.

I can absolutely teach you how to make your brews, and I’m happy to be a resource, but Hannah has been doing this for a very long time and it’s her primary focus. You’ll be in excellent hands if you take this course! 

Her site taught me how fun and rewarding it is to make my own. My favorite part of the process is called secondary fermentation. This is when you put the brew into a bottle and add flavorings, walk away for a few days and return to find fizzy, flavorful magic in a bottle.

Here are my current fave combos for inspiration. The proportions will depend on the size of your bottle and your personal preference. Experiment and have fun!

JUN WITH ROSE PETALS, ROSEWATER, AND ROSE HIPS

Buy food-grade rose petals for flavor and for gorgeous color. Add rose water for flavor and rose hips for a dose of vitamin C. Right now is a good time to forage and dry rose hips, but I bet you can find them in stores.

JUN OR BOOCH WITH TURMERIC ROOT, GINGER ROOT, AND A DASH OF BLACK PEPPER

An excellent dose of my fave anti-inflammatories! Grate the turmeric and ginger roots, add a dash of black pepper to boost the potency of the turmeric. The color of this one is gorgeous gold.

JUN OR BOOCH WITH GINGER ROOT, LEMON, AND HONEY

Grate the ginger root, add freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey.

JUN OR BOOCH WITH ELDERBERRY, LEMON AND HONEY

Super immune system booster! Elderberries are typically used for winter immune support, the lemon is a shot of vitamin C. Looks like purple punch so the kids think it’s a treat.

BOOCH AND FRESHLY SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE

This one was a surprise! I had an orange that needed to be used up so tossed in the juice with booch without much expectation. Turns out it’s a less sweet and much healthier version of Orangina. It’s become a family favorite.

BOOCH WITH MINT LEAVES

Way better than the traditional mint iced tea! I grow mint on my city windowsill so I can make this in summer, and hot mint tea in winter. 

I’d love to hear what you come up with!!! 

Happy brewing,

Caitilin

PLEASE NOTE:

*I have plenty of Kombucha and Jun SCOBYs to give right now, so contact me at caitilin@azrayalifestyle.com if you’re in NYC and have the supplies to begin.

*Visit The Kombucha Kamp website, it has so much to offer.

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