An Exploration of The History and Uses of Kombucha

Kombucha has a long, rich history of use as a medicine. We’ve written about the magic of fermented foods in the past, and kombucha happens to be one of the most potent examples. In addition to supplementing your health, there are many creative uses for kombucha. But first, a bit of history.

A well-known kombucha origin story dates kombucha back thousands of years to the Qin Dynasty in China. It is said Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was the first to make and drink Kombucha. Tea culture and the willingness to use anything and everything in nature as a medicine or a tonic make it likely that it may have originated there. It has existed in many countries throughout Asia and Europe, though it lingered relatively unknown, only in cult health beverage status in Russia. In the 1970s, the modern resurgence of Kombucha was anticipated and promoted by Sally Fallon through the well-reputed Weston Price Foundation. In her book Nourishing Traditions, she suggests that is the perfect replacement for the sugary and artificially sweetened destroyer of health otherwise known as soda. Thanks to its fizziness and delicious taste, Fallon hoped it might usurp the syrupy drinks.

Kombucha is often thought of as a ferment, which is the result of bacterial activity. It is, however, a product of a symbiotic combination of yeast, fungus, and bacteria. This community of organisms shares the raw material of kombucha, tea and some kind of sugar. This creates novel organic acids and other molecules that detoxify and enhance all aspects of health, not the least of which is gut health.

For a deeper dive on gut health, check out our previous blog post on the topic!

Rebecca’s was the first location for the brand then known as Barefoot Bucha, now known as Blueridge Bucha. We are still operating the original kombucha kegerator, in addition to a new one that allows us to serve all the flavors and types of kombucha that Blueridge Bucha now offers.

We have 6 delicious flavors on tap: Ginger, Elderflower, Jasmine grape, Black raspberry, Bluegrass Seasonal: Juniper Berry. We also have 3 in Bottles: Elderflower Sunrise, Ginger and Black raspberry. Among other unique offerings we have: Wild Tonic Jun Kombucha Honey Based in 5.6 and 7.6 % alcohol.

Read on for a few unconventional, creative uses for kombucha

Kombucha floats: During the summer we serve Kombucha floats with vanilla nondairy vanilla ice cream at Rebecca’s. These are a great way to get your kids or reluctant friends turned onto kombucha! You can also make your own at home. Just grab some brew from Rebecca’s, your favorite ice cream, and experiment with kombucha as a substitute for soda.

Kombucha cocktails: Making cocktails or mocktails? Kombucha makes an excellent mixer and pairs well with many different types of alcohol. For an easy, summer-friendly recipe mix tequila, orange juice, a few squeezes of lime, kombucha, and sugar or simple syrup to taste. You can garnish it with sliced jalapeno for a kick. All jokes aside, it’s worth mentioning kombucha already has a low content of alcohol on its own. Click here for a few more recipes.

Kombucha-infused popsicles for summertime: Perhaps one of our favorite creative uses for kombucha. For DIY, gut-healthy popsicles, blend kombucha with your favorite fruit and perhaps a bit of simple syrup or honey. Pour into a mold and freeze for a treat! You can also freeze kombucha to create flavorful, healthy ice cubes for the aforementioned kombucha cocktails and mocktails.

DIY sweet and sour sauce: Yet another way to sneak some kombucha into your children’s’ diets. Try making your own sweet and sour sauce with kombucha. It’ll be much healthier than most grocery store options, as well. Simply combine the kombucha with tomatoes or tomato paste, sugar, and soy sauce… then sautee away!

If you have any questions about kombucha or fermented foods, we’re happy to answer your questions at Rebecca’s Natural Food. Come by and check out our kombucha bar, one of the oldest (if not the oldest) in the state!