What do beer, Kombucha and Amish friendship bread all have in common? Besides the fact that they all taste delicious, they are all fermented foods and beverages you can make. Home brewing beer has become a common activity for many Poly students because it is fun, cheap and interesting. Kombucha may be something you have never heard of — it is a fermented tea used for medicinal purposes. Lastly is Amish friendship bread, which is fermented bread that takes 10 days to make. Each of these is fun to make, and I suggest you try them all. So get out that yeast, ’cause it’s fermentation time.
Beginning with the drink that takes the place of water for many students — beer. Any home brewing Web site can tell you what to buy and what to do. Many of my food science friends brew and are generous enough to share their finished product. One thing to remember when home brewing is that you have to bottle your own beer. It may seem like a pain to do, but it’s kind of like adding your own personal touch to each bottle.
Moving on to the drink that cures all illnesses — Kombucha. One of my good friends and fellow food science major David Fintel, president of Progressive Student Alliance, not only grows it himself but drinks it daily. The easiest way to start a batch is to buy a small bottle in a store then add it to a carboy and your own tea.
There are many recipes online as well for making Kombucha. Some health claims made from drinking it include increased energy, better skin, better eyesight and better digestion of sticky foods like rice or pasta. These health benefits vary, and it is important to remember this will not happen for everyone since we all react differently to foods and drinks. Though I do not drink it on a regular basis, I have tried Fintel’s home brewed batch. It made me feel good, because it is a natural product with many enzymes that just makes you feel healthy.
Last, but certainly not least, is my personal favorite, Amish friendship bread. Another one of my fellow food science friends, Sheena Merani, introduced me to it, and since I loved it so much, she gave me a starter kit, and I have not looked back since. Even though it takes 10 days to make, this is worth it because it tastes amazing!
You have to get a starter kit from someone else in order to make your own. Once you have one, follow the instructions your friend gives you, and it’s smooth sailing from there. It tastes sweet and pleasant and will have all your friends begging for more. It’s a great way to meet people or even keep in contact with people. On the last day of the process, you take out three cups to give to three different people as their starter kit.
So if you thought brewing your own beer was out of reach, or you wanted to try something new like Kombucha or Amish friendship bread, I hope this column was informative. When you are thinking about what to give your friends for the holidays, try making your own beer or Amish friendship bread as a personal gift and after they have that, introduce them to Kombucha to make them feel better after holiday treats.
So just follow this motto: fermentation all the way, because you are just a cup of yeast away!