Have you ever heard of Kombucha tea? Neither had I. Until my friend told me about this crazy mushroom tea her dad always makes. Apparently he's been doin' it forever, and it's totally weird and healthy. So of course, I'd be interested.
Basically, you take a baby Kombucha mushroom, and let it ferment in prepared tea for 10-15 days, or longer. It grows in the tea and actually has a baby mushroom. With this, you can start a new pot of Kombucha, or give the baby to a friend! The beverage you end up with does look a little off-putting if you don't know what it is. My parents thought it was science project. BUT the tea tastes delicious! Think of a cocktail of apple cider, champagne, and a little bit of vinegar. Since it's fermented, it's has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It is also very easy for your body to absorb, as well as detoxifying and enzyme/nutrient-rich. Some other choices for fermented foods are kimchi, miso, wine, sauerkraut, and aged nut cheeses.
Check out just SOME benefits of fermentation here.
When I went to my first raw potluck a few weeks ago, they were serving Kombucha! My friend also lent me a book about it, which calls it "The Health Drink Sweeping America" (Pryor & Holst, 1995). America, here, means mostly California =) I guess it was a huge thing in the 60's onward.
SO, yesterday my friend's mushroom finally had a baby that was ready to be given away! Since she's the best person in the world, she gave me this baby mushroom! In fact, it's a pretty big baby... it's actually already starting to grow it's own offspring. She gave it to me in a giant jug of tea that's been fermenting for 16 days, that I now have sitting in my kitchen. Personally, I think it's quite a pretty tea, especially with the funky-looking growth on top =)
I am sipping away at my Kombucha now, in a wine glass, enjoying life. Yay for fermentation and mushrooms! Here's a site that gives the recipe.