How to Add Kombucha & Vegetable Juice
Wondering whether or not it might be a good idea to add your vegetable juice and kombucha together? Yes! Read on for full guidelines, and all of the reasons why combining vegetable juice and kombucha is a GREAT idea.
Although often drunk plain, it is common for kombucha to be flavored with fruit or fruit juice. If you are a drinker of vegetable juice and kombucha, then you might be keen to try out mixing the two.
There are two different ways in which you can combine kombucha and vegetable juice. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at why one would want to mix kombucha and vegetable juice in the first place.
Reasons for Adding Vegetable Juice to Kombucha
As described in ‘How to Mix Greens & Kombucha: The Ultimate Health Power Mix‘, there are some nice perks to combining two of your favorite health drinks.
It Saves Time
Sometimes when one has too many healthy drinks to consume through the day, it can be difficult to get to all of them! Combining them can make things a lot simpler and save you time and hassle.
It Can Taste Good
While many people enjoy the plain taste of kombucha, combining the kombucha taste with juice can make for some great flavor profiles. The more you enjoy your kombucha, the more you will drink of it. Which means the more of its health benefits you will get in.
Which bring us to the most important point, the health benefits of a kombucha and vegetable juice combo drink.
Its Makes for a Great Health Drink
Both kombucha and vegetable juices are considered potent health drinks on their own. Put them together – and you have one supercharged drink! In addition, the combination of kombucha and vegetable juice has a specific benefit in that the two are complementary in the digestive system.
Health Benefits of Vegetable Juice
Vegetable juices have long been known to be a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, enzyme and other micronutrients. In fact, vegetable juices are so potently loaded with nutrition, that they are often prescribed by naturopaths to people who have serious deficiencies or are generally run down in condition.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Although there are many over the top claims surrounding kombucha, there are also some very valid ones. Most of these are rooted in the fact is that kombucha is a fermented food, and therefore probiotic in nature.
While fermented foods have long been believed to act as tonics to the body, now the scientific community has been publishing evidence to support this. Studies on fermented foods and probiotics are beginning to show us the importance of probiotics within the body.
In a natural environment we should all have pretty good levels of probiotics within our digestive tracts. However modern factors such as pollution, chlorinated water, the contraceptive pill, stress, pesticide residues, chemical flavorings, preservatives and artificial sugar can all have a negative impact on our probiotic counts.
Having adequate and varied species of probiotics within our digestive system is vital for:
- General digestion
- Nutrient uptake
- Nutrient synthesis
- Proper elimination
- Thorough detoxification
- General gut health
- A strong immune system
- The production of neurochemicals such as serotonin
The health of the digestive system, immune system, and neurochemical production system are cornerstones of health and wellbeing. If the levels of probiotics within the digestive system are lowered, all of these can become compromised.
Besides being a source of probiotics, kombucha contains the following:
- Gluconic acid
- Lactic acid
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Live enzymes
Some of the elements such as the vitamins are found in trace amounts. While this is deemed to be too low to be useful by modern nutritional science, these trace amounts of vitamins have two big things going for them. These are:
Similar to the principles used in homeopathy, it is thought by some that vitamins and minerals are better administered in micro doses regularly, than in more concentrated and spaced out doses. If this stands true, then the low doses of vitamins in kombucha are still beneficial to the body.
This study on fermented foods indicate that fermentation enhances the bioavailability of nutrients in foods. Which suggests that there is more to be gained via daily microdosing of vitamins in fermented foods, than via macro dosing via the use of low quality non chelated vitamin supplements. In fact, a study published in 2012 entitled ‘Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Do We Really Need Them?‘ contains evidence to suggest that most multivitamin supplemented are utterly ineffective.
Kombucha & Vegetable Juices are Complementary During Digestion
Besides being healthful on their own, kombucha and vegetable juice made a very good combination when it comes to digestion. Vegetable juices contain a wide range of nutrients. Kombucha contains live probiotics. As mentioned above, science has indicated that probiotic supplementation assists in nutrient uptake and synthesis.
Vegetables in their whole form also contain what is known as prebiotics. Prebiotics are made up of indigestible fiber which act can act as a food source to the probiotic microbes within the gut. Juicing however can cause the loss of much of this fibre, and therefore the prebiotic value of the vegetables.
If you are keen to avoid losing the prebiotics, you can choose to blend your vegetables rather than juice them.
The 2 Ways to Add Vegetable Juice to Kombucha
Now that we have had a look at the benefits of adding vegetable juice to your kombucha drinks, let’s get into just how one can do this. These are the three main methods:
1 Mixing Before Drinking
The simplest way to add vegetable juice to your kombucha is to simply mix the two together before drinking.
Juice to Kombucha Ratios
You can choose any ratio you want depending on how much juice and kombucha you have. A half-half ratio is a good starting point.
If you are using a vegetable juice which is very concentrated and strongly flavored, eg a juice which is dominated by greens, then you might want to use more kombucha and less of the juice.
If on the other hand you have a milder juice which has a good balance of less potent vegetables (eg cucumber) then you can use more juice.
Play around a little and see what ratios work well with the juice that you make / buy.
How to Mix the Juice and Kombucha Together
When mixing the juice and kombucha together, try not to stir or shake the kombucha too much. This will cause it to lose carbonation. If you are not a fan of the carbonation in kombucha, then of course this does not matter. Most people however enjoy having good levels of fizz in their kombucha, and try to brew their kombucha to achieve this. If you are having trouble getting good levels of fizz in your kombucha, have a look at these posts How To Make Fizzy Kombucha and What to Do If There is No Carbonation (Fizz) in My Kombucha.
2 Doing a Second Ferment
The second way you can mix your vegetable juices and kombucha is to do a second ferment. If you have never heard of second ferments, do not distress – they are simple and easy to do.
What is a Secondary Ferment?
Secondary ferments consist of allowing kombucha to further ferment at a reduced rate without the presence of the SCOBY. It is common to add flavoring such as juice and spices to secondary ferments. This is because it allows for a good opportunity to incorporate foreign ingredients into the fermentation process which would usually harm the SCOBY. SCOBYs are designed to feed and and ferment black tea and sugar. Coming into contact with other ingredients can often cause them to develop problems.
Benefits of Doing a Second Ferment
Perhaps you are wondering why one would want to go to all the trouble of doing a second ferment. These are the benefits of doing secondary ferments:
- Deeper flavor profiles of the kombucha and any juice that is added
- Heightened probiotic levels
- Higher levels of fizz
If you choose to combine your kombucha and vegetable juice, what essentially is happening is that the kombucha microbes are colonising and taking over the vegetable juice. This is why the levels of probiotics are heightened, there is often more fizz, and more complex flavor profiles.
How to Do a Second Ferment
1. Harvest your kombucha early:
To do a second ferment, the first thing you need to do is to stop your kombucha a little on the early side. This is because you will be letting it ferment further without the SCOBY for a day or so. If you harvest it at the normal time, then there is a chance that it will become overly mature by the time the second ferment is done.
2. Combine the kombucha and vegetable juice in a jar:
Once the kombucha is harvested, combine it with your vegetable juice. Again, you can choose any ratio. Depending on the ‘strength’ of your vegetable juice, you may want to use more or less juice in relation to kombucha. Try not to stir or shake the kombucha and juice together too much, so as not to lose too much carbonation from the kombucha.
The best way to combine the juice and kombucha is to pour the desired amounts in a suitable sized glass jar with a lid which seals. Do not use a plastic container.
3. Seal up the jar and place it out of the sun at room temperature:
Screw the lid onto your jar and find a place for it to stand where it is out of direct sunlight.
4. Let the mix continue to ferment for approximately 24 hours:
All you need to do now is to wait for the kombucha microbes to ferment the vegetable juice. Hotter temperatures will cause faster fermentation, and lower ones a slower second fermentation. You can check your kombucha / veggie juice mix along the way to see how it tastes and smells. Stop it earlier if you like, or, leave it for longer if you want a deeper level of fermentation.
5. Refrigerate for 1 week:
After 24 hours, transfer your kombucha and vegetable juice mix to the refrigerator. Here it will continue to ferment, but at a much retarded rate. Allow this to go on for about 7 days. At which point you should have a pretty good brew on your hands.
For more detailed info on secondary ferments, you can also check out How To Make Second Ferment Kombucha (And Why You Absolutely Should).
Which Method Should I Use?
If you are now wondering which method to use, let’s have a look at the pros and cons for both:
Straight Mixing of Vegetable Juice + Kombucha
Mixing vegetable juice and kombucha straight up, without doing a secondary ferment with the two, is easy. Its also fast. Simply mix the two together, and you have your power drink. If you have freshly extracted the vegetable juice then you will also be getting the live enzymes from the vegetable. Providing you drink your kombucha and vegetable drink soon, before those enzymes degrade.
On the other side of the scale, by not doing a second ferment, you are missing out on a couple pluses. Mixing the juice and kombucha and drinking it unfermented will result in a higher sugar content. You consume fewer probiotics than if you allow the kombucha to colonise the vegetable juice with its bacteria. You will also have a less ‘shelf stable’ drink on your hands than if it had gone through a secondary ferment.
- Easy and simple to do.
- Provides the combined health benefits of kombucha and whichever vegetable juices you are using
- Gives you the live enzymes and elements inherent to freshly extracted vegetable juice (only applicable if you are making the juice yourself or buying it freshly extracted).
- Does not contain any heightened probiotic elements.
- Contains more sugars than second fermented kombucha + vegetable juice.
- Does not have the complex and more tart flavor profiles associated with second fermented vegetable juice + kombucha.
- Must be drunk quickly to take advantage of the live enzymes in the vegetable juice.
Second Fermenting Vegetable Juice + Kombucha
If on the other hand you choose to second ferment your kombucha and vegetable juice, you will end up consuming less sugar and more probiotics. While some enzymes from the vegetables will be lost, new ones will also be created during the second ferment thanks to the actions of the probiotic bacteria. Additionally, these new enzymes will be more long lasting. You do not have to drink your kombucha / vegetable juice brew within an hour – you can drink it at any point in the day and still imbibe the live enzymes from that were produced during the fermentation.
Doing a second ferment can also result in some nice tangy flavors!
As for cons, while second fermenting will yield a high quality of drink – it also take more time than simply mixing kombucha and veggie juice. You have to combine the two, and then allow them time at room temperature and then in the fridge to ferment together.
- Has a reduced sugar content thanks to the microbes from the kombucha eating up some of the sugars in the vegetable juice during the second ferment.
- Has a high probiotic count
- Can be even easier to digest, as the second fermentation with the vegetable juice should render the juice easier to absorb for the body.
- Contains newly formed live enzymes from the second fermentation.
- Contains long lasting enzymes than freshly extracted vegetable juice.
- Takes time to ferment
- Does not retain all of the live enzymes which might have been present in the freshly extracted juice. Will however have new enzymes created during fermentation.
To summarize, it would seem that the second fermentation is the more powerful option healthwise. It is also more convenient in that the juice and kombucha does not need to be drunk within such a small window of time to still ingest the live enzymes.
However, there are great benefits to drinking 100% freshly extracted juice, and simply mixing this with some digestion aiding kombucha is quick and easy to do.
If you were wondering if mixing your vegetable juices and kombucha together is a good idea – yes it is! It can make for a super healthy, nutritious and life promoting drink. The elements of kombucha and freshly made vegetable juice are pretty complimentary when it comes to digestion. Whether you choose to simply mix the two, or do a second ferment, the pairing couldn’t be more perfect digestively speaking.
Also, by making vegetable juice and kombucha drink combos, you will also be able to save yourself some time and hassle. Having too many health drinks on the go throughout the day can be time consuming and distracting. Making a healthy combo out of these two means that you can have one go-to drink – instead of two to bottle and consume each day.
If you come up with any great vegetable juice and kombucha combos, or have any questions, hit us up in the comments! We would love to hear from you.