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Healthy Homemade Fermented Drinks

March 15, 2016 , , , , , , , ,

beet kvass

beet kvass

secondary fermentation

secondary fermentation

ginger bug

ginger bug

I had a sourdough starter for about ten years. I enjoyed using it and finding new ways to put my homegrown yeast to work. After a while I was kind of done with it, but my dog was crazy about it. She fixated on the bread, and the more sour the better for her taste. Eventually I baked for her but we ate little bread in the house. When she died last year I gave up the sourdough start. Recently I have become interested in raw fermented food for both health and mad science. I do still like to grow cultures and experiment in my kitchen.  My fermentation lab is simple and requires no special equipment.

I have made some decent sauerkraut, but my big thrill is drinking the juice from the kraut. This brought be to study the other fermented beverages I could make. I have not yet purchased kefir grans because it sounds like a big deal keeping up with the growth of them once they start to multiply. I probably will try it at some point because it is possible to make flavored fizzy drinks with water and fruit juice that sound pretty delicious. I bought a couple of books for my kindle to study the options and learn more about the various ways foods are fermented around the world. I can heartily recommend Delicious Probiotic Drinks by Julia Mueller.

Delicious Probiotic Drinks

Delicious Probiotic Drinks

My favorite drink I am making these days is ginger beer.  I started a ginger bug, a starter which lives on ginger, water, and sugar.  The care and feeding of the ginger bug is much like the sourdough starter.  It catches the yeast in the air and stays alive by eating sugar.  The dosage is important because it is possible to kill the yeast by adding too much sugar at a time.  Mine sits on the kitchen counter with a cork cover.  It is really easy to keep it happy and growing stirring it with a wooden spoon daily.  When I make my ginger beer I simply add some of the starter to a larger container of water and add ginger and sugar to that batch.  After a week or so of growing I start a secondary fermentation in a tightly covered bottle (I use a beer growler).  This is the same way champagne is made, with a secondary fermentation in a corked bottle.

I also love my beet kvass.  This is easy to ferment as well, just by adding salt to water and beets in a container for a week or so.  It is tasty and very health promoting.  Beets themselves are great for the liver and other organs.  The fermentation adds probiotic cultures that conquer less than desirable cultures we may have in out digestive systems.  Now that the happy healthy probiotics have taken over in my intestines I actually crave the fermented drinks.  I have sauerkraut juice first thing in the morning when I take my vitamins and all through the day.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  This simple, amazingly cheap habit I have started is probably the best practice I have added for my general health in decades.  If you wonder if you will like the taste I recommend that you start with the ginger beer production.  It is universally enjoyed, and takes little skill to produce.

There are some other traditional fermented drinks I plan to try, all with the same basic procedure.  I have yet to use the culture I bought just because it works without adding any culture.  Have you ever made any fermented beverages, gentle reader?  It is a fun hobby with fabulous health benefits.

What do you think?

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comments

Wow .. that’s some cool fermentations Pam! I like the sound of the ginger beer. Not so sure about beet kvass. but I like that it’s healthy. I think it sounds really interesting. I will be reading all the content you create on it.

Liked by 1 person

Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

March 16, 2016

The ginger beer is by far the most popular, and super simple

Like

Pamela Morse

March 17, 2016

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