I have been following Julia Mueller’s blog, The Roasted Root, for awhile. Over the winter I was excited to see her publish a new book about probiotic drinks. I was even more excited when I won a copy in a giveaway! You see, I love to sip on various beverages when I am working at my computer. Many times the liquid refreshment is coffee, but after reading Julia’s book I’m going to try some healthier options. This will be the summer of probiotic drinks for me!
So, what are probiotics? According to Julia they are “good bacteria that help promote and maintain the microflora in your digestive tract to achieve digestive balance and overall gut health.” Sounds like a wonderful thing! There’s nothing worse than having an upset stomach. Since I tend to have some rather unhealthy eating habits when I am writing, I could certainly use some help keeping distracting tummy troubles at bay.
The book has easy, step-by-step instructions on how to make everything from beet kvass (fermented beet juice) to kombucha (fermented black tea). While I have heard of both of those drinks, there are others that are unfamiliar to me. Rejuvalac is the liquid drained off of sprouted grains, like rye or barley. Jun is the green tea cousin of kombucha.
Some of the drinks require starter cultures, like the kombucha and kefir. However, there are other that can be made using just fruits or vegetables, salt and water. I am going to start with those. I have tried bottled kvass from the health food store and I have to say it’s an acquired taste. The sweet, earthiness of beets combined with what I can only describe as the tang of pickle juice. So I’m going to start with something a bit more familiar, a fermented lemonade that uses whey strained from yogurt. There are quite a few versions of fermented lemonades, from lavender to blackberry, to choose from. Many of the drinks have variations and there are even recipes for things like smoothies to use the beverages in. One of my favorite cocktails is the Dark & Stormy. It’s the perfect drink for a summer evening. I can’t wait to make it with my own, homemade ginger beer.
Fermentation can be a bit scary, but the book includes steps on how to safely make all of the drinks, as well as how to tell when the beverages are ready to drink. All you need are a few basic supplies like glass jars and bottles. Simple and easy! Julia has recipes for some of the probiotic drinks on her website, if you would like to check them out.
I’ll let you know how my probiotic drink experiments go this summer. Have you ever fermented anything? Do you drink probiotic beverages?