Fruity Fermented Drink – Kvass

Fruity Fermented drink with text

I have always had a sensitive digestion and if there is one thing that I feel has made the most difference, it has been regularly consuming fermented foods and drinks. Before I started making my own fermented foods and drinks, I would take probiotics, which are also an option – but getting your good bacteria from food is more natural, much cheaper and more fun!

So why all this fuss about growing bacteria in my food and drink? Well, about 80% of our immune system is actually located in our gut, making it the best place to start improving general health, immunity and even psychological health.

In addition to this, good bacteria in the body are also needed for:

♥ Regular bowel movements and improving digestion
♥ Producing antioxidants,
♥ Improving skin conditions
♥ Reducing cholesterol
♥ Bone health
♥ Blood sugar levels
♥ Detoxifying the body

(sources here and here)

What’s fascinating about fermented foods is that most cultures have traditionally prepared foods in this way for conservation reasons. Traditional cultured or fermented foods include: Plain yogurt, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, sour cream, chutneys, pickles, olives, cheese.

Unfortunately, when these foods are bought in most stores, they have usually been pasteurized or had a lot of sugar or salt added to them, leaving little probiotic benefit – unless they are raw or unpasteurized. So in order to really get the benefit of probiotic foods, the ideal solution is to make them yourself.

While I understand that not everyone has the courage to try making sauerkraut or kimchi or kombucha, I was really excited when I came across recipes for fermented fruit drinks because they are so simple. Plus, the end result actually tastes delicious and is a great replacement for less healthy drinks and something even children would like!

(Inspiration for recipe here and here)

What you need:

1 liter jar with lid (you can buy them from any department store or just use an old jar you have)

1 tablespoon raw or unheated honey – it should say this on the jar

Pure water – I use bottled water as the chlorine in tap water could kill off some of the beneficial bacteria

Mix of fruit and/or vegetables and spices like ginger, cinnamon sticks (optional) – you can use whatever you want, but try to make sure it is organic and in ripe – frozen berries work too.

Step by Step Method:

Put 1 tablespoon raw (unheated) honey in a 1 liter jar.

1. Honey

Chop any fruit only or fruit and vegetable combination you want and place in the jar so that it is about 1/3 full.

2.fruits only

Add spices if you want – cinnamon sticks, slices of ginger or cardamon pods work well.

3. spice

Pour pure water (I use bottled) in the jar, leaving some space at the top.

Tightly close the jar and leave it on your kitchen counter to ferment, about 2-4 days.

Shake the jar about 2x every day to prevent bacteria from forming on the surface.

4. jars straight after

You should start having bubbles after about 24 hours, and it will probably be ready in 2-3 days, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

The fruit will start looked ‘cooked’ when it is ready.

Taste the brew every day until you find it has the right taste – slightly tangy and acidic, almost like natural yoghurt – then strain it of the fruit and throw them out.

5. glass and lid

Put the strained liquid in a bottle with a cap in the fridge.

Your Fruity Fermented Drink can keep for up to 1 week – you can serve it diluted with water or with some fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!

6. fridge

Making friends with bacteria

I have wanted to try making my own fermented food for a while, but never dared to try what seemed like a daunting experiment.

Which is why I was delighted when Aletta, who did the same training in Health Coaching I am currently doing, organized a class in Basel with other IIN students this Friday.

Why exactly would we want to ferment our food is probably the first question crossing my dear readers’ minds?

The latest research shows that about 80% of our immune system is actually located in our gut, making it the best place to start improving general health, immunity and even psychological health.

According to Sara Britton of My New Roots,

When we eat fermented foods, we eat the beneficial bacteria – the probiotics – that the food contains. This is important because we need a diverse population of bacteria in our digestive system for optimal health. To name just a few of their functions, probiotics are responsible for promoting regular bowel movements (helping to relieve diarrhea and constipation), improving digestion, enhancing immune function, producing antioxidants, normalizing skin conditions, reducing cholesterol, maintaining bone health, and managing blood sugar levels.

In addition to all this, a lesser known benefit of probiotic food is its role as a detoxifier, helping the body get rid of toxins and heavy metals.

What’s fascinating about fermented foods is that most cultures have traditionally prepared foods in this way for conservation reasons. Traditional cultured or fermented foods include: Plain yogurt, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, sour cream, chutneys, pickles, olives, cheese.

Unfortunately, when these foods are bought in most stores, they have usually been pasteurized or had a lot of sugar or salt added to them, leaving little probiotic benefit. So in order to really get the benefit of probiotic foods, the ideal solution is to make them yourself.

Here are some photos of our Probiotic Power afternoon where I thoroughly enjoyed making new friends – both with the other students and the friendly bacteria. Now I just need to make sure I don’t kill off the samples I brought home to continue fermenting!

How about you, do you have any experience with probiotic or cultured food or does this all sound very strange to you? 

photo-12

Preparing kefir – the granules are added to raw (unpasteurized) milk and left to ferment.

photo-11

Kombucha – fermented tea which has a lovely sparkling taste – the strange looking thing on top is the scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).

photo-10

Making kimchi – the key to both kimchi and sauerkraut is to really massage the all the ingredients together so that the cabbage releases it’s fermenting power.

Kimchi - Korean style mixed vegetables (left)- and sauerkraut (right) - fermented cabbage.

Kimchi – Korean style mixed vegetables (left)- and sauerkraut (right) – fermented cabbage.