Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Few Fermented Drinks

So I've become a little bit of a fermenting fanatic. Are there veggis left over? Stick 'em in a jar with salt and water!

But really, recently I've been fermenting drinks mostly. And here they are!

Aren't they lovely? A picture could never do the beet kvass justice. It is the loveliest, deepest color I've ever seen -- maroon-ish purple? From the right they are: ginger ale, beet kvass (my personal favorite), lemon punch, lime punch.

The following recipes are all reduced versions of the Nourishing Traditions recipes, and are nonalcoholic. I cut the original recipes in half because I don't have any two quart containers -- so all these recipes are quart jar sized quantities.

Here's what you do!!

Ginger Ale (Nourishing Traditions p.586)

3/8 cup ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/8-1/4 cup rapadura (Nonie, do you suppose you could use raw honey in place of the rapadura? I'll experiment...)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup whey
3 or so cups filtered water

place all ingredients in a quart jar (wide mouth is easiest for me), and stir well. Add more water if you need, but make sure there is an inch of space between the brew and the top of the jar. Cover, and leave in a warm place for 2 or 3 days. When it is soured, store it in the fridge.

When you're ready to try this drink, strain the drink into your glass. There is a lot of sediment in this drinks!

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions says of this drink, "This is a most refreshing drink, taken in small amounts with meals and as a pick-me-up after outside work in the sun... [it] is best sipped warm rather than gulped down cold.

Taste: Because of the fresh ginger, this drink has a strong, albeit pleasant, bite. It is warming, and mildly effervescent.

Beet Kvass (Nourishing Traditions p.610)

Oh, Beets! How I have loved only the thought of thee!

This drink is that moving to me. It is actually found in the tonic section of NT, because it is a natural cleanser. Sally Fallon says of beets, "Dr. Bruce West recommends eating a few spoonfuls of beets per day --either raw, fermented or cooked -- as a sure method of ingesting adequate vitamins and minerals on a regular basis and as a way of detoxifying the body as well." (NT p. 373) On page 610, she says of beet kvass specifically, "This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments."

1 large beet, (or two medium ones, or three small ones) peeled and chopped coarsely (do not grate the beets, that will produce an alcoholic reaction, as it releases too much beet juice too fast.)
1/8 cup whey
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 or so cups filtered water

In the jar mix the beet, whey, and salt. fill the jar to one inch from the top of the lid. keep in a warm place in your house for two to three days. (This drink has always taken three days to fully ferment, for me. experiment.) Store in the fridge once fermented.

This drink usually doesn't need to be filtered because the beets sink to the bottom. If you do get a beet in your cup, go ahead and eat it. They are delicious!

In NT it says that once the original drink is mostly gone, you can simply add more water and start the process over reusing the same beets. The second ferment will be less strong, or course. I have tried this, and did not love it. I fell in love with the robust, strong flavor of the first ferment, and so the second seems very bland to me. But dont take my word for it. Try it, you may like it!

This drink is sharp, and earthy.

Lemon Punch & Lime Punch (Nourishing Traditions p. 588)

Juice of three lemons, or six limes
1/4 cup rapadura
1/4 cup whey
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 or so cups of filtered water

Mix all the ingredients in the jar, taking care to leave an inch of space between the brew and the top of the jar. Leave in a warm place for two to three days.

This punch is incredibly alive, full of bubbles. Both jars bubbled over when I opened them. :) It is a truly sour drink, to which the nutmeg adds interesting depth. As I sipped some now it brought to mind a place exotic, and perfumed.


  1. Oh so beautiful. I can't wait to try them! I think...? Oh I really need to get fermenting. I think we need to do some gut-healing around our place.

  2. Thank you, Melissa! I have all of these ingredients on hand, and they sound easy enough to whip up that I think I'll go do it right now!

    I'm sure you could use honey in the ginger drink, but it might need to be blended in, or it might just sink to the bottom? Maybe you could omit the sweetener and gently stir it into the warmed drink?

  3. By the way, I loved your taste descriptions!