It’s no news that fermented foods are good for us. Essential for good digestion, fermented foods give our bodies the probiotics that they need, boosting immunity, and even improve our brain functions and mental health. But instead of popping probiotic supplements, why not make fermented foods at home? In fact, fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation; it’s no wonder that fermented foods have long been a staple of almost ever diet around the world.
From sourdough bread to yogurt, there are plenty of fermented foods that we come into contact with everyday, but one of the most fun forms of fermentation to play around with in the kitchen is the drinking kind. You don’t have to spend $6 on a bottle of kombucha when you can make it yourself.
Here’s a guide to some fermented drinks you can easily make at home.
The process to making kombucha is similar to vinegar, and once you have that weird, gelatinous, SCOBY in your hands, the options are endless. Kombucha is essentially fermented tea, and once you’ve mastered the basics you can start experimenting by adding in fruits and juices, often referred to as the “second fermentation” because it takes place once you have put your brewed kombucha into a bottle.
Popular with the Vikings, this fermented honey drink has been around for a long time. Made with yeast, the brewing process is similar to beer, albeit a bit simpler.
You may recognize kefir the fermented milk beverage from the dairy section. Popular in Central and Eastern Europe, it’s easy to make at home, as simple as combining kefir grains (which you can get from a friend who’s already making kefir or online) and milk.
4. Water Kefir
Kefir can also be done in a water-based drink. All you need to start are kefir grains, and then you can experiment with all kinds of flavors and spices.
Made from fermented rye bread, kvass is commonly found in Russia. Gather up a few slices of rye bread and start fermenting. You can also do an easy homemade version from beets. It will take about 3 to 7 days for your drink to ferment.
6. Ginger Ale
While ginger ale that you buy at the store certainly isn’t a nutritious fermented drink, the kind you make at home can be. It involves making a ginger bug, which can be used as the base for a variety of homemade sodas, which helps the ginger liquid ferment its way to goodness.
7. Lacto-Fermented Orange Juice
Before you say to yourself “lacto-fermented orange juice doesn’t sound very tasty,” take a moment and envision a bottle of Orangina. But you don’t have to buy the sugary version at the store; you can get that fizz through fermentation instead. All it takes is freshly squeezed orange juice and a little starter culture.
8. Strawberry Limemade
With kombucha as its base, this fruity drink is perfect for the warmer months.
9. Hard Apple Cider
If you can get your hands on fresh apple cider, you can turn it into hard cider. Seriously, it’s as easy as pouring into a glass jar, covering with cheesecloth and letting the natural fermentation do its thing.
10. White Peach Lavender Soda
Here’s a recipe to put on the list for the summer months. In this recipe it’s champagne yeast that’s doing the fermentation work, and can be the base for many other natural soda combinations (a watermelon mint soda perhaps?). You can easily find champagne yeast at any homebrew supply store or online.
Photo Credit: oksidor