This is an introductory recipe for those who are new to the process of lacto fermentation and want a sweet tasting beverage. Those people who are serious about brewing beverages high in probiotics and antioxidants should look at the recipes which use EM.
I have tried to make this generic recipe as simple as possible. Use any fruit juice that you like. Freshly squeezed juice, either by hand or with a slow speed juicer is always preferable to pasteurised juices sold in tetrapaks or bottles. Beetroot can always be grated and pineapples and soft fruits can be crushed, and sometimes produce a more flavoursome and nutritious result. Just ferment the pulp with the juice and strain it out before you bottle the brew. While it is fermenting you may need to stir in any pulp that floats to prevent mould from growing on the surface.
Most traditional cultures fermented lacto fermented beverages from plant material that grew in their locality, and there were probably few people prior to the advent of the manual or electric juicer who drank fruit or vegetable juice unfermented. We are all familiar with fermented grains in the form of beer, and grapes in the form of wine, but other less well known fruits such as the noni from the Pacific Ocean area, was allowed to fully ripen on the tree, and as soon as the fruit was ready to drop it was sealed in a container and left to ferment for 4-5 weeks before being consumed. The process of lacto fermentation makes the fruit more healthful and produces antioxidants.
Basically you can ferment most, if not all fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, edible seaweed's and green grass powders, minerals, grains, spices, and so on, if they are prepared correctly. As a guide you may wish to refer to a table of antioxidants to choose fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants. But please note that different types of laboratory tests for antioxidant activity, produce differing results depending upon what they are attempting to measure.
Some brewers suggest using green or black tea (organic) as a matter of course in beer type recipes as it provides tannins which give the brew body. Licorice root and elder flower are useful additions because they add a flavousome sweet taste. Start with about 3 tablespoons in a 2 litre brew. But as always you should check with a herbalist before consuming any herbs.
You can use raw honey because it gives a nice flavour, however barley malt and blackstrap molasses will produce more antioxidants. Avoid sugar, fructose, dextrose and high fructose corn syrup. Rice syrup is acceptable because of its neutral taste but it ferments too quickly.
This recipe calls for a proprietary brand probiotic inoculant culture, Grainfields B.E Wholegrain liquid available from AGM Foods in Brisbane Australia. It is suggested that you start with Grainfields before experimenting with water kefir grains or kefir whey. Experiment with fruit juice from health food store or supermarket. As the juice, sugar concentrations and additives vary with the brand and type of juice your results may vary.
Pour off about 200 ml of juice to create a 4 inch head space. Add the Grainfields, replace the cap firmly and gently invert the juice a couple of times. Note that if you over aerate the juice it will encourage the growth of yeasts over that of lacto bacilli. Leave to ferment at about 25C for 2 days. Bubbles should develop within 12 24 hours and there will be a thin scum of yeasts . Every 12 hours gently unscrew the lid to test for the production of carbon dioxide. If a lot of gas is produced you may get foaming. If so then leave the cap slightly loose to allow the release of the gas pressure. After 2 days refrigerate. If you are new to fermenting then it is recommended that you consume the beverage within a few days but as long as the pH has dropped to below pH3.9 then theoretically it could last for months. Avoid drinking the yeasty sediment as over consumption may create a yeast allergy.
As you increase the fermentation time more sugars will be digested, more antioxidants will probably be produced and the pH will probably settle around pH3.5 making a drier acidic drink. There will also be a greater yeast activity producing more scum and sediment from dead bodies of yeasts and lactobacilli.
1. Lacto fermented beverages are not suitable for everyone and as such you should exercise caution about the quantity that you consume. It may be prudent to have an allergy or intolerance check with a health care practitioner first.
2. I suggest you use the Grainfields B.E Wholegrain liquid as I have not been able to culture from their powders.
1 teaspoon = 5 ml / 5 gm. 1 tablespoon = 15 ml / 15 gm. 15 tablespoons = 1 cup / 225 ml. 1 cup = 8 fluid oz / 225 ml. 1 US gallon = 3.6 litres. 1 lb = 16 oz / 454 gm. Temperature 20C = 68F. Conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius: C = (F - 32) / 1.8. Conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit: F = C x 1.8 + 32
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