Looking for something different to drink this summer…try our some traditional fermented beverages…Enjoy!
Traditional Lactose-Fermented Beverages…
Bouza (Egypt): An opaque drink made of wheat, water, and sourdough yeast starter.. Gv-No-He-Nv (Cherokee, Native American): A thick, milky drink with the sweet flavors of corn accented by a mild sourness. T’ej (Ethiopian): A simple honey type wine/mead. Braga (Middle Europe): A fermented gruel or sour porridge. Chicha (South America): A clear, bubbly beverage made with corn. Balls of cooked corn mush are chewed and inoculated with saliva, then added to water and allowed to ferment. The taste is similar to kombucha. Kiesel (Russia and Poland): An important grain-based lacto-fermented drink. Kvass (Russia and Ukraine): A lacto-fermented drink usually made from stale rye bread. Another version is made with beets. Mead (Europe): Made from honey, water, and wild yeast. Some methods produced a lacto-fermented drink, very low in alcohol or bottled and aged for more alcohol content. Munkoyo (Africa): A low alcohol lacto-fermented brew made from millet or sorghum. Also called sorghum beer, consumed in large quantities by field workers and at celebrations. Given to babies to protect them against infection and diarrhea. The missionaries to Africa discouraged its use because it contains alcohol in very small amounts. Tesguino (Mexico): A low-alcohol beer made with sprouted corn. Chicha (Andean, Peru): Chewed corn beer having a light, delicious corn flavor. Pulque (Mexico): A lacto-fermented drink made from the juice of the agavé cactus. With time, it goes alcoholic. Palm Wine (Africa): The lacto-fermented sap of the palm tree, consumed in tropical areas of Africa and Asia. Rice Beers (Asia and India): These were traditionally very low in alcohol, and mostly lactose-fermented. In Japan, koji rice mold is used for making sake, amasaké, and simple grog’s.
It’s the middle of the summer season and the desire for a cool refreshing beverage to quench the thirst is a plus. Coming in from an afternoon of tending to the organic garden, I pop the top on a 12oz ginger brew and pour into a Champaign glass. I watch for a second as the bubbles turn into a lovely foaming head and the smells of ginger, lemons, and limes transcend the air. The sweet flavors collect on the tongue and fulfill my thirst. Nirinjan – Brew Master, Organic Cultures
Making your own soda beverages is fun, easy, and a much better alternative to commercial sodas loaded with HFCS and dyes! Before the coming of mass produce cola and the ‘soda jerk’, many people made their own beverages with natural effervescence. The process is simple and the final recipe take less than an hour to complete. You can make two different types of ginger beverage – A classic ginger ale (what we call ginger brew) or an alcohol version, which is ginger beer. Both follow a simple recipe, however, the processing is different for each type. The first thing you will need is a ginger beer plant or ginger brew/beer culture starter.
What’s a Ginger Culture Starter and Ginger Beer Plant?
To make ginger brew/beer you will need to obtain a starter or plant. There are three choices to get started:
First, a traditional ginger beer plant that comes from the UK and can cost a bit. This culture seems harder to find and maintain. We find that the taste is strong and sharp, not to our liking.
Second, buy a ginger brew starter. There are a few sources for this style of starter. We sell a lot of this starter in our store. You can buy ginger beer starter here: http://store.organic-cultures.com/gibeplorgr.html. This ginger beer starter has been maintained since 2009 and has improved in flavor over time. We have stabilized this culture starter to produce the same results and taste again and again. It is a cross between the UK ginger beer plant and wild yeast strains. We think this starter is mellow while still holding an intense ginger flavor over the UK strain alone!
Lastly, you can try to make a ginger brew/beer starter with wild yeast and sugar. Making your own starter using wild yeast strains may produce good results or sometimes not. This depends on the yeast strains you capture and if they can stabilize. Just as in beer brewing, a stabilized yeast starter will produce a fermented beverage with the same results again and again. Some try to do a quick start using bread or Champaign yeast, we do NOT recommend using these as the taste will lose its balance and the traditional ginger ale flavor.
Fakes – There are sellers who claim to have a ‘real’ ginger beer plant. These are not true plants most being water kefir grains or bread yeast mixed with ginger.
Which to Do…Ginger Brew/Ale or Ginger Beer?
For a great ginger flavored beverage, there are two ways to go alcoholic (ginger beer) or non-alcoholic (ginger ale/brew). Again, the main recipe is the same only the process changes. For making ginger brew/ale you can just follow the standard recipe on our website: http://www.organic-cultures.com/instructions_sheets/ginger_brew
For ginger beer, make the final recipe for ginger brew/ale but instead of bottling it in beverage bottle it is placed into a fermentation vessel with an airlock (We have gallon size jars with lids and airlock at the store). Once the airlock stops releasing rapid bubbles, the beer is finished and now decanted into beverage style bottles. The volume of sugar used in the recipe determines the amount of alcohol.
Whether one wishes to make beer or brew ale, a ginger culture starter can provide a great refreshing summer time beverage. Not only will it save money over the cost of commercial soda, it is much healthier. Other benefits include the ability to flavor the drink as one wish. Ginger with limes, maybe fresh berries, or even ginger/lemongrass make it how you like!
So this summer, start making a pro-biotic thirst quenching ginger beverage to refresh during the heat. Ginger is known to aid in digestion and helps provide energy. Ginger brew is easy to make and a great replacement for the whole family vs. commercial soda. Buy or get a ginger brew starter today and
start making this wonderful summer time beverage.
Making Pro-biotics Part of Your Daily Life and Health
As we move into the new year, many people strive to make healthier choices through ‘resolutions’. Intake of living foods is vital for great health and proper digestion. Consuming living foods/pro-biotics is an easy resolution anyone can follow to increase health and wellbeing. Ways to obtain living foods can include eating a RAW food diet, fermentation of foods, or by capsule form. Capsule forms of pro-biotic are very expensive over traditional cultured foods and beverages, like live kefir cheese or ginger brew. We believe eating a diet of raw foods is as close to nature and a natural way to ingest the highest degree of nutrients. Adding fermented foods into the diet allows a higher degree of pro-biotics intake over a standard a raw diet, assists in absorption of nutrients, and provides a much greater array of healthy foods. Here at Organic-Cultures, we use a method that insures daily pro-biotic intake. We call it ‘The Cup of Life’! Without beneficial yeast and bacteria, human life would not subsist. This method would fall under fermentation and RAW food choices. Using the ‘Cup’ method is very simple to implement into your daily routine. First, you will need a drinking container, water bottle, etc. A quart size vessel seems to work best. Next, fill your container with your favorite water type cultured food drink. Liquid type cultures work better than dairy culture starters. Your choices range from any type of water kefir grains, kombucha tea or JUN, and ginger brew. One may mix different types/strains of fermented beverage to increase the pro-biotic array
(Be careful not to contaminate your pure culture strains).
Decided on a pro-biotic source(s) and simply add some fresh pieces of fruit and/or juice along with the active cultivated source. One may add pieces of the water kefir grains or other culture, if desired. The next part is where the real action begins! As the cultured beverage sits, the active bacteria and yeast strains will start to consume the sugars within the fruits/juice. As you drink this mixture throughout the day, keep refilling the container with fresh juice and water mixture. At night, loosely cover and in the morning there should be a nice fizzy beverage ready to consume throughout the day. Since the ingredients are cultured, the beverage can stay out for several days with no worries of contamination or refrigeration.
– Keep at room temperature to keep the cultures producing and fermenting
– If stored in a container with lid make sure to open slowly in case of pressure buildup –
or leave your drinking vessel open.
– Cut fruit into larger pieces to prevent a chocking hazard
– Make sure to change out the container from time to time for hygienic reasons
– If you like a colder beverage…just add ice.
Happy Culturing through the New Year. Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods!
Update on the living cultured drink…10.31.2015
It is been many months of drinking with this same culture sample. It is providing a great fizzy beverage every day without much work. This glass of never ending life filling probiotics is done with the grape kefir grains which are larger then traditional water kefir grains. Just add some fresh juice, cut fruit, water kefir, or even a little kombucha tea. It’s been working for many months and provides a drinkable beverage day or night. If made before going to sleep, the beverage will be fizzy by morning, with a head like beer does. Carry this around throughout the day and people will ask what is floating in your drink. A great way to tell them about living beverages and probiotics!
Source for Kefir, Kombucha, Koji Spores, Tempeh, & Other Traditional Food Cultures…