Fermented lemonades and water kefir

My very first ferment was a ginger beer cultivated with a ginger starter. It was so good that from then on I could not keep my hands off fermenting. The result is obvious, as you can see.

Make your own lactofermented probiotic soda pop

On this page you will find information about ginger bug, ginger ale / ginger beer, lactofermented probiotic soda and water kefir. Kombucha has a seperate article.

To make lemonade with wonderful bubbles from tea, fruit juice or other liquids yourself, all you need is a starter and enough sugar, which this starter can eat and convert into carbon dioxide.

Grow a ginger beer starter or ginger bug yourself

If ginger, sugar and water are mixed and left to stand, the wild bacteria and natural yeasts on the ginger and from the environment begin to multiply. These wild microorganisms metabolize the sugar and produce carbon dioxide, which gives bubbles to homemade soft drinks. A million times better than added carbonic acid. The comparison is like champagne to carbonated table water.

To make lemonade, first the starter is cultivated.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, diced

Dissolve the sugar in water. Stir together with the ginger in a large glass vessel. Cover the vessel with a cloth and fix it with a rubber band. Air and wild yeasts should be allowed to get to the starter, but pests must be kept away. It is essential to keep it warm (20° C - 25° C is optimal).

Feed every day with

  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, diced

and stir vigorously several times a day. After 3 - 5 days the first bubbles should form and the ginger bug should smell of yeast and ginger. As soon as the starter has so many bubbles that it starts foaming, it is ready to be used for making lemonade.

Ginger Ale / Ginger Beer

  • 1 large piece of ginger
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 liter water
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp. strained ginger bug

Boil a stock of ginger and sugar with the water and let it cool down. Then mix it with the freshly squeezed lemon juice and the strained ginger bug in a large container, cover with a cloth and fix it with a rubber. Keep warm and stir frequently until the first bubbles form. This takes about 1-2 days.

Fill into swing-top bottles and let stand for 2-4 days at approx. 20° C. Burp the bottles daily, i.e. open the swing stopper slightly to release pressure. When enough carbon dioxide has been produced, place in the refrigerator and enjoy.

ATTENTION - even in the refrigerator the fermentation continues, so always make sure to burp the bottles!

Make probiotic lemonade with whey

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. sweetener (honey, maple syrup, raw cane sugar, sugar beet syrup...)
  • 1 tbsp. whey
  • 450 ml water
  1. Mix all the ingredients and fill into swing-top bottles.
  2. Leave for 2-4 days at approx. 20° C. During this time, burp daily, i.e. slightly open the swing top to release pressure.
  3. When enough carbon dioxide has developed, place in the refrigerator and enjoy.
  4. ATTENTION - even in the refrigerator the fermentation continues, so always make sure to burp the bottles!

The whey, which is left from my cream cheese making lasts 4-5 weeks in a swing-top bottle in the refrigerator. I open the bottle every few days because the whey continues to produce carbon dioxide and I don't want the bottle to explode.

Water kefir

Water kefir is the culture with the probably least positive effects on your well-being. It is nevertheless much fun to watch the transparent grains at work, and everything is better than storebought soda aka sugar water with added carbonic acid.

With the help of yeasts and bacteria, the crystals transform the water into lemonade by adding sugar, lemon and dried fruit to it. The sparkling aroma is reminiscent of bitter lemon soda. By the way, the majority of the sugar is processed into lactic acid by the microorganisms.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 tbsp water kefir crystals
  • 1 liter water
  • 5 tbsp. white sugar
  • a few dried fruits (figs, raisins, plums, ...)
  • 1-2 lemon slices
  • Flip-top glass, min. 1l
  • Swing top bottles for bottling

PREPARATION

  1. Dissolve sugar in water in the flip-top glass
  2. Add crystals
  3. Add a ½ handful of raisins or 2-3 figs
  4. Add the lemon slices

Close the lid of the flip-top glass, but do not use a rubber seal. Place in a warm place. After 1-3 days the water kefir is ready. Remove the dried fruits and the lemon slices and fill the lemonade into swing top bottles. Cold storage.

Water kefir

The water kefir crystals keep in a water-sugar solution in the refrigerator when they are not in use. I have been storing my crystals this way for months. Every few weeks I give them a fresh sugar solution.

When I then go back into water kefir production, I need 1-2 approaches, which are not drinkable until the crystals are reactivated.

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