Recently, we were given a copy of a book called Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond, which promised to be “A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Fermenting Your Own Probiotic Beverages at Home.”
We’re happy to say that it lived up to its word, with authors Raquel Guajardo and Alex Lewin bringing a refreshing perspective (and a bunch of new recipes!) to the world of probiotics.
Raised in an industrial town in northern Mexico, Guajardo brings a background to the recipes that adds a ton of variety to fermenting beyond the popular kombucha. This combined with Lewin’s curiosity about the holistic health benefits of probiotics result in a wealth of informative material, partnered with new recipes and great, simple ways to incorporate probiotics into each day.
As we’ve noted before, fermented foods like kombucha and yogurt are a great way to consume priobiotics. The helpful microbes in such foods help defend against disease, balancing the gut so the rest of our body, mouth included, can function at its best.
The authors spend a good amount of time covering the importance of probiotics and their impact on our health. They also explore the very definition of “health” and how it seems to have gone missing in what we call our “healthcare system” today.
They also highlights the importance of eating real foods – foods close in form to how they occur in nature, processed in the home kitchen, with trace compounds intact. This is and always has been one of our pillars of good nutrition.
But if you’re wanting to skip the preliminaries and just learn how to make these foods, you can jump ahead to page 47. That’s where the authors get down to business about the few simple kitchen tools you’ll need, information on jarring, and simple tips.
The recipes will make you want to be invited to a dinner party at one of the author’s houses, starting with some down and dirty five-minute recipes. So often, healthy eating and drinking can feel overwhelming and complicated. Easy five-minute recipes like the Salty Fermented Lemonade or Limeade will have you more than ready for the warmer days ahead this year! Just add preserved lemons or limes to sparkling water with some crushed ice, fresh mint and raw honey you have a delicious, refreshing, and healthful drink.
The variety of the other recipes included in the book is really quite remarkable – from kombucha coffee to vegetable drinks like Beet Kvass all the way to brines and beers. One whole section is dedicated to Mexican fermented drinks like pulque (made from the sap of the maguey and referred to as “the drink of the Gods”) and colonche (made from prickly pear).
And that’s just the beginning. The fermented cocktails will have you daydreaming of your next cocktail party.
However, one key thing to consider any time you make fermented drinks – or buy them, for that matter – is the sugar content and the carbonation. The latter can erode tooth enamel, leaving teeth more vulnerable to decay. Sugar, of course, is the favored food of the microbes involved in the decay process. The two together are a real double-whammy.
We recommend going with the least carbonation and sugar. (Maybe it’s a good thing that home brewing can be so tricky that drinks sometimes fall a little flat!)
Overall, this is a great book for beginners to learn more about the process of fermenting and how to easily incorporate probiotics into every day with great recipes.