Fermented Drinks: 3 “Homemade” Recipes

Fermented drinks are perfect for hydrating without taking in too much sugar. Lucien Lung

Here are the recipes for kefir, kombucha and tepache, refreshing drinks that are naturally sparkling and low in sugar. A healthy alternative to soda.

Making homemade fermented drinks is simple and economical: a single tea bag can produce a liter of kombucha (which sells for €6 to €8). However, you must learn to stop the fermentation in time. Beverages sometimes have a laxative or astringent effect.

To get your body used to it, start by consuming small amounts. Your fermentations will multiply at high speed, remember to feed some in turn.

Why prepare fermented drinks yourself?

Fermentation is an ancestral food preservation process. It consists in allowing colonies of good bacteria to develop, which will acidify the culture medium. It is of great nutritional interest as it provides probiotics, vitamins and minerals that block the way to substances harmful to the body.

This technique makes it possible to produce lightly fizzy flavored refreshments with very little sugar (3% in fermented drinks, compared to 20% in classic soft drinks). These drinks are easy to prepare at home and much more economical than commercial versions

What does it take to make your own fermented drinks a success?

To get started, get a scoby (acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”) or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It comes in the form of translucent grains (for kefir) or viscous slices (for kombucha). Although you can buy them on retailer sites, scobys are generally free.

You can find some for free at kefirkombucha.net or on Facebook groups. You’ll also need spring water, mineral or filtered water, sugar—preferably cane—and a few other ingredients specific to each recipe. For utensils, a carafe, a bottle with a stopper, a colander, a wooden spoon and a thin cloth are enough.

Fruit kefir recipe

The steps to making kefir

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Pour into a carafe: 1 liter of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 kefir grains (photo A), 2 slices of lemon and 1 dried fig or other dried fruit (e.g. apricots or raisins). Cover the carafe with the cloth and let the liquid ferment at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, for 12 to 24 hours. Taste: when the drink is less sweet and effervescent, it is ready. Transfer it to a bottle using the funnel and sieve to collect the grains which will have multiplied (photo B).

Place your bottle in the fridge to slow down fermentation. You can flavor the kefir by adding seasonal fruits, fruit juices, aromatic herbs… When you are not using them, keep the grains cool in a small jar of sugar water. Be sure to renew the sugar water every week.

Homemade kombucha recipe

Kombucha recipe

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Pour 1 bag of black or green tea into 1 liter of boiling water for half an hour and then pour into a carafe (photo C) with 40 to 80 g of sugar. When the liquid is cold, add the “mother” (the scoby) and 10 cl of the “starter” (a former kombucha or cider vinegar). Cover (photo D) and leave for 5 to 7 days at room temperature. The kombucha is ready when it is less sweet and bubbly.

Remove the “mother” (photo E), the filter and the bottle. This drink can be stored for 6 weeks in the refrigerator. Store the “mother” in a jar, at room temperature, and add sweetened cold tea every month.

Mexican tepache recipe

For this exotic drink, you don’t need kefir grains or “mother”. It is the bacteria in the skin of the fruit that take care of the fermentation. In a jar filled with 3L of water, add the rinsed skin of a pineapple (or the skin of 5 to 6 organic bananas) and 250 g of cane sugar. Season to taste (cinnamon, fresh ginger, cloves, cardamom…), then leave to ferment for 2 to 5 days. When the drink fizzes and foams, filtered, it is ready. It will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

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