I'm telling you, it's way better than any pop you've ever had. My husband, who is generally wary of fermented beverages, said "This is what Squirt is trying to be!"
It's the first fermented beverage he's actually been enthusiastic about. I crave kombucha. He just wishes we had orange juice. But this stuff was a different story!
So what in the world is it?
I was inspired by a recipe featured on the Gnowfglins Seasonal Recipe Round-Up for Rhubarbade. (Thanks for the inspiration, Laurie of Common Sense Homesteading!) Her recipe says to puree some rhubarb and strain it, so you are left with what is essentially rhubarb juice. Then you add some water and the sweetener of your choice - she chose stevia for a healthy sugar-free version. She said her family liked it, even though they don't normally like rhubarb, and that it tastes a little like apples. I thought that sounded pretty good, and I had some rhubarb in the freezer from last year, so I thought I'd give it a go. But then, being the traditional foodie that I am, I thought, Hey, could I make it....fermented?
The answer is yes. And if you already make water kefir, it's as easy as adding the rhubarb juice to a finished batch of water kefir and leaving it on the counter for another day or two to get fizzy. (I also added a splash of lemon juice. Yum.) The result is a tangy, slightly sweet, extremely refreshing beverage, perfect for this hot weather we've been having!
If you don't already make water kefir, I highly recommend it. If you're clueless, here's a quick primer on this wonderful beverage:
According to Cultures For Health (where I bought my water kefir grains):
"Kefir consists of lactic acid bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The benefits are similar to those of milk kefir (aka dairy kefir) but the average person will be able to consume larger amounts of it due to it's water base."
If you are now saying "What is milk kefir?" Here is a helpful description from the same source:
"Milk kefir grains are live active cultures consisting of yeast and bacteria which exist in a symbiotic relationship. Adding the kefir grains to fresh milk yields a probiotic drink within 24 to 48 hours."
Both of these beverages, milk kefir and water kefir, are probiotic, which means they are good for the gut, AKA the digestive system. Most of us these days have comprimised digestive systems due to the Standard American Diet, antibiotics, the birth control pill, vaccines, and other environmental factors. A compromised gut can lead to allergies, nutrient deficiencies, and out-of-whack hormones, among other things. So drink (and eat) up those probiotics, people!
If you're interested in getting into water kefir, which I prefer to dairy kefir, personally (I couldn't get into the whole fizzy milk thing...), I recommend you watch this video by Katie at Kitchen Stewardship, where she shows you just how easy and fast it is! And then hop on over to Cultures for Health and take the plunge (no, they didn't give me any money to say that, but wouldn't that be nice?)! They send you very helpful instructions and are available for troubleshooting. Really, you can do this!
Here is the "recipe", if you can call it that!
Rhubarb Water Kefir
3 c. cultured water kefir
1 c. rhubarb liquid, made by pureeing and straining fresh or frozen rhubarb
a splash of lemon juice
Combine in a quart jar, and close tightly. Leave at room temperature 1-2 days until it reaches desired level of carbonation. Transfer to refrigerator. Serve over ice and toss out the pop!
Do you make water kefir? What's your favorite way to flavor it?
This is part of Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, and the Gnowfglins Seasonal Recipe Round-up.