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July is Dry July month, a month where many try to give up alcohol to raise money for cancer. Whilst many alcoholic drinks are traditionally made through fermentation; ie beer, wine, whiskey, there are also some well documented health benefits to both fermented drinks and foods. Perhaps July is a good time to explore some of the healthier alternatives and give fermented drinks a chance to redeem themselves!
Fermented drinks harness healthy bacteria (known as probiotics) which have a beneficial impact on gut health. Medical research is still in its infancy when it comes to the impact that the microbiome (the bacterial community which lives inside our guts) can have on not just physical well-being but mental good health as well.
Fermented drinks such as kefir and kombucha are super easy to make and are a tasty introduction to the exciting world of food fermenting in general!
Kefir is made by adding culture to milk or non dairy milk and letting it ferment overnight. Kefir is high in minerals and vitamins and tastes like a mildly tangy yoghurt drink. Our Kefir complete kit is perfect for anyone wanting to start out with their own home fermented kefir: the culture is a powdered version of probiotics and not kefir grains which are much more labour intensive to maintain. See here for more details.
Kombucha is made by fermenting tea with a culture called a SCOBY which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The best way to get a SCOBY is to get one from a friend who brews kombucha but if you can’t get one that way, you can also grow a SCOBY from an organic kombucha drink from a health food store. Our favourite ways to culture kombucha is in a Ball Half Gallon Jar or in our larger Kombucha drink dispenser which allows you to periodically decant off some kombucha whilst allowing it to continue to brew in the dispenser.
Want to try more? Check our range of fermenting jars and supplies,which includes a great range of books about fermenting and research on the gut and the new "forgotten" organ and watch for further articles about products and techniques.