Are you interested in boosting your gut health without breaking the bank? Fermented foods and drinks can be powerful tools for supporting the human microbiome. When you make them yourself, not only will you save money, you’ll have a new, healthy hobby.
Three of my favorite ferments are yogurt, kombucha and sauerkraut. All of these are simple to make and introduce beneficial bacteria into the gut which aid in balancing gut microflora that can potentially slow and reverse disease. They also provide enzymes to optimize digestion and nutritional absorption.
1 head of green cabbage, chopped or shredded
1-3 Tbsp sea salt
1 large mason jar or fermentation crock
a rubber band that will fit around the outside of the top of the jar
Place a thin layer of the chopped cabbage in the bottom of your jar. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top. Using a masher or pounder, press the cabbage layer well. Continue to layer the rest of the cabbage and salt, mashing between layers, until all is used. Place a clean, heavy object on top of the final layer and press down. Cover the jar loosely with cheesecloth. You want air to be able to get in, but not anything such as fruit flies. If after 24 hours, there is not enough brine to cover the cabbage, you may add 1 Tbsp salt to 1 cup filtered water and add it to the cabbage. Leave covered and check taste after 7 days. Refrigerate with a lid once desired taste is reached.
Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt
1 single serving container of plain Greek yogurt
1 gallon organic milk (raw milk is a great choice)
Warm the milk in the slow cooker for about 4 hours to reach 190 degrees. Remove pot from cooker and cool to 90 degrees (about 3 hours). Stir in the yogurt. Wrap two towels around the pot and place in oven with light on only. Wait up to 24 hours. Remove pot from oven. Strain off whey from top. Strain through cheesecloth to thicken. Store in mason jars in refrigerator. May be sweetened with raw honey, maple syrup, berries, stevia, and/or vanilla.
one-gallon wide-mouthed, clean glass container
one gallon tea (I prefer black tea) brewed using chlorine-free/fluoride-free water
1 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup starter tea (from a previous batch) or distilled white vinegar
coffee filter, cheesecloth or other thin cloth
rubber band to secure
Dissolve sugar in tea while still warm. When tea is 68-85 degrees, pour into container and add starter tea or vinegar and SCOBY. Cover with filter or cloth loosely and secure to keep out bugs and dust but to allow airflow. Store undisturbed at 68-85 degrees, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days. Check weekly for flavor. The fermentation comes about as the bacteria eats the sugar. You will not be consuming a sugary drink. Tea begins to move from sweet to acidic and will have slight, natural fizz. Save in jars with lids in refrigerator, saving the SCOBY in some tea for the next batch.