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Probiotic Drinks at Home + Jun with Ginger and Galangal Recipe

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

One of my favourite parts of the human body, the gut, has taken the health world by storm. Probiotics are foods that help our guts not only survive, but thrive and their popularity is your one-way ticket to wellness.

But why?

Probiotics increase our energy levels, aid in the detoxification process, improve our skin and boost our overall health. From Kombucha to kefir, you can actively transform your gut health with every single  probiotic sip.

Felicity Evans is a fellow gut-health crusader. She was initially brought into the health world after a health crisis following the birth of her second daughter. Her disease sparked her interest in all things gut and probiotic. She started to create her own probiotic drinks and the rest they say, is history.

She has also launched her own kefir brand, Imbibe Water Kefir, to help people add more beauty and energy into their everyday lives (we’ll take two please!). 

Felicity Evans has released her first book Probiotic Drinks at Home, a step-by-step recipe book with over 50 delicious probiotic drink recipes. Her recipes are low in sugar (only natural sugars here), functional for the body and aimed at helping to boost the immune system. Evans shares her secrets about fermenting, and explains the why and how of each fermentation process. 

Probiotic Drinks at Home is the perfect book for anyone looking to improve their gut health and overall immunity. She covers everything from Kombucha to ginger beer.

I was lucky enough to interview Felicity myself and let me tell you, she’s GUT some interesting and innovative ideas!.

If you want to find out more about Felicity or Imbibe Water Kefir, you can go here

Tell us about your new book?

My new book aims to add more radiance and energy into the lives of everyday people, by helping them create their own probiotic drinks at home.  It’s so much more than a recipe book – it’s a new way of living, aimed at connecting the dots between ancient ways of fermenting drinks and our hectic modern lifestyle.

 It aims to demystify the process of making your own probiotic drinks at home in a simple and stylish way.  Gone are the days of 1000-steps and multiple processes to make the perfect kombucha. 

It’s easy to read, beautifully styled (with lots of vines from my garden!) and the steps to fermenting are laid out in a step-by-step way so that it’s super simple to follow!  There are pages and pages of troubleshooting tips, FAQs and everything you need to get started. 

It’s the type of book I wish I had when I started off my fermentation journey.

I personally make all these drinks every week for my family, and myself and I know they work. 

What exactly does a fermentation aficionado do?

We thrive, not just survive!

Seriously, these drinks have totally changed the trajectory of my life so I’m pretty enthusiastic about them. Before I discovered the power of living probiotic drinks, my health was lackluster, my skin was dull and my digestion was slower….. so fermentation is well and truly here to stay in my life!

I’ve found a very natural pace and rhythm to my family life and fermentation slides beautifully into that pace.  Usually on a Sunday I’ll make and bottle a 5 litre batch of seasonal kombucha – right now its ginger and turmeric and green tea… in summer it will change to mango, cherry, plum and peach.

Then of course there is my everyday nourishment in the form of Imbibe Living Water Kefir, which is my company – I’ve made a batch of water kefir everyday for the last 3 years, so it’s in my blood now, and if I don’t have it I truly miss it!  You really do start to crave these drinks.

In terms of my business, Imbibe Living (imbibeliving.com) my mission is to bring the radiance and energy into every day.  I do this by making a range of low sugar organic water kefir elixirs that I stock at over 200 health food stores.  I also make fermentation easy for people to access with my homegrown kombucha and water kefir kits and cultures. Part of my service is creating free Ebooks and video tutorials and other resources so that people can find a pathway to probiotic nourishment.

Why are probiotics and probiotic drinks good for you?

In my mind, they are the ultimate beauty food! Seriously, beauty begins within, so to cultivate radiance you need to focus on your gut – and living probiotic drinks are a fabulous adjunct to a healthy diet, good sleep and all the other things we know we should be doing!   

Probiotics are the good bacteria that we all need to help us thrive.  We are outweighed 10:1 bacteria to human cells, so to thrive, we need to be replenishing the good bacteria in our gut.  When you ferment ingredients, the nutrients become more bio-avaliable for the body to digest and absorb.  

So for example, making a Beet Kvass (a low sugar fermented beetroot drink), not only are you getting the living probiotics activated through fermentation, you are also getting pre-digested enzymes and nutrients from the beetroots, renowned for their liver and blood cleansing properties.

What are some of the pitfalls you encounter when handcrafting and brewing elixirs?

Oh my gosh! There are so many things that could go wrong!  Which is why I wrote this book – to arm you with all the troubleshooting so that if something does go astray, you know exactly what to do to fix the problem! 

The main things I find that come up is not understanding how these factors can affect fermentations, leading to people giving up:

Temperature

Because fermenting is so dependent on a myriad of factors, it can be frustrating.  E.g. in summer, your ferments could rage and bubble with delight and be perfectly sour in 24 hours.  In winter, it could take 14 days, and you may be left wondering if it’s all still working! 

Time

Having a diary will really help you understand and track the progress of your ferments so that you understand when they should be ready.

Ingredients

The quality of the ingredients you choose will ultimately affect the fermentation and also the end result of the handcrafted elixirs.

There are a few unusual drink trends surfacing in 2017, from wild mushrooms to blue algae and non-hallucinogenic hemp. As 2016 was the year from kombucha and kefir, what new probiotic drink concoctions are on the horizon for 17?

Ha!  Well, I can firmly put my hand up and say I contributed to the blue-green algae drink trend, because I make an organic blue water kefir using blue-green algae!

I think that as 2017 unfolds, we will see consumers being more aware of what constitutes a real living probiotic drink (hint, if its not in the fridge section of your local store, its probably not living!) and choosing small batch, beautifully pure probiotic drinks. I also see water kefir making a huge impact, as people don’t necessarily want to drink dairy kefir, and prefer the lightness of a water kefir. 

What’s your favourite recipe from the book, how did you come up with it, and why do you love it?

It would have to be the Jun with Ginger and Galangal. It’s such a light, refreshing and delicious elixir.   I was looking for a drink that would give me all the benefits of a living probiotic, but not have that super acidic taste that kombucha can sometimes have.  My research lead me to this mystical and mysterious culture called Jun.  Jun is an effervescent fermented tea, which only ferments green tea and honey.  It has a light taste and sort of sparkles in your mouth.  The roundness of the honey almost makes it buttery against the slightly sour characteristic of a fermented drink.

Jun with Ginger and Galangal

Ginger and galangal pair well with the sweet honey notes in the Jun. They can boost circulation and heat the body, calm nausea and aid in digestion. These two rhizomes complement each other well in the flavour department. Ginger has more of a fiery, pungent and sharp taste, whereas galangal is more peppery and aromatic, with tones of pine. The bacteria and yeasts tend to love the ginger and galangal – you will see lots of carbonation building around the rhizomes. If you don’t have both ginger and galangal, just use whichever one you have.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Fermentation time: 6–17 days 

Difficulty: Easy–medium

Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 4 months  Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1 x basic Jun (recipe below)
  • 2 cm (3/4 inch) piece fresh ginger, skin on, thinly sliced
  • 2 cm (3/4 inch) piece fresh galangal, skin on, thinly sliced

Primary fermentation

Follow the instructions for basic Jun below.

Bottling

Follow the instructions for basic Jun below.

Secondary fermentation

Add the ginger and galangal to the bottle and tightly seal the lid. Leave the bottle on the bench to build carbonation. This could take anywhere from 2–7 days, depending on the temperature. ‘Burp’ the Jun daily to release some pressure by opening the lid slightly and then tightening it again.

Drink up

When the Jun is as fizzy and sour as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold.

Tip:  you can add more ginger and galangal if you prefer stronger flavours.

Add a squeeze of sweet and fragrant lime juice when serving the Jun.

Basic Jun

The quality of the green tea and honey you choose will affect the final taste,
so choose the best quality you can afford. I always use organic green tea and
raw honey so that the Jun culture and I both get the best quality on offer
and there are no pesticides that could kill the good bacteria.

Preparation time: 30 minutes 

Fermentation time: 6–17 days 

Difficulty: Easy–medium

Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 4 months 

Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water or springwater
  • 4 green tea bags or 1 tablespoon loose-leaf green tea
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons Jun starter culture liquid (available at http://imbibeliving.com)
  • 1 Jun SCOBY, around the size of your palm

Primary fermentation

Bring 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the filtered water to a simmer. Pour into a teapot or heatproof bowl, add the green tea bags or tea leaves and leave to steep for 40–60 seconds. Strain the tea into a heatproof 1.5 litre (52 fl oz/6 cup) wide-
mouth glass jar and discard the tea bags or tea leaves. Pour in the remaining water. Add the honey to the jar and stir well to dissolve.

When the liquid has cooled to room temperature, add the Jun starter culture liquid and SCOBY. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.

Place the jar out of direct sunlight in a cool spot where it won’t be disturbed. Leave the liquid to ferment for around 4 days in hot weather and 7–10 days in cooler weather. 

Bottling

Gently remove the SCOBY to re-use or rest, and retain 3 tablespoons of the Jun liquid as the starter culture liquid for your next brew.

Mix in any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the jar. Put a funnel in the opening of a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid and put a strainer on top
of the funnel. Pour the Jun into the bottle through the strainer. Either discard any solids left in the strainer or incorporate them into your next brew.

Secondary fermentation

Tightly seal the bottle lid and leave the bottle on the bench to build carbonation. This could take anywhere from 2–7 days, depending on the temperature. ‘Burp’ the Jun daily to release some pressure by opening the lid slightly and then tightening it again.

Drink up

When the Jun is as fizzy and sour as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold.

Tip:  Letting green tea steep for too long causes it to turn bitter. Only steep the tea for around 40–60 seconds.

Images and recipes from Probiotic Drinks at Home by Felicity Evans Murdoch Books, RRP $27.99. Photography by Rob Palmer.

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