When the temperatures begin to rise, our first inclination is to drink as much water as possible. But there is something else our bodies need as well to keep hydrated.
Lacto-fermented beverages are naturally fermented through a process of lactic acid bacteria fermentation. The acids naturally present plus the sugars used in the ingredients produce a drink more hydrating than water because of its mineral content.
THE GENERAL LACTO-FERMENTED BEVERAGE FORMULA
There is a basic formula for a homemade cultured beverage you can consume on those hot summer days, or whenever you need extra hydration.
A simple combination of live whey (strained from cultured yogurt or kefir), sugars (juice and or sweeteners), and flavorings (herbs, fruits, extracts, etc.) can be combined with water to make myriad flavors of lacto-fermented hydrating beverages.
Experiment by using about ½ cup of whey per gallon of water, combined with sweeteners and flavorings.
A HOST OF CULTURED BEVERAGES
There are more specific lacto-fermented beverage recipes you can prepare as well.
Rejuvelac. This age-old fermented beverage is made by sprouting a grain like wheat or barley and then soaking it once more. The water from the soaking process is then consumed for it's hydrating properties.
Kombucha. This fermented tea beverage is regaining popularity for its delicious and healthful benefits. Because of its detoxing properties some find it slightly dehydrating so it is best consumed in smaller quantities along with plenty of fresh water.
Water Kefir. This is popular as an electrolyte beverage because of its light, sweet, fizzy flavor. It is delicious when flavored with various fruits, which makes it especially well-suited for those hot summer days.
A NOTE ON SEASONAL FERMENTATION
The tricky part of making these lacto-fermented electrolyte beverages is that you may be culturing them during the hottest part of the year. Fermentation is a fluid process, with the results depending greatly on environmental factors such as temperature and time.
If your kitchen is above 85°F, check your ferments every day to be sure that the gases they produce will not burst the bottles. Keep in mind that they will culture faster in the warmer temperatures. Try to find the coolest place in your home for culturing these beverages during warmer weather or consult our article on Warm Weather Care for Cultures.
On the other hand, if your kitchen is too cool, below 70°F, the cultures need to be kept warmer. Consult our article on Cold Weather Care for Cultures for tips on keeping cultures warm.