For tens of thousands of years, our ancestors used fermentation as the main method of preservation of their food. Without refrigeration or the ability to can, they relied on the workings of natural microorganisms to change their fresh harvests into storable ones. They made and ate fermented sauerkraut, kimchee, grains, pulses, milk, fish, meat and vegetables. This process not only preserved their foods but gave them digestive enzymes, probiotics and made the vitamins and minerals inherent in the substances more bio-available to their bodies.
Today, very few of us ever eat fermented foods. Could this be a critical missing link in our diets? Do our gut microbiomes struggle to digest our meals without them? Are we lacking the protective probiotics that these foods could give us? I suggest that this is exactly the case.
I started making fruit kvass a little over five years ago. I can make one for pennies, put it together in under three minutes and reap incredible health benefits; I haven’t been sick a single day since I started drinking them.
To make fruit kvass, you can start with almost any fruits or vegetables. They can be fresh, frozen, or dried. You can make them with a lot of fruit or just a little. When you make a pumpkin pie, save the skin and seeds and kvass them. Throw in some edible weeds from the garden in the summer. Add raisins or spices if you like.
To begin, people often want a specific recipe, so we’ll start there.
- Get a ½ gallon jar.
- Throw in ½ cup of fresh berries (smash them a little if they have a tough skin like blueberries).
- Add an orange cut into pieces.
- Add a kiwi or an apple cut into pieces.
- Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of good quality salt (gray sea or Himalayan pink).
- If you have some homemade whey around, add ¼ cup—this is optional so don’t worry if you don’t have any.
- Fill the jar with pure filtered water that has no chlorine or fluoride, leaving two inches of head space or air at the top.
- Cover tightly. Place on the counter under a towel.
- Shake several times a day and let the gases out by loosening the cap quickly at least once a day.
- After two days in a warm kitchen or three in a cool one, strain out the fruit. If you tend toward constipation, eat the fruit for the fiber. Otherwise, compost it.
- Then put a splash (a tablespoon or two) in every glass of water that you drink all day long. If you aren’t used to ferments, start slow. Try just one tablespoon for a day or two, then do a bit more and so on.