Friday, September 21, 2012

How to Make Rejuvelac (book excerpt)

Here is an excerpt from my newest e-booklet, entitled How to Make Probiotic Drinks for a Raw Food Diet: Kefir, Kombucha, Ginger Beer, and Naturally Fermented Ciders, Sodas, and Smoothies.

How to Make Rejuvelac
Rejuvelac is a fermented beverage made from sprouted cereal grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, millet, amaranth, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, or buckwheat. This healthful drink is almost as easy to make as yogurt. It can be ready in 3-4 days.

You can use yogurt whey (the liquid from yogurt) or naturally occurring yeast and bacteria to ferment it. People have been making fermented drinks with grains for thousands of years, but the raw food advocate Ann Wigmore is credited with popularizing rejuvelac as part of a holistic health diet. 

Rejuvelac is pretty sour, tasting much like the liquid whey from plain yogurt, so on its own this drink is an acquired taste. As with plain yogurt, you are welcome to add other flavors and sweeteners to rejuvelac. Personally, I can’t drink it plain without gagging, but it becomes a lot more palatable if you add some sweetener after the ferment, such as fruit juice, maple syrup, or honey. Rejuvelac also makes a simple and effective fermented base for sodas or smoothies. This is a very healthy probiotic and quite easy to make.

First, you need some whole grains. Wheat, barley, oats, and rye are usually the cheapest and easiest to sprout. Even with the best of strainers, the small seeded grains, such as millet, amaranth, and quinoa, become pretty difficult to wash without losing some down the drain. I recommend using only organic grains if you can find some, because you will know they are free of any pesticides. Besides damaging your body, such chemicals may interfere with the fermentation.

You can either buy sprouting seeds, such as the hard red winter wheat that is generally grown to make wheatgrass juice, or you can just get some grains from a bulk bin at your local health food store. As long as you can find whole grains that are fairly fresh (which you can only confirm by trying to sprout them), then they should germinate reliably. It will take 1-2 days to sprout the grains. For a more comprehensive guide to sprouting raw foods, I recommend my short book How to Sprout Raw Food: Grow an Indoor Organic Garden with Wheatgrass, Bean Sprouts, Grain Sprouts, Microgreens, and More, which is available in e-book and print editions on Amazon.

Making Rejuvelac
Recipe makes one quart

Required materials:
One glass jar (a quart-sized Mason Jar works well)
Strainer, cheesecloth, or a sprouting lid for the jar
One large container (large enough to hold two quarts of liquid, glass or plastic)

Half cup of whole grains

1.      Rinse the grains. Put them in the jar and cover with water. Let them soak overnight.
2.      In the morning, drain the water from the grains, rinse them, and put them back in the jar.
3.      Rinse the grains at least twice a day to prevent mold. Continue this for 1-2 days until you see little sprout tails on each of the grains.
4.      Rinse the grains one more time and put them in the large container. You could use the same jar if it’s big enough. Make sure to clean it well before using it again.
5.      Cover the grains with one quart of filtered (non-chlorinated water).
6.      Optional: Add a couple of tablespoons of yogurt whey (the liquid from some good quality yogurt). This provides the culture necessary to ferment the beverage. If you use whey, it will ferment more quickly, probably in 1-2 days. Without this, you will need to wait for the natural yeasts and bacteria to proliferate, which may add another day or two to the fermentation time.
7.      Cover the container loosely. A loose lid, a towel, or cheesecloth works well. Place the container in a quiet place away from direct sunlight. Every 24 hours, use a clean spoon to taste it. The Rejuvelac should taste sour like yogurt. The ferment may take from 1-3 days depending on the temperature and strength of the culture.
8.      Once it is ready, strain the rejuvelac into bottles or jars to cover and refrigerate. The spent grains can go in your compost. The best part of them is left in the water for you to drink. You can dilute it or add some fruit juice, maple syrup, or honey to make it tastier. Or use it as a base for the smoothies and sodas mentioned later in this book.