The fact that naturally fermented and cultured foods are good for us is hardly a secret anymore, but if you want to make many of these wholesome goodies, you need some sort of starter culture to get going.
Rejuvelac is a simple alternative that doesn’t need anything other than wholegrains such as wheat, rye or spelt and if you are worried about gluten, quinoa or millet, a jar, some water and some time. The grains are sprouted and then left in water and the enzymatic activity they release sets off the fermentation process and cultures the water.
This process is called ‘wild fermentation’ because the grains and water contain all that is necessary to create the beneficial microorganisms. It was popularised in the 60’s by the health guru Dr Anne Wigmore, founder of the Hippocrates institute, and is thought to be based on a Romian health drink called bors.
The process of fermentation creates a lot of enzymatic activity that leads to the production of cultures such as Lactobacillus and Aspergillus oryzae, friendly microbes that help balance your gut ecology and keep your digestion moving along. The sprouting grains release all their nutritional goodness into the water as they sprout, creating a rejuvenating health drink that is a homemade probiotic and is also rich in the B vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Dr. Johannes Kuhl, the author of “Cancer in Check”, wrote this about lacto-fermented foods:
“The natural lactic acid and fermentive enzymes which are produced during the fermentation process have a beneficial effect on the metabolism and a curative effect on disease. Lactic acid destroys harmful intestinal bacteria and contributes to the better digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Fermented foods improve the intestinal tract and provide a proper environment for the body’s own vitamin production within the intestines.”
Rejuvelac has a tart, sour citrus-like taste with a barely-there fizz that is actually very moreish and it can be used to add a very delish cheese-like tang to nut cheeses. (Here is a divine recipe for nut cheese you won’t regret making: https://www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com/2012/10/this-is-really-good.html).
How To Make Rejuvelac
Rejuvelac can go off so it’s really important to make sure you use very clean utensils when you make it. Wash your jar with hot soapy water, use a clean towel if you cover your jar with a towel. Rinse your grains before you use them and only use pure water, not tap water.
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• Choose which grain you would like, wheat, rye spelt or gluten-free quinoa
• ¼ cup grains
• 4 cups purified water
• Soak the grains in a bowel of pure water for 8 hours
• Rinse and drain
• Rinse and drain 2 – 3 times a day until you see little white tails appearing
• Put the sprouted grain in a mason jar
• Cover with a towel or mesh that allows it to breathe (you can fasten a towel over the jar with a rubber band)
• Let it sit for 2 – 4 days
• Watch for little bubbles shooting up from the grains and a slight fizz
• Refrigerate and use within a week
If at any point the mixture starts smelling bad or rotten, throw out!
You can start off with about 2 tablespoons a day first thing in the morning to see how it agrees with you and can also have some in between meals to assist digestion.