As warm and wonderful as it is, summer certainly tests our will-power at every level. Although it’s both convenient and satisfying to slam back a cold, cola, sports drink or beer on a hot, summer day (speaking from experience here), they’re not good for your bikini-bod or health.
Thankfully, there is an alternative, and it’s just as thirst-quenching – there really won’t be anything more refreshing and nourishing than naturally fermented, homemade, Raspberry Lemonade for your August long-weekend.
The Benefits of a Naturally Fermented Beverage
Fermentation is a beautiful thing. I can be seen talking about it at social events, parties and to anyone willing to listen…it’s really quite embarrassing for my husband. I could talk about fermenting food all day (read my Fermentation 101 post if you want to hear it), but instead, I’ll get to the point, and tell you 5 reasons why you want to ferment your beverages this summer!
- Fermentation acts as a natural preservative, so no need for artificial additives.
- During the fermentation process, beneficial microorganisms break down the sugar and turn it into lactic acid–that’s right, there’s very little sugar left after you’ve finished fermenting this Raspberry Lemonade!
- Fermented beverages are healthy! The lactic acid (which was once sugar) helps with blood circulation, prevents constipation, balances digestive acids, aids in pre-digestion and encourages good pancreatic function. (Read more about the health benefits of fermenting food and drinks Here)
- Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms consumed by the body for their beneficial qualities, and are responsible for maintaining a healthy gut flora. A healthy gut is capable of pulling nutrients from the food you eat, fermented or not.
- Naturally fermenting beverages creates carbonation! Trust me, you’ll feel like a champ after making your own fizzy-soda.
What You’ll Need…
Whey. Because this Raspberry Lemonade is lacto-fermented you’ll need to make basic whey first, which is super easy–don’t let this discourage you, the benefits of fermenting this beverage far outweigh the hassle of making whey.
- Sugar. You need to use a slightly refined sugar for the best results. I usually don’t cook or bake with white sugar, but have a bag around just for this. I’ve tried using honey, my mom’s tried syrup, and it doesn’t turn out at all–no fermentation, no carbonation. But not to worry, like I mentioned before, most of the sugar is transformed and broken down during the fermentation process anyways.
- Fresh Lemons and/or Limes and Frozen-Thawed Raspberries. You can also substitute raspberries for blackberries which I look forward to trying now that blackberry-season is upon us!
- Mineral Water or Spring Water. It’s best to use mineral or spring water because the natural minerals in the water aid in the fermentation process. Don’t use boiled water because it purifies it too much. I’m lucky enough to be able to just use tap water.
- 4-5 Lemons and/or Limes, juiced
- 1 Cup Raspberries, lightly mashed (frozen then thawed)
- ⅓ Cup Sugar, lightly refined
- 6 Cups of Spring Water
- ½ Cup of Basic Whey
- Warm the water, but don't allow it to boil.
- Add the water to a large, glass container (large enough to fit 7-8 cups of liquid) with an air-tight lid.
- Dissolve the sugar in the water.
- Allow the mixture to come to room temperate
- Stir in the lemon juice, raspberries and whey.
- Secure the top with a cloth and an elastic. (See the pic above)
- Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days (See Notes)
- Strain the Raspberry Lemonade and transfer it to 2 Grolsh-sytle bottles or return it to the jar and seal with an air-tight lid.
- Refrigerate - It will continue to ferment but at a much slower pace.
- Serve with ice, sweetener, vodka or whatever your preference may be!