Something New Saturday: Probiotic Lemonade

I’ve been making homemade yogurt for several years. One of the {great} byproducts of yogurt is whey, which is the watery substance helpful for fermenting foods besides yogurts. I’ve used whey before in lacto-fermenting vegetables. It’s important to use fresh whey for recipes such as this. But you don’t have to get your whey from homemade yogurt. You can easily obtain it from store-bought yogurt, but do be sure it’s fresh.

I once tried to ferment a big jar of carrots using whey from unflavored organic store-bought yogurt that was on BIG SALE (because it was set to expire in a matter of days). I had to throw out the entire contents of that jar of fermented carrots once I opened it several days later; there’s a difference between fermented and–as we say in the South–rurnt {ruined}.

I recently used the [fresh] whey from some homemade yogurt to ferment some run-of-the-mill lemonade into a probiotic drink.

Here’s the recipe I used (found on–where else?–Pinterest). I used conventional lemons, instead of organic ones, as the recipe suggests. And I halved the recipe. I didn’t want a gallon of this on my hands if nobody wanted to drink it. I fermented some eggs once years ago; that recipe called for a dozen, and I halved that one, too. Thank the good Lord I did. Those things tasted awful. But nary a one went to waste. The mother of the Romanian woman who worked with our ministry team in Romania all those years ago shared with me some phrase which loosely translates to “better a rotten stomach than wasted food.” I knew the eggs were “good” for me, so I didn’t let them go to waste. But the moral of the story:  Sometimes it pays to start small.

yogurt-dripping
Homemade yogurt with whey draining out.

The picture above shows yogurt swaddled in cheesecloth and hung from a kitchen cabinet knob so the whey can drain from it into the bowl below. When I make yogurt, I usually add some unflavored gelatin to it (first dissolving it in a bit of water) so that the yogurt thickens–and so we can get the health benefits of gelatin. Thicker yogurt does mean that straining out whey takes longer, though.

When I had a sufficient amount of whey, I scraped the yogurt from the cheesecloth back into my yogurt container and threw the cheesecloth in the compost.

And here you have the final product…It looks a bit cloudier than typical lemonade due to the whey. After a couple of days of fermenting in the laundry room, it was ready to drink.

probiotic-lemonade

The flavor certainly differs from regular lemonade (think beer-y lemonade), and although the boys drank it, they weren’t crazy about the taste by the time we got to the end of it. But it provides a new ferment I can add to their diets…and a new experience in my kitchen adventures. Here’s to trying something new, on Saturdays and other days, too!

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