It’s easy to make your own fermented juices, culturing them with the same healthy bacteria as in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, sauer kraut, etc. Beneficial bacteria will help digest any sugars you may eat, and can actually help prevent disease. Having the right type of bacteria in your gut is very important — because the wrong types of bacteria can not only make you fat, they can also allow disease to develop and impede your immune system, organ, and brain development.
Probiotics have been shown to be beneficial a wide variety of health problems, including:
- Autoimmune diseases including: Rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and multiple sclerosis
- Cancer: Probiotics have been found to have many anti-cancer effects, their benefits have been studied in colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, to name a few. Lactobacilli bacteria and lactic acid bacteria (such as Baccillus Coagulans) can actually destroy cancer cells and prevent their spread, regressing cancer. Post-metabolites produced by six strains of L. Plantarum are selectively destroy cancer cells. Researchers are continuing to study probiotics as a preventative and treatment for cancer.
- Candida: Research has found that pro-biotics can prevent or reverse candida. Over a dozen strains of lactobacillli have been found to have anti-fungal effects (table). Bifidum Longum bacteria have been found to inhibit the growth of Candida. And Saccharomyces boulardii is a species of yeast that are antagonistic to Candida but safe to you.
- Depression: A recent study found that poor gut health is linked to high blood pressure and depression. Researchers found key differences in gut bacterial patterns among individuals with and without the conditions.
- High blood pressure: A recent study found that poor gut health is linked to high blood pressure and depression. Researchers found key differences in gut bacterial patterns among individuals with and without the conditions.
- Immune system health
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Psychiatric conditions
So while you’re enjoying your delicious fermented juice, you are also helping improve your health.
Basic Fermenting Process
The process of fermenting juice is similar to fermenting yogurt, except it will take longer since the bacteria used prefer milk. Yogurt can be made in a few hours, fermented juices usually take a few days. Thermophilic pro-biotic bacterial strains prefer to be cultivated around body temperature, 90-110 F. (Mesophilic strains ferment at cooler temperatures, but these strains are typically yeast instead of bacteria.) The basic recipe is juice, a pinch of salt, some form of live starter, and warmth. You can use fresh or frozen juice. Increasing the salt will cause the juice to ferment quicker, but many people don’t prefer the salty flavor.
In the winter you can place your bottles near a heat register or wood stove. In the summer you can use a hot car (but cover the bottles with a blanket, as UV light will kill bacteria). You can also use a crockpot or put the bottles in warm water on a stovetop. But for each of these you will need a thermometer and routine temperature checks.
You can buy a yogurt maker, which sets the temperature for you.
Leave the lid just slightly open for air to escape. It’s just fine to shake the bottles. But watch out — when you won’t be expecting it the juice will foam all over like champagne.
If you see mold on anything you’ve done, including on your whey or the rim of the jar, throw it out. It’s contaminated. Sanitize your bottles and caps with hot water. I generally don’t reuse fermented juice as starter, as it’s harder to tell what the proportions are once it’s been fermented.
I can’t stop drinking the stuff! It’s delicious.
How to Get Live Starter, Such as Whey
1. Straining Yogurt for Whey Starter
To get whey, you have to strain it out of fresh yogurt (which leaves sour cream behind). You can also strain coconut yogurt. I have seen as many as 8 pro-biotic strains in high-quality organic yogurts. Dried whey supplement does not contain the living beneficial bacteria you need. Greek yogurt has already strained the whey out, which is actually a loss to you in terms of fewer proactive bacteria left in the yogurt. Some yogurt brands add pectin or gumming agents which can make it harder to strain the whey out, so do some experimenting. Cheap mainstream brands will have fewer strains of bacteria and probably less bacteria, as the culturing standards are not as high as organic brands.
To strain the yogurt: Get a sanitized cloth, and pour the yogurt onto it, and tie it up and drain it into a sanitized jar. It can take several hours or overnight to complete.
Alternatively, you can also poke holes with a toothpick in in the plastic wrap sealing the top of a tub and drain the whey out that way. Also poke holes on the opposite side of the plastic seal to allow for the air flow. The problem with aluminum tops is that you can’t see through to see of the yogurt is plugging the holes and how much whey is accumulating.
2. Fermented Drinks as Starter
You can also use Kevita or other fermented drinks as starters. GTS and Kevita contain Saccharomyces boulardii, which counteracts candida, but these juices typically don’t have as many strains of bacteria as high quality yogurts do. Kevita also uses L. Plantarum (see below), but GTS doesn’t.
3. Dried Yogurt Starter
Beneficial strains can be frozen and later reactivated. Here are some dried yogurt starters.
4. Pro-Biotic Capsules as Starter
You can experiment fermenting with pro-biotic capsules 🥕. You will have to experiment with how many to use, and you will find out if they are still active. There are many Saccharomyces boulardii capsules🥕, and you can ferment with them. They prefer temperatures slightly lower than most probiotics, 71-86F.
In place of fermenting, you can consume pro-biotic capsules. But it is hard to determine their viability, and they will probably cost more than fermenting on your own. You will get the live bacteria most cost effectively from your own fermented juices, and they carry an added benefit: You called their souls into existence — therefore they have been called in specifically for you.
Basic Fermented Probiotic Juice Recipe
This recipe uses fruit juice. I find that orange and apple juice ferment the easiest. Grape and cranberry juices ferment slower, there may be anti-microbial alkaloids in the juices. You can also use coconut water. You may not want to ferment juices such as pomegranate or cherry, as the fermenting will consume the valuable alkaloids. You can see this by the color of the juice becoming lighter.
- 1 can of frozen juice split between two 32 oz. glass bottle (sanitized)
- A few Tbsp of live whey (you get it from straining yogurt)
- A few Tbsp of Kevita type beverage (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- Fill with purified water about 3/4 full to taste.
Let sit a 2-5 days depending on temperature.
Traveler’s Probiotic Juice Recipe | with Yogurt
This recipe is good if you are traveling or just want a simple way to ferment the juice.
- 1 Quart of Juice
- 1 Serving Size of Yogurt (6 or 8 oz.)
- 1 Sanitized Spoon (such as wrapped in plastic)
- Pinch of salt
Open up the quart of juice and pour out a few ounces to drink, as you will need some room at the top once the fermenting starts (don’t drink from the jar).
Easiest Traveler’s Probiotic Juice Recipe | with Yogurt or Kevita
This is the easiest recipe out there. You just add yogurt or fermented drink like GTS or Kevita straight to the juice.
- 1 Quart of Juice
- 1/4 c. Yogurt or probiotic juice, such as GTS or Kevita
- Pinch of salt
Open up the quart of juice and pour out a few ounces to drink, as you will need some room at the top once the fermenting starts (don’t drink from the jar). Add the yogurt or Kevita or fermented juice, add a pinch of salt, sit back and wait a few days.
Like I said earlier, I prefer to use yogurt as high-quality yogurts have more strains of beneficial bacteria. But this is an easy option if you want one..
Don’t buy Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt strains out the whey — the healthiest part of the yogurt. Some yogurts also use a great deal of gum agents, such as pectin or carageenan, and the whey is harder to separate out. Do some experimenting. It’s best to go with organic or very high quality yogurts, because they have higher bacteria counts, and they typically have many strains of bacteria versus just one or two.
Raw apple cider vinegar has primarily acetobacter bacteria in addition to some yeasts. They are good in vinegar, but neither are optimal for you delicious juice.
I usually buy a bottle of GTS Kombucha, and use half GTS, half live whey.
Here are a few varieties of yogurt that use many strains of bacteria:
L. Plantarum bacteria are very hardy and grow at lower temperatures than the other bacteria, from 50-104F. So if you cultivate and get an excess of them, they can cause gastric distress.
For example, I put my jars near my wood burning stove to heat them in the winter, and they got too hot. The L. Plantarum over populated and the other strains didn’t make it. When I drank it, it caused bloating on my intestines, then I had to re-stock all the good bacteria in myself.
L. Plantarum does have some additional health benefits, such as helping ulerative colitis, fertility, cholesterol, skin health. But if you cultivate with it, make sure you use the temperatures closer to body temperature so it doesn’t get out of proportion to the rest.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and can put it to use! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add them to the comments.