Soda that’s good for you? Yes, please! The key to making this gut-healthy drink is to start with a ginger bug. Similar in concept to a sourdough starter, a ginger bug is a fermented mixture of fresh ginger, evaporated cane juice and water, and it’s what gives homemade sodas a refreshing natural fizziness. The time it takes for the soda to fully ferment depends on the temperature in your home – if it’s warmer, 2 days should do it, but you might need up to 10 days if your home is on the cooler side.
4 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger, or as needed, divided
4 tsp organic evaporated cane juice (aka organic sugar), or as needed, divided
3 cups filtered water
2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
¼ cup organic evaporated cane juice (aka organic sugar)
1 tbsp raw honey
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups hulled fresh or thawed frozen strawberries
1 16-oz glass jar, sterilized
1 1-qt glass bottle with lid, sterilized
Prepare ginger bug: To a 16-oz glass jar, add 1 cup filtered water and 1 tbsp each ginger and cane juice and stir to combine. Cover jar with paper towel or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Let ferment in a warm place away from direct sunlight for 24 hours. Stir in 1 tsp each ginger and cane juice and let ferment in a warm place away from direct sunlight for another 24 hours. Stir well; mixture should fizz when stirred. If fizzy, proceed to Step 2. If ginger bug does not fizz, add 1 tsp each ginger and cane juice daily until it fizzes when stirred.
Prepare beer: In a saucepan, bring 3 cups filtered water to a boil. Add 2 tbsp ginger and remove from heat. Stir in ¼ cup cane juice and honey until dissolved. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Let mixture cool to room temperature. Stir in lemon juice.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, purée strawberries. Arrange a fine-mesh sieve over top of a large pitcher or bowl. Strain strawberries through sieve into pitcher, pressing on solids; discard solids.
Using sieve, strain honey mixture and ginger bug into strawberry liquid. Stir to combine and pour into 1-qt glass bottle. Seal tightly with lid and let ferment in a warm place away from direct sunlight, opening bottle every 24 hours to release pressure, until mixture reaches desired taste and fizziness, 2 to 10 days. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Modern-day Italians serve cornmeal-based polenta as a simple side or hearty entrée, enriched with cheeses and herbs. Offering yet another take on the classic, our polenta is used to create a soft crust for a winter vegetable pie.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making your own vegan yogurt at home – it’s so much easier than you think! First, make a super-simple spiced cashew milk from raw nuts, then mix in probiotics to kickstart fermentation. As it’s fermenting, you’ll start to see air bubbles forming on the surface – this means it’s working. If it’s not tangy enough after 2 days, let it ferment for another 12 hours.
These mild and slightly sweet carrots are a great gateway pickle for those who find the strong flavor of kimchi or kraut overwhelming. It’s not necessary to buy organic cabbage for this recipe, as you’re only using the cabbage leaves to form a barrier between the carrots and the weighted jar. Serve with hummus or a creamy herb dip, or grate the carrots and toss into salads.
Grain salads are fast and fantastic grab-and-go options for lunch or dinner. Toss your leftover cooked grains in your favorite homemade vinegar-based dressing. Pair with a protein of your choice, add grated veggies and fresh herbs, and top with avocado and toasted nuts and seeds. To get a jump start on the week’s meals, premake three portions of your favorite grain salad recipe using three 1-liter Mason jars. Preassemble this CBLT (coconut bacon, romaine lettuce and cherry tomato) grain salad for lunches or a quick dinner.
Health benefit: Fermented foods are full of probiotics, but in order to keep gut bacteria balanced, you also need prebiotics, or nondigestible carbohydrates that feed probiotics, like the inulin found in asparagus. This makes fermented asparagus a superfood for digestive and immune system health to help keep your body strong and disease-free all winter long.
Be sure to choose organic cabbage and apples for this recipe, as the surface of the produce will still have the beneficial bacteria intact – this good bacteria encourages proper fermentation. It takes about a week for the tangy flavor and deep color to develop, but you can let it ferment for a bit longer if you prefer a stronger taste. Toss this kraut in a fall salad with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds or enjoy as a garnish on soups and stews. It also makes for a tasty breakfast served alongside eggs.