I have been experimenting with Whey Coolers recently. A Whey Cooler is a lacto-fermented beverage that also has a lot of wonderful health benefits. Cultured sodas are a great source of probiotic enzymes and electrolytes. Since the soda uses whey which is a live probiotic it helps maintain a healthy intestinal micro flora. In her book “Nourishing Traditions,” Sally Fallon writes that “these beverages give a lift to the tire body by supplying mineral ions depleted through perspiration and contribute to easy and thorough assimilation of our food by supplying lacto-bacalli, lactic-acid and enzymes.”
Here’s a picture of a nettles and chamomile cooler I made recently. It’s kind of fuzzy because I am using my low-tech phone camera. However, the fuzzy glow of the picture adds some antique-ey vibe that I’m diggin’:
NOTE: Whey — this is NOT the concentrated whey protein powder. Whey is the liquid that separates from milk or yogurt and is rich in good lacto-bacilli cultures. It helps with the absorption of nutrients, fermentation of grains and vegetables, and has many other health benefits. There are many kinds of whey coolers that you can make. Some of my favorite are hibiscus (below), lemon ginger, holy basil, and blackberry.
Hibiscus Whey Cultured Cooler
1/4 cup dried hibiscus petals (can also do 1/2 cup of chamomile, nettles, mint — try it with different herbs!)
1/2 cup liquid whey (check out my queso fresco blog — a great way to separate whey from milk is by adding apple cider vinegar to warmed milk — goat or cow or sheep or whatever! — and you can make cheese with the curds)
2 quarts filtered water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
Steep hibiscus in 2 cups of hot water for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the water and once cool, add whey and sugar and mix. Place in sealed quart jars (will need 2) and leave a little room in the jar (some air); put in warm place for 3-7 days (will need longer in Fall/Winter). On or near the stove is a good place. Bubbles will become visible after a few days. You can taste the cooler to see if you like it. If too sweet, allow it to culture longer. Once you like the taste, place it into the fridge until ready to be served. Enjoy!