Whether you are a homesteader, real food lover, or simply wish to harness the goodness of fermentation, Traditionally Fermented Foods: Innovative Recipes and Old-Fashioned Techniques for Sustainable Eating (Page Street Publishing, 2017) by Shannon Stonger provides the building blocks to confidently ferment your own food and can provide your family with nutritious meals while decreasing food costs. Stonger holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, is the founder of Nourishing Days, and writes for Cultures for Health. The following excerpt is from Chapter 3, “Grains.”
Recipes for this drink vary from a chufa-based Spanish beverage to a rice-and-almond-based Mexican version. I found no evidence that this beverage has been traditionally fermented, except maybe the overnight soaking that the rice gets. It is a delicious and refreshing sweet and creamy beverage, so I set out to create a fermented alternative for a bit of a nutritional boost. Here is my version using raw honey as both the sweetener and the starter culture, in a concentrate that is then mixed into almond or dairy milk.
For the Concentrate
• 1 cup (210 grams) white rice
• 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
• 6 cups (1,420 milliliters) water, divided
• 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) raw honey
• 3 cups (710 milliliters) almond or dairy milk
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp (5 milliliters) vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) concentrate
1. Combine the rice, cinnamon stick, and 4 cups (946 milliliters) of the water in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from heat.
2. Stir the additional 2 cups (480 milliliters) of water into the rice mixture and allow to sit for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Remove the cinnamon stick and either put the rice mixture through a sieve and discard any particles remaining in the sieve, or blend the rice mixture and then strain.
4. Combine the strained rice mixture with the raw honey in a quart (1 liter) jar. Cover with a permeable lid such as a clean cloth or a coffee filter secured with a canning ring or rubber band. Leave to ferment for 4 to 7 days or just until it begins to taste tangy. You may also see hints of bubbles beginning to form. It may separate during the fermentation process. Don’t worry if it does; simply stir it all back together again.
Once fermented, this concentrate can be used straight away, stored at room temperature for up to a week (it will get tangier) or refrigerated and stored for 1 to 2 months.
To serve: Combine the milk, cinnamon, vanilla and 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) of the concentrate in a pitcher or quart (1 liter) jar. Serve over ice for a refreshing creamy, slightly tangy drink.
Reprinted with permission from Traditionally Fermented Foods by Shannon Stonger, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Shannon Stonger.