The reasoning behind making her own probiotic drinks is explained well by Felicity Evans in the opens pages of this book. Her health was seriously compromised after travelling overseas with her husband, where she contracted malaria, glandular fever and chronic fatigue. Once they settled down, she became pregnant, but her health was still an issue as she had long term chronic mastitis, needing many rounds of anti-biotics. While in Guatemala, she tried a probiotic beverage called water keffir. She describes it as “Fresh, slightly sparkling, and not too sweet. And it made me feel amazing.” With nothing to lose, Felicity began her trials to recreate that “Magical probiotic elixir.”
The belief underlying this process is that you are creating a happy home for your gut microbes. We now know that these microbes are the foundation of good health and wellness. The Introduction tells us the definition of probiotics, and pre biotics, and what their role is in the gut. More is being learned about the relationship between the gut and digestion, immunity and emotional wellbeing. Probiotic drinks are an excellent way of using fermentation to create these health giving drinks.
The author explains the two main styles of fermentation: Cultured fermentation and Wild fermentation. She notes the differences between the two and the drinks that can be produced using either method. Kombucha is an example of a Cultured fermented tea tonic, and Ginger Bug is an example of a wild fermentation. In the chapter about the “How and why of fermentation, we are told that the process occurs when sugars are converted by yeasts and bacteria into carbon dioxide and trace amounts of alcohol, resulting in low sugar fizzy drinks.”
The practicality of this book makes it easy to follow and understand. We are given outlines first of tools and equipment needed, basic ingredients, and ways of adding superfoods such as chia seeds to your drinks. Recipes are then given, with specific instructions, and careful guidelines. Some of the tips for recognising when Water Kefir is ready for bottling tell us what to smell, what to see, what to hear and what to taste. Following each recipe and instructions is a page called Troubleshooting. There are “What If” scenarios, which address problems that may arise.
Each recipe and process has coloured photographs to ensure the reader can easily follow the instructions. Some of the recipes are rather plain, with some quite exotic, with tropical fruit overtones. Once you have succeeded in making your first batch of probiotic drink, other recipes will be very tempting to try. The fermentation benefits to our body are well recognized. Adelaide, will host a “Ferment the Festival” in October, to celebrate, share and advise people on how to maintain health and recognise fermented foods such as cheese, chocolate and kimchi .