I’ve been wanting to venture into the world of fermented tonics, but just couldn’t seem to find the time or the gumption to do it. This week’s challenge to cook something new (to me) was just the push I needed. I thought I’d start with a real lemon tonic recipe because the kids arrive today and Anwen LOVES anything lemon.
I thought I’d share a little bit about why homemade tonics are a good thing, but here’s a quick summary: yum.
The benefits of fermented beverages
Tonics are a fermented food, and fermented foods infuse the gut with lactobacilli and lactic acid and provide an array of enzymes and nourishing minerals. Tonics are also more more hydrating and thirst-quenching than even water—and definitely all round better than the carbonated drinks you buy in the store. Traditionally they were valued for their medicinal qualities, including the ability to relieve intestinal problems and constipation, promote lactation, strengthen the sick and promote overall well-being and stamina. Taken with meals, tonics promote digestion; taken after physical labor, they replace lost mineral ions in a way that renews rather than depletes the body’s reserves. However, you don’t want to drink them like water. A little goes a long way with fermented beverages. For the average adult, four to six ounces a day is good. Children can take less. and a child would need even less at one time. Keep that in mind, because this lemon tonic recipe is so good, you’ll want to drink much, much more!
Notes about this lemon tonic recipe
One of the things I love about fermented foods is how unpredictable they are. This goes for the tonics as well as the vegetables. The size of the lemons you use, what kind of lemons, what kind of sugar, the humidity in your house…all of these influence the final product. I also love the fact you can’t really get it wrong…you just get it different. So keep making this tonic and have fun!
Recipe: Lemon Tonic
Summary: Refreshing and rejuvenating super drink
- 2 cups of lemon juice (about of 10 lemons)
- 3/4 cup sugar or sucanat
- 1 cup of whey
- 4 quarts of filtered water
- gallon size jar (or two and half quart jars)
- Make a simple sugar with the sugar/sucanat and 1 cup of water. Add the sugar and water to a small sauce pan and gently heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Add the simple sugar and lemon juice to the jar (or jars) and fill about 3/4 full with filtered water.
- Add the whey (make sure the liquid is at room temp so that you don’t kill any of the enzymes in the whey).
- Cover tightly and let sit on the counter for 3-5 days. (The longer it sits, the less sugar in the final product; we like ours tart, so it stays out 5 days).
- Store in the fridge and drink 4-6 ounces per day.
You can add about 1 tsp of molasses to the sugar before dissolving to add extra minerals and make a slightly sweeter taste. This can be very tart. Add a couple drops of stevia if it is too tart for you! Use a glass jar with a glass or metal top.
You can use lemons or limes, or a mixture of both
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Copyright © Susan Rose.
I love snow storms, just not in March when I’m READY for Spring. But alas, a snow storm is what we got in Virginia today. And since I always turn to food to get me through the hard times, I decided to make a nice garden vegetable soup to make myself feel better.
Last summer, I canned some of my tomatoes, but I also froze some. Then promptly forgot I did that. The result is that it’s March, and I have a few quarts of garden tomatoes in my freezer. Oh happy day! So I took those out this morning, and did a little more scrounging in the freezer. I produced some green beans and basil from the garden, along with some of my venison stock. The other day we harvested the last of our winter turnips, thus rounding out the homegrown vegetables. I had a cabbage and some organic carrots from the Maple Avenue Market, and some chicory that I picked up on a whim recently. All that spelled stew to me!
So, I canned my first vegetables back in July and it took me until February to eat any of them. This is not because I haven’t been cooking. It’s because of my life-long, engrained fear of botulism. I’m not kidding. I had these jars of gorgeous tomatoes in my pantry for months, and I just couldn’t eat them. Finally I decided I had to take the risk. So I read up on botulism and discovered it isn’t necessarily fatal (as long as you get medical care pretty quickly). That made me feel better and gave me the confidence to open some tomatoes.