I've been wanting to redo this post for a while. Not only is it one of my personal favorites, but it seems to do pretty well out in the world. I'd love to hear from anyone who's made it, because mine barely lasts a week. I originally got this idea from Hello Natural with their Probiotic Lemonade, this recipe is essentially the same, but with added strawberries. I haven't tried it without strawberries. I'll bet it's still amazing.
Ok, before I get into the benefits of probiotics, I want to say something about strawberries. That is, when you eat them or put them on your skin they can protect from UVA light, that means natural sunscreen. There are actually a lot of natural foods that can protect your skin naturally, read about it here and here. Ellagic acid is the compound that works that little bit of natural magic in strawberries. I also love that article from Wellness Mama, I am also super pale and ever since I was a kid hated sunscreen. I always feel a little bit sick after using it. It's gotten so bad I get a little grossed out by just the smell of it. Oh, and recent studies prove it does practically nothing. High five to my intuition. I am, however, a fan of zinc oxide, like the lifeguards wear with that bright white stripe down their noses. I could get on board with that. Also, mineral sunscreen, which will inevitably have zinc oxide in it, is also awesome. I know that was a lot of info about sunscreen for a recipe post, but I just think everyone should know ... and now you do.
So back to this recipe, I picked these strawberries myself, which I highly recommend. If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area you can go out to Underwood Family Farms, but if you're not here, I hope there's somewhere near you where you can pick your own food. It's deeply satisfying and guarantee you'll think twice before wasting anything. Also, it's a lot cheaper. So, if you're the type with more time than cash, it might be extra satisfying.
So, why do you want probiotic lemonade? Well, probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in the gut. They don't exist in processed food, but they flourish in things like kimchi, kombucha and yogurt. These foods are naturally fermented to they will replenish the healthy bacteria. What do they do? Well, in a nutshell, they improve digestion and support the immune system. If you want to get deep into it, you can read this Harvard Health article. I also take a daily supplement, and I have definitely noticed a difference in my digestion.
First things first you're going to have to collect your probiotic juice. It's the fermented whey that comes from yogurt. It's a really simple process. It takes a few days, but you won't actually have to do anything after you set up the draining system.
Here's what you'll need to collect your probiotic fluid:
- 32 oz container of plain yogurt
- Deep bowl or sauce pan
- Rubber band or twine
- Place two layers of cheesecloth inside your colander and place the colander on top of a large bowl. Make sure you have enough space between the colander and the bowl for the fluid to collect without touching the cheesecloth. Two to four inches of space should be fine. Mine produces about 1 1/2 cups of fluid.
- Put your yogurt in the cheesecloth and tie up the cheesecloth tightly with a rubber band or twine. I tied mine up very tightly with rubber band and the yogurt paste didn't leak at all, just make sure you have two layers of cheesecloth
- You can let yours set for 24 hours. I choose to do 48 hours because it still seemed very damp and I wanted to get the most out if it I could.
- After two days separate the fluid from the left over cream cheese, yes yogurt cream cheese. We'll talk about that tomorrow. Then you're all done with your probiotic fluid and ready to make strawberry lemonade.
Mine produced about 1 1/2 cups from the original 32 oz of yogurt, but you may get more or less depending on conditions.
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 lb fresh strawberries with stems chopped off
- 2 cups of fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup of sugar
- 12 cups of filtered water
- 1- 1 1/2 cups of probiotic whey fluid
- Blend strawberries and whey in blender until smooth. Not gonna lie, at this point I almost when off course and made probiotic popsicles instead.
- Add your sugar to the strawberry probiotic mixture.
- In a large pitcher blend water and lemon juice until it's diluted.
- Then add the strawberry, sugar and whey mixture. It makes about 1 gallon which sounds like a lot, but it'll go fast. Serve chilled.
As it settles, you can see the fermentation process starting here. It'll start to fizz up a little. That's because the bacteria eats up that sugar. Sound appetizing? Appetizing like a science project. I swear, it's really delicious, just forget that stuff I said about bacteria.
It tends to separate so you may want to keep it in a container that you can easily stir it before you drink it.
After three days it turned a much deeper color and the flavor was stronger and even more delicious. It also ferments progressively over time, so it gets a little frothy. I hear it gets very effervescent after about a week and half. Mine hasn't lasted long enough to find out.