How to Make Rejuvelac
Rejuvelac is a sprouted grain based fermented beverage thought to have originated in Romania. It is packed with probiotic benefits as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Learn how to make it - it's easy!
Rejuvelac is yet another member of the large family of fermented beverages. Made popular in the 1960’s by living food advocate Dr Ann Wigmore, it is thought to have originated from the traditional Romanian drink ‘Bors’.
Originally made from sprouted wheat, rejuvelac can also be made using other grains such as rye, barley, oats quinoa and millet time. Once sprouted, the grain of choice is combined with water to open ferment for a short period of time at room temperature.
No Starter Necessary
Unlike many other fermentations, such as kombucha, kefir, ginger beer etc, rejuvelac does not require a starter culture. Once sprouted, the wheat or other grain contains high enough amounts of naturally occurring bacteria to effectively colonise the ferment and get things going. As rejuvelac is usually fermented open, airborne yeasts also have a chance to incorporate themselves into the brew. This makes for increased probiotic levels and some carbonation.
Gluten Intolerance Considerations
While wheat is the traditional grain used, the other options such as barley, quinoa, and millet can be used to offer gluten free versions of rejuvelac. In additional, these alternative grains can imbue the finished drink with different flavors which can be tasty. Take into account however that thanks to the two processes of sprouting and fermentation, rejuvelac does not usually spark off adverse reactions when consumed by someone with gluten allergies. Some sufferers have reported that while they usually are highly sensitive to wheat products such as bread, pasta etc, they can consume rejuvelac with no ill effects.
As far as brewing is concerned, this is a plus as best fermentation results are often experienced with either wheat or rye, therefore these make for good options when trying out making rejuvelac for the first. If you are gluten intolerant, and what to try making rejuvelac you can always start off your first batch with wheat or rye (rye has less gluten), and sample it. If you find that it sparks a reaction, then switch over to a different grain which does not contain gluten.
Health Benefits of Rejuvelac
In case you were wondering, Rejuvelac is definitely worthy of its title as a health drink. It is both a product of fermentation, and what could be called a ‘living food’.
Being fermented, it carries with it all of the health benefits of unpasteurized products of fermentation. Probiotic fermented foods are one of the best health aids for the digestive system. Because the digestive tract plays such a big role in the overall health of the body, by assisting in its overall health and optimum functionality probiotic foods can help the body to rectify numerous health issues and ailments.
Beneficial for Intolerances
Seeing as we just touched on the topic of gluten intolerance, it is pertinent to mention that fermented foods like rejuvelac can be beneficial for food allergies or intolerances like celiac disease. Food allergies place a massive strain on the digestive system, and in many cases actually do it harm. Replenishing one’s levels of probiotics can assist to rectify the damage done. Some strains of probiotic bacteria are also thought to over time be able to assist the body to properly process foods to which it was once allergic.
Live Food Benefits
Rejuvelac is unique from many other homemade fermented beverages in that it is made from sprouted grain.
Heightened Nutrient Levels
Sprouts contain heightened levels of vitamins, minerals and phytoestrogens. This is because once seeds or grains make the change from dormancy to sprouting, more nutritional elements are unlocked and made available. Of course these nutrients are there for the seed to use up in order to be able to grow to the point where it is photosynthesizing and absorbing nutrients through its roots. However if one consumes the sprout before this stage of growth is over, all of that concentration of nutrition is available to you.
Because sprouts are alive, they contain high amounts of digestive enzymes. Enzymes are specific types of proteins which function to catalyze all of our body’s functions. They work to absorb more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids from the foods we eat, and along with probiotic bacteria help to make sure that the body can absorb all of its nutritional building blocks.
To cap it off, here is a list of the main nutritional elements which you can expect in your rejuvelac, thanks to the sprouted wheat.
Nutritional Elements of Sprouted Wheat Contained Within Rejuvelac
- Vitamins AA, B1, B2, B6, C and E
- Minerals Fe, Mg, Ca, K, Mn, Na, Cu and Zn
Health Hazards of Rejuvelac
While rejuvelac is a most definitely a very healthy beverage, it can also harbor harmful strains of bacteria. These can come from almost anywhere, however there are ways to minimize any risk of contamination. In additional, if your rejuvelac has been invaded by an unwanted pathogen, this will be revealed by very unpleasant smells! For this reason it is impossible to not know about it if your batch has been contaminated.
How to Avoid Unwanted Bacteria
When sprouting and setting up your ferment, make sure that you sanitize all of you utensils and containers with hot water and spirit vinegar. This will help to eradicate any unwanted bacteria.
Also, when leaving your batch to ferment, make sure that it is not in close proximity to plants, pets and lots of human traffic. These can all be carriers of pathogens.
IMPORTANT: Do not use chlorinated water.
Using chlorinated water for making your rejuvelac can also cause contamination from unwanted bacteria. This is because the chlorine and other chemicals used to treat the water can kill the beneficial bacteria from the sprouted grain. These bacteria not only play the role of fermenting the liquid, but they also act to keep out competitive pathogens. If chlorinated water is present, what can happen is that initially their numbers are reduced. Then, once the chlorine has evaporated off, outside microbes now have the opportunity to jump in -as there is no competition or protection from the beneficial bacteria.
What to Do if Your Rejuvelac Goes Off
If at any point you get these off smells from your rejuvelac – simply throw it out. Then thoroughly sterilise all of your equipment and surfaces with hot water and vinegar for your next batch.
How to Make Your Own Rejuvelac
As rejuvelac requires sprouted grain for its base, I am going to split the process up into sprouting and brewing.
Making the Sprouts
The first step to making rejuvelac is germinating a batch of the grain sprouts. Making sprouts is pretty simple – all you have got to do is provide the grain with the right conditions. If you have a sprouter, you can go ahead and use this to make things easy. If you do not have a sprouter, a big ol glass jar should work just fine too.
I have outlined the instructions for use with a glass jar because not everybody has sprouting equipment. If you are going to be using a sprouter, simply ignore my jar instructions and switch the sprouts out of the sprouter and into the glass jar when it comes to making the actual rejuvelac.
What You Need:
- 1 cup grain of you choice: Must be whole and raw
- Pure unchlorinated water
- 1 large glass jar (half gallon size is more than adequate)
What to Do:
Place the cup of dry grain into your glass jar. Fill the jar with water and allow the grain to soak overnight or for 24 hours. The one exception to this is buckwheat which should only be soaked for about 2 hours.
Step # 2
Once the soaking is finished, drain off the water. You can pour it off through a sieve, strainer or colander in order to catch any grain which wants to pour out too. Once all of the water is poured out leave the grain to sprout in its jar on your countertop. If you are worried about fruit flies, simply cover the mouth of the jar with a piece of cloth and a rubber band.
Step # 3
Rinse your sprouts twice daily to hydrate them and rid them of any slime buildup. You can do so by simply filling the jar with water, placing your sieve over the opening and turning the jar on its end.
As soon as you see little sprouting tips appearing, you are ready to make rejuvelac. You do not need to wait until the sprouts have made green shoots.
Brewing the Rejuvelac
Now that the sprouts are ready, you can set up your ferment.
What You Need:
- The jar of germinated sprouts
- 4 cups of pure non-chlorinated water
- Cloth covering & rubber band
What to Do:
Step # 1
Rinse the sprouted grain one last time. Now pour in the four cups of water and give the jar a stir. Cover with your piece of cloth and rubber band.
Step # 2
Allow the brew to ferment on your countertop at room temperature for 2-3 days. The batch will get a bit cloudy and small bubbles will appear. To assist the process, you can give it a stir once a day until it is done.
Step # 3
Once the rejuvelac is ready it is time to stop the fermentation and bottle it. You can taste it to check if you think it fully matured. It should have a clean and fresh lemony flavor profile. Low temperatures can cause slow fermentation activity, so if it is cold and you think that your rejuvelac tastes a bit weak, go ahead and leave it for another day.
Strain the grain sprouts out of the rejuvelac and pour it into glass bottles to refrigerate. Fliptop bottles work really well for this, but any glass container is fine.
Rejuvelac will continue to sour slowly while in the refrigerator, so it is best to consume it within about one week after making it for best taste.
And that my friends is how you make rejuvelac! It is probably one of the simplest ferments to make, and one of the healthiest. Rejuvelac provides probiotic benefits combined with the nutritional power of living food. It is devoid of added sugar and its ingredients are cheap. Because rejuvelac does not require a starter it is a convenient ferment which you can make (or not make for that matter) at any time – and you do not have a culture which you need to care for.
There world of ferments is rather large, and very varied. As all fermentations are different and have their unique aspects, there is no ‘No.1 ferment’. However if you are looking for just one, easy, fermented beverage to make at home, then consider rejuvelac for its convenience, health benefits, low calorie count and low cost.
Happy fermenting guys!
P.S. For some reason the name rejuvelac always makes me think of a combination of the three words rejoice, rejuvenate and relax!