Rosehibiscus “Soda”

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found years ago in a book I love called Full Moon Feast:Food and the Hunger For Connection, by Jessica Prentice. One of my daughter’s friends calls it “roller-disco soda.” It’s delicious all year ’round, and since it’s never heated (plus lacto-fermented), it’s a great source of vitamin C, yet another nutrient diabetics can use lots and lots of, especially from food and herb sources like this, rather than synthesized versions in vitamin pills. When someone’s sugar runs higher than normal, the cells that would absorb vitamin C (which through various mechanisms helps keep our immune systems functioning at their best) will absorb sugar instead, blocking the C from entering. Since type 1 diabetics’ sugar will almost always average higher than non-diabetics’, keeping a continual in-flow of vitamin C-rich foods (such as lacto-fermented vegetables and low-carb/no-sugar drinks like this) is a good idea.

Recipe:

1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1 T dried rose hips
1/2 cup kefir grains or 1 cup yoghurt whey
1/2 an organic lemon (juice and peel)
1 T maple syrup (optional)
stevia to taste

Place all ingredients in a 2-quart jar. Add in enough filtered water to fill the jar almost to the top. If you are using whey, leave 1/2 an inch space at the top; if kefir grains, leave about an inch as it can get a little more bubbly, and you don’t want an explosion (I’ve never had this happen, but with fermentation of any kind, even this minimal, there’s always the possibility). Screw the lid on the jar, cover with a dark cloth, and leave somewhere warm-ish (70 degrees F or so) for 48 hours.
Then strain into  2 glass bottles with screw tops (old mineral water bottles are what Jessica Prentice recommends). Put an even amount in each bottle, then add a little bit more filtered water on top of each. Screw the lids on tightly and leave out to ferment a little more. She says 2 to 3 more days in the book, but I’ve found that if I’m using whey, I’ll get a slight bit of mold on top if I leave for more than another 12 hours, so I leave it out for about 8 more hours at room temperature, then refrigerate it. It’s like a very slightly bubbly juice. If using kefir grains, I’ve left out for 3 days, and it gets really bubbly. This keeps in the fridge for a long time (except it usually disappears in my house within a few days!)

Variations: sometimes I add lemon balm or mint to it. A little bit of thyme is a good one too, or tulsi, or agastache (also known as licorice hyssop). There’s an agastache that tastes like root beer too. Experiment. I’ll eventually get up a lot of info about herbs on the herb page. Bear with me…

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