Book Review: Probiotic Drinks at Home

Rating: 3 stars

Fermented foodstuffs is the latest culinary trend, with a host of celebrities singing the praises of the ‘gut-friendly’ products. Truth be told, it can be hard to see the benefit, or, indeed the tastiness, in a drink that comes with its own gelatinous blob floating away within it. But there’s a growing number of converts to drinks like kombucha and kefir, all swearing that the drinks have a range of health benefits for those game enough to brave the unusual textures involved.

If there’s a complaint from devotees, it’s that it can be incredibly hard to find good quality probiotic drinks without having to take out a second, or third, mortgage. The problem with trends is that the prices grow alongside the popularity, and what was once a heathy, affordable drink becomes a luxury item.

Felicity Evans isn’t a fan of overpriced probiotic drinks. After all, she’s a believer that fermented drinks should be available to anyone willing to try them, or needing the added health boost they purportedly contain. But rather than keep arguing for change, Evans has approached the issue from a completely different angle: she’s written a DIY guide, ‘Probiotic Drinks At Home’.

It should be noted: I am not the ideal reader here. Kombucha as a concept doesn’t appeal to me, given that the very sight of the scoby (the jelly-like blob within the drink) makes me a little queasy. But even I found ideas I want to try here. ‘Probiotic Drinks At Home’ isn’t the sort of book aimed solely at the die-hard converts to fermented, probiotic drinks, it’s also a fantastic way to dip your toe into the fermented waters and try small, simple steps towards the bigger, often more popular, beverage options. If you’ve always wanted to try making your own mead, or root or ginger beers, this book has got you covered. Even better, there are variations to each drink, giving you the chance to experiment to your heart’s content, as well as troubleshooting guides for each drink, telling you exactly what should be happening within the process when, and what to do if it’s not quite right.

Even if you’re not a fan of floating stuff in your drinks, it’s hard not to get at least a little excited at the recipes here. Though it’s certainly not a recipe collection for fans of instant gratification, or perhaps for those with a sensitive sense of smell, for those looking for a new, adventurous culinary experience, ‘Probiotic Drinks At Home’ will be a really fun read.

Review by Kylie Thompson

‘Probiotic Drinks At Home’ is published by Murdoch Books, and is available at selected retailers.

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