Summer is officially with us, hot hot days followed by breeze nights. Here in Venice the accepted uniform is almost nude and powered by wheels. Surfboards are everywhere. Sno-Cone stands run by neighborhood kids are illegally popping up all over the neighborhood (Make stands like these legal!). Yes, the only drink for this season is Lemonade.
I find myself addicted to a new lemonade every year. The lemonade of 2012 relies on fermentation by whey for its wonderful tart flavor and delicious fizz. We add a touch of plum syrup to keep with the season but any stonefruit in abundance in your region would work. Oh! But what is Whey?
Whey is a byproduct of milkcrafting, crafting milk into cheese and yogurt. It is the liquid that separates from milk as it curdles. Whey is high in protein, contains all the essential amino acids and many bioactive components the body needs to repair tissue, nerves and your immune system. Whey can be drank straight as a health tonic or used to ferment condiments, vegetables and naturally effervescent drinks improving taste and nutrition along the way (ha!). Basically, whey is pure magic and very good for you. When we speak of whey for fermenting purposes we are only interested in sweet whey or live whey. This whey is derived from milkcrafting utilizing rennet, not acid to curdle milk. Acid based whey is not alive and will not ferment. Let’s get started.
Fermented Lemonade with Plum Syrup
Note: Lemonade will take 5 days to ferment properly. Plum Syrup will keep for two weeks in the fridge. Make Lemonade and Plum Syrup the same day, or make Plum Syrup the day Lemonade finishes fermenting.
What you need for the Lemonade:
1 cup whey
2 cups lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 wide mouth gallon container, filtered water to fill
What you need to do: Combine whey, lemon juice and sugar in gallon container. Fill with filtered water, leaving 3-4 inches of head space. Seal tightly, cover with a kitchen towel and leave at room temp on your counter to ferment for 5-7days. It will develop effervescent within 2 days and should taste crisp and tangy when ready, the initial sugar will have been consumed by the lactobacillus in the whey. You can enjoy it straight, adding more sugar or honey to taste, or combine with Plum Syrup for the ultimate drink of the season! Lemonade can be kept in production without the need for additional whey, for the second batch just use 2 cups of the last batch of lemonade in place of the 1 cup whey. Follow the same steps.
What you need for the Plum Syrup:
3 cups plums, pitted and chopped
2 cup water
2 cup sugar
What you need to do: In a small sauce pan combine sugar, water and plums. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook 5 mins. Pull from heat and allow to cool. You can strain with a fine mesh or simply scoop the plum chunks out with a ladle. The former will result in pure syrup while the latter will have some fruit pieces left in. Pour into a glass bottle and store in the fridge for 2 weeks. Combine Plum Syrup with Fermented Lemonade to taste (2-4 tablespoons to an 8oz glass works for us!). You can also combine with sparkling water for a natural soda!
Enjoy! No time to ferment but still need your thirst quenched? Make this simple and outstanding Lemonade. It won’t have the bubbles but it will refresh!
We hope you had an incredible 4th of July full of laughter, bravery and community. We spent the night on the Beach watching the fireworks over head and belting out the Star Spangled Banner. It’s a song about going through hell and coming out triumphant. We must be free. We must be brave.