Tulsi Turmeric Tonic
This is a very easy fermented tonic to make using the same methods used to make ginger beer. A great one to have on hand during winter to help ward of colds, or as a daily tonic for those with inflammatory problems like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease or chronic sinusitis. If you like ginger beer then you are going to love the taste of this healthy fizzy drink recipe.
What are the health benefits of turmeric?
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which has shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative (inhibits cancer cell growth) effects. The bioavailability or ability for the body to absorb curcumin can be enhanced by fermentation, leading to a more potent tonic.
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also a well known remedy for indigestion, colds and flu and in particular nausea. Not to mention, it just tastes fantastic!
Tulsi is a herb also known as Holy Basil. It has been used in India for more than 5000 years and revered as the sacred ‘Queen of Herbs’, prized for its healing power and used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicines. Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb, supporting the body’s immune system and helping us to adapt to environmental, physical and emotional stressors. In India Tulsi is still grown in an earthenware pot in many family homes and gardens, and used to make a refreshing and health promoting tea.
Tumeric recipe for the ultimate home made healthy fizzy drink
The first step involves making a ginger/turmeric ‘bug’. The bug is simply a slurry of ginger, turmeric, sugar and water. Left for a few days the bug starts to bubble and foam due to the naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria feeding on the sugar. Once the bug is ready the tonic is made, the bug added and then bottled and left to further ferment for a few days before drinking. Make sure you read the tips at the end of the recipe before you take on the project, as there are important notes on ingredients and equipment.
You will need:
- Fresh turmeric root (organic if possible)
- Fresh ginger root (organic if possible)
- Organic sugar – Rapadura or Panela
- Spring water
- Glass jar
Step 1. To make the ‘bug’:
To a jar add 1 Tbsp each of fresh grated Turmeric root, and Ginger root.
2 Tbsp spring water
Stir and cover with a muslin cloth or even paper towel to keep out dust and bugs and place out of direct sunlight.
Each day add an additional 1 Tbsp each of Turmeric and Ginger, 2 Tbsp of water and 1 Tbsp of sugar and give a stir once or twice a day. Once bubbles start to form a the surface the bug is ready to use. This will take usually between 3- 7 days. Temperature is usually the biggest factor in time to ferment with warmth speeding up the process. In winter you may need to keep in the hot water cupboard.
Once the bug is bubbling, you can prepare the tonic.
Step 2. To make the tonic (makes 1 litre, multiply as needed):
Add 1 litre of spring water, 1-2 Tbsp each of grated Turmeric and Ginger to a saucepan and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 Tulsi tea bags to the saucepan and leave to cool to room temperature.
Once cool add the juice of 2 lemons and either ¼ cup of sugar, or 1 scoop of Ecobloom. If you prefer a sweeter tonic, feel free to add more sugar as the yeast and bacteria will continue to feed off the sugar. Use Ecobloom if you prefer to avoid sugar.
Add ¼ cup of the ‘bug’ to the tonic and stir to combine.
Strain and bottle and leave at room temperature for about 3 days, then move to the refrigerator.
You can continue to use your bug, just replace the ¼ cup you used with ¼ cup of water and 2 Tbsp of sugar and continue to feed daily, or place in the fridge and feed weekly.
Notes and tips:
- Whenever possible use organic roots to make the tonic but if you can’t get organic, just peel the roots before grating. No need to peel if you’ve got organic roots.
- Turmeric may stain your skin and some surfaces yellow.
- Organic and unrefined sugar contains minerals that help feed the yeasts and bacteria and help produce a better ferment.
- Chlorine or fluoride can negatively affect your ferment so best to use spring or mineral water.
- Use nonreactive cookware and utensils to prepare and store fermented foods and drink. Stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and plastic are ok. Avoid aluminium, cast iron and copper. You can use wooden spoons, but they will stain yellow from the turmeric.
- Good glass flip-top bottles can be sourced from home brew suppliers and are superior quality.
- Temperature affects fermentation times, both of the bug, and the bottled tonic. In winter you may need to use the hot water cupboard, and in summer fermentation may happen very quickly.
- Fermentation will continue even when refrigerated, but just at a much slower rate.
- When bottled the tonic may carbonate and get fizzy. Glass bottles can explode so are best kept in a safe place away from areas where children are. You can wrap in a tea towel in the fridge if you have concerns, or ‘burp’ the bottle daily to release the gas. Refrigerate before opening, and open carefully over the sink in case of over fizzyness.
- Sometimes the bug doesn’t develop any bubbles. There can be many reasons for this. Non organic roots can affect fermentation or using roots stored in the fridge or freezer, water or sugar quality. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than expected, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen at all even when you did everything right. Yeasts and bacteria are funny critters and unpredictable and sometimes they just don’t show up to the party.
- Honey may be used instead of sugar, but due to the antibacterial properties in honey this can affect the ferment either inhibiting or slowing down the activity. Many people successfully use honey, so feel free to experiment.