Tibicos. I still love it. I wrote a blog several months ago that basically said just that and then referred readers to a friend's site to learn how to best make it...best in my opinion, anyway.
Tibicos is a fancy way of saying water kefir, and while many have heard of dairy kefir, maybe have even spotted it in the stores by now, (inferior to home-created, by the way), water kefir...tibicos...has eluded many.
No, it's not as popular. But it really should be. It has detox benefits like kombucha, and gut-building enzymes like dairy kefir. It is effervescent against the tongue and roof of the mouth, and tastes delightful, with as many varieties of tastes as there are fruits...Or only 'brew' it once and add a few dashes of vanilla for a cream soda kind of taste. (Honestly, I have to say here that I much prefer it double-brewed with the second brew adding the organic juice.)
Another great reason to try it is for the aid it can give to those attempting to leave the world of soda behind. There is a theory floating around that seems to make a lot of sense. It states that the reason we love effervescence is because man has always known, it seems instinctively, that lacto-fermented foods are good for us. Lacto-fermented foods generally have some effervescence, which like the carbonation of sodas, can be felt in the mouth as tiny bubbles. The healthy, non-industrialized cultures of the world studied by Weston A. Price have all had some type of lacto-fermented foods eaten as a staple in their diet. In some cultures, it was kombucha, in others, tibicos, beet kvass, dairy kefir, vegetables...and the list goes on. These peoples had no idea what it was within the foods they were eating that made them good for their health, but somehow, they knew their bodies needed what these foods had to offer.
Did they instinctively know that when that little fizz was found within their food or beverage, it was a good thing? We can't know for sure, but it is at least a little remarkable that today, carbonation imitates the feel of lacto-fermented foods. But we need to bear in mind that just because it imitates does not mean it's good. Many believe carbonated beverages, in fact, contribute to bladder cancer.
Since the last time I wrote about tibicos, I have learned another little trick, again, from my friend, Thia. In specialty grocers, you can find bottles of lemonade that have stoppers in them...more than simple corks, these lids have metal bars that when closed properly, really do the job of keeping out the air. Purchased individually in the stores, they need not be bought in bulk online, and without the cost of shipping, they are less expensive than what you can buy on line. You can drink the beverage if you like, or like my friend, pour it down the sink drain...I guess it depends on your taste and convictions about what you consume. There are also some liquor bottles that have this type of air-tight clasp and if you don't partake yourself, you can always let others who do know that you would like their empty bottles. We acquired one bottle and I can hardly wait to get more now that we have experienced the results. It seems the tibicos doesn't continue to ferment as quickly, so it keeps longer at the level you want it, without turning alcoholic or vinegary. And it never loses it's fizz!
A few reminders for a better 'brew':
Be sure to use muscovado sugar. Use organic juice for the second ferment if at all possible. If you want the full effects of a detoxifying beverage, don't include toxic, pesticide-ridden ingredients!
Taste the ferment each day to be sure it's at the sweetness level you like. You may want to start off by not fermenting as long because the sugar is eaten up by the tibicos as it ferments. Even though this is part of the goal, children in particular may need it a bit sweeter at first. Don't try to 'cold turkey' them off sugar, wean them. Tibicos is the perfect aid for this as you adjust the sweetness level just by how long it's allowed to ferment.
Most who can't tolerate the unique taste of kombucha or have a dairy intolerance, find they are happy with tibicos. And remember, the tibicos grains reproduce rapidly, so the cost of your 'proby soda' is far less than you would pay in stores for kombucha or dairy kefir! (I don't think anyone's commercially bottled water kefir yet...There's an idea for some of you entrepreneurs!)
Okay, for those of you who weren't here before, or just want a refresher course, go over to my friend's page, "Easy Raw", to learn how to make your own refreshing, probiotic tibicos beverage, suitable for the taste buds of children...And don't forget to come back and see what else I have to share every now and again!