Rejuvelac is a fermented drink, typically made from the liquid of sprouted wheat berries. Other grains can be used, including gluten-free grains like my favorite, quinoa.
This drink has only been around since the 80s, when a health enthusiast, Ann Wigmore, introduced it to the raw foodie world, but it certainly ranks up there with drinks like the age-old beet kvass or kombucha. Now I am not a fan of how it tastes, despite its "good for me" qualities. But I am a HUGE fan of how awesome it is at culturing cashews in order to make a soft "cheese" or even "sour cream." It's delicious on foods like breads made with our sourdough starters, or on a variety of taco salads or burritos.
The first time I heard of making these vegan cheeses was in Miyoko Schinner's book Artisan Vegan Cheese. You won't be sorry to have this book grace your collection, so go find it!
So let's talk about the basic recipe to first make rejuvelac as the drink. In another article we'll look at the basics for the cheesey stuff (but I encourage you to check out Schinner's book, as I can't divulge her recipe).
For glutinous grains: Soak 1 cup of grains ("berries") for 24 hours “ fill the jar about 2/3 full of water after the grains are in there. You can use a sprouting container, or just make sure the top of your jar is only covered with a cloth/rubber band, not a solid lid.
Drain the water, and rinse the grains two to three times a day until they sprout. You just need a tiny tail to sprout, not a long one!
Once sprouted, put them in a large jar that will accommodate the berries plus 4 cups of water. Again, cover with a cloth so it's breathable. You'll leave it for two to three days to ferment. When it is done, you'll see the liquid is cloudy and there will be bubbles (see the photo of all the bubbles I had with quinoa!). It will be sour tasting as well, and generally lasts about a week.
You can make more rejuvelac with the same berries immediately, but because they are already fermented, it should only take 1 day or so to make that batch.
For quinoa: Cover 1 cup of quinoa in a jar with water “ filling the jar to 2/3 full should be plenty. Let sprout 8-12 hours, until you see the tails on the tiny grains. If you don't see the tails, you might try moving it somewhere warmer, but you'll want to drain it and then add enough water to just moisten things. Try again for 8-12 hours.
Once you see it has sprouted, split the quinoa into half. Put each half into its own quart jar. Add 3 cups water per jar, and cover again with a cloth. Culture for 2 days in a warm spot (it's super helpful to be at least 70ºF). I had an extremely hard time this fall maintaining the temp, so I had to put it on top of my running dehydrator:
Just like the gluten counterpart, the liquid will be cloudy/bubbly/tangy. Strain the liquid off and you can drink it as isor save it for some vegan cheese. Either way, it will be good for you!
**Interesting to note, most recipes say rejuvelac lasts only a week, but Miyoko Schinner says it can last several weeks. With this last batch, I tried to use it after 2 weeks, and my sour cream had grey mold on top. Blech. I tossed that and the rejuvelac. It's better to just start over! But whatever you do, just smell and perhaps do a tiny taste test before fully consuming or using! It helps to label the jar with the date.
I always try to use up the grains when the fermenting is over. With quinoa I add a little less water than called for, and cook until it looks like it's done “ some days they look like loose grains, and other days it looks like mush. In either case, they are super tangy and tasty, and they end up in my reheated leftovers to give them some kick and life!