What kind of insane person even RECOMMENDS doing so?
Stand back, I’m in no mood to be tactful today. If you can’t take it, you might want to stop reading this now.
If a person claiming to be a nutritional expert came to you and told you that beer was good for your children, and wine would help them be healthier, and that you should just dilute your beer by half with juice, and give that to your children, would you do it?
Authors of fermentation information across the US seem to think that this is not just acceptable, but somehow GOOD. An article on the WAPF site dismisses all concerns about alcohol, and publishes numbers for alcoholic content which cannot be verified by any source which has actually tested the content (sources which have tested them have found them to be VERY much higher – and don’t quote me that sad excuse for science by Kelly the Kitchen Kop either, because she HEATED the liquid before she tested it, completely invalidating her results since alcohol evaporates RAPIDLY when heated and does not need to even boil to evaporate).
After condemning the evils of sugar, the authors recommend alcoholic beverages as a safe and healthy alternative! Am I the only person out there who is flat out appalled and shocked by this? I am so shocked by this that no matter how many times I see it the shock value never diminishes! They would risk addicting their children to alcohol, damaging their brains, livers, digestive systems and immune systems far more than sugar ever did, and they would risk burdening their babies with Fetal Alcohol Effect or Syndrome, or with neural tube defects (which are affected by alcohol – including anencephaly which is a fatal condition), because they also advocate usage by pregnant women!
These articles recommend giving children (and pregnant women) kombucha, water kefir, beet kvass, fermented sodas (with sugars in them), fermented fruit juices, fermented fruits, and other beverages and foods which are KNOWN (and have been known through history) to produce intoxicating levels of alcohol.
NOTE: I am NOT citing sources for percentages on these. This information is SO EASY to find, by a simple Google search, that there is NO REASON for me to cite sources, and I do NOT want you to take my word for it or trust my sources. I want you to FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF. Go check my facts (don’t use fact checker websites, they are not accurate – just do a Google search for alcohol content of whatever).
Now… why do I compare those with beer?
1. The level of alcohol which is determined to be “potentially intoxicating”. The US government regulates all foods with an alcohol content of over .5%. This is the level they have determined is sufficient to intoxicate if sufficient amount is consumed, and which is of an amount that you CAN consume enough to intoxicate. For children, the amounts required to intoxicate are far lower. Beverages with less are not considered to be alcoholic.
Remember that the majority of kombucha brands were pulled from the shelves of stores (in 2010) because levels of alcohol were too high to be sold except as alcoholic beverages? Recipes were then changed, with bacteria added, fermentation strictly limited (second ferments no longer done), and carbon dioxide added for fizz (since natural fizz is the result of much higher alcohol levels). Levels tested up to 3% alcohol. That is equivalent of light beer (most beers are 5%, stout beer can be as high as 8% – the WAPF article lists beer as 8% but this is completely inaccurate since beer ranges from 3-8%).
Home fermented sodas, including root beer, ginger ale, and others, have an alcohol content that can range from just under .5% (generally no fizz under that level) to as high as 11% alcohol, depending on how long it is fermented prior to bottling, exact temperatures of the room prior to bottling, exact amounts of sugar and other ingredients, the amount of time it stays in the bottle, the temperature the bottles are stored in, the amount of headspace in the bottle, whether the ferment is open or closed and WHEN it is open or closed, etc. There are SO MANY variables that you CANNOT follow a recipe and say, “Oh, they said it will not be alcoholic.” and know this is true! It is far MORE likely to be alcoholic than not!
NOTE: Some say that fermenting in a closed (airlock) container limits alcohol content. Not true. If you ferment during the first TWO WEEKS in a closed container, the alcohol content will be SLIGHTLY LOWER at the end of those two weeks. If you KEEP it in the closed container, the alcohol continues to concentrate. An OPEN ferment to start will build alcohol slightly faster, but then will evaporate it faster, and convert it to acetic acid (which does not happen in a closed ferment). Hence, brewers OPEN ferment for the initial phase, then CLOSE ferment to concentrate the alcohol. The opposite process will REDUCE the alcohol SOME, but will NOT eliminate the risks, and won’t provide ANY assurance that your sugary ferments are not alcoholic.
If you ferment sugars, which includes ANY kind of carbohydrate based sweetener, or starchy vegetable or grain, it WILL create alcohol.
Whey INCREASES alcohol content, it does NOT decrease it.
Salt does NOT reduce alcohol content, it only affects flavor and rapidity of acid creation.
Water kefir and fermented juices are in the same category, having similar sugar amounts. In fact, the water kefir we experimented with smelled so strongly alcoholic that we could not even taste test it, and we followed the instructions on the amount of molasses and sugar to add (and sugar, molasses, honey, fructose, and any other carbohydrate based sweetener that WILL ferment will create alcohol!).
Beet kvass is known to have an alcohol content over the legal limit of .5%, and is only listed as a non-alcoholic drink in a few countries which have much higher legal limits for classification of alcoholic beverages. It is usually between .5% and 1% WHEN MADE IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT, and is usually higher when homebrewed, depending on same factors as other alcoholic ferments.
So, we are dealing with KNOWN higher amounts, in combination with an UNKNOWN process in your home which in most circumstances WILL result in an alcoholic content that is high enough to present real concerns.
2. The degree to which they advocate diluting them, and the strength at which they are using them.
If you have kombucha that is 2% alcohol, and you dilute it 50%, then you are not far off from giving your child beer diluted 75%. Would you do it?
If you have soda that ends up on the high end of the alcohol content scale, and you dilute it 50%, then you are still giving them the equivalent of beer, or light beer. Would you do it?
And since sodas are usually NOT diluted, nor are fermented fruit juices, or fermented fruit sauces, these things may have very high alcohol content, and are not any different than giving your children beer or wine.
The biggest issue here is the fact that YOU DON’T KNOW. Are you just ok with giving a child, whose brain is still developing, a beverage which has a high probability of having sufficient alcohol to affect brain development?
Roll the dice. Pick a drink off the shelves of a store blindfolded, not knowing whether it is juice, water, beer, or wine. Give it to your kids! There is no difference!
Yes, Child Protective Services WILL consider these things to be alcoholic. Yes, they WILL treat you the same as if you have given your children beer or wine. Yes, you CAN lose your children because of these things. And NO, this is NOT a reason for the entire fermentation world to let out a collective cry for secrecy! This is a reason to STOP GIVING CHILDREN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, whether made at home or not!
But that isn’t really the point. The point is that research on alcohol and developing bodies and brains is well established, and it is illegal to give your children these things because our society knows and recognizes the harm that it causes. What caring parent would casually dismiss this and brush it off as being of no concern, simply because they learned how to make a neat new thing that they think tastes pretty good? Pride in making such a thing, or even a belief that it might be helpful to an adult body (evidence suggests otherwise, but whatever) is NO reason to dismiss the danger to children from these beverages and foods.
Is that such a difficult thing? Is that such a difficult truth to accept?
Root beer and ginger ale are no longer fermented in the US. They are made by adding carbon dioxide as other sodas are made. They are specifically made that way because it is too difficult to develop sufficient carbonation while keeping it under the legal limit for regulation as an alcoholic beverage.
Honestly, what makes people think they can do so at home without accurate equipment, better than commercial companies who control every single aspect of the ferment? A home brewer CAN’T control every single aspect – they do not ferment their foods in temperature controlled rooms with exact measurements along the way to verify accuracy!
I am beyond disgusted with those who promote this. I can understand those who have been deceived continuing to do so because they have been assured by a source they trust that it will cause no harm. But SHAME on those sources! SHAME on those people who continue to claim that these things are safe or beneficial for children or pregnant women!
We SHOULD be outraged! We should, as a community of people dedicated to health, be disgusted and NOT TOLERATE people who make these claims! We should as a group, demand that they STOP IT. That they can risk their own children’s health, safety, and custody if they choose, but they have NO RIGHT to tell other people that they are in no danger if they do the same!
I have no patience with it anymore.
The ORIGINAL one-way valve fermenting airlock! Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and we have noticed that our product has been copied by other sellers of fermenting products. Remember, if you see someone else selling a one-way valve airlock for fermenting, THEY copied US, not the other way around! Fermenta Lock is still the only original invention, handmade in the US. If it isn't orange, it isn't the original!
We invented Fermenta Lock, Fermenta Free, and the valve used for Fermenta Fido and other Fermenta Airlock products. We invented Fermenta Dunk Extender. Patents are prohibitively expensive, and designed by the government not to protect the rights of individuals, but to provide another source of revenue and control for the government and lawyers. We are good at what we do. We have endless ideas and endless creativity, and competition does not scare us. Impatient thieves do not scare us - they are too busy taking shortcuts to make a success of it anyway, and they won't want to take the effort to actually MAKE a product and fill orders.
So if you want to copy our idea, go right ahead. If you want to market and sell a competing product, you are welcome to do so, as long as you do not patent our idea - we had it first, and our posts on FaceBook announcing the invention and launch of it will prove that. This idea is officially in the public domain, placed there by us. We will NOT release supply sources, or part names unless you want to buy them - we'll be happy to sell you an instruction kit. If you buy our product, or look at the images and figure it out for yourself, good on you. Compete with us if you like, just don't screw us, and we'll get along just fine. Big companies who might want to screw us may have more money, and more lawyers than we do, but we have more to gain by suing the pants off a big company, and believe me, we will be well motivated to do so if anyone patents our idea and claims it as their own - this is a free idea. Everybody now owns it.
Published June 23, 2012
Wholesale, Export, and Manufacture of this product by other companies is an option. International distributorships are available for those wishing to export. Please email us to inquire about access to our wholesale website, or in regards to manufacturing any of our products.
Business Building Services Are Available - If you are wanting to build a business like this, where you make things in the home and sell them direct to the customer, or if you want to build a business that you can sell to other people as a complete business package, Firelight Heritage Farm is now offering Cottage Industry Services to aid small business owners in building a successful product or service business from the home. Don't know what you want to do? We can help you figure that out too (something original, and just yours, not a canned business). You get the wisdom and uniquely successful perspective and experience of people who have been business, marketing, and website professionals for more than a dozen years. For more information, visit CottageIndustrialRevolution.com. Why copy someone else's business when you can do something uniquely you and enjoy it so much more?