When my grandmother first told me about fermenting coconut water, I wasn’t very convinced despite my intrigue. The word ‘ferment’ brought to my mind images of yeast and bacteria, which didn’t seem so pretty at the time. A combination of my curiosity and love for all things bizarre led me to the great master of the World Wide Web where I specifically typed “Does fermented coconut water give you skin like a Korean woman?” My undying obsession with the continuous quest for ‘poreless-pimpleless-wrinkless-as soft as a baby’s bottom’ type of skin, has made me realize, over the years, that the closest thing to perfect skin is either my dog’s ear or a Korean woman’s face.
Since it would probably be strange to ask Google to tell me whether the secret behind the softness of a dog’s ear is fermented coconut water, I decided to do the normal thing and ask if all Korean women are in an affair with yeast and coconuts. You might kiss and tell when you are drinking, but nobody drinks and tells without some cajoling, not even Google. So after my various tries of persuading the omniscient master, he discreetly led me to the entrance of The House of Healthy Gut. Of course I was confused because I thought I was going to be handed over the keys to the land of great skin and instead I had to go through bureaucracy! Fortunately for me, the trip from healthy gut to glowing skin involved lesser red-tapism than my local Regional Transport Office. Very soon I had all the answers to the question I had raised upon my grandmother’s advice.
Yes, Korean Women are in an affair with fermented products, but they do a lot more than romancing good bacteria to get skin like theirs (they are known to flirt with a 12 step skincare routine- more on this on a later post). Fermented foods are high in natural probiotics, which increases the number of good bacteria in our gut, which in turn aids digestion and boosts our immune systems. This means that our bodies will perform better by normalizing our excretion process, fighting off anti-nutrients and improving the overall health of our systems. When all our bodily functions are in balance, our skin automatically improves, as it is sent the right nutrients to heal itself and our harmonious minds send love to catalyze the process. Koreans ferment raw ingredients with yeast and/or bacteria to produce a myriad of gut-friendly foods such as Kimchi, but the process of fermentation when applied to coconut water conjures up a lovely treat that your dehydrated-fatigued-electrolyte craving body shall thank you for.
To begin the journey to becoming Miranda Kerr’s and Rain’s (K-pop singer and actor Jung Ji-Hoon) love child, start by leaving your fresh coconut water in a vessel over night in a temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius, and do nothing. Go about your usual activity, sleep or watch the entire season 2 of Orange Is The New Black, and wake up to a slightly grey’ishly translucent liquid with a little bit of foam on the top. Transfer the vessel to your refrigerator if you prefer to have your drink chilled, or if you are a curious case then gulp away.
Note: I prefer to ferment fresh coconut water, but if the packaged ones are more accessible to you then make sure it does not contain any additives, sugar or ascorbic acid. I leave the coconut water to ferment as is, as I currently live in Chennai where I am blessed with right fermentation room temperature. Once foam appears on the top of the coconut water, you will know that the fermentation process is complete. The fermented coconut water will taste slightly acidic. I recommend you drink 1-2 glasses a day.
If you do pamper your gut with this beauty elixir, please do comment and let us know whether you are in the love child pool.– Photographs taken by the extremely talented and patient Nithin Barath