Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kefir, Kombucha, and Sprouts

Fermentation. Food preservation and enhancement in one all thanks to some friendly little microbes. I plan to try (again) to ferment cabbage into raw saurkraut and to ferment other vegetables as well. My only success with fermentation thus far has been with the making of kefir and kombucha. Kefir is a "drinkable yogurt" or fermented milk drink. It is fermented by little colonies of bacteria and yeasts called grains. Since fermentation takes place in a jar with a lid on it, kefir is bubbly. It is also a bit tart but quite tasty. I was able to find a source of raw goat's milk so that is what I am using for my kefir. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage fermented by a "mushroom" or "SCOBY" (scoby=Symbiotic Colony of Beneficial Bacteria and Yeasts). The SCOBY is an off-white somewhat slimy-looking mat of microbes. The resultant beverage is bubbly, tart, sweet, and has a....relaxing effect...on the mind.

Why bother to make kefir and kombucha? Well, for one, they are an excellent source of probiotics at a much cheaper price than a bottle of probiotic pills at the health food store. Second, it is cheaper than buying the beverages at the co-op. And, three, it's fun to joke about making my "home brew"--makes me feel a connection to my moonshiner ancestors! Raw saurkraut and fermented pickles are also excellent sources of probiotics and other health promoting elements that you won't find in store bought "kraut" or "pickles". Keep reading this blog for tales of the science experiments taking place in my kitchen!

(Oh, and I have a bottle of spiced cider waiting for my next batch of kombucha to complete. When the first ferment is done, I will decant, add the cider, and wait another 3 days. The result will be oh so goooooddd!)

The other happening in the kitchen today was a review of the sprouting seeds I have in a drawer. It's time to start sprouting again and I hope my seeds are still good. Soaking in sparate jars at the moment are: cabbage/broccoli, Hot2 (a diakon radish/hot mustard mix from, French garden (another mix from sproutpeople), and buckwheat. My son BJ is going to clear me a space on the back porch tomorrow to put a few trays for growing microgreens. Between what we get out of our garden and what I sprout, we should eat very well and very healthy.

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