Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fermenting Vegetables & Fruits with Water Kefir

Water kefir grains that have been dyed red from beets.
  I've been making water kefir for a few months now. It's a non-dairy and inexpensive way of getting some beneficial bacteria. I got my live "grains" from http://www.waterkefirgrains.com/, and they've been great. The grains double with every 48 hour ferment. They are alive and require a certain amount of care. They are effected by temperature, food, and water quality.

  At first I fed the grains sucanat but then switched over to maple syrup and used yacon syrup to supplement. They love yacon syrup and palm sugar. I have also fermented store bought coconut water. When I'm not making water kefir, I store the grains in chlorine-free, flouride-free water in glass jars in the fridge. I have started to ferment vegetables using water kefir grains and am pleased with the results.

Beets and muscadine grapes.
  I enjoy fermenting vegetables and fruits with water kefir grains. It allows me to cut the amount of salt usually associated with fermented and pickled foods. The fermented food is ready in 2 days. I've been fermenting beets, which I love! I start with raw beets and end up with tasty, crisp, slightly tangy beets and probiotic beet juice.

  My last fermentation consisted of 2 raw beets cut up, 1 cup muscadine grapes, halved and pitted, 6 tbsp. water kefir grains, 2 & 1/2 tbsp Sweet Tree Coconut Palm Sugar with a hint of Balinese sea salt, and enough chlorine-free, flouride-free water to fill my 64oz. Now Foods Sprouting Jar within an inch of the top. I use a closed lid from a 26oz. Mahatma Almond Butter jar which fits well. I let the jar sit in a warm(75F-98F), relatively dark area of the house for 2 days. 

  When it's done fermenting, the water kefir grains will have settled to the bottom, and the vegetables and fruit will be on top. I scoop the fermented food into separate smaller jars. Then I screw the mesh screen lid onto the Now Foods Sprouting jar and pour the fermented juice into the small jars along with the fermented food. I put the jars in the fridge. I usually eat all of it within a day or two, so I don't know how long it lasts in the fridge. Then I rinse and strain the grains a few times with chlorine-free, flouride-free water. I do food fermentation with excess grains, and always keep backup grains in the fridge.
... breakfast




  

5 comments:

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  2. Have you ever made it with milk?
    I double fermented something I thought was kefir but ended up being yogurt (I used chilling cold commercial kefir, so the result was yogurt or sour milk rather than kefir) and it was good tasting and thick.

    Now I tried it with real milk kefir (with the grains) and added strawberries. After the third day (I read you can fermente it about five days) I tasted it and it's AWFUL!

    I'm sure I read the double fermentation can be made with strawberries, but I wonder whether I confused water with milk.

    Is that awful tasting (not bad smelling) edible?

    Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. The secondary fermentation is for water kefir. As far as I am aware it's not something you do with milk kefir.

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  3. I wouldn't ferment fruits in milk kefir. I would make milk kefir first, then add pureed fruits and refrigerate.
    As a rule, I won't eat anything that looks and/or smells like garbage. My thoughts are, it either is garbage or it's something that wouldn't agree with my digestive system.
    If you're starting off with milk kefir, I'd keep the ferment at about 24 hours.

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  4. Noo, my grains would eat the whole bottle in 12hs.
    The grains grew from 1 flat tbsp to about 3 full tbsp.
    I couldn't let it 24hs. Although now I found out a way to prevent it to overcultivate: I keep the thick milk it made around the grains while in the fridge, and it ends up thick as yogurt. It may be though, but it's same delicious. I used to throw away some whey anyway, because it was too difficult for me to "catch" it at the right time, or if it was fine, as soon as I moved it, it separated anyway.

    The strawberries with milk kefir doesn't smell or taste bad for some. It's just me that I don't like beer and other sour flavors, but it's like strawberry cider. Sec cider. If it was sweet as commercial strawberry cider I'd probably like it.

    Certainly drink-able for a strong beer lover.

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Organic Grain-free Vegan by Jennifer Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.