This week was our first and only grandchild’s numero uno birthday. Odin has officially turned one and this Nonna is one proud grandmother. His mom and dad held a party to celebrate their little miracle and Nonna and Grandpa were there with bells on.
This week, Nonna even got to enjoy her first sleepover with Odin which was, well, interesting. A bit sleepless perhaps but still I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything. He slept perfectly, I was up every hour looking at him, rubbing his back and, I guess, hoping he would wake up so I could put him in bed with me. Oh well, I could wax on and on and will spare you.
Last in the series of cultured foods
Last week I shared my latest trick for making your own SCOBY and smaller batches of kombucha when there is only one person drinking it in the house. This week as promised my latest tips for adding variety to your kefir making process.
I have blogged about kefir before and even my latest half milk, half coconut milk, so I can be fairly succinct with today’s hint but for anyone who wants the basics check out this site. Dom’s site has so many useful hints for beginners and I used it as a source of reference for years.
First, why make kefir?
Kefir, especially kefir made with raw milk, is extremely healing to a damaged gut. Many people have healed serious illnesses with raw milk, be it goat milk or dairy milk, but by culturing it you add powerful probiotics and even more vitamins to the remedy.
After brewing your kefir you will have a powerhouse for healing in your hands, so treat it with the reverence it deserves. If you aren’t dealing with any illness just know that kefir will enable you to stay that way, healthy. Now on to my latest findings.
Houston, we have lift-off
This was the most astounding discovery I have made thus far. I don’t need to add dairy milk to a batch of kefir and the resulting kefir is like the creamiest tastiest yogurt you can buy. In the past I thought the grains needed some goat or cow milk in every batch and not wanting to lose my precious grains I dutifully added milk to every batch.
Then my daughter and I recently split a case of coconut cream and each packet is about 8 ounces. A light bulb went on in my head when I saw the smaller amount of cream, so I fished one kefir grain out of my latest batch and added it to a small canning jar nearly full of coconut cream.
I always keep my fermenting kefir in the warmer microwave, so I popped it in the fermenting chamber and closed the door. The next day I checked and when I opened the screw-off top I got that lovely hiss that indicates things are moving right along. “Houston, we have lift-off”.
Now what do you do?
Two days after setting it in the fermenting chamber it had separated in to thick cream on top and whey on the bottom, so I knew that was as far as I wanted to go. I stirred the two together and refrigerated it, using it as you would soured cream or just for a teaspoon of creamy yogurt.
If you wanted a flavored coconut kefir when you reach this stage you could remove the kefir grain and put it back in milk. Then thinly peel a lemon or orange and put one of two thin strips of zest in the jar. Place the jar back in the chamber, or any warm place, and let it double ferment for a day or two. This step adds a really nice citrus smell more than flavor but again, it adds variety.
Want one more tip?
Okay just one more spicy detail (not really just another thing you can do). I also recently got a case of coconut water at Amazon.com. It had a limited expiration and I think they were selling it for less for that reason because the price increased later.
I love coconut water kefir but I really don’t want to buy water kefir grains. I have a few extra kefir grains at all times, so I share them when friends need them or I can experiment with them and that is what I did. I poured the coconut water in to an 8 ounce jar and put one grain in the jar.
The jar went you know where and I left it for one day. The next day when I opened the jar there was that lovely hiss of fermentation, so I left it one more day and at that point it was coconut water kefir perfection, fizzy and slightly tart.
I did try one more jar but milk kefir grains need milk and they will stop growing thus rendering them useless after you leave them out of milk for too long. The second jar did ferment nicely but the grains turned brown and they went in the compost where they can continue to work their magic.
In looking at Dom’s site again (that site is fabulous, it really is) I noticed something really interesting. He states that you can make coconut milk or cream kefir by inoculating 2 cups of coconut milk with 1/4 cup of already made kefir and then let it “cook” for two days at room temperature.
After reading that little ditty I tried it with my coconut cream. I dumped the “cream” in a quart jar and added 1/4 cup of already made kefir and put it in the “chamber”. The next day I checked it and it was already tangy and slightly fizzy. I used that batch for some kefir “ice-cream”.
If you have more questions or just want more of my personal experience with this detail, or that, feel free to comment. I will try and answer or help you solve any issues you have with culturing food in the cheapest and healthiest way possible. I do also discuss culturing foods on Facebook on my Kris Insight group, so feel free to join me there.