Fermented foods, Kefir grains, Kombucha tea
Fermented foods like Kefir homemade from Kefir grains is what this information will be sharing, as well as, Kombucha tea.
Kefir dates back many centuries to the shepherds of the Caucasus mountains. They discovered that fresh milk carried in leather pouches would occasionally ferment into an effervescent beverage. As well as produced in ancient times by nomadic shepherds in the Balkans, kefir was little known in the West for 1,900 years, despite being mentioned by Marco Polo. Then, by order of the Russian Czar, it was brought to Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century and became popular in many parts of Europe. The story of kefir is littered with distinction: a 2,000 year history, a mention by Marco Polo, and, in the 1980s, a symbolic gift exchanged between superpowers at the end of the cold war. This is the information I have found.
Milk kefir grains have been cultivated for hundreds if not thousands of years in the mountainous region of the Balkans, and the milk kefir recipe has been handed down for generations. Rich in beneficial bacteria, yeast and healthy acids, this tangy treat has been prized for its unique “feel good” qualities. “Keif,” the root of the word kefir means “to feel good” in Turkish and it is little wonder that these cauliflower shaped grains have been passed down from generation to generation.
We have come to learn in recent years, that in order to have a healthy brain, we most have a healthy gut! Besides the nutrients, science has come to learn about the microbiome, all of the bugs living in the gut. The microbiome is all our inhabitants, our silent passengers, the trillions of bacteria in the gut. They dictate a lot about our immunological system, our mental health and brain health. There’s a lot to do with the gut tied to how we feel, all those brain signals that are firing. Good moods, sharp thinking, lots of focus, lots of energy — that’s all this brain phenomena they have found that is tied to our gut health. Hence… Fermented foods are the key to helping our bodies create better physical and mental health.
Store bought milk kefir is full of sweeteners and thickening agents in order to create a uniform product, less diversity of microbial culture than homemade due to manufacturing limitations, so convenience comes at a cost plus commercially mass produced Kefirs and yogurts often have only around 10 healthy bacteria compared to homemade Kefir has 30-50 healthy bacteria. It is easy to make a fresh milk kefir with kefir grains.
Top benefits of Kefir I found intriguing:
- Reduces or eliminates allergies
- Reduces or eliminates asthma symptoms
- Replenishes the body with good bacteria after antibiotic use
- Heals eczema
- Contains high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics
- Promotes deep sleep
- Heals ulcers
- Heart Health prevents cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties means that it kills harmful organisms such as Salmonella as well as Candida albicans making it a good choice for those suffering from candida overgrowth.
What you need to make Kefir
Place new Kefir Grains into large jar and cover with 4-6 cups of Organic pasteurized milk. Cover with plastic lid without tightening it down, just place on top to allow to breath but keep from contamiditeds into Kefir. Keep out of direct sun light. Keep the temperature between 70-78 degrees. Let sit on the counter for 24 hours.
Correct kind of milk is important. From my research Organic milk without all the chemicals is important. In our area raw milk is not legal nor available. Don’t use Ultra Pasteurized due to most bacteria is dead. Pasteurized is okay. Be careful on this, due to the results will be different. Use Whole milk not low fat or non fat. I was getting a milk with the fat on top but it too was not getting me the correct results. So if you do purchase this type do not add the fat to the milk kefir grains.
Strain Kefir into large measuring cup with strainer on top to collect, using spoon to separate Kefir Grains from Curds. Pour fresh Kefir into 32oz jar and place the Kefir grains back into the 64oz jar to create more Kefir on the counter top while placing the fresh Kefir into the refrigerator. Don’t rinse the grains in water and make sure all tools are not contaminated from soap residue.
A second fermentation not only increases additional nutrietial value, it also adds flavor to the Kefir. There are countless fresh fruit to add to create wonderful flavors. Simply by peeling off fresh lemon or orange adds wonderful taste. Ginger to Strawberries or countless ideas. After you have separated the Kefir grains from the Kefir milk then create a second fermentation with the new Kefir milk by adding additional produce.
You can also create a sour cream to a cheese substance with the new Kefir you just created by adding a little slice of onion, garlic to the Kefir for a second fermentation until it separates creating whey, a clear yellowish fluid while the curds collect on top. Place either on the counter or in the frig for different affects. After it separates, pour into large measuring cup with mesh cloth strainer along with the plastic strainer, as shown to right photo, to sit in the refrigerator until whey has drained to bottom of cup with a heavy saucer onto to create pressure onto of the kefir to drain the whey off. Photo below is an example.
There is much information on how to create Kefir. I have found this website below to be the most helpful and informative. This is also where I purchase my Kefir Grains which were very healthy and successful in creating my Kefir.
Kombucha is a traditional fermented drink made of black tea and sugar. I use Oolong Organic Tea along with plain organic sugar. It contains a variety of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and has been prized by traditional cultures for its health-promoting properties.
More specifically, Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented with a scoby (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to become a nutrient-rich beverage. The fermentation process takes 7-12 days depending on temperature and the strength of the Scoby. The scoby consumes over 90% of the sugar during fermentation, resulting in a low-sugar finished product. This process is similar to what would happen in sourdough bread or milk/water kefir. A second scoby will grow in the next 10 days which is normal. The original scoby may or may not float and may stay at the bottom which is okay as well. Eventually, you may either thin out the scoby’s by composting them or place in plants which the plants love.
Harvest the tea depends on temperature. 4-6 days is too sweet. 7-9 day tastes like sparkling apple cider. 10+ days is too vinegar. The ideal time is between 7-10 days. If too long then there is less sugar and will not be ideal for Second Fermentation which you do after the harvest.
Here’s how…Use glass containers that will not break under pressure. Personally I had some old glass bottles I have kept. I like the glass size of store bought Kombucha bottles. Use only a plastic funnel to pour into bottles. Add about 1-2 ounces of fruit to each bottle. You can peel some fruit to add to the bottles and or chunks of fruit. My favorite is ginger and grapefruit. But there is endless choices. Store in a dark but ventilated area along with your next batch of Kombucha for 1 to 3 weeks. Check after each week to see if your Kombucha bottles are bubbly. If not, let it ferment longer. Then place your bottles in the fridge to enjoy. Be careful when opening bottles and check often to make sure there is not too much pressure
I love the taste hopefully you will as too.
Once a very obscure drink, Kombucha is now a popular beverage that is available at most health food stores and many local grocery stores.
The SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the collection of microbes responsible for turning sweet tea into a probiotic beverage. Essentially, it is a living colony of beneficial organisms that turn sugar into healthful acids and probiotics.
SCOBYs are often called “Mushrooms” and are the reason Kombucha is sometimes called “Mushroom Tea.” On a practical level, a SCOBY is an unattractive rubbery disc that covers the surface of the brewing liquid to seal it off from the air. This allows fermentation to happen in an anaerobic (air free) environment.
You may also hear a SCOBY called “The Mother” as it is the parent culture that creates the tea. During the brewing process, the SCOBY also often creates a “baby” or secondary culture on top of itself, which can then be used to brew other batches.
If properly taken care of, a SCOBY can last for many years. In fact, I know a couple of families that have generations-old strains of SCOBYs that have made many babies over the years.
This fermented beverage contains beneficial probiotics and acids. One cup does contain about seven grams of carbohydrates and about 20% of the daily value of B-Vitamins, according to the label of the popular GT brand. Eight ounces also provides:
- Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086: 1 billion organisms
- S. Boulardii: 1 billion organisms
- EGCG 100mg
- Glucuronic Acid 10mg
- L(+) Lactic Acid 25mg
- Acetic Acid 30 mg
Kombucha Benefits and Probiotics
This ancient health tonic is attributed with several health benefits. The nutrients it contains are wonderful at supporting the body in various ways, here are a few:
- Liver detoxification
- Improved pancreas function
- Increased energy
- Better digestion
- Improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
- Reducing Candida (yeast)
- Helps nutrient assimilation
- May be beneficial for weight loss
These benefits could be partially due to the concentration of beneficial enzymes and acids present in kombucha, including Gluconacetobacter, Lactobacillus and Zygosaccharomyces.