Milk Kefir Grains Fermented Garlic

I usually do my lacto fermented veggies using whey off my kefir or plain yogurt but while I was stumbling around the world wide web I found this website called “The Crunchy Moose” that had a recipe for fermenting using Milk Kefir Grains, I saw a recipe for fermented garlic and thought what a brilliant idea, adding the health benefits of beneficial bacteria to a super food. WIN WIN…This is the website link to that recipe. http://thecrunchymoose.com/ferment-garlic-using-kefir-grains/. THANK YOU “The Crunchy Moose”

 

Fermented Garlic
Fermented Garlic

Milk Kefir Grains Fermented Garlic

Ingredients:

Enough peeled garlic cloves to nearly fill a pint jar

non-chlorinated water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Milk Kefir Grains (rinsed)

 

Preparation:

AS WITH ANY FERMENTATION PROCESS, CLEANLINESS CAN’T BE EMPHASIZED ENOUGH. KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU ARE CULTURING BACTERIA AND YEAST AND IT IS JUST AS EASY TO GROW HARMFUL BACTERIA AND YEAST AS IT IS GOOD.

Add the salt, milk kefir grains a some of the water to the jar and mix with a non-metal spoon. Add the peeled garlic cloves and top with water until 1 ½ inches above garlic. Weight garlic cloves down to keep submerged below brine. I use a plastic cottage cheese lid cut in a circle to the circumference of the inside of the jar. Put on a loose fitting non-metal lid (gas will form so it needs to escape). I prefer to retrofit plastic mason jar lids with holes and rubber grommets so that I can use a fermentation air-lock. Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight until it reached the desired fermentation. Put in the refrigerator to stall the fermentation process when it is as fermented as you desire.  This is my first batch and I will be trying to reuse my grains in another batch of garlic. I never really have a shortage of grains as they multiply in my milk kefir pretty quickly. I’ll post the results in updates to this blog post.

Grains Fermented Garlic
Fermented Garlic

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

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JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

This wonderfully light, crisp, effervescent beverage has many health benefits, delicious and easy to make. I was recently on a long and strong course of chemotherapy and it did a lot of damage to my immune system and many other areas while it was eradicating any remaining trace cancer cells and I suspended my use of this powerfully beneficial beverage. Now that my treatment has ended I’ve resumed drinking JUN and feel much healthier and more energetic. I suppose it’s because it’s a simple drink made from simple ingredients that’s simply wonderful! Here’s how you can make your own.

Note: Unpasteurized JUN or Kombucha will continue to develop a new baby SCOBY so if you are squeamish about them floating in your brew just pour thru a nylon or high quality stainless steel tea strainer into your glass and put what it catches into your compost.

You can get a JUN SCOBY here or you can get a daughter from a fellow brewer. I use a 1 gallon glass jar as my fermenting vessel and a coffee filter to cover the top securing it with a rubber band or breathable cap.

 

JUN TEA

Ingredients:

3 ½ Quarts of non-chlorinated water

8 organic Green Tea Bags

¾ Cup Raw Honey (I use clover due to tree allergies)

1 JUN SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast)

2 Cups of previously brewed JUN that your SCOBY was stored in

(this is known as a SCOBY Hotel)

Jun Ingredients
Jun Ingredients

Directions:

In a large pan bring to a boil 3 ½ quarts of non-chlorinated water. Add 8 organic green tea bags and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and cool to 117 degrees. Remove tea bags and add ¾ cup of raw honey and stir until completely dissolved. Continue to cool until it’s room temperature then pour it into your fermenting vessel. Add 2 cups of previously fermented JUN from your SCOBY hotel and your SCOBY. Cover with the coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or breathable cap. Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight for 6 – 8 days. It will grow a daughter SCOBY on top. (This can be used to brew your next batch of JUN). Remove the mother and daughter SCOBY and 2 cups of brewed JUN and put them back in your SCOBY hotel and refrigerate until your next brew date. You can strain and bottle at this point or add flavorings like fruit or ginger root if you prefer. If you add flavorings put them in with the JUN and cover with coffee filter for a couple of extra days then strain and bottle. If you store the bottles in the fridge right away it will not become effervescent. I leave my bottled brew on the counter for 2 – 3 days before I refrigerate so that it has some carbonation.

Brewing Tea
Brewing Tea
SCOBY Hotel
SCOBY Hotel

 

Fermenting the JUN
Fermenting the JUN

 

Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

Where’s The Sours?

Fermenting Banana Peppers
Fermenting Banana Peppers

Long ago people used to have fermented food with every meal to aid in digestion. I remember having some of my much older relatives over for dinner and forgetting to serve some fermented food as one of the courses and inevitably one of them would pipe up and ask “Where’s the sours”? meaning the probiotic rich fermented food or condiment that would help their digestion and of course that “other” later part of digestion! Probiotics are not a new discovery, they’ve been a part of healthy eating since the beginning of time. We are now rediscovering what a huge benefit they are. I’m fortunate that I had family to teach me how to culture this type of food and how really easy it is. I like a little heat and zing so here is my recipe for Fermented Hot Banana Peppers but you can do the same with regular banana peppers or jalapenos or whatever your preference is. Fresh organic produce, cleanliness and patience are the 3 keys factors in successful fermentation. Produce that has been treated to have a “stay fresh” appearance in the produce section of the supermarkets do not ferment as well. This is the same reasoning behind using non-chlorinated water and unbleached flour. Chlorine kills the process because it kills yeasts, molds and bacteria, good and bad!

Fermented Banana Peppers - Finishe Product
Fermented Banana Peppers – Finished Product

Fermented Hungarian Hot Wax (Banana ) Peppers

 

4-5 large ripe Hungarian Hot Was Banana Peppers (about a pound) sliced into desired size.

½ small onion peeled and sliced thin

2 cloves garlic peeled and halved

1 small jalapeno sliced (optional)

1 Tablespoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon of whey from kefir or plain yogurt or sour cream

(This is the clear liquid that separated from the milk product. Pour it off into a small jar and save it in your fridge. This will be your “good bacteria” boost)

Non-Chlorinated water

Fermenting Accessories
Fermenting Accessories

You will need something to cover the top of the peppers to submerge them under the brine. I use Grape Leaves since I have grape vines and they are accessible. They also help keep pickles and peppers crisp. But you could also use carrots slices cut lengthwise the width of your jar and a weight to keep the peppers under the brine.

Make sure all your hands, produce, utensils and jars and surfaces are clean.

Dissolve the salt in some of the water

Layer in your jar, sliced onion, sliced jalapeno (if used), halved garlic cloves. Fill Jar to the “shoulder” with sliced banana peppers (allow room at the top so that there can be at least a ½ inch of brine over the peppers).

Add Whey and water with dissolved salt. Fill with water to I inch from top of jar. Insert whatever you are using to submerge your peppers (these Fermenta Dunk Extenders are really nice and no fuss for keeping you stuff submerged below the brine). I put my grape leaves on top and add a Fermenta Dunk Weight. Then close your jar and and set it in a cool place away from drafts and direct sunlight until it reaches the desired tartness. I leave mine ferment for a few weeks. If you aren’t using a jar with an airlock, like the Fermenta Fido Airlock Jar 1 QT Jar, you will need to occasionally burb the jar to relieve pressure from the gases that will build up. Once you are happy with the flavor pop it into the fridge or other cool place.

Fermanted Banana Peppers Before and After
Fermanted Banana Peppers Before and After

 

Fragrant, Effervescent and Refreshing Ginger Ale

Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale
Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale

Summer is now in full swing and the temperatures have been in the mid to high 80’s (up here that is a heat-wave my friends). And there is just nothing better than an icy cold delicious glass of homemade Ginger Ale to beat the heat. It really is simple to make homemade soda and truly homemade soda is chocked full of great health benefits, like wonderful probiotics. The best part is that YOU control how much sugar goes into the soda and the artificial colors and preservatives and other bad stuff is non-existent. It’s so easy you won’t believe you are really doing it! Once you taste it you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.

Ginger Bug Starter
Ginger Bug Starter
Bubbly Ginger Bug
Bubbly Ginger Bug

September of 2014 I published a post called Ginger Ale, Ginger Ale, Where for Art Thou Ginger Ale! on how to make a ginger bug. Ginger bugs are easy to care for. If you leave it on your counter top just feed it a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of minced ginger root once a day. If you keep it in the fridge just feed it a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of minced ginger once a week, let it bubble back up and then put it back in the fridge for another little nap. Always replace the liquid you use with non- chlorinated water, and if it gets too full of ginger root scoop some out and discard it into your compost. Once you have a ginger bug established you can make all sorts of soda, but Ginger Ale is my personal Favorite, to date.

Ginger Ale

Ingredients

1 to 2 knobs or knuckles or Tablespoons of minced unpeeled ginger root

2 quarts non-chlorinated water

½ to ¾ Cup raw sugar or granulated sugar plus ½ Tablespoon molasses

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ Cup lemon juice

½ Cup Strained Ginger Bug (Don’t forget to add non-chlorinated water back to your ginger bug jar)

In a large pan add the water, sugar, (molasses if used) and ginger root and sea salt, bring it to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave cool to room temperature. This is referred to as wort. Once your wort is cooled completely, strain it into a pitcher and add the lemon juice and ginger bug. Mix and pour into bottles with tight fitting caps. I prefer Grolsch-style bottles. Leave the bottles on the counter for 48 to 72 hours then refrigerate and enjoy! Take care not to forget to refrigerate the bottles after 72 hours as they can continue to carbonate until they explode. (VERY MESSY INDEED)

Holidays – It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

Holidays – It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

For most of us the holidays are  the most wonderful time of the year. Warm cheerful faces. Good will toward our fellow man. Family and Friends sharing a meal prepared with love. Children filled with giddy anticipation. These are the things we are thankful for.  But what to do with all those leftovers. Personally, I like to invite the less fortunate to share in our family warmth. Sharing good food and fellowship. There are so many ways to use all those leftovers but sadly the sweet potato seems to be left out of the creative process of making the old into something new and delightful. This started me thinking of ways to truly use up ALL of those leftovers, including the sweet potato.

The following recipe is good for Mini loaves of sweet potato pineapple bread for gift giving or breakfast muffins.

Great For Gifts
Great For Gifts

Sweet Potato Pineapple Muffins

Ingredients:

In large bowl combine

1 cup unfed sourdough starter

1 organic egg (beaten)

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

½ teaspoon organic ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon organic ginger

¼ teaspoon organic ground cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup grape seed or canola oil

¼ cup kefir or buttermilk

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup stevia

1 cup mashed sweet potato

½ cup crushed pineapple

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup organic unbleached flour

1/3 cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour

Mix well. Fill greased muffin tins or mini loaf pans. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar (optional). These are sure to bring smiles! Enjoy!

A tasty way to start your day!
A tasty way to start your day!

Oh Kefir … How Do I Love Thee … Let Me Count The Ways

Recently my Daughter-in-Law Nancy introduced me to kefir (a cultured milk product). Being an avid buttermilk and Greek yogurt user, the wheels immediately began to turn. She gave me a portion of her starter grains and a couple of simple (I’m sensing a theme forming here) rules.  Feed it, don’t use metal utensils with it and mostly enjoy it. That was a month ago and I have made Kefir almost daily since.  I keep my kefir grains in a glass canning jar. Each night I pour milk over them and cover it with a paper coffee filter to keep out contaminants, let them stand at room temperature for about 24 hours.  The next night I strain the grains with a nylon strainer into another jar, put the grains in a clean jar and fill with milk and put it back on the counter.  I either use the kefir right away or put a plastic cap on it and store it in the fridge. I’ve used Kefir in place of buttermilk and even regular milk in my recipes with outstanding results. If I need to take a break from making Kefir I just pour fresh milk over the grains and store it with a plastic lid on it in the fridge. It will last for a couple of weeks but if you are like me you won’t be able to go that long without making more!

Today I’m combining the great taste of sourdough with Kefir to make some of the best waffles Mother Nature can provide. I’ll start the process and let her take over. Simplicity is great.  It’s kind of like having a chef in the house.

Figure 1 - Sourdough Kefir Waffles

DONNA’S SOURDOUGH WAFFLES

Before you go to bed you will need to combine in a large bowl:

1 Cup of unfed sourdough starter

1 ½ Cups of unbleached organic white flour

½ Cup of stone ground whole wheat flour

1 Cup of Milk

1 Cup of Kefir

1 Tablespoons of honey

Stir well, cover and let stand overnight (about 8 hours)

In the morning combine in a small bowl:

2 Large organic eggs

¼ Cup Grape seed oil (or oil of your choice)

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Add egg mixture to sourdough mixture and stir well. Pour by 1/3 cupful onto a greased preheated waffle iron or pancake griddle if you prefer. Cook until golden brown (when the steam dissipates).