My Crazy Life Culturing Routine

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From the Editor: Please welcome Julie Feickert, Cultures for Health Founder and Cultured Kitchen Keeper.

Life has been pretty busy lately. In addition to running a growing business, we homeschool our oldest, our middle daughter is learning to read, and our baby has become fully mobile. Some days it feels like there is very little time left for planning and cooking meals, let alone incorporating cultured foods.

However, when life is crazy, our bodies are stressed and it’s exactly when nourishing cultured foods are most needed. I have found that for me, developing a routine is crucial and here’s what I’ve been doing lately to stay on top of my cultures.

5-10 minutes each night while I’m making dinner or cleaning up the kitchen:

  • Every other evening I harvest the latest batch of water kefir and place the kefir grains in fresh sugar water. I generally make at least a gallon at a time. The kids and I drink a lot of water kefir and it provides a steady stream of probiotics in our diet as well as an easy way to make popsicles which are very popular around here.
  • Each night I combine a can of coconut milk and 1/4 cup of water kefir in a glass jar. I cover it with a towel and let it sit overnight. The next morning we have coconut milk kefir for our morning smoothie.

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30-60+ minutes on the weekend:

I rotate my weekend time depending on what cultured foods we are in need of or which ongoing cultures need attention.

  • Each weekend I take 5-10 minutes to make a new batch or two of salad dressing. The exact flavor profile depends on what ingredients I have on hand and what dishes I’m planning on making the following week. Click here to see how I make a delicious customizable salad dressing using kombucha for an easy probiotic boost.
  • Every 3 weeks, I use my weekend time to bottle my finished kombucha and start a fresh batch (click here to read about my kombucha routine). I generally make about 8 gallons which when bottled keeps us supplied for the following three weeks.
  • On the weekends when the kombucha doesn’t need attention, I use my cultured food time to make up a couple of jars of cultured vegetables, fruits, or condiments. Just depends on what we have on hand from the farmer’s market or what we are running low on in the fridge. For example, on a recent weekend I set up a batch of dill pickles, a batch of dilly beans, a batch of sauerkraut, a batch of lacto-fermented lemons, and started a batch of kombucha mustard. Most weekends though its 2-3 items and I’m done in under an hour. One trick I’ve found is to make larger batches so each item lasts about a month. This cuts down on the number of items I need to make each weekend.

Do you have a cultured food routine? Please share it with us!

 

 

 

Julie Feickert

Julie Feickert

Julie Feickert started Cultures for Health in late 2008. She is the mother to three young children and enjoys cooking and reading. Her favorite cultured foods include water kefir and kombucha. Julie lives with her family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Comments

  1. Deanna says

    Great ideas. I am also interested in the coconut milk/water kefir. I also wonder how you keep all your cultures separated.

    • Julie Feickert says

      My kitchen is about 10′x10′ so right now I have counters on each end which work pretty well to have the kombucha on one and water kefir (and coconut milk kefir) on the other. Culturing veggies tend to end up in the center. If I’m working on extra culturing projects for recipes, videos, etc. then they’ll generally end up on spare shelf space throughout the house.

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing your routine, Julie!

    I take a few minutes every two days to replace milk for the milk kefir grains, and once a week to bottle up a small brewing bottle I found in second hand store to put brewed kombucha and add some raisins or fresh fruit or spices and brew it with these additions. It is busy, so some fermented vegetables, like cabbage, I buy in European store which do there own in house in big barrels! I do make fermented cucumbers in the summer though, when there is abundance of them in the farmers’ market!

    My plan for this month is to make some kimchi as I found the Asian stores have msg in their kimchi!

  3. says

    I love that it’s so easy to make coconut milk Kefir. I drink Kefir regularly, but want to get away from dairy.
    You mention in the article that you make kefir water by putting kefir grains in sugar water. Can you use a sugar substitute, like Xylitol, instead of sugar. Thanks!

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