What’s Culturing In Rosalyn’s Kitchen Right Now

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Note from Shannon: I am pleased to bring the voices of our lovely contributors to this space every Tuesday. Please welcome Rosalyn, Cultures for Health Customer Representative and Cultured Kitchen-Keeper.

I admit it: I have been bitten by the culture bug. I have been making yogurt and pickles for many years, but since coming to work at Cultures for Health, I have been trying out lots of our recipes and products, and now I can’t imagine not having three or four culturing projects going on at one time!

Water Kefir

I love this drink! It is light, tasty, fizzy, and full of probiotics and electrolytes. I use a quart of water for each batch, with 1/4 cup sugar (half evaporated cane juice, half Sucanat). My water comes straight from the tap, filtered through a charcoal filter to remove chlorine, or just let to stand for 24 hours.

The water where I live is very soft – almost no minerals – so I add either a pinch of baking soda or 10 to 15 drops of ConcenTrace. To this mix, I add 3 tablespoons of water kefir grains, and cover with an unbleached coffee filter. I put the jar on the top shelf in my kitchen cabinet to catch a little extra heat.

After 48 hours, I strain the grains and add them to a new batch, then add some flavoring to the fermented water kefir (usually a few chunks of candied ginger and a couple tablespoons of fruit juice or lemon juice), then cover it and let it do a second ferment for another 2 days. It’s my favorite summer drink! When my grandchildren visit, they always ask for some of my “special soda”!

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Kombucha

I don’t know where I’d be without my kombucha! It’s more robust than water kefir, because of the tea, and a great accompaniment to practically any meal. I have four half-gallon jars that I brew in rotation, usually for about 2 weeks each.

In each batch I have 2 teabags of green tea, and then 2 bags of other teas: pomegranate white, black cherry , pear-ginger, raspberry, Darjeeling, oolong, English breakfast, pu-erh, etc. Sometimes I throw in an herbal tea as well, like honeybush or lemongrass.

My scobys really like the pu-erh (a pre-fermented robust Chinese tea that comes in a little rolled up lump wrapped in paper). When I ferment with pu-erh for two weeks, I usually find 5 or 6 layers of baby scobys! I do a second ferment similarly to the water kefir, with a few chunks of candied ginger and other flavorings. I like to add herbs too. Fresh basil is amazing in kombucha!

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Sauerkraut

Cabbage is available year-round, so it’s easy to keep a supply of sauerkraut on hand! I like experimenting with the addition of different vegetables, like carrots, leeks, daikon radish, apples, turnips, etc. I usually add a seed or berry as well, like juniper, caraway, or hawthorn. I haven’t tried black pepper yet but I’m thinking about it!

Other vegetables

I was at a farmer’s market last summer, and a vendor offered me a taste of pickled turnip. I was amazed at how tasty it was! Now I regularly ferment turnips, in just a saltwater brine, usually layered with some carrots and/or leeks. Such a great condiment for a meal with lamb or beef! Fermented carrots are wonderful all by themselves. I have a few jars of fermented habaneros on the shelf too.

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Yogurt

That’s a staple in this house! I like the viili yogurt especially, and I make it with half-and-half for a thick tangy yogurt to eat with fruit, add to baked goods, or as a topping instead of sour cream. Nothing could be easier! Every few days I take a quarter cup of viili from the refrigerator, add it to a quart of half-and-half, put a lid on the container, and leave it on a high shelf. In 12 to 18 hours, it’s done and I put it in the refrigerator. It’s hard to wait for it to cool down though, it’s so tasty!

Milk Kefir

I have a confession to make: I really don’t care too much for milk kefir by itself. I do like it in smoothies, though, mixed up with fruit or cocoa powder, and it’s a great addition to baked goods, so I like to keep some around. I just make very small quantities – a pint at a time, or even just a cup, so I don’t get overwhelmed.

For those small quantities, I just need one grain! I put my tiny little pea-size milk kefir grain in a pint of milk, put an unbleached coffee filter on top, and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours. Sometimes it gets pretty thick, and I have to go hunting for that little grain, but I can usually find it by stirring the kefir gently as it goes through the strainer, or shaking up the jar (with a lid on) before straining it, to loosen up the curds.

So that’s typically what is going on in my kitchen at any given time!

Rosalyn

Rosalyn

Rosalyn has homeschooled both of her children, now grown, and continues to teach classes to homeschool groups and do homeschool consulting. She is also a nutritional coach, and enjoys helping people learn about healthy foods and how to prepare them. She is an avid cook and likes to experiment with new ways of putting together whole foods and cultured products. Kombucha is a favorite, in many flavors. Summer finds her kitchen full of fermenting vegetables, and year-round she makes yogurt, milk and water kefir, buttermilk, and sour cream.

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