Monday, January 11, 2016

What's Bubbling in My Kitchen

One of my resolutions for 2016 is to take better care of myself.  Something I know I need more of is probiotics.  I feel great when I have them in my diet, and pretty good for a few months afterwards.  But there comes a time when I can tell I need them pretty badly.  Especially after a sugar and junk fest like Christmas, my gut's in dire need of some friendly helpers.

There are a couple of options available to buy.  I can get pills; we've done these before, and they worked pretty well, but I kind of object to the high price of good ones.  I can buy fermented drinks and raw kraut at my local Wegmans, but it's also pretty pricey for something that I know is fairly easy and cheap to make.  So what's a frugal girl to do?

Make it yourself, duh!  I've made sauerkraut before, and know that it's super easy to make.  That's the jar on the left.  I got my recipe here, and highly recommend it to newbies.  The jar on the right is a new one to me; pickled ginger carrots.  I got the recipe from Nourishing Traditions.  If it turns out well, I'll write down the recipe here.  It's got a nice bubble going on it today, though, so I think it's well on its way.

This photo is taken a day after the first one.  It's got some nice bubbles, and it smells lovely.

The kraut is looking good and bubbly too.  The carrots are supposed to take only a few days, whereas the kraut could be up to 10 days.

The kraut I've made in the past has improved tremendously after sitting in the fridge for a month or so.  The flavor's ok after 10 days on the counter, and I'm certainly eager to start eating probiotics sooner rather than later, but you can't beat a well aged kraut.  Apparently it will stay good for nearly a year in the fridge.

Something else I'm trying is water kefir.  I ordered some grains on Saturday, and should be getting them tomorrow.  Everyone's heard of milk kefir, and it's very good for you (better than yogurt), but I can't stand the stuff.  It's just too... I don't know.  Sour?  I'm really not fond of the flavor.  To be fair, that's commercial kefir, and I'm sure homemade would be a lot better.  After all, homemade yogurt is miles ahead of store bought.

Well, from what I understand (which isn't a lot), water kefir and milk kefir are similar in one way; they are both made with grains, or what's called a SCOBY.  The bacteria and yeast form little globules that look grain-like.  You use the grains from one batch of kefir to make the next kefir, and sometimes the grains multiply.  After that, I think water kefir and milk kefir are pretty different.  For one thing, water kefir grains are used to ferment sugar water, while milk kefir grains are used to ferment milk, and you can't substitute one for the other or you'll kill them.  Also, you can do a second fermentation of water kefir to make it fizzy!  How cool is that?

Other than that, I don't have much info on water kefir.  It's going to be a fun experiment!  I'm all ready for my grains to get here.  I have some spring water and some turbinado sugar to get me started, plus lots of mason jars and a bunch of flip top bottles left over from when Chad was into making hard cider.  Wish me luck!

Oh, by the way, my face is feeling much better after a restful weekend.  The swelling in my cheek has gone down completely, and my jaw is looser than it was.  I'm still healing though, so I'm trying to take it easy until I'm all better.  Then I want to start getting more active!

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