Learn how to make healthy food and drinks through fermentation 19 July
Ok, I confess: “I am addicted to and simply cannot live without fermentation!” (Hans Wieland)
My obsession with kefir is such that I will bring the live cultures on extended travels or holidays to feed the habit and avoid withdrawal symptoms.
I am a Fermentista or a member of “the community of fermentos” (Michael Pollan).
Gaby and myself will introduce you on Sunday 19th July to all methods of fermentation.
From fermented vegetables and fruits as in sauerkraut and kimchi, fermented tea as in kombucha, fermented milk as in kefir, fermented grains as in rejuvelac and a few surprises.
Fermented foods seem to be one of the new food trends, but there is strong evidence that people were fermenting beverages in Babylon circa 3000 BC and “most food and fermentation processes are ancient rituals that humans have been performing since before the dawn of history” (Katz, The Art of Fermentation).
One of the major benefits of fermentation is the preserving and storing of food without the need for refrigeration. The health benefits of pro-biotic cultures as a result of fermentation are widely lauded and many people love the flavour of these foods.
Make Kefir – adopt a live culture for life
One of the simplest and easiest way to become a fermentista is the fermenting of milk with kefir grains. Kefir as a living culture is a complex symbiosis of more than 30 micro-organisms, mainly lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. Kefir can help to restore the intestinal flora of people who are recovering from a serious illness or being treated with antibiotics. It is a remedy for digestive troubles and because the milk is fermented tolerable to those people who are lactose intolerant. Kefir contains folic acid, calcium, iron, iodine and is full of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and D.
Fermentistas call it the “champagne of milks”, because of it’s alcohol content, that can be as high as 3 percent. At home we produce around ¾ of a litre each day and use it as a pro-biotic drink. It is extremely easy to make (see instructions below) as it requires no temperature control and everybody can make it at room temperature in the kitchen. During the fermentation process (converting lactose into lactic acid) the kefir grains multiply and begin an endlessly self-propagating process.
This is where the community building aspect of the kefir production in particular and the fermentation process in general, kicks in.
Making your own ferments with others takes you out of the cash economy. Of course we share all this with the unseen community of fungi and bacteria all around us.
How to make Milk Kefir
1. Put your grains into a clean glass bottle or jar (1ltr is best)
2. Fill the container with milk (any organic milk will do) 2/3 full
3. Place in cupboard or other spot in the kitchen out of direct sunlight
4. Cover jar with a clean muslin
5. Let it sit for 24 hours or until it reaches sourness to your taste
6. When kefir is finished, strain grains (with a plastic strainer NO METAL) from kefir milk.
7. Drink kefir, reuse grains. Go back to step 1.
Are you still wondering how I travel with my kefir grains…….?
Essential reading: Sandor Ellix Katz – The Art of Fermentation