I recently took a class on Lacto-Fermentation with Rebekah Mocerino & Kaelin Kiesel-Germann, the co-chapter leaders of our local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. I was amazed at the passion and knowledge these two women have for good, wholesome food.
The class was hands down, the best food related education that I have ever had, and these girls have turned this self proclaimed germ-a-phobe into a bacteria loving lacto-fermentation geek. I have currently 6 different ferments bubbling in my kitchen right now, and I am convinced that this is the key thing I was missing in my diet.
Sally Fallon points out in her book Nourishing Traditions:
“Scientists are mystified by the proliferation of new viruses—not only the deadly AIDS virus but the whole gamut of human viruses that seem to be associated with everything from chronic fatigue to cancer and arthritis. They are equally mystified by recent increases in the incidence of intestinal parasites and pathogenic yeasts, even among those whose sanitary practices are faultless. Could it be that in abandoning the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation and in our insistence on a diet in which everything has been pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisms? If so, the cure for these diseases will be found not in vaccinations, drugs, or antibiotics, but in a restored partnership with the many varieties of lactobacilli, our symbionts of the microscopic world.”
In the 1800s sailors made the connection between sauerkraut and the prevention of scurvy. Perhaps in our day we’ll make the connection between gut health, toxicity, and lacto-fermented foods.
Rebekah and Kaelin went into great detail about the history, safety, and use of lacto-fermented foods, and introduced us to at least 15 different ferments. We got to try everything, and I have decided to share one of my favorite recipes with you today.
We made some delightfully fizzy kefir water, and were given the freedom to flavor it any way we wanted. I decided to do a second ferment with some fresh squeezed orange juice and seeds of a 1/4 of a vanilla bean. It turned out like a cross between a cream soda and orange soda. I could drink this all day long…and can forsee having some hard fought battles over the last of the bottle with my baby girl…
Recipe courtesy of Wellness Mama
- Glass Jar (1 quart or half gallon)
- Wooden spoon for stirring (avoid metal)
- Towel, cheesecloth or coffee filter to cover jar
- Rubber band
- •3 TBSP (or more) of hydrated Water Kefir Grains (If you buy them dehydrated, they come with instructions for re hydrating)
- •¼ cup sugar per quart of water (I like organic unprocessed Rapadura sugar) Do not use honey!!
- •Non-chlorinated filtered water (If you use reverse osmosis, consider adding a few drops of trace minerals back in or sticking a rinsed pastured egg shell in for minerals) If you just have tap water, boil it to remove chlorine and cool before using
- Dissolve the sugar in small amount of hot water.
- When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm- it must be at room temp!
- Add the hydrated water kefir grains
- Cover with towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band to keep out insects or small children.
- Leave on the counter (preferably at 70-75 degrees) for 24-48 hours. The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out, so if you ware limiting carbs, I recommend 48 hours. Don’t leave longer than this! It can starve the grains!
- After 48 hours, strain the water kefir grains through a bamboo or mesh strainer (don’t use metal if you can help it!) pouring the liquid into another container. I use a half gallon jar for the first process and strain into two quart size jars.
- Restart the process by dissolving more sugar in water, adding cool water and adding Water Kefir Grains.
- To make the Water Kefir carbonated, pour a couple ounces of fruit juice into the strained water kefir you just strained. I’ve found Grape, Pomegranate, Apple and Cherry to work the best. I don’t recommend citrus for this part, as it makes stringy yeast like things that are not tasty!
- Once you’ve added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an air tight lid and leave on the counter an additional 1-3 days before drinking or refrigerating.
- Repeat the process!
The Wellness Mama’s Favorite Variations:
- After the first fermentation, cap the water kefir without adding any juice. After two days, put in fridge and add vanilla extract before drinking- tastes like cream soda!
- Adding lemon juice and drinking right after the first fermentation- tastes like lemonade!
- Doing the second fermentation with grape, apple, cherry or pomegranate for a fizzy fruit flavored soda.
- Adding raisins or prune juice for the second fermentation- tastes like Dr. Pepper.
- Making a grape or berry flavored second fermentation and mixing with iced herbal tea for a carbonated fruity iced tea drink.
- Add pineapple juice after the first fermentation, but drink right away- don’t allow to ferment or it gets slimy!
Here are my favorite videos on the subject.
The raw chef has a very educational video on the subject of coconut water kefir, and even how to grow your grains!
Here is a wonderful video from Cultures for Health on how to make your own water kefir.
So get some water kefir grains from a friend, contact your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter for classes and information on getting grains, or order some online from a reputable dealer.
and GET BUBBLING!
eat. love. nourish.