Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tibicos Experiments and Baking with Milk Kefir

I just drank my first bottle of the tibi I mixed with fresh squeezed orange juice for its second ferment. It needed some more sucanat, but was refreshing and tasty. I also filtered a batch yesterday that had lemons and ginger. The smell of it was wonderful, but the flavor was a little bland so after the first straining I mixed in the juice of 2 more lemons (it was about 45 ozs of tibi) and about a third of a cup of sucanat. It was still a mild flavor, but very tasty. It will be ready to drink tomorrow. I am looking forward to it.

I strained it twice with cheesecloth and put it in the BPA free plastic bottles I found at the local "gouge and grab (your $$)." I do have to admit the bottles were affordable at $3.00 each and are great for that 2nd fermentation and then the fridge. The new batch of tibi is also lemon and ginger.

I am pondering the addition of V8 after the first straining, or maybe V8 Fusion that has fruit too. I wonder if it would be too acidic? I'll have to check with the message board to see if anyone else has tried it.

Yesterday Jenny at Nourished Kitchen had an Irish Soda Bread (actually Spotted Dog for the traditionalist) recipe posted on FB. It called for buttermilk, but I used milk kefir instead. The flour and kefir soaked all night and I added the currents (also soaked in fruit juice all night), salt and baking soda this morning and baked it. Unfortunately the pinched nerve in my neck isn't much better this morning, so am going to have to send the bread to the office and leave me behind...bummer!

The bread looks wonderful! Smells great, and I am going to make some more this weekend with our corned beef dinner. I am going to use the prepared version from the store for the corned beef. Hopefully all the healthy things I am doing for myself will counteract the chemical load of Armor Foods packaged corned beef!

I love the life growing in my kitchen!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tibicos aka Water Kefir

Last Saturday the Tibicos or water kefir grains came from Marilyn at kefirlady
At the time it was -0.4 degrees in my little town. I was impressed first with the amount of grains sent. I may have mentioned that in the previous post, but now I may add they are quite lively! By Friday I had to switch up to a gallon jug with 2 quarts water. The top photo is of a quart jar with 2 cups of water, 1/3rd cup sucanat, two dried dates unsulphered all covered with a piece of paper towel. Six days later ... I wish I had taken a photo of the 2 cups of grains in the quart jar!
I guess showing you the gallon jar with more grains in proportion to water than the quart will have to do. I added a well scrubbed orange cut in half. I don't have a lemon or lime handy so this will have to do. The family is impressed with the growth of the grains although I am the only one drinking it. This jug is filled with nicely percolating bubbles. The husband, JD, say the whole thing is like a lava lamp with the bubbles and the grains rising to the top and sinking back down. The granddaughter doesn't mind it too much. I haven't wanted to give her any probiotics with yeast since she is going through thrush treatment. She is done with those meds today, so tomorrow she will enjoy the kefir!

By Tuesday night I had my first drink of tibi. I squeezed oranges into it and added sucanat, set remainder in the fridge and drank more on Wednesday. It was okay. I will have to get accustomed to the taste. I set out one water jug with 20 oz of straight tibi on Wednesday night and let it go through a second fermentation. It went in the fridge on Thursday night and I drank it after lunch yesterday. I didn't get my typical end of day lag so that was a plus! It may have a little alcohol, but it wasn't a noticeable amount. Today I mixed orange juice into the tibi after I strained it. It filled two 2o oz bottles which will sit on the shelf for the day and into the fridge tomorrow. I am going to have to find someone to share with!

The milk kefir is doing wonderfully. I have been having smoothies morning and evening. My gut feels much better. The filtered water rinse on the grains is doing the trick as far as a nice thick, not separated or wrong smelling product. I like to have 4 - 6 ozs just plain out of the culture jar when I strain it. The smoothies are divine. I am going to have blueberry with sucanat tonight. The blueberries are thawing on the counter. They will be great with coconut oil added in. Pretty too! The Golden Blend from Schwann's is a nice bright color for morning. Tomorrow we are "sprung back," so it's going to be dark again when I wake up. Blue is kind of what I feel about the morning effect of DST. I was smiling on my way to work every day. It will be light at least, if I don't have to drive to the main office.

The addition of tibi seems to be having a positive effect in the energy area. It hasn't had a negative impact on me that's for sure! I sure need to come up with some flavors for it. It's got a strange fermented flavor that has a weak beer start, so maybe tomato juice or V8. It's going to be interesting to see how it goes. People recommend ginger and lemon, so will give that a try next week. I can drink it as it is, and maybe the 2nd ferment on the orange juice laced tibi will be better.

My new batch of brassica blend sprouts is in the fridge all green and luscious looking! I used the tray method this time. It likes more water than most sprouts I think. I am excited to try them on a sandwich or salad tomorrow. I have Kabuli cooking on the stove and am going to add a cup of the it to a bean salad I have on the counter. It will go in the fridge overnight. Tomorrow night hamburger steaks with fried onions, bean salad, baked red potatoes. Yum!!! My mouth is watering!

I love the life growing in my kitchen!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Finally! Kefir at its Best!

This week has been full of kefir drama! It was forming a thickened nicely formed liquid on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday there was mass separation with the whey in the middle of the kefir grain and curds and some not right looking things at the bottom of the jar. Thursday it was really bad again. I read on the kefirlady's message board that it may do that if too many curds cling to the grains. I had been rinsing with milk, but someone mentioned rinsing in filtered water.

And then, more drama. On Thursday night I had rinsed the kefir grains with water, strained them and put them back in the culture jar. I then put the kefir in the fridge and was making the smoothie for that night and the morning after. I looked at the culture jar and thought "That could use a bit of a rinse too!" and proceeded to add filtered water, la-di-da-di-da, swish and pour that water down the drain. Look in the jar and realize what had just happened. Noooooooooooo! Not the grains! Omigosh, NOT the grains...oh oh oh~ and there were two grains sitting on top of the little cross of metal at where the plug fits. Whew! Scooped them up and put them in the culture jar. The drain plug screen had one more little one. I noticed there were "starts" in the strainer too. Those all went in the culture jar with a fresh cup of organic milk. My heart rate settled when I realized all was not lost. Kefir in the water would do no harm. There were plenty of grains put to work in that culture jar.

I decided perhaps the culture was going too long. At noon on Friday I checked the kefir culture and it was a creamy texture with no yeasty smell too it at all. It was a tad sour, but in a refreshing way. Now this must be the kefir that everyone talks about! I strained it then, dumped the separated kefir out of the keeper jar into Thor's (youngest daughter's English Mastiff) bowl and put the kefir into the keeper jar. The grains got another rinse in filtered water until they were free of the little curds.

I put the grains into the culture jar and had to let Madge (youngest daughter's mutt) out. I came back and picked up the empty keeper jar by mistake and looked in with alarm. I think it was a pts-like moment after the feelings I went through the night before, but I hollered "Oh NO!" and ran to Thor, joyfully licking up the last of the kefir. And then I remembered to stop and look in the other jar. There they were, two large grains and one small awaiting their fresh milk. They got a cup and put back on the culture shelf.

This morning at about 9:30 I checked the kefir. It was once again thickened liquid with a bit of tang in the bouquet (hahaha) and no yeasty smell. I found the keeper kefir once again separated in the fridge so elected to give that to the pets and use a clean keeper jar. I strained, it was wonderfully thick and creamy. The grains got a filtered water rinse and into the culture jar with a cup of milk. I had to drink some of this kefir. It was tangy, creamy and easy to consume. Only a third of a cup went into the clean keeper jar.

Madolyn has thrush. I hope it's not from the yeasty part of the kefir. I think this product as it is now is perfect. I do believe that the yeasty smell and taste was because the grains needed better rinsing. Filtered water is definitely doing the trick, something MP forgot to mention.

The water kefir grains should be here by today. I am going to get dates to help them get started. Marilyn's grains get high grades for freshness and readiness of use. I am excited to get them and may get some milk kefir grains from her to boost my poor little babies.

If I have success with the water kefir I will attempt kombucha and definitely get some fir mjolk culture. Fir mjolk will be the easiest. This is my new quest evidently, to bring as many probiotics to my world and help those around me. I hope that it realizes itself in a positive way.

The sprouts are doing well. I blew it with the brassica blend by not covering them with a solid lid. They dried out and compacted heavily with only the netting. I believe they would benefit from the tray method rather than the jar. I am going to sprout lentils in the jar and read up on mung bean sprouting. It is tricky, needing cool and dark conditions and lots of rinsing.

All in all I am satisfied with the red clover, sandwich booster and alfalfa sprouts in the trays. I am going to try a new approach to draining but the product is tender, sweet and wonderful on sandwiches and in salads. I like them with eggs, maybe not every one else does though.

The mail just came. The package came from kefirlady! Water kefir grains, about a quarter cup. What a great start they will have. I already put them in a jar with filtered water and some sucanat.

Must go now, since I need some coconut milk, whole milk, 2% milk and some dried unsulphered fruit (like that is going to happen at Gouge n Grab your Cash.) Raisins will be a good start. Just like wine in the haystack hahaha! Can you imagine that may have been good for us? I am going to use some for coconut water kefir too, maybe give it it's start with that. The antiviral qualities will be great!

I love the life growing in my kitchen!

I got some microwave splatter screens for use with the sprout rinsing-draining regimen. They might get use as a kefir straining tool too. Who knows?