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?

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