Kraut

Three Easy Ways to Add Fermented Foods to Your Daily Diet and a Basic Kraut Recipe

You have probably heard that fermented foods like kraut (sauerkraut) are full of probiotics and that probiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut or microbiome. Now the question is how to get them into your daily routine so that they become a habit. You are much more likely to eat fermented foods if they are on hand all the time, of course. One easy way to assure that this is so is to make your own. Most fermented foods are truly simple to make and do not require a lot of time. I usually do it while I am in the kitchen making dinner anyway. See the bottom of the post for a basic recipe for Kraut that you can change up however you like. 

      1. Breakfast: You’ve heard me say this before. Start your day with kefir (water or milk) mixed into a smoothie (or a “shake” as my kids call it). We have this in addition to our breakfast. 
      2. Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches: Top your finished soup with veggie ferments (kraut and kimchi work well). Just be sure to let your soup cool for a minute or two so that you don’t kill the beneficial bacteria with the heat. You can also add veggie ferments to your salads. Radishes, beets, jicama, and carrots are my favorites). Add veggie ferments to your sandwiches. Pickles come to mind, of course
      3. Snack Time: Make fermented foods your snack We like to make homemade ranch dressing with homemade yogurt, and homeade kombucha mayo. The we dip raw veggies like carrot sticks and sugar snap peas for a healthy snack. Another favorite snack is homemade yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of lemon curd.  
      4. Bonus: Add a glass of kombucha or water kefir lemonade to your daily routine! So simple to do and so delicious.

Veggie Ferments

Basic Kraut Recipe

Kraut Close Up

      • One large head cabbage (or 2 small)
      • 2.5 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
      • Filtered Water
      • Optional: Spices: one Tablespoon caraway or juniper berries (Caraway is my favorite.)
      • Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized (3 or 4)
      • Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
      • Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)

Shredded cabbage for Kraut

 

      1. First, take off the first couple of layers of cabbage. Then shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife because I like crunchy kraut, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor. Do not use the core. 
      2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
      3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
      4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and “work” it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes. (You can do this with a wooden or stainless steel mallet as well.)
      5. Now mix in the spices if you are using them. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablespoon of caraway seeds.
      6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt (and spice) mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation. Top with a fermentation weight to keep your cabbage submerged in brine. (Or you could use the cabbage core or a sterilized rock.) Keeping the cabbage submerged is crucial to not developing mold!
      7. Screw on your airlock lids or regular lids. The airlocks are optional, but they really do help protect your ferment. 
      8. Let it set out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks. 
         
Basic Kraut Recipe
Basic Sauerkraut is so easy to make!!
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. One large head cabbage
  2. 3 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
  3. Filtered Water
  4. Spices: Some common choices are caraway or juniper berries (optional)
  5. Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized
  6. Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
  7. Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
Instructions
  1. First, Shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor.
  2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
  3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
  4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and "work" it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes.
  5. Now add the spices if you are going to. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablspoon of caraway seeds.
  6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation.
  7. Let it sit out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
    1.  Do you make your own kraut? What are your tricks for getting fermented foods into your daily diet?

 

Kraut

Veggie Ferments

 

 

Kiddie Kimchi

“Kiddie” Kimchi

What is “Kiddie” Kimchi, you ask? It is a yummy kimchi-like ferment full of super-foods and probiotics  to feed my family’s microbiomes. I love Kimchi, but my kids do not do spicy. Not at all. This ferment uses some of the great flavors and powerful nutrition of kimchi, but leaves out the spice.

Kimchi generally uses Napa cabbage instead of regular green cabbage. It also has garlic (or scallions), ginger, and nutrient-packed sea vegetables. Let me break down the nutritional benefits for you so that you see why I want to get these amazing foods into my family’s diet regularly.

Garlic:

  • reduced blood pressure
  • contains manganese, B6 (energy), vitamin C (immune boosting), Selenium (important for sleep), and fiber
  • can combat the common cold and other sicknesses because it is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal 
  • lowers “bad” cholesterol
  • protects the brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • detoxifies heavy metals from the body

Ginger is:

  • great for digestion and can even help with chronic indigestion when taken regularly
  • good for nausea, especially morning sickness
  • anti-inflammatory (good since inflammation is the root of disease)
  • balancing to blood sugar (great for the roller coater ride called the Standard American Diet SAD)
  • full of anti-cancer properties
  • a protector of the brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • very effective against oral bacteria such as gingivitis and periodontitis
  • helpful for lowering “bad” cholesterol

Dulse is:

  • an excellent source of iodine which can be very helpful for those with thyroid disease and to prevent thyroid disease from occurring
  • High in immune boosting vitamin C
  • High in vitamin A which is important for maintaining and improving vision
  • Rich in B6 and minerals such as potassium. Potassium balances sodium in your body and regulates water retention. It can also lower blood pressure.
  • a decent source of iron which can improve circulation.
  • full of antioxidants
  • high in omega fatty acids that can improve brain and nervous system function
  • able to regulate digestive processes. Can be especially helpful in relieving constipation or diarrhea.
  • able to help the body build strong bones because it is full of calcium, magnesium, and iron.

“Kiddie” Kimchi Recipe

Kiddie Kimchi Close Up

  • One large head Napa cabbage
  • 2 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
  • Filtered Water
  • Ginger, either minced or in big chunks that you can pull out later. (I add a couple of one inch pieces (peels on) because although my kids like the taste of ginger, they don’t like being surprised by a bite of it.)
  • Garlic (2 or 3 cloves) either minced or whole to pull out after fermentation. (I opt for the whole clove route and pull them out after fermentation because my kids feel the same way about garlic as they do about ginger.) 
  • Dulse, chopped or flaked. (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Mason Jars (wide mouth quart work best), sterilized
  • Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
  • Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
  1. First, cut the the cabbage into thin “shreds”. 
  2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or stainless steel bowl.
  3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
  4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and “work” it into the cabbage. Napa cabbage isn’t as firm as green cabbage, so it doesn’t need as much “working”.
  5. Now add your ginger, garlic, and dulse and mix in.
  6. Finally, add the mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add your fermentation weight and pack the kimchi down. Add water to cover the mixture, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation. Top with your airlock lids (or plain plastic lids).
  7. Let it sit our of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks. 
  8. If you want to make this spicy, add Korean chili powder. There are many variations on Kimchi, but a lot of them also use scallions as well. Some use fish sauce, some dried shrimp, etc. Feel free to experiment!!

"Kiddie" Kimchi
A tasty kimchi recipe without the spice.
Print
Ingredients
  1. One large head Napa cabbage
  2. 3 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
  3. Filtered Water
  4. Ginger, either minced or in big chunks that you can pull out later. (I add a couple of one inch pieces because although my kids like the taste of ginger, they don't like getting a bite of it.)
  5. Garlic, either minced or whole cloves to pull out later. (I opt for the clove route and pull them out after fermentation because my kids feel the same way about garlic as they do about ginger.
  6. Dulse, chopped or flaked.
  7. Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized
  8. Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
  9. Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
Instructions
  1. First, cut the the cabbage into thin "shreds".
  2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or stainless steel bowl.
  3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
  4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and "work" it into the cabbage. Napa cabbage isn't as firm as green cabbage, so it doesn't need as much "working".
  5. Now add your ginger, garlic, and dulse and mix in.
  6. Finally, add the mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add your fermentation weight and pack the kimchi down. Add water to cover the mixture, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation. Top with your airlock lids (or plain plastic lids).
  7. Let it sit our of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks.
Notes
  1. If you want to make this spicy, just add Korean chili powder or the peppers of your choice.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 Do you like Kimchi flavors but have a hard time with spice? Do you love traditional Kimchi? Are you going to try making this?

Kiddie Kimchi

 

Fermented Beets

Fermented Beets: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Fermented beets (or “pickled”) are one of my favorite ferments. I like to eat them in my salads. They also go great with goat cheese!! They are so simple to make and beets are absolutly a nutritional powerhouse. Allow me to break down their nutritional benefits for you.

Beets:

  • contain phytonutrients called betalains. These powerful nutrients are antioxidants that significantly reduce inflammation. Betalains are also important in the body’s phase 2 detoxification where the liver and blood are purified of toxins using an extremely important antioxidant called glutathione. Go here to learn more about boosting your glutathione production.
  • Beet juice is known to increase stamina far more than the standard “energy” drink and  it boots glutathione production. (raw beets)
  • can lower your blood pressure by consuming beets.
  • are in immune boosting vitamin C.
  • High in folate, potassium and manganese, beets benefit your bones, kidneys, liver, and pancreas.

How to make Lacto-fermented Beets:

  • 6 large beets, roasted and peeled (cut the greens off and save for your salad) 
  • Starter culture, whey (4 T), or brine (4 T) from a previous batch. (Follow directions on package for amounts if using starter culture.)
  • Mason jars, sterilized (wide mouth quarts work best)
  • 1 Tablespoon Celtic sea salt
  • Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
  • Air locks (optional, but they really do protect your ferment from mold.)
  1. First, roast your beets. I wash them, pierce them a couple of times with a sharp knife and roast them at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Once they are cooled, I take the peels off with my hands. (They should come right off.)
  2. Then, if you are using starter culture, add it to some cool filtered water and add your salt to some warm filtered water to start it dissolving.
  3. Next, slice your beets. I like to do thin half moons. (about 1/4 inch thick)
  4. Add your beets to your jar(s) and pour the starter culture over them. Next pour the salt water over them. Fill the jar the rest of the way with filtered water (if needed), leaving about an inch to an inch and a half of space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion. 
  5. Finally, add your weights and then top with your airlock lids.
  6. Leave in a place away from direct sunlight for three days to a week. you can keep testing the beets to see when they get fermented to your liking. 
  7. Note: You can play around with adding different flavors to beets. Some of my favorites are cardamom seeds/pods, garlic, or ginger. 

Fermented Beets
A fermented food that is a nutritional powerhouse as well as delicious.
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 large beets, roasted and peeled (see below)
  2. Starter culture, whey, or brine from a previous batch.
  3. Mason jars, sterilized (wide mouth quarts work best)
  4. Celtic sea salt
  5. Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
  6. Air lock (optional, but they really do protect your ferment from mold.)
Instructions
  1. First, roast your beets. I wash them, pierce them a couple of times with a sharp knife and roast them at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Once they are cooled, I take the peels off with my hands. (They should come right off.)
  2. If you are using starter culture, add it to some cool filtered water.
  3. Add your salt to some warm filtered water to start dissolving
  4. Next, slice your beets. I like to do thin half moons. (about 1/4 inch thick)
  5. Add your beets to your jar(s) and pour the starter culture over them. Next pour the salt water over them. Fill the jar the rest of the way with filtered water (if needed), leaving about an inch to an inch and a half of space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion.
  6. Add your weights and then top with your airlock lids.
  7. Leave in a place away from direct sunlight for three days to a week. you can keep testing the beets to see when they get fermented to your liking.
  8. Note: You can play around with adding different flavors to beets. Some of my favorites are cardamom seeds/pods, garlic, or ginger.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 Have you tried fermented beets? Are you going to make some?

Fermented Beets

 

 

 

Fermented Radishes

Fermented Radishes

Fermented Radishes are a tasty way to get your probiotics! Enjoy them in a salad, on a crudites plate, or solo as a snack. They have a delightful peppery pickle-like flavor. Radishes are packed with nutritional benefits as well. They live up to the “food as medicine” ideal. Let me breakdown the nutritional benefits radishes for you.

Radishes:

  • are a great source of vitamin c
  • are naturally diuretic (which is helpful to the kidneys and the urinary tract)
  • are full of fiber (fiber helps keep your digestion moving and helps your body rid itself of excess hormones, among many other things)
  • can help regulate blood pressure
  • can relieve congestion and bronchitis
  • have antibacterial and antiviral properties
  • contain many anti-cancer antioxidants
  • supply fresh oxygen to your blood

 
To make fermented radishes, you will need:

  • 3 bunches radishes, washed
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
  • Starter culture (I use Cutting Edge Cultures. You could also use 2 Tablespoons of whey or brine from another ferment, but it is less predictable.)
  • Wide Mouth Quart Mason Jars (2)
  • Fermentation lids (these aren’t absolutely necessary, but they do provide great protection for your ferment) I use these and love them.
  • Fermentation Weights (or a mostly flat sterilized rock) 
  1. Place the starter culture in a dish of cool filtered water. (Follow the directions on your specific package.)
  2. Put the salt in a bit of warm water to dissolve.
  3. Cut the radishes. I like to cut small ones in half and larger ones into fourths or sixths.
  4. Put the radishes and starter culture in your clean mason jar.
  5. Pour the salt water over the top. Add more filtered water if needed to make sure the radishes are completely covered, but leave an inch or so at the top to allow for expansion.
  6. Place your fermentation weight on top of your radishes to keep them under the brine and then your fermenting lids on top.
  7. Let the radishes sit in a dark place for at least 3 days and up to a week. (Test to find when it is fermented to your liking.)
  8. Transfer to the fridge to slow the fermentation process. These will easily keep in the fridge for 6 months or more, but I highly doubt they will last that long! You can experiment with adding different herbs if you like.

 

Fermented Radishes
Delicious and nutritous fermented radishes.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 bunches radishes
  2. Celtic sea salt
  3. Starter culture
  4. Water
Instructions
  1. Place the starter culture in a dish of cool filtered water. (Follow the directions on your specific package.)
  2. Put the salt in a bit of warm water to dissolve.
  3. Cut the radishes. I like to cut small ones in half and larger ones into fourths or sixths.
  4. Put the radishes and starter culture in your clean mason jar.
  5. Pour the salt water over the top. Add more filtered water if needed to make sure the radishes are completely covered, but leave an inch or so at the top to allow for expansion.
  6. Place your fermentation weight on top of your radishes to keep them under the brine and then your fermenting lids on top.
  7. Let the radishes sit in a dark place for at least 3 days and up to a week. (Test to find when it is fermented to your liking.)
  8. Transfer to the fridge to slow the fermentation process. These will easily keep in the fridge for 6 months or more, but I highly doubt they will last that long! You can experiment with adding different herbs if you like.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 What about you? Have you made fermented radishes? Are you going to give it a shot?

Fermented Radishes

Sourdough Skillet Cornbread

Sourdough Skillet Cornbread

This sourdough skillet cornbread goes great with a hearty soup, stew, or chili, or your favorite summer barbecue dish! I like to serve it with cultured honey butter.

To make Sourdough Skillet COrnbread:

  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour (I use a blend)
  • 2 cups cornmeal (I like medium grind, but whatever you prefer)
  • 1 cup sourdough starter (freshly discarded or fresh)
  • 1 cup water OR water kefir
  • 3 pastured eggs
  • 1/2 cup grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, starter, and water (or water kefir). Let mixture sit for at least an hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a buttered cast iron skillet into the oven. If you don’t have one, just butter a square Pyrex (or similar pan), but do not put it into the oven yet.
  3. Add eggs, softened butter, and maple syrup and mix.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix.
  5. Immediately put into your cast iron pan ( I use a 10 inch) and put the pan in the oven.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

 

Sourdough Skillet Cornbread
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup organic all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour (I use a blend)
  2. 2 cups cornmeal (I like medium grind, but whatever you prefer)
  3. 1 cup sourdough starter (freshly discarded or fresh)
  4. 1 cup water OR water kefir
  5. 3 pastured eggs, whisked
  6. 1/2 cup grass-fed butter, softened
  7. 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
  10. 1 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, starter, and water (or water kefir). Let mixture sit for at least an hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a buttered cast iron skillet into the oven. If you don't have one, just butter a square Pyrex (or similar pan), but do not put it into the oven yet.
  3. Add eggs, softened butter, and maple syrup and mix.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix.
  5. Immediately put into your cast iron pan ( I use a 10 inch) and put the pan in the oven.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 Sourdough Skillet Cornbread

Fermented Jicama Sticks with Grapefruit

Fermented Jicama sticks with Grapefruit: Feed your Microbiome with Deliciousness

Let me tell you about Fermented Jicama Sticks with Grapefruit. First and foremost they are delicious! Second, jicama itself is packed with prebiotics. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut. They are just as important, if not more, than probiotics that you have heard to much about. Don’t worry though, we get probiotics too when we lacto-ferment the jicama. It is basically heaven for your gut. You can’t say no to that, right? We all want a happy gut! You know I just can’t resist breaking down the nutritional benefits of this recipe for you, so here we go.

WHAT’S IN Jicama?

  • Prebiotic fiber: (specifically oligofructos inulin) prebiotic fibers feed your “good” bacteria and keep your immunity up. Inulin specifically is actually good for bone health because it enhances calcuim absorption.
  • Vitamin C: (around 44% RDA) So good for the immune system! Protects against cancer, viruses, infections, etc, etc, etc.
  • Potassium: Promotes a healthy heart and  kidneys. Also regulates water retention and metabolism.
  • Folate (B9): Plays a role in DNA synthesis
  • Magnesium: Important for sleep, brain function, heart health, and much much more. I could do a whole post about the benefits of Magnesium. In fact, you know what? I will!
  • Copper: Required to manufacture collagen. (Collagen keeps those wrinkles away and those joints bending smoothly.)
  • Iron: Important in red blood cell formation
  • Manganese: Plays a role in blood sugar regulation, fat absorption, and the metabolism of carbohydrates. It is also important for bones and connective tissue formation as well as sex hormones.

WHAT’S IN Grapefruit?

  • Vitamin C: (59% RDA) Good for the immune system. Protects against cancer, viruses, infections, etc.
  • Vitamin A: Important for the immune system as well as the health of your skin and eyes.
  • Copper: required to manufacture collagen. (Collagen keeps those wrinkles away and those joints bending smoothly.)
  • Soluble Fiber: Helps lower “bad” cholesterol.
  • Potassium: Promotes a healthy heart and  kidneys. Also regulates water retention and metabolism.
  • Biotin: Great for healthy skin and nails and thicker hair.
  • B1, B5: B vitamins are important for energy, immunity, mood, and blood pressure, just to name a few.
  • Lycopene: You may recognize it as one of the antioxidants in cooked tomatoes touted for preventing and slowing down certain types of cancers

to make Fermented Jicama sticks with Grapefruit You will need:

Fermented Jicama Sticks with Grapefruit

  • 2 pounds of jicama
  • One grapefruit (zest and juice)
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
  • Starter culture (I use Cutting Edge Cultures. You could also use 2 Tablespoons of whey or brine from another ferment, but it is less predictable.)
  • Wide Mouth Quart Mason Jars (2)
  • Fermentation lids (these aren’t absolutely necessary, but they do provide great protection for your ferment) I use these and love them.
  • Fermentation Weights (or a mostly flat sterilized rock)

How to make Fermented Jicama Sticks with Grapefruit:

  1. Place the starter culture in a dish of cool filtered water. (Follow the directions on your specific package.)
  2. Peel and cut the jicama into sticks (about finger width).
  3. Put the salt in a bit of warm water to dissolve.
  4. Zest and juice the grapefruit.
  5. Add the starter culture, juice, and zest to your clean mason jar.
  6. Pour the salt water over the top. Add more filtered water if needed to make sure the jicama is completely covered, but leave an inch or so at the top to allow for expansion.
  7. Place your fermentation weight on top of your jicama to keep them under the brine and then your fermenting lids on top.
  8. Let the jicama sit in a dark place for 3 days and up to a week. (Test to find when it is fermented to your liking.)
  9. Transfer to the fridge to slow the fermentation process. These will easily keep in the fridge for 6 months or more, but I highly doubt they will last that long! Feel free to change up the recipe and replace the grapefruit with orange, lemon, or lime.
    Fermented Jicama with Grapefruit
    Yields 2
    A delicious fermented food with prebiotics and probiotics. The best of both worlds!
    Print
    Prep Time
    10 min
    Prep Time
    10 min
    Ingredients
    1. 2 pounds of jicama, peeled and cut into finger-width sticks
    2. Zest and juice from one grapefruit
    3. Starter Culture (1/2 packet if using Cutting Edge Cultures) (or 2 T starter brine or whey)
    4. 2 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt
    Instructions
    1. Place the starter culture in a dish of cool filtered water. (Follow the amounts/directions on your specific package.)
    2. Dissolve the Celtic sea salt in a bit of warm, filtered water.
    3. Add the starter culture, juice, and zest to your clean mason jar.
    4. Place your jicama sticks in the jar vertically, getting as many in as possible.
    5. Pour the salt water over the top. Add more water if needed to make sure the jicama is completely covered, but leave an inch or so at the top to allow for expansion.
    6. Place your fermenting weight on top of the jicama and top the jar with your fermentation lid.
    7. Let the jicama sit in a dark place for 3 days and up to a week. (Test to find when it is fermented to your liking.)
    8. Transfer to the fridge to slow the fermentation process.
    9. These will easily keep in the fridge for 6 months or more.
    Notes
    1. You can change this recipe up and use orange, lemon, or lime as well!
    Adapted from Fermented Foods for life
    Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
     Have you ever fermented jicama? What did you think? What are your favorite fermented foods? I’d love to hear from you! 
Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt: So Easy and So Much Better For you!

Why make homemade yogurt?

In short, homemade yogurt is better, both for you and in taste! If you have been reading my blog, you know I harp on quality. When you make your own yogurt, you control the quality of the milk, which is the most important part, as well as the quality of the culture (the beneficial bacteria that you are adding to your yogurt). The length of time of the ferment is also up to your discretion. The longer the ferment, the more probiotics that develop. Another important reason to make your own homemade yogurt is that most store-bought yogurt contains fillers and additives! Yuck!

When making yogurt, choose organic grass-fed whole milk that has not been homogenized. You can choose raw if you like (instructions for making raw yogurt are at the bottom of the post). Usually though, when making yogurt, you heat milk to kill any “competing” bacteria. This is why it is okay to buy milk that has already been pasteurized.

Why Raw (or non-homogenized), grass-fed, and organic?

Raw milk is not pasteurized and it is not homogenized. This makes it so much healthier for you than store-bought!

  • Pasteurizing reduces vitamins as well as kills off beneficial enzymes that your body needs to help digest the milk! Many people who believe they are lactose intolerant have no trouble digesting milk once they switch to raw dairy.
  • When milk is homogenized, the fat particles are spun around very quickly until they become very small. They become something unrecognizable to your body. It is a similar problem to those of trans-fats, also known as hydrogenated fats. We have all heard by now about the dangers of hydrogenated fats (although they are still hidden in many processed and prepared foods, so read labels!) If you don’t have a choice to buy raw milk in your area, choose an organic, grass-fed non-homogenized version.
  • When a cow eats the food it was meant to eat (mainly grass), you get all the health benefits of the grass without having to eat the grass yourself. When cows eat grain or corn, especially non-organic grain or corn that is GMO and heavily sprayed with pesticides, you get the drawbacks, of that diet. It is also worth tugging at your heart strings a bit by mentioning that the quality of life of a grass-fed dairy cow is much preferable to that of a poor, conventional dairy cow.

Why whole milk?

I’m sure you know by now, that fat is not the enemy that we have been told it was. Your body needs fat (especially children whose brains are developing at a rapid pace.) There is no reason to take the fat out of milk! Nature intended the fat to be in the milk for a reason.

Benefits of Dairy fat (from grass-fed cows) :

  • Helps with weight loss
  • Raises “good” cholesterol
  • Lowers risk of diabetes
  • Reduces bloating (This is probably due to the lower ratio of lactose to fat. Incidentally, yogurt and milk kefir have virtually no lactose (milk sugar) left because the bacteria eats it. Thank you, bacteria!)

 What you will need to make homemade yogurt:

Homemade Yogurt

  • Crock pot or stockpot
  • Thermometer
  • Nut milk straining bag (or cheesecloth)
  • Whole milk (preferably raw grass-fed, but at least non-homogenized and organic)
  • Starter yogurt (a high quality yogurt that you buy from the store) or yogurt starter culture which comes as a powder. (I use a starter yogurt. I buy a Bulgarian yogurt from my local Co-op (PCC). You need one tablespoon of starter for a half gallon of yogurt.) I lay parchment out on baking trays and portion out one tablespoon dollops. I then freeze them for about an hour or two. Once they are frozen, I put them into freezer bags. Whenever I want to make yogurt, I just reach in and grab one.
  • Optional: dehydrator

How to make homemade yogurt:

  1. Heat milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. (Unless you want to do raw yogurt with your raw milk. See the bottom of this post for instructions on that method.) This kills any competing bacteria. It is much more gentle than pasteurization (especially ultra-pasteurization). The easiest method and the one I usually do is the crock pot. I set it on low and then keep taking the temperature every 30 minutes or so. The timing will vary depending on your crock pot. Mine takes about 4 hours to get to 180, but I don’t have to stand over the stove and stir.
  2. Once your milk has reached 180, let it cool to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit so that you can inoculate your milk with your culture. (This just means add your starter yogurt or yogurt starter.) Stir it in gently.
  3. Cover the crock or pot and place either into the oven with the pilot light on or into the dehydrator on the lowest temperature setting. (This is the one I use.)
  4. Leave it there for 12-24 hours. The longer you let it ferment, the more probiotics will be in your yogurt. It will also become more tangy.
  5. Once your yogurt is fermented to your liking, you will probably want to strain it. It will be very loose. If you like it thick (like Greek yogurt), you will strain it for longer (a few hours) than if you like a looser consistency (an hour or so). I use a nut milk bag for this, but you can use doubled up cheesecloth. I just use the ties from the bag to hang it from one of my upper cupboard handles and strain the whey into a bowl. Save the whey! It is full of protein and probiotics!

Things you can do with whey From Homemade Yogurt:

  • Add it to a protein shake.
  • Add it to broths and soups after they have cooled.
  • Add it to baked goods in place of other liquids.
  • Use it to lacto-ferment veggies!
  • Feed it to your pets.
  • Add it to your soaking grains and beans.

If after all of this, you still feel that you don’t have the time, I get it. Healthy living is all about balance after all. What you can do is choose your store-bought yogurt wisely. Try to buy grass-fed and organic of course, but turn the tub over and make sure there are no fillers.

How to make Raw Milk homemade Yogurt:

Homemade Yogurt

Take sterilized mason jars and fill with raw milk. Gently mix in your starter yogurt. You need 1 tablespoon of yogurt to culture a half gallon of milk. Put your jars in your dehydrator set at the lowest temperature (usually 95). Leave there for 12- 24 hours. When finished, strain to your liking!  All done. Enjoy 🙂

 

Ways to Enjoy your homemade yogurt:

Homemade Yogurt Topped With Lemon Curd
Homemade Yogurt Topped With Lemon Curd
  • Plain with a little maple syrup mixed in
  • Topped with Lemon Curd
  • Spoon Berry Sauce (Raspberry, strawberry, etc.) over the top
  • Mixed with granola or muesli
  • With fresh fruit

Have you ever made homemade yogurt? How was it?

 

 

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Lemonade Water Kefir

Lemonade Water Kefir: A Delicious Fermented Beverage

This is one of my kids’ favorites! It’s a delicious lemonade made with water kefir that is filled with nutrients. Go here for a tutorial on brewing water kefir if you don’t know how.

This lemonade Water Kefir contains:

  • Probiotics (beneficial bacteria)
  • Beneficial acids
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin K
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin C

You will need:

Jar of Lemonade Water Kefir

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Water Kefir (about a quart)
  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • Glass bottle (Flip-top bottle for soda version)

Add all ingredients to a glass jar or bottle. Let sit on counter for at least 2 days and up to a week. Keep tasting to see when it reaches your desired flavor.

 

To make a soda:
Add all ingredients to a flip-top bottle. Let sit on your counter for at least 2 days and up to a week. Keep releasing gas from the bottle from time to time.
Once your water kefir juice or soda reaches your desired flavor, move it to the fridge to slow the fermentation.

 

 

Water Kefir Lemonade
A delicious twist on lemonade. This is packed with probiotics and other nutrients.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Juice of one lemon
  2. 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of sugar
  3. Water Kefir (about a quart)
  4. Lemon zest (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a glass jar or bottle. Let sit on counter for at least 2 days and up to a week. Keep tasting to see when it reaches your desired flavor.
To make a soda
  1. Add all ingredients to a flip-top bottle. Let sit on your counter for at least 2 days and up to a week. Keep releasing gas from the bottle from time to time.
  2. Once your water kefir juice or soda reaches your desired flavor, move it to the fridge to slow the fermentation.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Lemonade Water KefirHave you made Lemonade Water Kefir or Soda? What did you think?

 

 

Orangeade Water Kefir Soda

Orangeade Water Kefir Soda: A Delicious Nutritious Natural Soda

Try making this delicious Orangeade Water Kefir Soda. It takes only a few minutes to make and you and your children will love the flavor! It’s also full of nutrition and low in sugar.

This Orangeade Water Kefir Soda contains:

  • Probiotics (beneficial bacteria)
  • Beneficial acids
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin K
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin C

You will need:

  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Water Kefir (about a quart)
  • Orange zest (optional)
  • Glass flip-top bottle

Add all ingredients to a flip-top bottle. Allow to sit on your counter for at least 2 days and up to 7. Release the gas from time to time. When the soda has reached your desired taste, move it to the fridge to slow fermentation.

If you, or your children as is my case, do not like carbonation, just put the ingredients into a regular glass bottle or jar to ferment.

Go here for a tutorial on brewing water kefir if you don’t know how.

 

Orangeade Water Kefir Soda
A delicious natural "soda" loaded with vitamins and probiotics.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Juice of one orange
  2. 1 teaspoon sugar
  3. Water Kefir (about a quart)
  4. Orange zest (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a flip-top bottle. Allow to sit on your counter for at least 2 days and up to 7. Release the gas from time to time. When the soda has reached your desired taste, move it to the fridge to slow fermentation.
Notes
  1. If you don't want carbonation, don't put the ingredients into a flip-top. Just use a regular glass bottle or jar.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Orangeade Water Kefir SodaDo you brew your own water kefir? Have you tried making a water kefir soda before? What flavors? What did you think?

 

 

Water Kefir

Water Kefir: How To Brew

Water kefir is a light-tasting nutritious fermented beverage. My kids love it! They drink this instead of juice or soda, both of which are loaded with sugar. (As I am sure you know.) It is very simple to brew. You can make it into either a juice as in my Lemonade Water Kefir recipe or a soda like my Orangeade Water Kefir Soda recipe.

Some of our favorite water kefir flavors:

  • Lemonade
  • Orangeade
  • Limeade
  • Cranberry
  • Blueberry
  • Strawberry
  • Watermelon
  • Apple
  • Peach

Nutrients in Water Kefir:

  • Probiotics (beneficial bacteria)
  • Beneficial acids
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin K
  • Folic acid

How to get water kefir grains:

I bought mine live from Poseymom. You can also buy them dehydrated from Cultures for Health. I prefer live, but dehydrated works as well. It will take a bit longer before you actually have usable water kefir ready though. If you’re really lucky, you can just get some from a friend. You need about 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup).

HOw to brew Water Kefir:

To brew water kefir, you need just filtered water, sugar, and water kefir grains. These grains are a “scoby” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Just as with milk kefir and kombucha, the scoby eats the sugar thereby fermenting the water. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a printable version.

water kefir grains

  1. Dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar into one quart of filtered water.I generally add a little hot water to my jar to dissolve the sugar and fill the rest of the way with cool water so that I can add my grains right away. Don’t add the grains until your water has cooled down to about room temperature. You can add minerals to your water kefir if needed. Since you
  2. Cover your jar with fabric and a rubber band. Don’t use cheesecloth. I use cut up receiving blankets that I up-cycled. Set it on your counter away from the stove or sink so that it doesn’t get accidentally splashed. It will need to ferment anywhere from 24-48 hours. The variables that effect the rate of fermentation are: strength and quantity of your grains, the temperature in the room, the type of sugar that you used, how tart/sweet you like your water kefir. 
  3. While you are getting the hang of it, you can keep tasting it to see when to pull the grains. Do this by sticking a clean straw into your brew and then putting your finger over the top of the straw. Do not put the straw back in after you have tasted from it, or you will introduce undesirable bacteria and endanger your grains.
  4. Once you kefir has fermented to your liking, strain the water kefir into a new bottle, reserving the grains. Use a plastic strainer. You are now ready to “feed” your grains again just as you did at the start.
  5. The end product is a light, refreshing beverage. You can enjoy it plain, but we usually do a second fermentation.

Doing a second Fermentation of water kefir

To do a second fermentation of water kefir, you just add either juice or fruit and sugar to your finished kefir. If you want just a juice (not carbonated), just put it into a recycled juice bottle or jar. Allow it to sit on your counter for 2 days to a week. Taste it from time to time to see how it is. Once it reaches the point you like, move it to the fridge. This slows down fermentation. Go here for my Water Kefir Lemonade recipe.

To make a soda:

Add juice or fruit, sugar, and water kefir to a flip top bottle. Let sit on your counter for at least 2 days and up to a week. Be sure to let gas escape from time to time or you may have a mess on your hands (or ceiling in my case). Once your kefir has fermented to your liking, move to the refrigerator to slow fermentation down. Go here for my Orangeade Water Kefir Soda recipe.

How to Brew Water Kefir
A light tasting nutritious ferment. It contains probiotics and vitamins and can be flavored in a variety of ways.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Water Kefir grains (1/4 cup)
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. One quart of water
Instructions
  1. Dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar into one quart of filtered water.I generally add a little hot water to my jar to dissolve the sugar and fill the rest of the way with cool water so that I can add my grains right away. Don't add the grains until your water has cooled down to about room temperature.
  2. Cover your jar with fabric and a rubber band. Don't use cheesecloth. I use cut up receiving blankets that I up-cycled. Set it on your counter away from the stove or sink so that it doesn't get accidentally splashed. It will need to ferment anywhere from 24-48 hours. The variables that effect the rate of fermentation are: strength and quantity of your grains, the temperature in the room, the type of sugar that you used, how tart/sweet you like your water kefir.
  3. Once you kefir has fermented to your liking, strain the water kefir into a new bottle, reserving the grains. Use a plastic strainer. You are now ready to "feed" your grains again just as you did at the start. (One quart of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of grains.)
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

A couple of notes on water kefir:

Water Kefir Fermenting

  • During the warmer months, your grains will begin to multiply. Either save these to do two brews at once if your family is going through a lot of water kefir, or give them away and share the health wealth. You can also eat them and feed them to your pets! 
  • If need, you can add minerals to your water kefir. You must use filtered water when dealing with scobys and sometimes too many minerals are filtered out. I add Concentrace liquid minerals to mine. You can also add this to your drinking water.
  • Too much water kefir? Add it to bake goods in place of other liquids to give a little “lift”.

How about you? Have you tried water kefir? Do you like it? Are you going to try to make it?