Cultured Butter Recipe- 2 Ingredients + a Mason Jar

Using a culture to ferment dairy is the most simple way to introduce probiotics and reduce lactose content. If butter is an ingredient that is part of your diet, then sourcing your own organic cream can be all you need to have beautiful, homemade AND CULTURED butter without additives or preservatives.

2 Ingredients, and all you need is a mason jar!

cultured butter

Using kefir grains to introduce a hit of vitamins and good bacteria to your cream takes this from an average butter recipe to one that is cultured, and highly beneficial to your gut. All you have to do is pop it in a jar and leave it on the bench ferment. A few more steps, and voila- you have butter!

Read here for more information about kefir grains. 

Ingredients:

Cream (try and find organic, unhomogenised)

Kefir Grains

Instructions:

Step 1: Add cream to a clean glass jar. Have a jar that is big enough to be filled about half way with the cream.

cultured butter3

Step 2: Shake the jar for a few minutes to thicken the cream. Add the kefir grains, and leave the jar on the bench.

Step 3: After 1-2 days, the cream will be the consistency of whipped cream and smell a bit like yoghurt.

cultured butter2

Step 4: Strain off the kefir grains from the cream, and place the cream back in a jar.

Step 5: Shake the jar until the butter separates from the buttermilk. When you hear a ‘thud’ when you’re shaking the jar this is usually when the butter has separated out.

Step 6: Strain off the buttermilk (keep it for baking!) and rinse the yellow butter under cold water.

cultured butter1

Step 7: Try and rinse off all the butter miik, as this is what causes the butter to age faster and it won’t keep as well.

Step 8: Knead the butter with your hands and continue rinsing until the water runs clear. Place back in the jar (make sure it’s clean) and shake for another minute. This gives it a smoother texture.

Step 9: Rinse again under cold water, and store in a jar. Add a pinch of Himalayan salt if you want salted butter.

Traditional Fermented Kim Chi – Step by Step Instuctions

Traditional Kim Chi is a fermented, spicey condiment that is full of probiotics, (beautiful living organisms to support your gut and microbiome) and has immune boosting properties. Try to use organic ingredients when possible, as this is a fermented food that relies on the natural enzymes and bacteria in the ingredients to grow a broad spectrum of good bacteria.

kim chi1

Making Kim Chi the traditional way takes time, and love. It is a process that helps to develop the dynamic flavours. Setting a couple of hours aside for this project will pay you in endless health benefits and bragging rights of your efforts.

Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you; these are all easily sourced and for the amount of Kim Chi this recipe makes- it turns out to be very affordable, probably around $4 per kilogram!

Have some large, glass jars on hand. Make sure they are sterilized by washing in warm water, and placing in the oven for 15 minutes at 100 degrees Celsius.

Makes 3-4 kg of Spicey Kim Chi (recipe can be altered if you don’t want it spicey).

Ingredients

For salting cabbage:

  • 1 large head of Wombok cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of Himalayan sale

Porridge mix:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons rapadura sugar

Vegetables:

  • 2 cups radish grated
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 small bunch of green spring onions/ or brown onion, chopped

Seasonings and spices:

  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves ( or around 3 heads of garlic), crushed
  • 2-3 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup Oyster sauce
  • 3/4 cup chilli powder (for an extra hot kim chi, add less if you don’t want it that spicey)

Instructions

Step 1: Cut the cabbage into quarters, and wash each quarter in water.

Step 2: While the cabbage is still wet, sprinkle the salt on each quarter- lifting each leaf and putting salt between all of the leaves.

Step 3: Let the cabbage rest in the brine for 1-2 hours. Rotating every 20 minutes so the salty brine coats the leaves.

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Step 4: While the cabbage is resting, make the rice porridge mix. Combine water and the rice flour in a small pot.

Step 5: Heat the porridge over a slow heat, whisking every few minutes. Allow to come to a gentle simmer, then add the sugar. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, whisking to ensure the mixture is thickening into a thin paste.

Step 6: Pour cooled porridge into a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, and chilli powder. Mix well until the mixture combines.

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Step 7: Add the chopped/grated fresh vegetables to the chilli seasoning mix. Fold the mix through the vegetables until they are coated.

Step 8: After the cabbages have soaked, rinse them in water to remove any dirt and the excess salt. Remove the stems from each quarter.

Step 9: Take the chilli/vegetable mix and coat each leaf of cabbage with it. Probably best done with your hands. Roll the cabbage into rolls, and place into sterilized jars.

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Step 10: Compact the cabbage leaves down, after each addition. Ensure that the mix is covering all the leaves, so that they are almost entirely red.  Leave the jars in a cool, dry place (the pantry works a treat) out of direct sunlight.

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Notes on fermentation: Fermentation starts to occur 1-2 days at room temperature, depending on the humidity and temperature. The warmer the weather, the faster fermentation occurs. Bacteria loves warmth 🙂

When the fermenting process has set in, a sour taste and smell will ensue. This isn’t unpleasant (and reminiscent of the flavour of plain yoghurt, almost). There is a distinct difference between rotting vegetables, and fermenting vegetables. Fermenting has a vinegar-y flavour.

Taste test your kim chi, to gage the fermenting rate. You can leave it to the point where you feel comfortable, but a good bench mark for first time fermenters is 1-2 weeks. This can be extended out a lot longer (I’ve read some recipes that say up to 12 weeks!) so keep in mind this process is very much to your preference.

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Once you are happy with the amount of time the kim chi has fermented, place and store in the fridge. This slows down the fermenting process. The flavours will develop more over time, and become more blended and complex.

This process is really enjoyable and quite relaxing. It’s also a lovely experiment to observe the changes over time.

kim chi2

2 Ingredient Digestive Detox

This recipe is amazingly effective at cleaning out the digestive system. Rich in pro-biotics, and with a seed known for drawing toxins from the small and large intestines this is a match made in gut health heaven.

Our colon can store stagnant mucus, and fecal deposits; which lodge in the colon walls and release toxins into our system. This costs our body energy, vibrancy and good digestion. It can lead to serious health implications if there is a build up that is unresolved for a long period of time. These toxins can also lead to weight gain, inflammation, gastritis, colitis, ulcers and duodenal ulcers, diseases of the urinary tract, cystitis, and pyelonephritis. Read more on the website Natural Cures and Home Remedies.

Let’s cut to the chase about cleansing your digestive system in a way that promotes good bacteria, bowel flora and also gets rid of the nasty stuff:

1 tablespoon of flaxseeds

2 tablespoons of coconut/ dairy kefir

Mix together and let it soak for 15 minutes to 2 hours; timing is up to you. Then quickly run through a processor (a hand blender works well) just to crush the seeds a little.

Consume straight away.

Eat this mix in the morning, before breakfast. Continue with the following daily regimen to get maximum benefits.

1 Week: 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 100 ml of kefir

2 Week: 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 100 ml of kefir

3 Weeks: 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 150 ml of kefir

 

Probiotic Rich Smoothie

Probiotics are amazing. The things they do to bring wellness to your body is a neccessity. I always notice that post exams, I feel tired and lethargic from all the late nights and sporadic meals.

My go to solution: rehydration and probiotics.

I will spend a day or two just putting lots of water into my body. I always feel amazing the day after consciously re-hydrating. See here for my 20 Lifehacks to drink more water.

Probiotics in the form of kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha are all pantry staples for us. They are easy to make at home and a cheap way to boost your gut health.

kefirsmoothie

Here is a recipe that is not only deliciously fruity but also includes a huge amount of good bacteria that aids digestion and gut function.

Ingredients

1-2 cup of fruit (I used strawberries and banana)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 cups of kefir (and or yoghurt)

 

Instructions

Step 1: Place all of the fruit in a blender bowl

kefirsmoothie3

Step 2: Add honey, vanilla and kefir

kefirsmoothie2

Step 3: Blend together until smooth

Step 4: Drink and enjoy feeling amazing!

kefirsmoothie1

 

Kombucha Recipe You Can Make at Home

How To Make Kombucha

This recipe makes 1 liter of Kombucha tea. I use this as a base recipe, and multiply it when I need to make a bigger batch. I usually make 4 liters at a time, so I just put 4x the Ingredients in.

You will need to let the kombucha ferment in a glass jar- make sure the jar is slightly bigger than the batch size e.g., if you are making a 2 liter batch of kombucha- allow space for slight expansion, for the scoby, the tea and the starter kombucha, so get a jar that is about 2.5 liters.

Choose a jar with a wide opening at the top (and not one that tapers up). The lid isn’t important, as you won’t be using it. So a glass bowl could work well too. Only use glass- no plastic, metal or coloured glass as these damage the SCOBY.

Don’t have a SCOBY? Ask someone who makes Kombucha at home 🙂 everytime a new batch of Kombucha is made, a ‘baby SCOBY’ grows on the original one. That means that you can make more and more tea after every batch, and you can share the SCOBY’s around!

Want to learn about the amazing health benefits of Kombucha? Read my profile on Kombucha here.

Taken from secretsoftheoldcountry.com
Taken from secretsoftheoldcountry.com

Equipment:

Large stainless steel saucepan/stock pot
Large 1.5 liter glass jar or bowl
Dishtowel or cheesecloth
Rubber band
Mason jars or glass bottles for bottling

Ingredients

1 Liter Filtered water
1/4 cup Refined white sugar, organic or raw sugar
2 x Organic tea bags (green or black, I use 1 of each)
1 Kombucha starter culture or SCOBY — where to buy starters
100mL Kombucha from a previous batch

Sweet Tea Ingredients: Water, sugar tea
Sweet Tea Ingredients: Water, sugar tea
SCOBY plus some tea from a previous batch or 'starter tea'
SCOBY plus 100mL of Kombucha from a previous batch or ‘starter tea’

Method

1. Add the filtered water to the saucepan, cover with lid, and bring to a boil.
2. Turn off the heat, pour in the sugar, and stir until it is dissolved.

kombucha5
In this photo I’m making 4L so using 1 cup of sugar. For 1L of Kombucha you would use 1/4 cup of sugar

3. Add the tea bags, remove the stockpot from the heat. Let most of the steam out, then cover and let cool (this takes a few hours, so I often leave it overnight).

Add sugar and tea bags to boiled water
Add sugar and tea bags to boiled water

4. When the tea is at room temperature (if it’s too hot, it can kill your starter culture), pour it into the large glass jar. Add 100mL of kombucha from a previous batch (or store-bought kombucha), and add the starter culture SCOBY.

Make sure the glass jar has been cleaned. No need to fully sterilize it, just give it a good wash in hot soapy water, and give it a rinse from all the suds.

Starter tea and SCOBY
Starter tea and SCOBY in clean glass jar
Fill the jar with cooled sweet tea, SCOBY and starter tea
Fill the jar with cooled sweet tea.

5. Cover the jar with a dishcloth (this is just used to keep the bugs and dust out — but it needs to be porous so air can get in) and wrap a rubber band around to fix it on the jar.

kombucha7

Cover with a tea-towel and rubber band
Cover with a tea-towel and rubber band

6. Leave it in a warm dark place for a few days, tasting it every so often. Tasting it around day 5 is usually a good time.

7. When the kombucha tastes the way you want it to remove the starter culture and put it into a bowl or another glass jar. Pour enough kombucha over it to make sure it’s completely covered (this will be your starter tea for the next batch).

When it has finished fermenting, set aside the SCOBY in tea (which will be used for your new batch)
When it has finished fermenting, set aside the SCOBY in kombucha tea from the same batch (which will be used for your new batch)

8. Pour the rest of the kombucha tea into glass bottles or mason jars, seal, and store in the fridge (I use sterilized wine bottles).

kombucha8

Tasting: It is a good idea to taste your Kombucha while it is fermenting. Myself, and a few of my friends were a bit wary of this, with the first few batches of kombucha they made, but taste away- this won’t make you sick! Using a straw is a good way to taste test. Depending on how sweet or sour you like your kombucha, it will be ready as early as three or four days (slightly sweet but tangy), and can take as long as two weeks (very vinegary).

Weather: The rate of fermentation (and therefore the level of sweet or sour flavour) depends on how warm your kitchen is. You can make kombucha faster in summer and it may take longer in wintertime when your kitchen is cold. I find an intermittently warm spot, like under the kitchen sink so that it doesn’t take so long in winter.

What if I want to take a break from making Kombucha? If you want to take a break from making kombucha, just leave your starter culture in the gallon jar covered with kombucha and a dish towel. It will stay alive for many weeks or months with very little attention (I know, because I’ve left mine in there for months.) You can always pour a little store-bought kombucha in there if you want to make sure it stays alive. Or brew a few cups of tea and add sugar and throw it in if you’re too busy to make a batch of kombucha and you’re nervous about killing your starter.

Taken from http://www.cheapethniceatz.com/
Taken from http://www.cheapethniceatz.com/

Making Fizzy Kombucha: Kombucha is usually lightly fizzy after being fermented. If you’d like to make it fizzier, do a ‘flavouring’ stage and add a couple of raisins/sultanas and leave for 2-3 days to fizz up! Beware when opening the bottle though! See the next paragraph for more details on ‘flavouring’.

The secret ingredient to extra fizzy kombucha
The secret ingredient to extra fizzy kombucha

Flavouring: If you want to go a step further and flavour your kombucha, simply decant the completed kombucha into a bottle or jar and add any fruit/spice/herb or root (e.g., ginger) that you like into the Kombucha. Seal the container and leave it to sit for 2-3 days. Take care when opening, as this flavouring stage can make it extra fizzy. Decant and enjoy!

Taken from www.mrkate.com
Taken from http://www.mrkate.com

Things to Consider When Making Kombucha:

  • The tea must be completely cooled before adding to the SCOBY
  • Do not keep the SCOBY in the fridge, the cold will kill them
  • If you see mould, throw out the entire batch of tea, rinse the mould off the SCOBY in filtered water and start again. Mould on a SCOBY will usually be black or green.
  • The SCOBY’s natural colouring (white, brown, yellow) is normal and NOT mould.
  • Place brewing Kombucha in a room without direct sunlight, other food, fruit or other fermenting foods.
  • Using white sugar with Kombucha is very safe for the consumer, as the refined process for the sugar takes out bacteria that may harm the SCOBY (which consumes most of the sugar in the fermenting process anyway).
  • Don’t use tea that has added flavouring, or essential oils. Herbal teas can be used, but rotate batches with black tea as the SCOBY needs caffeine.

 

Profile: Kombucha (Fermented Tea)

What is Kombucha? A fermented tea drink rich in probiotics, made with a SCOBY, tea, sugar and water.

What is a SCOBY?  Also known as a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, or (SCOBY). Sometimes referred to as the mother, because of its ability to reproduce, growing layer, upon layer; it has a mushroom like appearance (or ‘alien’ to some).

This living organism ferments sweetened tea (by eating sugar) to become the Kombucha beverage. The amount of living yeast it contains gives the Kombucha beverage an active life which continues after decanting it into bottles.

Taken from secretsoftheoldcountry.com
Taken from secretsoftheoldcountry.com

How do you say it? Most people say “com-booch-ah”

Why is it good for you?

  1. Has anti-cancer properties. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer.
  2. Increases energy: rich in vitamin B1, 2, 6 and 12 to increase energy and relieve stress.
  3. Kombucha contains glucosamines, a strong preventive and treatment for all forms of arthritis.
  4. Immune booster: high in antioxidants, kombucha will strengthen your body’s immune system.
  5. With a significant amount of probiotics, kombucha can repair gut damage and improve digestion.
  6. Kombucha is a good source of vitamin C.
  7. Helps the body to detox. Kombucha helps the body to flush out toxic deposits (such as excess cholesterol and uric acid)
  8. Kombucha is rich in a large variety or organic acids, enzymes and vitamins.
  9. Contains more beneficial bacteria, vitamins and minerals than yoghurt.

Colours and varieties: The colour of standard kombucha tea is a light brown colour, similar to plain ‘black’ tea. Colour can change however, with the addition of fruit, herbs, juices or other ingredients.

Taken from www.mrkate.com
Taken from http://www.mrkate.com

Texture: The end result of fermented tea is like a lightly effervescent, carbonated drink.

Taste: Plain kombucha is slightly tangy, and should not be overly sweet (as this indicates that the sugar has not been properly consumed by the SCOBY, and the fermentation hasn’t fully occured). The smell can be off-putting for some, and is often quite earthy and pungent, as most fermented things are. The taste though, is really quite pleasant. However, kombucha flavour is versatile and fruit/juice or herbs can be added to personalise your brew. 

The taste is entirely dependent on a variety of factors, such as temperature, the type of tea used, sweetener, length of fermentation time and if the tea has gone through a ‘second ferment’ where extra flavours can be added.

 

kombucha4
Taken from http://www.cheapethniceatz.com

Preparation: Preparation is simple. Bring filtered water and tea to the boil, add sugar and let it cool to room temperature. Using a sterilized jar, place SCOBY in the jar (make sure the jar is at room temperature), with some ‘starter tea’ and pour in sweet tea mix. Cover with a tea towel and make sure it is out of direct sunlight, and away from direct heat sources. Fermentation can take anywhere from 3-10 days (this is mainly dependent on temperature- the hotter the weather the faster the fermenting process). The more experienced you are at fermenting, the more aware you are of changes at each stage of fermentation, and can tailor the process to suit your tastes. It takes practice 🙂 Read here for my step by step instructions for brewing kombucha at home.

Uses: Kombucha is most commonly drunk as a probiotic health drink. However, it can be substituted in many cases for apple cider vinegar, used in cleaning products or in salad dressings. Cultures for Health outlines a few more uses here.

Brief History: Kombucha has been drunk in Russia and China for over a centrury (different sources say it was as early as 415AD, some say it was only 100 years ago). It was referred to as the ‘tea of immortality’. The samurai drank it as a staple part of their diet. Kombucha Cultures website also describes Chaga (a birch-tree mushroom) used for hundreds of years as a tea made by the Russian peasants, near Moscow to cure cancer. There is speculation that the Kombucha mushroom is related to the Birch-tree mushroom. Read more here.

Where can I get it? 

It can be bought in health food shops, and sometimes in alternative cafes or restaurants. They will normally stock flavoured kombucha, and prices range from $5-$12 per liter (that I have seen). However, because the tea is rich in living probiotics and enzymes, it is best drunk when it is fresh. Often, during the bottling process many of the living benefits can be destroyed. Kombucha is easy, cheap and fun to make, so I would recommend doing it at home!

 Kombucha helps the body to self heal and regulate by:

1. Aiding your liver in removing harmful substances,

2. Promoting balance in your digestive system, and

3. Being rich in health-promoting vitamins, enzymes, and acids.

The health benefits of drinking kombucha are astounding. I noticed a difference in my skin, metabolism and energy levels a few days after drinking (on a daily basis). It is cheap and easy to make, and is an interesting hobby that will educate you about living organisms and probiotic-bacteria. It is an awesome project for kids, to watch the SCOBY grow, too.

Here are some recipes for Kombucha:

Mango-Apricot Kombucha from Our Small Hours
Strawberry Banana Kombucha Smoothie from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
Flavored Kombucha Recipes Your Kids Will Love from Homemade Mommy

Profile: Sauerkraut

Needing more goodness in your diet, but only have a few dollars to spare? There is a cheap solution that will introduce probiotics, vitamin C and cancer fighting goodness into your diet; Sauerkraut. It is a versatile condiment, with a tangy flavour that can be added to burgers, used as a topping/side dish or eaten on its own.

 

What is Sauerkraut? A fermented cabbage condiment, traditionally made from cabbage and salt.

How do you say it? Most people say “sour krout”

sauerkraut10

Why is it good for you?

  1. Sauerkraut will repair your gut, and heal stomach ulcers.
  2. Has more probiotics than a bowl of yoghurt.
  3. Fiber to help digestion.
  4. Contains a great amount of Vitamin A, and C. Little side story: Scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) killed many British sailors during the 1700s, especially on longer voyages. In the late 1770s, Captain James Cook circumnavigated the world without losing a single sailor to scurvy, thanks to the foods his ship carried, including sixty barrels of sauerkraut!
  5.  Helps to lower cholesterol levels.
  6. Has lots of strains of good bacteria which will boost your bowel flora.
  7. Finnish researchers reported that in laboratory studies,a substance produced by fermented cabbage, isothiocyanates, helped prevent the growth of cancer.Natural News has written a great post about the health benefits of sauerkraut.

If you are interested in more of the good things eating sauerkraut has to offer- check out this article by John P Thomas; Sauerkraut: Anti-cancer Fermented Food that Restores Gut Flora.

Colours and varietiesDepends on the colour of the cabbage, which is can be green, white or purple. Sometimes other vegetables or herbs are added, such as carrots, mustard seeds or garlic- this will alter the colour and appearance of kraut.

cabbage

Texture: Slightly crunchy, sort of like stir-fried cabbage.

Taste: It is tangy, and a bit tart. It has a slight vinegar taste, that blends well with savoury meat dishes. Some say it is an ‘acquired taste’ however, if you like other fermented products I’m sure you would love this.

sauerkraut8

Preparation:  This is an affordable superfood that you can make at home. All you need to do is combine shredded cabbage with some salt and pack it into a container, a mason jar is perfect for small batches. The cabbage releases liquid, creating its own brine solution.When it is submerged in this liquid for a period of several days or weeks, the cabbage slowly ferments into the crunchy, sour condiment we know and love as sauerkraut. See my post: Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar for a recipe.

 

sauerkraut-bratwurst

Where can I get it? Most supermarkets and healthfood stores will sell sauerkraut. However, the fresher the kraut the more benefits it has. Making it at home is simple and easy and very cheap (only 2 Ingredients)!

How is Sauerkraut Fermented?

Sauerkraut is made by a process called lacto-fermentation. Put simply: Beneficial bacteria are present on the surface of the cabbage (and all fruits and vegetables). Lactobacillus is one of those bacteria, (which is found in yogurt and many other cultured products) when cabbage is submerged in a brine, the bacteria begin to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid. This is a naturally occuring preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.

Why Ferment Cabbage?

Lacto-fermentation has been used for centuries to preserve seasonal vegetables beyond their standard shelf-life. The fermentation process itself is very reliable and safe, and the fermented sauerkraut can be kept at cellar temperature for months, or stored in the fridge. Besides preserving the cabbage, this fermentation process also transforms it into something incredibly tasty and gives it additional health benefits — fermented sauerkraut contains a lot of the same healthy probiotics as a bowl of yogurt.

 

Want to Know More?

  • The Healthy Eating Site has great information about sauerkraut for people of all experiences with fermenting.
  • The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz – Check them out for a great all-around resource on fermentation in general, fermentation problem-solving, and fermentation health benefits.
  • Cultures for Health – A popular online resource for fermentation cultures and equipment, but I also turn to them for a lot of information on fermenting. They also have a free e-book on lacto-fermentation that is available if you sign up for their newsletter.

 

Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

What Do I Need to Make Sauerkraut?

At the most basic, all you need is cabbage, salt, and some sort of container to store it while it’s fermenting. It’s important that the cabbage remain submerged in the salty liquid during fermentation. When fermenting in a mason jar, inserting a cabbage leaf over the packed kraut will serve the same purpose.

sauerkraut5

The cabbage near the surface tends to float, so when fermenting in a mason jar, you need to either tamp down the cabbage a few times a day or place a large outer leaf of cabbage over the surface of the shredded cabbage to hold it down.

How Long Does It Take To Make Sauerkraut?

For a small batch like we’re making today, the minimum time is about three days, though the kraut will continue to ferment and become tastier for many days after that. As simple as it sounds, the best rule of thumb is to keep tasting the kraut and refrigerate when it tastes good to you. The sauerkraut is safe to eat at every stage of the process, so there is no real minimum or maximum fermentation time.

What Can Go Wrong?

Not much! You may see bubbles, foam, or white scum on the surface of the sauerkraut, but these are all signs of normal, healthy fermentation. The white scum can be skimmed off as you see it or before refrigerating the sauerkraut. If you get a very active fermentation or if your mason jar is very full, the brine can sometimes bubble up over the top of the jar. This is part of the reason why I recommend using a larger mason jar than is really necessary to hold the cabbage. If you do get a bubble-up, it’s nothing to worry about. Just place a plate below the jar to catch the drips and make sure the cabbage continues to be covered by the brine.

It is possible that you might find mold growing on the surface of the sauerkraut, but don’t panic! Mold typically forms only when the cabbage isn’t fully submerged or if it’s too hot in your kitchen. The sauerkraut is still fine (it’s still preserved by the lactic acid) — you can scoop off the mold and proceed with fermentation. This said, it’s still important to use your best judgement when fermenting. If something smells or tastes moldy or unappetizing, trust your senses and toss the batch.

Mason Jar Sauerkraut Recipe

Ingredients
1 medium head green cabbage
1 1/2 tablespoons Himalayan salt
Optional flavour enhancers: Ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, paprika, caraway seeds.

Equipment
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Mixing bowl
2-quart widemouth canning jar (or two quart mason jars)

sauerkraut7
All you need for Sauerkraut making!

Instructions

  1. Sanitize: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your mason jar is washed in hot water and rinsed of all soap residue. You’ll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
  2. Slice: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut off a good size leaf that is clean and set aside (we will use this to put on top of the finished mixture). Cut the core out of the cabbage and slice the cabbage crosswise into very thin ribbons.

    Regan chopping the cabbage (in his awesome shirt)
    Regan chopping the cabbage (in his awesome shirt)
  3. Combine: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top.

    Add Salt
    Add Salt
  4. Get your hands dirty: Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first, it may not seem like enough salt, but gradually, the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take about 10 minutes. If this is strenuous on your arms and wrists, massage the salt for as long as possible and take a break. While the cabbage is resting,it softens and makes it easier to come back and finish. If you’d like to flavor your sauerkraut, mix in your optional extra.

    Cabbage will look limp after rubbing the salt in for about 10 minutes
    Cabbage will look limp after rubbing the salt in for about 10 minutes
  5. Pack: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the canning jar. Keep pressing down on the mix with a spoon or your fist to pack it in nice and tight. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage it into the jar.
  6. Seal: Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar, get the cabbage leaf that you set aside and cut it to fit the jar opening. Place it on top of the kraut mix. This helps to seal in the moisture, and keep the cabbage weighed down. This is important so that the mix is submerged in the brine.

    Cabbage leaf on top
    Cabbage leaf on top
  7. Lid: Place the lid on the jar, and put it out of direct sunlight (the pantry is a good place).
  8. Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often using the big leaf on top. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage
  9. Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it’s fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature. Continue to check it and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid. Also, take the lid off every day, so that the gases don’t build up in the jar.sauerkraut1
  10. Taste: Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, refrigerate it, this helps to slow the fermentation process down. You can also allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There’s no hard and fast rule for when the sauerkraut is “done” — go by how it tastes.
  11. Store: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated. As long as it still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be. If you like, you can transfer the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

  • Sauerkraut with Other Cabbages: Red cabbage, napa cabbage, and other cabbages all make great sauerkraut. Make individual batches or mix them up for a multi-colored sauerkraut!
  • Canning Sauerkraut: You can process sauerkraut for longer storage outside of refrigeration, but the canning process will kill the good bacterias produced by the fermentation process. See this tutorial from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for canning instructions.
  • Larger or Smaller Batches: To make larger or smaller batches of sauerkraut, keep same ratio of cabbage to salt and adjust the size of the container. Smaller batches will ferment more quickly and larger batches will take longer.
  • Hot and Cold Temperatures: Do everything you can to store sauerkraut at a cool room temperature. At high temperatures, the sauerkraut can sometimes become unappetizingly mushy or go bad. Low temperatures (above freezing) are fine, but fermentation will proceed more slowly.
  • Want to Know More? Check Out These Resources:

    • The Healthy Eating Site has great information about sauerkraut for people of all experiences with fermenting.
    • The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz – Check them out for a great all-around resource on fermentation in general, fermentation problem-solving, and fermentation health benefits.
    • Cultures for Health – A popular online resource for fermentation cultures and equipment, but I also turn to them for a lot of information on fermenting. They also have a free e-book on lacto-fermentation that is available if you sign up for their newsletter.

Profile: Kefir

Milk Kefir
Milk Kefir

 

What is Kefir? A fermented milk drink, made from kefir grains. Chris Kresser toted it “The Not So Paleo Super Food”

What are Kefir grains? Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, fats, and sugars. Also known as a symbiotic matrix, or (SCOBY) which forms “grains” that resemble cauliflower.

Kefir Grains
Kefir Grains

How do you say it? Most people say “ke-fear”

Why is it good for you?

  1. Kefir contains high levels of Thiamin, B12, Folates and *Vitamin K2.
  2. Only 175 grams of kefir provides 20% of daily calcium.
  3. It is a good source of biotin, a B vitamin that HELPS the body assimilate other B vitamins.
  4.  High in minerals, such as magnesium, and phosphorus, which helps the body utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.
  5. It is a potent probiotic, consisting of both bacterial and yeast species of beneficial flora, and may help protect you against gastrointestinal diseases.
  6. Improves lactose digestion in adults with lactose intolerance.
  7. Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
  8. May play a role in regulating immune function, allergic response, and inflammation.
  9. It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails and digestive function.
  10. Contains tryptophan, an amino acid which helps with sleep.
  11. Contains more beneficial bacteria, vitamins and minerals than yoghurt.

*What is Vitamin K2? A product of bacterial fermentation, especially when made with milk from pastured animals. Vitamin K2 plays a key role in calcium metabolism, where it is used to deposit calcium in appropriate locations, such as in the bones and teeth, and prevent it from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues and the arteries.

Colours and varieties: Kefir is usually white, or the colour of whatever liquid it has fermented. The varieties of kefir are endless, different liquids can be used to alter results, such as:

– Cow Milk

– Sheep Milk

– Goat Milk

– Coconut Milk/Cream/Water

– Juice

– Ginger Beer

– Sweetened Filtered Water

Kefir Rainbow
Kefir Rainbow

Texture: The end result of milk kefir is like a thin yoghurt. It is lightly carbonated. The thickness depends on how long it has been fermented for, and often can have some lumps in it.

Taste: Kefir is slightly tangy, like yoghurt. And not as pungent as one might expect. It is really quite pleasant. However, for fussy tasters, the flavour is easily masked in smoothies or when used in cooking.

Preparation: Preparation is simple. Using a sterilized jar, place kefir grains in the jar (make sure the jar is room temperature) and pour in milk. Put the lid on and sit on a bench for 24-48 hours. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight, and away from direct heat sources.  Cheeseslave has a great post on how to prepare kefir.

From Cheeseslave: straining kefir
From Cheeseslave: straining kefir

Uses: Often served plain in European cafes it can be consumed as a drink, added as a milk replacement in baking (especially yummy in cakes and breads), used in salad dressings or sauces, poured on soup (instead of cream), eaten with cereal… where-ever I would normally use milk (or sometimes cream) I replace with kefir.

Where can I get it? Kefir milk can be bought in health food stores- but often around $6-9 per liter. If this price doesn’t appeal to you, it is so easy to make at home very cheaply. Kefir grains can be bought online, or from health food stores. But if you are looking for a budget friendly way to obtain kefir grains- ask another ‘grower’. Kefir grains multiply (slowly) as they consume their liquid-food. Often people who grow or use kefir grains are more than happy to share their grains.

Kefir is an amazing addition to your diet. It is simple and easy to prepare and very versatile to use. Myself, and many of my friends who make kefir swear by it, and can’t live without it. Give it a go, there’s nothing but good things that kefir can offer.