Fermented Food ROCKS!

by Polly N on January 3, 2012

If you have been interested in or eating raw food for a while you may have come across fermented foods. Yes I know, the idea of eating something that has been effectivey “growing” on your windowsill or in your airing cupboard doesn’t exactly sound appetising but stick with me here. Fermented foods are extremely nutritious and beneficial for the body. The process of fermenting foods preserves them and makes them more digestible. Check out my post “8 Reasons to eat cultured vegetables”

When I saw that Amy Levin and Jo Balfe were holding a master class in fermenting foods, I instantly decided that I needed to go as this is an area that up until recently I hadn’t really delved into. I have been eating these foods but not making them and figured this class was exactly what I needed to give me all the goods!

Even I need inspiring every now and then which is exactly what this class did for me. It revved up my excitement about raw food again and by the end of the class I was itching to get home to get making my very own nut cheeses (which I had made before but slightly differently), raw sauerkraut, kimchi, chutneys, kefirs and kombuchas!

So far, my favourite thing to make has been kefir. I made a delicious kefir which I have named Ginger Ale as it tastes just like the real thing. From one batch of basic kefir I made 2 different flavours – the second was blackberry sour. (see above). I took it to a group dinner at my friend Katherine’s house and it went down very well indeed. Water Kefir contains millions of beneficial bacteria and probiotic microorganisms, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. You can also make kefir from two other foods: coconuts (which I have tried but trying to source young thai coconuts and then opening them is messy, expensive and time consuming) and milk (not being a fan of milk because it promotes cancer growth,  so I won’t be participating in this..)

The above picture is the beautiful cheese plate that was made with raw almond cheese, macademia cheese and cashew cheese which we also got to devour as part of our lunch. I’m going to be blogging some new raw cheese recipes soon so keep your eyes peeled! Below is a picture of…no it’s not an alien or a placenta (although I do refer to it as this when showing family members what is growing in my fridge which totally freaks them out!). This is a kombucha starter culture (otherwise known as a SCOBY – Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast and refers exclusively to the mat formed by living kombucha cultures during the fermentation process)

Yes it is a little scary and even as I made my first kombucha this morning and had to handle the said placenta I was slighly concerned that it was going to transform into an unknown creature and suck the blood from my veins but fortunately for you I survived to tell the tale! (I jest – it’s not that bad!)

If you are interested in fermenting foods, there is lots of info on the internet and plenty of books about it so dive in as it’s all super healthy for you and pretty easy to make once you know how!

We made so much, I learnt a lot and much fun was had. All in all it was a truly fab class and one that I would recommend. For more info, visit Amy’s website. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some kerfir flavouring to do…

Have you ever made kombucha or kefir before? If so, did you find it easy?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ted January 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I’ve made Kombucha before and it’s not hard. Once you get the SCOBY it’s just waiting! :-))

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mary holmes January 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

glad you enjoyed the class, i am very lucky that my lovely friend Jo has now opened a raw cafe in Norwich, and yes, those raw cheeses are amazing aren’t they? xx

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Jules January 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I am producing a liter of milk Kefir for a chalet of skiers every day. First they were dubious but they soon all become addicted to the sour, alkaline taste. I too tried coconut to start but only found the brown ones and three yielded a paltry cup so the kefir didn’t work – probably my cheating by adding some canned coconut milk didn’t help – that was a waste of a starter kit. We all love the Kefir and my husband turned over on New Year’s day morning and said “I have an urge for some of your Kefir” – he loves me!

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Ray Scott January 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Placenta? *gag reflex!* Right, that’s it. You’ve put me off kids for life!

Just kidding!! :) On a serious note, this is a revelation. You do know what this means right? I can live off what’s growing in my fridge! In fact I won’t have to go to Sainsbury’s for at least the next 6 months.

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Merja January 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

I started to make water kefir last fall and have found it really easy. Those grains just multiply so quickly that I probably have to start to sell them soon before our freezer is full :)

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Sky Bloom January 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I have been making and eating sauerkraut for several months now, and absloutely love it! It has completey turned my digestion around, very much for the better. (I suffer from M.E., dairy and wheat intollerances and ‘sensitive’ digestion). My digestion is much less ‘trigger happy’ now.
For about ten days I have been making milk kefir using soya milk. Sorry to repeat myself – but I absolutely love this too! It amazes me how a small amount of what looks like cauliflower (?), is able to produce such deliscious health giving food every 24 hours or so, AND if taken care of will continue to do for as long as I live!!!
My only worry now is that I have just read your article on the dangers of soya. I only ever buy ‘Alpro’, which is GM free and they dont use aluminium vats to process it like some firms do. I also only use the unsweetened version. Does using it for Kefir with it’s good bactierea make the soya toxins any safer? I did not choose the water version of Kefir because fruit juice makes me sort of ‘burn’ inside. (I presume because of the high sugar content).
Thank you Polly for all you do, and I would appreciate some further advice on the Kefir and soya subjects if at all possible.
Bright wishes for your health too,
from Sky Bloom

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