Sunday, May 9, 2010

Living Foods

My Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut...Mmmmmm

Last year, I was having a health issue, and one of the things I did to improve it was to delve into the world of raw and living foods. We sprout our breakfast cereal grains (spelt, kamut, rye, and wehani rice), we got into sprouting mung beans, lentils, and alfalfa. And we got into raw juice, especially the juice of greens like kale, collard greens, and bok choi, mixed with healthy doses of carrots, beets, celery, and apples for sweetness. (For a great website on juicing, check out Juice Feasting. I haven't ever done it, but may some day).

Around that time, I got turned onto a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. Sally is a champion of living foods, whole foods, and something that I learned a lot about from her book was about the benefits of truly cultured and raw dairy products. I'm not talking about Yoplait yogurt, filled with sugar (or maybe corn syrup?), and flavorings and thickeners, I'm talking about kefir, homemade yogurt, homemade cheese, and whey. I've kind of programmed myself against dairy products as mucous-producing foods best left to infrequent use. Our family meals use dairy as more of a condiment than a main ingredient.

But now we are trying some experiments, as our neighbors are milking a goat. Besides having fresh, raw goat milk to give our daughter when she wants milk, I tried making some kefir last week, and some goat ricotta. The kefir was super easy. If I had real kefir grains, it would have been even easier. I used some commercial culture that comes in a little packet. You heat the milk to 180 degrees, let it cool, and stir in the culture. Then, leave out at room temp for approximately 24 hours, and you have kefir. Kind of like liquid yogurt. SO good with a little maple syrup to sweeten, or in pancakes. I also made goat ricotta, by pitching lemon juice into 180 degree goat milk, and straining the curds through cheesecloth. I added salt and garlic into the cheese, and enjoyed it on crackers. Yummmm.

Making cheese leaves whey behind, and I have been dying to try making sauerkraut with whey, which I have heard makes amazing kraut. I used the recipe from this website. It's supposed to be ready tomorrow, and I can't wait to try it.

And finally, we've been given a kombucha scoby, and I've got our first batch of kombucha fermenting on the counter. I am really excited about this, because even though I love the product, it kind of feels like those kombucha companies are gouging us, given that it's made with plain old black tea and white sugar, and a reproducing culture. It's not like it costs anywhere NEAR $4 per jar to produce. So I'm happy to make my own at home.

Looking forward to sharing the fruits of these labors when I get to try them...hmmm, what do I tag this post with? Maybe wildcrafting, as these foods are about nourishing wild little critters?

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