Friday, July 15, 2016

Elucidating the Secrets of Consistent Creamy Milk Kefir

I think my title is too long, but I'm going with it. I'm answering questions on milk kefir ALL the time. I usually refer people to Dom's Kefir site. He is the king of kefir knowledge. But with around five years of kefir making experience myself, here are my own tips:

First, I'll give the basic kefir making protocol. Really, this is the easiest ferment you can do. And one of the highest probiotic counts per lick. Yes a lick. Even just breathing it as you prepare it is giving your body benefits, if you're like my dear husband and refuse to drink it. (I hide it for him sometimes.) I've compared standard strains in homemade kefir (which is really only a sampling, because it's not been thoroughly studied) and it contains almost every strain I've seen in most commercial probiotics, in HUGE cfu counts. In otherwords, if you have milk, and you can get grains, then you can make yourself some really powerful probiotics for only the cost of your milk. This is amazing. Some still find they need commercial ones as well, but this is our main source of probiotic goodness. And it's effected some powerful healing.

Okay, now that I've rambled about *why* you want to make it...

Here's the basics:

  1.  Find a clean glass jar. Put in grains. 
  2.  Pour milk over them. To start - do about 1 cup of milk per 1/4 c of grains. After they're at home in their cozy jar, you can increase the amount of milk (without necessarily needing more grains). Cover with a loosely screwed lid (not metal), or a thick cloth, or use an air-lock jar. The last option is best for flavor, but not critical.
  3.  Check on it after about 12-24 hours. Tip the jar and see how the kefir is looking. Has it thickened? After about 8 hours you can give them a gentle shake, helping distribute the milk over the grains. It's not critical to shake them though. After about 24-36 hours it should be done. You can tell because it will be thicker and have a distinct kefir smell. If it separates, no big deal, just stir it up. It will be a bit more sour, but just fine. After the grains have been in the same jar a week or so, the flavor will mellow out, and when finished it will thicken up a bit like jello does, pulling away from the jar when you tip it.
  4.  Using a clean non-metal utensil, fish out the grains and put in a clean dish temporarily. I have plastic forks dedicated to this purpose, but you can use a strainer if you like, even metal. Just don't have them touching metal long, it will kill the grains.
  5.  Dump your finished kefir into a jar for drinking or storage. It will keep in the fridge a month at least.
  6.  Return grains to original fermenting jar. Pour new milk over them. Put back in cozy place and return to step 3!

Now on to typical questions:


What kind of milk can I use? Any kind, just not UHT. Only dairy milk has nutrients the grains need to ferment properly, but you can use extra grains to ferment other milks, they just won't be able to be re-used too many times. Yes, you can ferment breastmilk. You can also ferment plain cream (though I find that easiest to do by adding finished kefir to the cream, instead of grains.)

Do I wash the grains? Nope! Don't rinse them! The only time I would is to feed a non-dairy person the grains or for use in implants.

Should I use a clean jar each batch? I find it works best when you let the grains "make themselves at home" in their little space. I just scrape out the finished kefir, but leave plenty of residue in there and put the grains back in. We wash the fermenting jar periodically, maybe every few months, when it gets crusty or something seems off. No, I've never had mold.

Do I need to sterilize the milk? (as when making yogurt) It's not really needed. However, conventional dairy or other pasteurized dairy is more easily contaminated with other cultures that float in the air, so some people find that heating the milk to sterilize it, and then cooling again before making kefir improves the taste. The kefir cultures are very strong, so most people do not do this or notice a need to do so. I've never heated the milk myself. If you have quality milk, I'd certainly not bother with sterilizing.

How much is okay to drink daily? How much do you want to drink? I think your body will let you know what is a good amount. My children drink as much as 3-4 cups daily, depending on the day! But if you are new to it, start with a small amount (less than a tsp) to assess your tolerance and deal with any die-off, if there is any. As it is very powerful, some find they need to work their way up to larger amounts.

My kefir is so sour! This is a sour fermented dairy product, yes. However! If it is very sour, it could be over-done. Did it separate into whey? Was it too warm? Are there too many grains for the amount of milk? Or too few? Are they getting a bit yeasty?  How long have they been in their fermenting jar? I find they take a week or two to mellow out whenever in a fresh home. Are they growing and multiplying and looking healthy (like cottage cheese curds almost)?  The secret to mellow kefir seems to be a relatively consistent temp and the right balance of other factors mentioned, such that it is finished in 24 hours and a new batch is made each day.

What temp do they like?
I find about 75F is great. In the summer, I find a cooler place in my house. In the winter, I keep it by a heat source, such as the crock pot or on a plant heating pad that increases temp slightly above room temp. Warmer ferments faster, cooler ferments slower.

After 24 hours, it still seemed very thin, is it done? Sometimes it needs a little bit longer, as much as 48 hours. Just check back with it a bit later. You can drink under-fermented too, but it will have less probiotics. If you let it go too long, you'll just have very sour kefir and eventually it splits into kefir cheese and whey. Don't do that too often though, it is hard on the grains. Once the grains are well established in their jar and the temp is right, it is usually done perfectly right around 24 hours, however, in a fresh jar it may need longer, and in colder temps it will need longer.

I'm lactose intolerant/have milk allergies, can I drink milk kefir?
Sometimes. I used it to help heal both types of intolerance (to protein and sugar of the milk) in my kids. Fermenting it fully helps reduce the amount of lactose to a very minute amount. Many lactose intolerance people can handle it when fully fermented. The milk proteins seem to be broken down and more easily digestible as well. That being said, there is no guarantee, and if your milk allergy is severe, I'd be very cautious. My kids tolerate regular dairy now because of kefir though, so it was great for us.

Where can I get grains? Just find a friend who is making milk kefir! Or Cultures for Health, or a friend online. They travel well, freeze well, and generally are just very robust. I just put in a plastic zip lock with a little fresh milk (then double bag) and drop in the mail.

My kefir smells a bit like sourdough (yeast), is something wrong? Check if it is too warm or the lid is on too tight. I find kefir in my airlock almost never turns yeasty, because it can off-gas without picking up other things in the air. Even though it is usually just the good yeast from the grains taking prominence, resting the grains in yogurt for a day can help restore a good balance.

Do I have to make it every day? We aren't consuming it fast enough! I do admit, easy as it is, I get tired of attending to the grains each day! But they make the nicest, most mellow and creamy kefir when consistently refreshed every 24 hours. What is finished will keep in the fridge for a month or more, and there are lots of alternative uses. Ultimately though, figure out how much you will use on a daily basis, and just make that. Ratio of grains to milk should be about 1/8 c grains to 1 cup milk (give or take). If you'll only drink 1/2 cup, then just use a small jar and ferment only 1/2 cup. Also - if you need to take a longer break, you can freeze the grains. Just defrost in the fridge when ready to use, and put in fresh milk and start over. The first batch or two after being frozen might be a little odd, and sometimes I toss those in compost, but usually they're just fine.You can just keep the grains in the fridge between times you want to make a batch of kefir (they will still ferment the milk they are in, albeit more slowly), but I find this tends to make the kefir more strong, and the grains less perky. Daily batches result in more mellow flavored kefir.

My grains aren't reproducing well, what do I do? See above questions - if all other conditions seem right, it's possible they got contaminated. We've had accidents where a grain that touched a licked spoon (or worse, was in someone's mouth) got tossed back in with the others unknowingly. If the grains seem a little smaller each day, or are getting darker (dead ones eventually become orange), they could be dying. Always good to have back ups in the freezer! Healthy grains should be slightly clear-white, plump, and making more of themselves each day.

Can I make kefir from what I bought at the store? Generally no. There are no grains of course, and commercially produced kefir is normally made from carefully selected probiotic strains, not kefir grains, and generally the strains are not strong enough or in sufficient quantities that it could ferment other fresh milk. It isn't bad to drink, but won't be as rich as homemade.

Help! I have too many grains! Find a friend who needs kefir, or freeze some for back up in case you lose your current ones, or eat them, or just toss into the compost bin! When they are happily established, I find it doesn't hurt the finished kefir if there is a high ratio of milk to grains, but eventually they just take up too much space.

Are milk kefir grains the same as water kefir grains? No. though similar in appearance, they have very different microbial symbiotic complexes. Water kefir is a different ferment entirely.

Should I keep it far away from other ferments in the house? Generally yes, especially yogurt! Usually the kefir is fine, but other fermented items might pick up a kefir-y flavor.

What else can I do with kefir? Well, aside from consuming it straight or mixing into smoothies or kefir ice cream or added to soups or any other way you want to eat it, you can use it on your skin, in the garden, and elsewhere. It's fantastic for fungal infections, weird skin complaints, diaper rash, all kinds of stuff. I've used it as face wash that leaves my skin soft and smooth and re-balances the skin flora. I've seen it heal strange rashes we couldn't identify. It's gotten rid of fungal garden diseases. It's amazing.

Have more questions? Leave a comment!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Turmeric Candy - Golden Stars of Goodness

Shhhh.... Don't tell my kids, but what they think is "candy" is actually their blend of healing supplements! Oh wait, they already know. In fact, they beg for it each day.

Necessity was the mother of invention again in our house, and so I invented these. When you're looking at roaring inflammation in little bodies (still!) and a new freedom from oxalate restrictions (hurray!), mixing up turmeric with a bunch of other goodies sounds like the best approach to take. God be praised, my children love it! If you have a turmeric hater, I won't say this will convert them, in fact, I'd probably tell you not to make this recipe at all. I don't care for it except in a nice curry myself. But if you don't mind turmeric flavor and want to include more in your diet, this is easy and convenient!

The best part to me is that all those other supplements and supports I was supposed to be giving them and kept forgetting, now go in their daily candy! Feel free to flex this to your needs, I'm always wondering what else I can hide in their daily bite of golden goodness.

Turmeric "Candy"

Ingredients for a small batch (makes about eight tsp-size servings):
(we often quadruple this recipe since they take a full two tsps daily) 
1 tsp glutamine powder (can replace with more gelatin)
2 tsp/scoops of vit C powder (We're using Madre C powder, approx 1000mg vit C)
1 Tbsp gelatin
1.5 Tbsp turmeric powder (look for organic, non-irradiated, freshly ground is more powerful)

Optional - 1/2 tsp kelp powder
               a little ginger powder (for flavor)
                pinch of salt (salt is good the body and brings out the sweetness)

Mix all powders till well blended then add:

1.5 Tbsp coconut oil (can use more to make firmer, less to make more like peanut butter)
2  tsps raw honey (your kids may like sweeter, just balance total amount with CO)

Optional - Vit D drops (look for pure vitamin D3 in olive oil, I add enough that they get couple thousand IU daily, you can adjust to your needs.)

You may need to warm some to soften. My oven has a "warm" setting which is perfect.  Thoroughly mix the whole concoction, and check on it as it cools in case the fat separates some. When cool, cut into squares. Or pour warm into molds for a fun treat. If you use less "liquid" ingredients, you can just scoop it with a spoon and eat like golden peanut butter.

My kids are taking 1-2 tsp of this concoction daily and they love it!

Big PS: Warning it stains everything! If you see yellow around my kid's mouths, you'll know why. Turmeric stains hands too. And clothing. And...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Super-rich Chocolate Mousse

This is not for the faint of rich desserts. In fact, you probably don't want to make this unless your body is ready for intense fat in every single bite. Mmm... I make this when I'm hungry all the time and can't seem to eat enough. I like it a little better than the "fat-bomb" recipes I've seen floating around. And this is fancy schmancy enough to share with guests. In small dishes. With fruit. And whip cream to make it lighter. It is intense.

Are you ready for this kind of mouth-watering goodness? Here's you go....

2 oz choc (unsweetened)
(can increase to 4 oz choc, and increase butter slightly and double sweeteners)
1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
4 eggs separated (from a trusted source, as these stay raw!)
1 T vanilla
1/16th tsp stevia powder - or just more honey
1/4 c honey (4 T)
2 pinches salt, maybe a bit more if you like salty chocolate
1 TBSP gelatin

Melt chocolate over double boiler. (If you don't have a double boiler, just check this post.)
Add softened butter, or melt slightly with chocolate. Gently combine. Be careful of anything cold hitting hot melted chocolate.
Add salt. Add sweetening (being careful to not add cold liquids to hot chocolate).
 Taste and see if sweetened to your liking. You probably will want to double or triple the sweetening I suggested.
Remove from heat and allow to cool some.
Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until soft, but not quite firm peaks form.
When chocolate cool enough to touch with your finger, add yolks and gently fold in. Add vanilla.
 Sprinkle gelatin into mixture mixing well so no clumps form. If chocolate has cooled too much, gelatin won't mix well, jut return to warmth for a minute or two.
Dump egg whites into chocolate mixture and fold gently until mostly incorporated. Transfer to fridge, checking occasionally to fold together more.

Can transfer to individual dishes while still soft, or simply cool in bowl till firm. 

Garnish with berries, cocoa nibs or whip cream if desired. Pretend you are french while eating and love fat.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Everything I know of for helping morning sickness....

Pregnancy sounds wonderful when your five years old, but when it finally happens and you're laying around sick, it's not as much fun even if still quite wonderful!

Since I keep getting requests for this info, I'm finally putting it all into a blog post. This is my collection of notes, derived from many sources and experiences, on how to treat and prevent "morning" sickness during pregnancy. Do your own research on all of these! I'm not a doctor and don't pretend to be. Some of these suggestions have been miracle workers for others, but everyone has responds differently. It's worth looking around and seeing what works for you if you suffer from the pregnancy nausea.

I myself most likely dealt with hyperemesis gravidarum with my first pregnancy, though I didn't know to look for such a diagnosis. My second pregnancy was somewhat better, and I tried about a third of this list with that pregnancy, but with almost no success, I kept researching. Hopefully I'll be able to find some relief with some of these suggestions if I'm so blessed again!

From the research I've done, there are many causes and facets to to this issue, so you have to find what helps the underlying problem for you. Liver health and overall toxicity seem to be the main components, but they are by no means the only reasons. Even the mainstream drugs are inconsistent in their ability to help. When it comes to nutritional deficiencies, correcting them prior to conception is key, especially since so many critical aspects of development happen in those early weeks. Many women also have reduced stomach acid during pregnancy as well, which inhibits absorption!

So here is my list, do comment if you have any additional suggestions or find that something here was a help to you.


• Drinking Chiro-Klenz tea before pregnancy has reduced or eliminated morning sickness for many friends of mine. Build up to the standard dosage slowly, and watch for any negative reactions, as some people do not tolerate senna at all. It seems the other herbs in it balance the senna nicely.

• Lots of Milk Thistle (along with other liver support) such as Dandelion, False Unicorn, etc.
"I have found milk thistle (standardized to contain at least 70% - 80% silymarin) to be invaluable in preventing morning sickness. I began taking 2 tablets each day two months prior to this pregnancy and increased to 3 tablets daily when our pregnancy was confirmed. Milk thistle is liver supportive and protective." Wild Yam is also used by some. Many of these can be drunk as a tea or infusion, which may be easier to get down.

Anti-Nausea Syrup -  Any of the mints, especially in tea form, help a lot of people, as well as licorice. Peppermint is also helpful for pregnancy migraines, and some find the essential oils (just smelling them) to be very effective. Do note that combining mints with homeopathics may reduce the effects of homeopathy.

• Digestive enzymes, HCL, and ox bile.  Low stomach acid is very common in pregnancy, or if already low it can be exaggerated. Often liver and gallbladder are stressed during pregnancy. Sometimes just a little digestive support, such as enzymes (vegetable based ones work in all stomach PH levels) or HCL (which boosts stomach acid) or ox bile (which supports fat digestion) can be all you need to help your stomach handle food properly and not leave you nauseous. They need to be given with the first few bites of food.

• There are many broad spectrum enzymes as well - Papaya and banana are good food sources that have a lot of natural enzymes that help break down other proteins. Papaya is good for pregnancy heartburn too. 

• There are many homeopathics that can help. Sepia, ipecacuanha,  and nux vomica are three of the most common remedies, or there are homeopathic blends that some people prefer. There are several sites online that can help you identify the right remedy for you.

• Flower essences: "Rescue Remedy" or "Emergency Essence" often useful for prolonged or distressing vomiting, as well as general calming.

• Keeping up cod liver oil (though difficult!) was very important for me.  As it is a good source of vit A, D, and some EFAs, it is very important for the developing little one also.


• Sufficient B6, and all B vitamins!!!! - Be careful about where you buy though. Commercial folic acid is very toxic, and even folate can be a problem if you have MTHFR. Blood tests (especially intra-cellular) can help reveal if there are serious deficiencies in specific b-vitamins, though many doctors I've encountered just recommend a general supplement. For more info on MTHFR, here is one site with a lot of info.

• Sufficient magnesium - very key. Chris Kesser and others say magnesium glycinate is the best absorbed oral form. Natural Calm is easy to take since it dissolves in water (and I make it into jello) though it is the most likely to loosen bowels.  Transdermal magnesium (such as Ancient minerals magnesium oil) is the best absorbed, but it cause itching/burning for some when magnesium levels are extra deficient. When you are not pregnant, you can more or less take magnesium to tolerance, ie, until you get diarrhea. Just take no more doses if you hit that in a day, and do slightly less of a dosage the next day. When pregnant, you don't want to take too much all at once, as stimulating the bowels too much can irritate the uterus. Epsom salt or Dead Sea salt or other magnesium baths are also an excellent way to get magnesium. Restless legs is often a symptom of magnesium deficiency as well.

• Phosphorus - phosphoric acid is the main component in many anti-nausea medications.

• Choline is another key nutrient, though we don't hear about it as often. Meat, but particularly eggs are rich sources. It is critical for neuro function and development, production of bile, protection of joints, and many other things.

•Zinc is often implicated in low stomach acid and nausea outside of pregnancy, and since it is involved in the break-down of estrogens and so many other biochemical processes, it is another nutrient I would check out and supplement if low. It is best taken with food if you do need to supplement, since it can trigger nausea when taken alone.


•Eating small frequent meals with a little protein and carb (such as fruit or such) helps many women, keeping blood sugar stable throughout the day. Keeping food right by the bed can be helpful as well, getting food in before you even get up.

• Eggs! You can put them in smoothies (raw if you are comfortable with that, or scrambled first), or hide them in many other ways if they are difficult to eat plain. I prefer egg drop soup. Sally Fallon theorizes that since estrogen and progresterone are so high at the beginning of pregnancy and they use up a lot of cholesterol, leaving little cholesterol to make bile salts. Little bile salts hinders digestion, particularly fat digestion - leading to nausea   ---- Thus, getting enough cholesterol (particularly eggs would be good for pregnancy) could help. Eggs are also a rich source of choline. There are many many other reasons why eggs are amazing for pregnancy, but it's nice to know they could possibly help nausea if you can get them in!

• Fermented foods. They help improve digestion, provide a pleasant sour flavor, and give probiotics. There are a number of commercial brands now that are raw, and they are easy to make at home (though I'd try to make them before pregnancy as much as I can.)

•Lemon juice - a classic help, which works perhaps because of it's ability to help digestion, and lemon water is known to gently help the liver. Some people suck on straight lemon halves while they fix dinner. 

• Ginger (as a tea, candied, dried, in stews, capsules, tincture, however) Some like to suck on it raw. I sprinkle ginger in a lot of my dishes now, it is a nice accent.

• Japanese pickle plum and apples are also noted to help.

• Water! Dehydration is the worst cycle for me and many others - if I get too low on fluids, it
makes me nauseated, which in turn, makes it harder to catch up. Carry a water bottle, flavor it with lemon if it helps, and sip sip sip. Don't let the cycle begin!

• There is a theory than beans and starches bind to toxins, and therefore help nausea. I found this to be true with one pregnancy, as bean burritos were my most craved food. Activated charcoal or betonite clay would do a similar thing, just take away from meals to the extent you can. You can put those in capsules if that is easier.

• Gelatin, in whatever form is palatable - of course. Broth is excellent for many reasons - but even jello can be helpful. I figured out how to make jello out of tea, which really helps me consume more nettle and other healing herbs.
• Low-carbing helps some people. This must be done very cautiously of course, since even though it is very stabilizing to the blood sugar, the transition to low carb can be very hard on the body depending on your biochemistry. Making snacks of butter (or homemade, low sugar ice cream!) can help keep one full and blood sugar stable throughout the day.

• Another recipe I've heard is to cook broth with barley and oats - strain out grains and add slippery elm powder. Tamari or miso or soup flavoring can add a pleasant taste.  Marshmallow root is also very soothing to digestive tract.

Other Notes: 

• Pressure point four fingers down on the inside of wrist - very powerful for me,
though not fool-proof. Sea-Bands try to do a similar thing.

• H. Pylori has been tied with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is a theory of course, but makes a lot of sense to me given how H. Pylori can wreak havoc throught the body, and often lowers stomach acid. With the immuno-suppression of pregnancy, this and other invaders can often cause more issues during pregnancy. Improving gut health and consuming probiotics throughout pregnancy is critical.


• This thread discusses many of these things and more:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This snail is getting there....

Healing can be slow. Sometimes it can be    s       l       o       w......

In the past month I noticed that my older daughter wakes up happy in the mornings. I wish I could say when that started, but the sad things is, we don't tend to notice health. Maybe it started in April or May when the longer hours of daylight seemed to suddenly mean that she needed less sleep, and she started waking me up an hour and half earlier in the mornings. (Yaaawwwwn!) Or maybe it was earlier than that. I'm not really sure. We only realized it recently. Regardless, this is new! This is healing! The first 4+ years of her life, every day started with tears and whining and cuddling with mommy for well over an hour until she could be happy about the day. To have her start the day with, "I love you mommy!" and smiles and giggles and encouraging her little sister to wake up and play, that is wonderful. Even if I am a bit groggy.

And certainly more recently, the eczema on her legs, and elsewhere, is pretty much gone. I can feel a few bumps, but she doesn't have "chicken skin" everywhere. I wish I could say what we did, but it has just been time and healing. Eczema was never a huge concern for us, as it didn't itch or bleed, but it was rather sad, and not pretty. I don't know if she'll ever have baby soft skin there, but lack of bumps is pretty good!

These things seem so small to me, given that her diet is still a short list of foods, so many other symptoms are still present, and right now we goofed and gave too much of a new probiotic so her behavior and mood have been difficult.... It is helpful to look for the sunshine amidst the clouds. Every day I praise God that despite her system being a mess, she's growing and learning and happy. And that is happening with food.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sprouts in jar - the easy way :)

 Have you ever looked the price of sprouts at the store? They certainly charge for the powerful nutrition! They are so easy at home though.

Step 1:
Put a little bit of seeds at the bottom of the jar. They will explode. Don't put many in there. These are broccoli seeds. So yummy!
I think for the pictures below I had a bit more seeds than this shows.
Mountain Rose herbs - I love them!
Step 2:
Fill jar half to 3/4 full with filtered water. I add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to help ward off mold. You don't want mold.
Allow this to sit for a day or overnight.

Step 3: Put some kind of filtering material on the lid of your jar. On some sprouting site they recommended buying some tulle and using that, since I have some laying around, that was quite convenient. Ultimately I'm going to get a plastic lid though, since the metal ones are prone to rust. The rubber band was ripping the tulle, and seeds would get caught on the side and not stay moist, so just using a rubber band didn't work well. You'll have to experiment. Some people use a cheesecloth, but the kind I have has holes too big for broccoli seeds.

Step 4. Drain the seeds! And place them in a place where they can drain and you won't forget them. A cool dark area is great, but if they'll get forgotten about, then it is better to just have them out where you'll see them.
Tada! A sprouting contraption!
 Step 5: Later that day, rinse again. Here is the big thing with sprouts : you can't rinse too much, but you can rinse too little. I shoot for 3 times a day. Twice a day is the minimum. They sit next to my sink (except for these pictures) so that it is really easy to do.

Look! On day two the sprouts are forming.
 Step 6: Keep rinsing and draining (you don't want them to sit in a puddle, they'll mold.) Usually on the second day, I add a few drops grapefruit seed extract again to the water and let them soak a minute before draining.
Day 3: time for some sun!
Step 7: Also, smell them at each rinsing and look for any signs of mold. If your house is warm, then you know what warm and damp does. If they start to smell just a touch off, I'll do the GSE rinse, and that fixes it. Do note though that the sprouts will get very very tiny hairs that almost look like mold when they need to be rinsed more often. If you look closely, you'll see they're tiny white hairs on the stem of the sprout, not the seed head itself. Just give them more water and they'll be happy.
See, no hairs means well watered sprouts.
 Step 8: When you see the first green leaves, give them a bit of sun here are there. Indirect is best, you don't want them to get overly warm. 

See how much greener they are?
Step 9: These seemed done at the end of the day, day 3. Sometimes they go a full 4-5 days. I rinse one more time, drain well, put on a regular lid, and stick in the fridge. I try to eat these within another 3-4 days, maybe rinse once or twice in there.

Step 10 (optional): If you want to eliminate the seed hulls (those brown pieces), then dump all of the sprouts into a bowl of water and swish them around. I scoop out the brown bits and throw them in compost, and take the sprouts back and forth between two bowls of water to get as much hulls out as I can. Then drain and put back in your jar.

Different sprouts need different amounts of time. For grains and pulses, you generally want the tail to be only as long as the seed itself, or it starts turning bitter. You can look up the best length of time for the seed you are using, or just taste and see when you like it the best. If I recall correctly, certain types of sprouts should be cooked before eating, but a lot of them can be eaten raw.  I particularly like broccoli seeds because they have a bit of spiciness and pep, which is delicious on it's own, but a great addition to a salad or sandwich or soup. Yum!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

No mess Cauli-rice!

If you hang out in the foodie blogosphere much, you'll come across many many recipes for cauliflower rice. Most of them involve either grating the cauliflower, or running it through a processor. I've done both plenty of times. And I perfected the cauli-rice flavor with the addition of eggs and select spices. Yum!

So now I give you the further improvement of skipping all the mess involved with making it!

one head of cauliflower (around 3lbs)
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic (opt.)
2 cups broth
2-3 eggs
3-4 T lard or other fat
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp each of ginger, coriander, majoram

Trim and wash cauliflower, and place stem down in large pot. If you cut off most of the stem, it will be resting on the bottom most florets, but don’t worry about that. Pour broth into pot; it will not cover the cauliflower. Cook on high heat with the lid on until the whole head is very soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes or so. Check periodically for softness with a knife.

Mmm... the white vegetable.
When ready, use a knife to cut up some, right in the pot. Ultimately, you want to cut out the hard center of the cauliflower. Once the hard center of the head is out, use a potato masher (or if you’re not too picky, just the wooden spoon) to crush everything further. You’ll eventually have nice crumbles. If there is any liquid, then turn the heat back on and continue to cook, stirring often. Add a minced onion and garlic at this time too. If there isn’t much liquid, then add a couple tablespoons of lard.

See the florets being cut away from the center?
And look, here is the center, ready for the compost.

When everything is sufficiently soft, make a bowl in the middle, pushing all the cauli-rice to the sides. Add more lard and pour beaten eggs into the space. then slowly fold the eggs into the cauliflower as they cook.
Cauliflower bowl, ready for eggs.

When finished, season with spices and salt to taste. I usually stir-fry or boil a few other veggies and toss those in, then add in some fish or chicken or pork and a little fish sauce to taste!

This tastes closest to fried rice, though if you season right I bet it could go with sloppy joes too.
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