Sunday, 28 June 2015

My Love For Fermenting Grows

It's 6am on Sunday morning and I can't sleep any more. It's still as dark as night outside. I've got up, lit the fire, made a coffee and now I'm about to finish writing a piece that I started weeks ago but not had time to finish (in peace and quiet). It's bliss.

Last fortnight my family got really sick with colds and then gastro yet *I didn't. It could have been sheer luck but I'd like to think, it's due to my dedication to consuming lots of probiotics through eating fermented foods. My hubby and kids consume these things too but maybe not to the same degree as me. Either way, I can honestly say that so far this year since we introduced a better diet (including fermented foods) we have been significantly less sick than last year.

One of the best and easiest ways I've found to get a healthy dose of probiotics into my family is through fermented drinks, namely milk kefir and water kefir.

Kefir are grains (in a sense) and they're added to either milk or water, left for a day or two and when you get back to them, they're fermented and can be consumed. That's very simplistic but essentially that's what happens.

Probiotics are good bacterias that are essential for good gut health. The way I look at it is that if you have more good bacteria living in your gut, when some bad bacteria come along (like gastro), they can't survive because they're outnumbered by the good. Milk kefir has between 35-50 strains of good bacteria (probiotics) and water kefir has slightly less. If you compare this to natural yoghurt which has only four, you can see why I'm obsessed with the stuff.

Milk kefir "grains"
I make milk kefir into smoothies with bananas and berries. I put it into cakes and pancakes (and it makes them awesomely fluffy) and water kefir I simply make into a fizzy ginger or lemon/grapefruit drink or mix it into a freshly pressed juice. Simple and enjoyable.

Another sneaky thing you can do with milk kefir is to ferment coconut milk and then strain it through a piece of muslin (to remove the whey) and hey presto, you have coconut yoghurt. This is a whole lot cheaper than buying it from the store I can promise you, my local health food shop charges a fortune for the stuff.

Kombutcha, water kefir, sauerkraut and lacto fermented hummus
There's another one I make called Kombutcha. Kombutcha is a yeast "mother" or "scoby" which is added into tea and left to ferment for a fortnight to make a cleansing, probiotic tea. It can also be flavoured to lemon or ginger (or orange or star anise, cinnamon etc etc, you get the picture!)

A kombutcha scoby
So if you can get your hands onto any of these products, I'd recommend giving them a try. It's all like one big science project really. Lots of fun trying all sorts of combos and the benefits are also healthy.

I did a fermentation course in March 2015 at The Purple House in Fourth Tasmania to help understand all about fermenting. I have recipes that they gave me (see below). I also usually have excess kefir and kombucha scobies so if anyone is interested in giving them a go (who is local) then send me a message.

*Note: I DID get sick after writing that I hadn't BUT, it lasted a day and then I was back to normal. That's a fast recovery for me. Historically I'd feel crappy for days so I'll still believe that the probiotics helped!

Now I can hear a little voice calling my name so I better swig back my coffee and get back to "Mummy duties". Happy Sunday everybody.



  1. I would love the kefir recipes! My little man has a lot of gut problems and takes expensive probiotic tablets. I have been hearing so much about fermenting but just havnt got around to it. This sounds like a good place to start.

    1. Recipes all added to the post now lovely. If you have any more questions then feel free to ask :)

  2. That is an inspiring fermentation explanation Alex, thank you greatly.
    You don't happen to have any spare keffir grains by any chance, or possibly a scoby?
    I've only just recently moved to Tassie and I sadly I had to leave all my cultures behind, and I am missing them dearly.
    We used to have a fermentations group which would meet up periodically and experiment, it was loads of fun and resulting in some quite interesting brews.

  3. Hello Alex,
    Thanks for sharing this with us. Is there a chance I could get some water kefir grains from you? I have tried the milk kefir but would love to try the water one.
    Thanks heaps

  4. Hello Alex
    I love fermented food and teaching myself how to make kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut. I am looking for kefir grains and Scoby. Please let me know if you have any spare to share.

    1. Hi Belinda
      With great pleasure! I have just bottled some kombucha this morning so you can have some scoby. I also have some milk kefir grains for you if you are interested. Still chasing up some water kefir grains though... would you have any?
      Please feel free to text or call me on 0422 798 20eight