Friday, January 29, 2010

Adventures in Kefir (also Sunday Stills)

How did this all come about? Well, one hears things...reads things...not even sure where... Then one day you're reading one of your favorite blogs and there it is again...kefir. OK, you think, since this blogger is close to home, here's my chance, maybe it's just meant to be. You see, kefir (a frothy drink made of fermented milk) can only be made with the use of kefir "grains". The "grains " are the starter and are a living mass that continues to grow and so can be passed on. So, to make kefir, and enjoy it's myriad touted health benefits, one must acquire "grains".

Let's see if I can shorten this story a little (it may be too late). This particular blogger lives in the same county I do, but nearer to my Mom. So I commented and asked if she (her husband actually) had any to share and could I please have some. She did, I could, and they delivered it to my Mom and Mom delivered it to me, and now I am documenting the process for all to see. (THANKS MEG AND LEE!)

Also, the Sunday Stills assignment this week is texture so I felt like maybe these pics could do double duty.

This is how I began--
  • clean jar
  • kefir grains
  • milk
  • spoon

Close up of the "grains". They actually look kind of like very very overcooked cauliflower.

I put about a tablespoon of the "grains" in my jar. I was only making one cup so according to my internet research this was a good proportion.

I then added one cup of milk. I'm sure fresh raw milk would be best, but I don't know where to get that. Yet. My research said to cover the jar, but not airtight, so I put a coffee filter over it with a rubber band. I don't what difference things like the type of cover or the use of metal utensils might make. This is my first time after all.
That was easy, right? Now I just had to let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature. You can let it ferment longer, but I was afraid it might get too stout (sour) for my taste.
Here it is 24 hours later. I shook the jar a little so you can see the change in texture.At this point, you strain the kefir into another clean container. (nylon mesh was recommended, but again, I don't know the consequences of metal use) The purpose of this is to retrieve the "grains".I found that a gentle lifting,stirring (NOT PRESSING) motion helped get the liquid through without damaging the "grains".Here is my first recovered "grain". You put these back with the others.OK. All strained. "Grains" in one jar, kefir in another. It is recommended that the kefir be well chilled before drinking.At this point I have not yet tried it. I'll run get it and try it "live".

OK. Here we go.
Hmm. Pleasant smell, not at all like spoiled milk. Tangy. Smooth, creamy. I think I could drink this! It is very much like plain yogurt, but somehow different. However it will probably be better in smoothies with fruit. I may try it with a little honey. OK, I just tried it with honey, and

In conclusion, I believe this has been a worthwhile endeavour and I encourage you to try to find some kefir grains yourself!

I just had the kids try it (the version with honey) and they liked it! Whoo hoo! We are just gonna be so healthy....

Off I go now,to make another batch. I have some more experimenting to do!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I REALLY needed that!

NOTE-Blogger likes to underline and color my text. I gave up repeatedly fixing it so it's kinda random.

What a glorious day! Warm. Sunny. Exactly what I needed. I spent the entire afternoon in the garden pulling weeds and generally tidying up. The kids ran around and played and got dirty just like kids lucky enough to live in the country ought to. My favorite was either when they were climbing on the hay ring like it was jungle gym crowing like roosters at the top of their lungs, or when Emily was walking around carrying and talking to the big snail I found.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Don't mess with my little girl

We live in the country. We shoot things. Things like- old refrigerators in the woods. You know, next to the abandoned trailer. I feel the need to point out that the trailer and refrigerator are not on our property, just very near it.

So anyway, this was the first time Charlotte ever shot a 22 rifle, in fact, it was the first day we ever had one. (my husband wants it known that he does have experience with this type of gun-he grew up shooting old appliances) Watch these short videos and you'll see why I am impressed with her skill. (oh...yeah...that IS snow, just not what was promised by our weathermen...I was bitterly disappointed...I don't want to talk about it)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Keeping Up Appearances

It's not so much that I have anything to say, It's just that I don't want to lapse into old non-blogging habits. So here are some pics my daughter took in the backyard to play around with our new camera.

We are still trying to figure out all the settings, so these could be better, but I've never had a camera you could zoom on the moon before.

Saturday, January 2, 2010