Monday, March 16, 2015

Harvest Monday, 16 March 2015

Chicken Mango Marsala

My meals are getting sad. The only harvested item in this one was the dried garlic and oregano. I did have my squash casserole for dessert, but the dinner plates are sometimes getting very non harvesty.

So instead today I'll talk about another harvest of sorts. Kefir. I started making it a couple of weeks ago from some grains bought on Etsy. I'm not sure why they call them grains. They look more like curds. And they are a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). But I guess certain terms tend to stick and grains it is.

Making kefir is really easy. You put the grains in a loosely lidded glass jar with milk and leave them at room temperature from 24-48 hours, swishing it around a couple of times a day if you think about it. When they thicken you strain out the grains and ripen the kefir. Ripening just means putting it somewhere for a couple of days. You can do it on the counter or in the fridge. I put mine in the fridge as my straining technique sometimes leaves grains in the jar and I don't want it to over sour and separate into curds and whey. What you have is a thick sour liquid. If I had to compare it to anything, I'd compare it to yogurt.

I haven't been using a strainer which is what most people use. I just scoop the grains out with a slotted spoon. I miss some of the grains, but they grow quickly enough that have plenty to make the next batch with. I use the kefir for my morning smoothies and for baking. I use it like a sourdough starter with my mock rye bread and in my buckwheat pancakes. I don't get the probiotic health benefit with the baked goods as I kill off the organisms, but it sure does taste good that way.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

19 comments:

  1. I'm glad you talked about making kefir. I've been debating about making my own instead of buying it. It looks even easier to make than yogurt. Do you use whole milk? I used to use 2% for yogurt to cut on the fat a bit.

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    1. I've been using goat milk. I've used the low fat version and the regular version and they both work just fine.

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  2. I have read about kefir but never tried making it, would love to give it a try but not sure how if it will be OK for me since I am on a lactose free diet.

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    1. I'm on a low lactose diet too (lactose intolerant). I actually put some lactase into the kefir after it has finished ripening and let it sit for a day. The bacteria actually get rid of a lot of the lactose as that is their food, but not all of it.

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  3. Yuck! That kefir sounds awful to me - but then I'm not keen on yogurt either. Presumably its very good for you though.

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  4. Kefir is new one on me. Does picking parsley count as per harvest?

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    1. Yes. I wish I had some parsley to pick.

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  5. Learn something new every day - the process certainly does sound easy. I do love yoghurt, so I may give it a go someday.

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  6. Kefir sounds like it's even easier to make than yogurt since it's fermented at room temperature rather than having to be kept warm. I wonder how it would be if made with raw milk, that's what I buy these days since I find it to be much easier to digest than pasteurized milk and there's two local producers.

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    1. Well I got the grains on Etsy from a gal that uses raw goat milk so I'm sure raw would be fine.

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  7. Mmm. I used to drink kefir when I lived in Ukraine. So tasty!

    I really feel for you out there, buried in the snow, Daphne. I hope a thaw comes for you soon!

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  8. I have never tasted Kefir but it was interesting to read about it. Your meals still look yummy to me and it won't be long now and you will be harvesting from your garden! Nancy

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  9. That kefir looks good, I've never heard of it before. It sounds like something I'd like on my museli

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  10. I have had kefir from the store and it seemed to me just like a looser yogurt (like those kids' yogurt drinks you can by). I would have thought you could make kefir like yogurt - just use some of your last batch as a starter for your next one but that obviously is not the case. Interesting, but I think I'll stick with the homemade yogurt as I have that one down pat.

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  11. I use to make kefir everyday then I got tired of it and slack off, I like it better than yogurt.

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  12. I made organic kefir and drank it daily for about two years (and by the way, I resist the bogus terminology - cannot understand why anyone thought it would be a good idea to misname something so confusingly) before a nutrition adviser told me in early January to stop consuming all dairy except cultured butter or hard cheese. Also several other things - all sugars, for example - but the kefir was the hardest thing to give up, and I I specifically asked about it but she said NO. I genuinely felt like I was cutting down a productive fruit tree.
    Today I have been told to start zero grains.
    Thinking it over, this winter in MA may not have been the best time to make drastic reductions in the foods I can eat...it's a bit of a struggle at times to even bother eating.
    Oh well...gardening soon! And your blog is SUCH an inspiration to me - thank you :)

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    1. Yeah the lactose can get you, which I'm sure is why your nutrition adviser is having you do that. I always use lactase in my kefir and let it sit at least a day after adding. And take it with my pills. I don't do well with lactose, so I jump through hoops so I can still have some dairy. I figure the probiotics are worth it.

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    2. Exactly - I am back to taking a probiotic supplement which I was able to stop taking after the first few weeks of kefir. I hope I'm making progress, but sometimes it really seems like I'm going backwards!

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