Friday, April 2, 2010

happy Eostre (Goddess of the Divine Female)

& happy April!
Busy busy week - lots of sessions, consutations for playing harp at TWO weddings (one mid April, one on Summer Solstice - what a sweet way to spend Solstice!)
Yesterday I was watching my granddaughters so their folks could have a 'Date' & the oldest (gotta love her) asked 'can we make some Kefir?' She'd just had some to drink, & had figured out that I made it - sure!!! I've been making it for just over a month now, & drink almost a quart of the (coconut) milk kefir daily. (here are the first Kefir posts)

So they helped open the can of coconut milk, strain the kefir from the day before (we began with scooping some of the culture out with a spoon, then ran through the lovely canning funnel a friend suggested, with a strainer on top. The 5 year old lost interest, but the 10 year old helped through the whole process, encouraging the kefirs to grow, helping cover them with the cloth & rubber band . . .

Then time for the water kefir (it takes a couple of days, while the milk kefir cultures in 24 hours) - straining, eating some of the grains - a 'flirty' look, as she wanted to eat more - & more . . . yes, it's OK to eat the grains - increases the probiotic 'bennies' . . . Here's a great little piece comparing the probiotic benefits of yogurt & kefir.

After we'd strained the kefir, & washed the grains (you don't need to wash milk kefir grains, but it's recommended with the water kefir) & measure sugar (OK, so she wanted to lick that spoon - when we were done, too) stirred it up, added the kefir grains (& eat a bit more), & cover it with the cloth (the jar in the middle); it was time to 'doctor' the strained kefir for a second ferment!

To one jar (those water kefir grains increase QUICKLY - tho I have shared some of the milk kefir) we added 'chai' herbs - slices of ginger, star anise, fennel, licorice ('but licorice isn't gluten free!' - 'this licorice is - it's just the roots!' . . . 'oh :)' such smart girls!), cinnamon (I snip a strip of whole cinnamon with my kitchen sheers), ginseng, astragulas, pepper, schizandra, hawthorne, cardamom; she loved smelling the herbs before putting them in the 'brew;' then stirring the mix, before we capped it (another piece of muslin - the jar on the Rt above). A number of the herbs in this mix are 'adaptogens' - tonic or 'building herbs.
The three main actions of adaptogens are:
  • nontoxic to the recipient.
  • produce a nonspecific response in the body—an increase in the power of resistance against multiple stressors including physical, chemical, or biological agents.
  • has a normalizing influence on physiology, irrespective of the direction of change from physiological norms caused by the stressor.
  • & while all adaptogens contain antioxidants, antioxidants are not necessarily adaptogens and that is not proposed to be their primary mode of action.
A young accupuncturist friend once engaged in a 'discussion' with folks from a multi-level marketing group, who were touting the values of their 'patent' adaptogen formula; inviting them to recognize that the Chinese have been perfecting these formulas for years, & that he had researched sources of high quality ginseng, etc - to no avail! Their product was vastly superior to anything anyone else had ever thought of . . . (hmm - & rather expensive, as I recall!)

In the second jar we used a simpler mix of lemon ginger herb tea, nettles & a bit of damiana. She helped with the whole process, wishing the herbs well as we covered the jars, & tucked them in to 'brew.' Quite the budding herbalist!


peppylady (Dora) said...

Sound like April is coming in. Few times I heard harp music I enjoyed it and for some reason I want to play one.
I haven't yet had kefir but the other day I got some mochi.

As always you have a great post and the coffee is on.

Janet said...

Thanks for your recent visit to one of my blogs. I always like meeting new people.

Your blog is lovely, and it sounds as if you and your granddaughter had fun in the kitchen with the kefir.

Elena said...

I just started making water kefir. I like mine a bit more fermented, so about 5 days for mine... and then a couple of extra days capped for extra fizz!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I am certainly going to think about going GF for longer than a month.