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.
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!