fermenting for the good

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In my early motherhood days I used to make Kefir since I had gallons of free milk through WIC and couldn’t seem to use it fast enough.  I’d like to get back into making it, as it was so easy and a better type of yogurt (being that it was fermented) than regular yogurt.  With all of Phoebe’s digestive problems and also dealing with some of my own, beginning to have ferments be a daily part of our diet has been of interest for some time.  However, with all of the other things I have had to learn in switching to a completely gluten-free household, fermenting has been on the back burner.  The reality is that we can only tackle so much at once, and have to focus on a few things, work at proficiency with them, then move onto the next project.  The past year has been spent learning a new way of cooking, eating, shopping, meal planning, and correctly understanding food labels.  We will always be learning those things, but I feel that we’ve established enough of a norm for me to be able to introduce something new.  Enter: fermentation.

Now, I’m not going to spend time on the scientific reasons for fermentation, but if you’re interested there is a host of information about it online.  Google away.  On a very basic level, ferments have been around for centuries and provide unique blends of probiotics and healthy bacteria in the gut.  We pay good money for powder probiotics for our kids, but there really isn’t a way to shortcut and reproduce the kind of probiotics found in homemade ferments, and each fermented item offers a different variety/blend, so it works well to have a few different ones as a part of your regular diet.

After reading this article about how easy it is to make your own sauerkraut, I attempted my first batch last month.  Honestly, it is very very simple.  I did invest in a Fido Jar after reading the article’s recommendation, but otherwise the cost was super minimal.  This is not as hard as it seems: chop cabbage, add salt, put in container, leave on counter to ferment for 30 days.  Cost effective and simple!

So, I tried my first bite today.  I felt a bit brave because I don’t 100% trust my fermenting skills and don’t want to make myself sick, but I have to give it a go.  It looked and smelled right.  I took a bite: tart, sour, crunchy, and really pretty incredible!  In the old days, people used sauerkraut as a condiment, and so I plan to eat about a tbsp a day.  I do feel inspired to grill some german brautwurst suddenly. 😉

I sort of doubt Phoebe will eat or learn to enjoy sauerkraut or kombucha (she used to tolerate kefir if I made it into smoothies), but Brandon and I believe it is good for all of us to have in our diet, and hope to keep encouraging Phoebe to try it from time to time.  Anything is better than nothing.

We’ve been making kombucha too, I ordered a starter scoby from Cultures for Health, but it isn’t ready yet to try.  Brandon and I drink store-bought Kombucha regularly, but it’s about $3.50 a bottle.  I can’t wait to have my own and save $$ on it!

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