Kombucha is too Vinegary – 10 uses for Vinegary Kombucha and Extra SCOBY’s

So you’re Kombucha tastes like vinegar? Yup, it happens , often when you also have lots of SCOBY’s growing one on top of the other in your fermenting glass. Here are 10 ways to use your over-fermented Kombucha and SCOBY’s.

1- Dressings and Marinades. Bottle the liquid and use in the way you would use vinegar.  It will last forever in a glass bottle in a dark place. I would strain it first to reduce the chance of another SCOBY forming.

2 – Strain the ‘Kombucha Vinegar’ and put it in a sprayer dilute 1:10 with water for cleaning surfaces/windows. Probiotic cleaner – research has suggested that covering your surface with ‘good bacteria’ stops the pathogenic bacteria from accumulating. Using Kombucha Vinegar in place of Vinegar in your homemade cleaners will supercharge your cleaning power with probiotics – more Kombucha cleaning recipes here.

3 – Plant food – water down the Kombucha Vinegar and use it to water your plants. The water is acidic so it is great for Tomato Plants and Strawberries. Mix 200ml with 1 litre of water so it’s not too strong. Chopping up the SCOBY and adding it your compost is also a great way of adding more nutrients into your soil.

4 – Face Mask – don’t be scared but you can place a whole SCOBY over your face as a mask. The PH has a mild and all-natural acid peel effect leaving your skin soft and smooth.

5 – Face Toner – use a little Kombucha Vinegar to tone your face after washing. The PH has the same effect as using the SCOBY as a face mask. Sloughing off dead skin cells and leaving your skin bright.

6 – Topical use – it looks like skin and you can place a piece of SCOBY over a burn, wound or other skin ailment. The vinegar can sting momentarily but it works as a natural biofilm and manufactured biofilms are created from a bacteria in the Kombucha culture.

7 – Animals – Dogs love Kombucha, you can give them small bits of SCOBY in their food, dry the SCOBY’s and give them as treats. Chickens love to peck at the SCOBY’s, even Horses will munch them with their chaff.

8 – Eat the SCOBY ourselves. Yes, the simplest way is to add a piece to a smoothie, not too much or it will taste too sour. The SCOBY is made up from Celluslose that the bacteria and yeasts form – this cellulose is great for our skin, hair and nails.

9 – Fruit and Vegetable Wash. Fill your sink with water add a cup full of Kombucha Vinegar and soak your veggies for 10 minutes, rinse and your vegetables are clean.

10 – Natural Pesticide. Use pure Kombucha Vinegar in a spray bottle and use it as a natural pesticide. I spray ants, and flies that I don’t want travelling into the house!

 

Making Fermented Vegetables Taste Lovely!

“Ugh, what is that….?!!”, when people see the jars in my kitchen, their face says it all, even if they are trying to be polite.

Sigh. If they only knew how they would feel if they regularly ate these foods? Trying to persuade people only makes it worse, they have to want to try. I can offer to share what I know, but I don’t try to force the issue; if they ask and are interested I can share.

So would you like to eat these foods, but you’re not sure how? Well, it can be like Olives, at first you may not like them but over time they are delicious, you even crave them. Fermented vegetables may be difficult to enjoy at first, but its certainly worth persevering. Here are 5 ways to get you started.

 

5 easy tips to get you started on eating that jar of Fermented Veggies you have made….you’ll be craving them in no time.

1 – Mayonnaise – Mix with mayonnaise, to make a coleslaw. (Mix with shop bought coleslaw is also easy peasy).

Any mayonnaise, it’s the beginning of a journey, just eating fermented food with your usual diet is enough at first to start you on your way. Eat just like normal coleslaw, in a sandwich, on a jacket potato, as a side to cheese and meats.

2 – Pickle – pickles used to be lacto-fermented. Now they are mainly sterile, pasteurised and use white vinegar. Mix some of your veggies in with your pickle. If you like a cheese and pickle sandwich, chutney on your crackers, ensure to add a little fermented vegetables to supercharge your food.

3 – Salad dressing.  Mix your salad dressing with a few tablespoons of the fermented vegetable liquid. The liquid itself is a fantastic source of probiotics. It is salty, sour and tangy so perfect for substituting the vinegar and salt in a salad dressing.

4 – Pasta and Rice Salads – Cold rice and pasta salads are perfect for adding your fermented vegetables too. They can be mixed with sour cream, coleslaw, oil, they will add the salty vinegary taste to the salad and make it extra tasty. Summer barbecue?   Make sure those sides are full of probiotics.

5 – Stir-fry – Heating kills the probiotics but a stir-fry is okay, just add the fermented vegetables in last just to warm through, don’t fry them for ages with the rest of the meal. I do cook with my fermented vegetables, to get the benefit of the taste and texture but I already have an abundance of fermented probiotics in my gut and cooking with Fermented Vegetables is the next stage of using large quantities and enjoying the flavour.

 

I cannot emphasize enough just have a go, use these ideas and let your imagination run riot. Fermenting is not new, we have just lost some of the art and with it the health benefits to our gut flora.

How to make Lacto Fermented Vegetables here.

 

 

 

Making Kefir Scones

There is little more Cornish than a Cream Tea! Making scones with Kefir is absolutely delicious. The Kefir is like using buttermilk so you get a delicious scone, light fluffy, with a buttery tang. If you have second fermented your Kefir with Lemon or Orange, you get a citrus hint that tastes fantastic. We enjoy a Kefir Scone Cornish Cream Tea on our course days.

Recipe – For a dozen scones (12).

  • 400g (14 oz) plain flour
  • 100g (3 3/4 oz) caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt (Sea Salt
  • 175g (6 oz) soft butter
  • 250ml (8 floz) Kefir (you can use the separated Whey if you have made Kefir Cheese or just use your homemade Kefir.
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (Gas Mark 7).
  2. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the soft butter and cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a fork until the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs. Add the Kefir and mix. The dough should be a bit moist, if its too dry add more Kefir, if its too wet add more flour. Roll half the dough into a ball and flatten on floured surface. Cut into six equal pieces using a scone cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 12 scones.
  3. Place on ungreased baking paper/non stick baking tray and bake for 12 minutes. For a glaze you can brush buttermilk on top and sprinkle with sugar before baking if desired. In the photos i have used just a brush of Kefir.

Lacto – fermented red cabbage.

Red Cabbage Lacto-Fermented

When fermenting vegetables, I like as many probiotics as possible, that’s the point right? Fresh food that makes you feel great = probiotics! I use the whey extracted from a bottle of plain Kefir. Adding fresh whey will increase the speed and quality of the lacto-ferment, filling it with live probiotics and prebiotics from the vegetables


.

A good ferment will give you vibrant vegetables that taste fresh and delicious. To get the most probiotics from these foods it is best to eat them raw, especially at first when you may be trying to repopulate your gut with beneficial bacteria. You can use the vegetables in soup and stir fry’s, the sweet, sour, crunchy texture is delicious, but you will be getting more probiotics not heating these fermented veggies.

Recipe – A cabbage ferment. 

Ingredients -Based on your container size. I use a large jar.

Kefir whey – however much liquid fills approx 1 inch of your container.

Cabbage – as much as fills your container.

Salt – mineral salt such as Cornish sea salt or pink Himalayan. Not cheap refined sodium.

Water – filtering the water is important as there should be no chlorine present. Chlorine can kill the live bacteria.

Method

CHOP – So…. Chop your cabbage, salt it liberally with a mineral rich salt such as a Cornish sea salt, or Pink Himalayan ( don’t use refined table salt). Pour a little whey into the glass jar – I normally fill about a centimeter, the amount isn’t critical.

JAR – Simply shove the cabbage in the glass, press it down if you want to fit more in, i sometimes compact it more if I have more veg but it is not imperative that it is squashed down. Loose or compact the choice is yours.

WATER – Top with filtered water – it is important it is filtered so that there is no chlorine present, chlorine can kill or reduce the probiotic content. If you don’t have a water filter, boiling the water first make sure its cold again before using in your jar will do but look to obtain a water filter for future batches.

Push the cabbage below the water, it will rise up as it ferments and you can get a white mould if the cabbage is above the water line. Using a small rock as a weight inside the jar can prevent this, or I just push it down every few days with my potato masher, this ‘burps’ the carbon dioxide from the jars preventing overspill or an exploding jar!

LEAVE ALONE – Leave an inch of air at the top of your glass. Put the lid on and leave it on the side for approx 7 days – the vegetables will rise, become a little bubbly – taste them and if you like how they taste, (they should be slightly fermented and zingy) then put them in the fridge. This will be trial and error for you, basically the veg cant go off, the lacto-ferment is a safe way of preserving. If you like crunchier vegetables the liberal use of salt is very important. The longer you leave at room temperature (especially if the weather is warmer) the quicker the veg will ferment.

REFRIGERATE – The fridge slows down the fermentation and you can use them from the fridge. They should keep up to a year at a cool temperature, however slowly they will continue to ferment. I normally get rid if they have lost their colour and become overly fermented, i prefer zingy bright vegetables that taste almost raw.

DONT BE SCARED – Just have a go, get out your cabbage and start chopping. It’s somewhat trial and error at first, if there are any questions as you go along feel free to message. How to make your fermented vegetables taste great!

 

 

 

Kefir Cheese

Really simple, probably the oldest and easiest cheese recipe on earth.

The kefir fermented milk causes the curds and whey to separate without using rennet. Straining the Kefir into curds and whey results in a fresh zingy cheese  which can be used in a multitude of recipes and the whey which helps to speedily ferment vegetables and fruit juices.

When you strain the Kefir to make cheese, save the whey. Nothing needs to be wasted with Kefir, the whey is rich in lacto-probiotics. This is the liquid gold used to ferment your vegetables, use as a buttermilk in recipes and feed to your pets.

With the curds, use as you would cream cheese or thick natural yoghurt. With fruit, on crackers, with muesli etc. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Blue Monday

Blue Monday – a day that is supposed to symbolise the most depressing day of the year. Mid-January where for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere (where Kefir originated in Russia) are short, with little sunlight, cold climate and the after effects of Christmas both emotionally and financially, January can be a tough month.

How apt then that my first blog post is on a day highlighting a struggle many of us deal with and the main reason i was initially interested in Cultured Foods.

When i first tried Kefir, for no reason other than it looked nice and i fancied eating something tangy and dairy based – i noticed after a few days the overwhelming sense of energy and calm I was feeling. I was neither tired nor anxious for the first time in years! I googled Kefir and was amazed at the sheer amount of information and known health benefits attributed to its consumption. I had no idea when i first tried it! This led me to learn far more about Probiotics and their many different impacts on health and well being. Sharing with friends and family, I am constantly inspired to spread the word on how Pro and Pre biotics can make you a much healthier and happier person.

There is more and more research being completed on gut and brain connection. The production of serotonin within the digestive tract is up to 90%. This means that changes in your gut microbiome has a direct impact on your behaviour. A Google of the ‘Gut Brain Connection’ provides many articles for further reading. Here is a summary of the known effects of Probiotics on Human Health.

Bad bacteria stomach bacteria can be the root cause of a bad mood, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue and many more on-going debilitating condition. Focusing on a healthier gut you can see why so many different issues can be significantly improved.

So… why Kefir? It is a natural food source, a great way to start you on your initial discovery into how much your stomach impacts your daily life. You can take Probiotics as a supplement, however you don’t know how fresh or alive the supplement is.

Eating food that tastes great and makes you well is a great way to live. I would far rather eat a cultured cheesecake, drink a smoothie, eat prebiotic vegetables in a salad than take a tablet every day. The satiety, blood sugar balancing, vitamin and mineral rich contents of making your own probiotics is undoubtedly the best way to better health.