Bubbling Away

I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone lately and trying my hand at fermenting.  I’ve always had many allergies, including hay fever, asthma and eczema flareups.  Well, the past week with a badly infected hand was the last straw for me and I have finally convinced myself (I think) that it would be safe to consume uncooked food or drinks that I’ve fermented (apart from yogurt, that is).

More than a week ago, my Kombucha scoby arrived thanks to a lovely lady known as Kasalia on the forum (read about her adventures at Tales of Time).  However, after moving containers thrice, I think I’ve just about got it right this time around.  Long story, but with the first container (a ceramic jug), I was nervous about lead leaching from the jug.  And with the second container, I had stupidly thrown out more starter tea than I should have.  I then added a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar once I realised my error, in a desperate bid to keep my scoby alive.  So, after a trip to Kmart looking for a suitable jug, and a health food shop looking for unpasteurised, unflavoured Kombucha… I now have it brewing on the benchtop beside the coffee machine.  Third time lucky, I hope?  The good thing about it all is that I have gotten my husband and daughter to try the shop-bought, flavoured Kombucha and neither of them threw up!

After a few misses (and no hits!), my Kombucha is finally brewing. Fingers crossed.

Wih my sourdough starter in the fridge, the space it normally occupies (on top of the coffee machine) is empty.  So after asking around on the forum about water kefir, I have finally decided to give the Mad Millie Kefir Culture a go.  I found it strange, though, that there were no instructions on adding it to plain spring water!  Luckily, we were able to find coconut water on special at Coles so I’ve just mixed that in a few hours ago.  Now to research what to expect, and how long it will take for the kefir to be ready.  With any luck, someone here might like it, and then I could find some water kefir grains.

“Instant” coconut water kefir fermenting in a Moccona jar. Everything is labelled so nobody will mistake my potions for iced tea or some other palatable drink. I am sure Mum will be commenting about my kitchen escapades again!

Mum and mum-in-law are finally arriving for a holiday this Saturday, so hopefully I can have some time to try sauerkraut and kimchi.  Or have I become too ambitious?  LOL.  

A fermenting crock waiting for the sauerkraut and kimchi that I should be making soon. Thanks to Kylie at Home’s my Haven for the tip-off.

I should be making some soap next week as well for the Hanger Swirl challenge over at the Home Maker’s Forum, so I must really figure out how to schedule everything!

I am sure many of you make your own fermented food and drinks — maybe you have some tips for me?  I still feel a bit jittery about this latest adventure, but once I get through it, maybe pressure cooking and canning could be next?  Ha.

10 Replies to “Bubbling Away”

  1. Mrs Meagre You have been very busy. My husband and daughter have so far been very polite but have not tried my kombucha. That’s OK as I am more than happy to drink it on my own. I had milk kefir grains going for a long time but I found that over the summer months it just got too sour for me. I ended up deciding to let it die as I couldn’t find anyone who wanted the grains. The sourkraut and kimchi I haven’t even been able to bring myself to try.
    I laughed when you talked about your family giving you that look. Mine want to know why I would want to preserve something or make something when you can buy it at the shops. Mind you this does not stop my Dad from hitting the preserves cupboard and heading home with pickles, chutneys and jams. He would have taken sauce too but I had used chilli in this and he was a bit put out. LOL.
    Good luck with your kitchen science

    1. LOL about that kitchen look, Jane! I used to get that a lot (beginning with the laundry liquid) but I think they’ve gotten used to my weirdness by now? That is funny about your dad. I am sure he appreciates all your preserves, though.

      I am liking the shop bought kombucha too, especially the ginger flavoured ones. Can’t wait to taste my own, although I am sure there will be more misses before I get a hit. Haha. I was quite nervous about drinking the bought kombucha because it just seemed weird drinking something people describe to be like vinegar (I like vinegar, though). I feel nervous about the sauerkraut but strangely excited about the kimchi.

  2. Interested to see how you go – I recently bought ‘instant’ kefir from Green Living Australia. I added it to water which had a tablespoon of sugar mixed in. 3 times I tried making it but it just didn’t work for me 🙁
    I’m back to buying Babushka kefir from the local supermarket and adding it to smoothies, but I was hoping for some savings by making water kefir myself.

    1. Oh dear, Jay. I hope it works but not betting my life on it, now that I’ve heard about your experience. Is kefir meant to be bubbly when done? I don’t even know a place that sells it. I hope you find sources for the actual grains instead of the powder.

      1. I think I probably didn’t do it right. Apparently after the first ferment you then bottle it and give it a second ferment – that’s when the sugar gets used up and it gets bubbly. I was hoping for a healthy alternative to soft drinks, as I gave them up a few months ago. I was hoping to add a splash of ginger cordial, maybe a twist of fresh lemon or lime, hence why I didn’t want to make milk kefir.
        On the other hand, I made a wonderful bread yesterday using GLA’s sourdough culture. I just made a no-knead bread which I added a pinch of the culture to, and left it for 30 hours. It ended up successfully tasting and having the texture of a real sourdough! It’s my first attempt at making sourdough as I’ve always been daunted by the idea of having to keep a starter alive (some days I wonder how I keep my kids alive *jokes*)
        Having some culture in the freezer makes it all so easy.

        1. Jay, I tasted the coconut water kefir yesterday and it was still a bit sweet. I popped it into the fridge because I wasn’t sure what to do… I did shake the jar and the lid popped out so I guess it worked a little? I still have one sachet to work with and I might try a milk one.

          That is good about the sourdough culture working for you. I have been reading up on the kefir and it seems you can even use it as the liquid for an instant sourdough. I think I’m going to have to try that. I had a laugh at keeping the kids alive — I wonder the same myself sometimes.

  3. My Dad is similar to your Mum. He will see the sauerkraut in the crockpot and ask ‘what’s that?’ The other day I had nuts soaking ready for dehydrating and he asked ‘what are you doing now?’ He makes me smile.

    I’m so glad your husband and daughter gave the Kombucha a try.

    I’ve only ventured into the world of sauerkraut so far however I would say that the fermenting time is important. It really needs at least 4 weeks to do its thing and it will also store better later too. It’s best to be patient with it and give it time.

    Enjoy the time with your Mum and Mum-In-Law.

    1. LOL Kylie. The last time Mum came over, I was preserving and making passata and she commented about the kitchen looking like a factory. I had a real good laugh at that one. She says I remind her of my grandma.

      You’ve given me a big push writing about sauerkraut in one of your posts. Thanks for the tips, too!

  4. Mrs.Meagre what are you fermenting in the water kefir jar if you don’t have any grains? I bought mine on eBay but have dried some so can post you some if you like. If you look up Dom’s website http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/%7Edna/kefirpage.html and Cultures for Health there is plenty of info there. I add sugar, bicarb soda, molasses and a slice of lemon to mine for the first ferment which takes a few days. Then strain out the grains for a new ferment and flavour the one you have just fermented.

    1. Nanna Chel, it says in the Mad Millie website that they’ve isolated the strains (?) that ferment the kefir and it is just a powder that you can mix in with milk or juice. Not sure if it will work but I hope it will so we can see what kefir tastes like… It can only be recultured twice though, unlike the grains which will last forever I suppose? It is all very new to me.

      Thanks for the link and your offer of the dried grains, I will read up on it and might just take you up on the grains if we like the kefir 🙂

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