Home made Raspberry Limonade

Raspberry Limonade

The summer is performing at its very best here in New Zealand. Time to brew some refreshing drinks! Yes, beer has been made with freshly harvested stingy nettles earlier this summer, thanks to Amy McComb of Plantrhythms! Want the recipe? Let me know by dropping a comment below!

Back to our low alcoholic treat. I found the inspiration for this one while listening to the audio version of Sandor Ellix Katz’ book: The Art of Fermentation – driving my new pony home to Warkworth from Wellington. 11 hours of fermentation wisdom pouring into my ears while crossing the beautiful North Island of NZ.

German rocket vs...

By the time I got home I was ready for a cool drink and a massage. I’ll leave you to figuring out the details of the massage and provide the recipe for the drink.

This recipe works well year round with organic frozen berries. Any kind of berries will do, as long as they are organically grown. I’ve so far experimented with raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, acai – all with great results.

Limonade

If you happen to have an abundant supply of fresh berries, you might get away without adding any cultures to start the fermentation process, as there usually are plenty of wild yeasts living on unsprayed berries. I used frozen berries and added the whey from my milk kefir (Vegans beware!), a splash of Kombucha and some Coconut Kefir.

Originally home-made lemonades were made just with whey. Milk Kefir provides a higher percentage of yeast strains that will happily start an alcoholic fermentation, in comparison to for example: Caspian Sea Yoghurt. For any of these cultures, please get in touch with your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter or drop me a line here. The reasoning with adding more than one starter culture was to get a more vibrant fermentation going fast. In my opinion, it will also provide the limonade with a richer pro-biotic profile.

Be aware that the whey will highly likely introduce some fat to your limonade, specifically if you make your kefir with full fat raw non-homogenised milk, as we do. You can see the that effect in some of the pictures. Whey is the clear liquid separating from the fermented milk solids, see picture below:

Kefir

Yes, you can leave out the kefir whey if you don’t tolerate milk products. In that case I suggest you stick to Kombucha and Coconut Kefir. The coconut kefir that Anita and Terry make in New Zealand (in the same facility that René’s Kombucha is brewed, btw.) is made with the Body Ecology kefir starter. This is a laboratory made dairy-free blend of highly effective pro-biotic cultures.

OK, enough Blurb! If you want to hear more and taste a whole variety of cultured foods and beverages I suggest you check out my Event Calendar, there should be at least one Traditional Cultured Foods demo & degustation class in the pipeline. If not, drop me a line and we’ll see if we can organise one in your area.

Raspberry Limonade

Raspberry Limonade
Makes 3 liters
Ingredients:
250 ml lime juice or lemon juice
1 cup frozen raspberries or other organic berries
20-50 ml whey from kefir
30 ml coconut kefir
30 ml kombucha
1.5 cup coconut sugar
3 l filtered water

Directions:
Stir well in a 3 liter glass jar to dissolve the coconut sugar.
Cover with a cloth and let ferment for 24-48 hours. Stir occasionally.
Filter out the berries and bottle in plastic bottles.
Store in fridge and wait 1-2 days for fizz to build up.
Open carefully.
Enjoy on ice!

Limonade

The plastic bottles are essential!
I know, I know… I’ve made a conscious decision to bottle my Kombucha in glass bottles. Yet plastic bottles allow you to gage the pressure building up inside of them. Glass bottles might explode if not refrigerated! I’m NOT kidding. Be safe! I have had more than one thick-walled glass bottle explode from too much pressure building up inside.
Collect/recycle plastic bottles from a local cafe and then re-use them for your fermented beverage projects!

Have fun and be safe!
PS: Yes, due to the yeasts in the pro-biotic cultures your home-made limonade might have small amounts of natural alcohol in it.

Turmeric, Cauliflower and Carrot Brine Pickles

Have you ever wondered how those delicious pickled cucumbers or vegies were made when you grew up? I certainly did.
If you happen to ask any chef about pickles, they will highly likely start talking about vinegar, sugar etc. The art of preserving and enhancing vegetables with a salt brine, creating a lactic fermentation process is almost forgotten.

Large jar

Thank Heavens and himself for Sandor Ellix Katz’ book: ‘Wild Fermentation’!!! It reconnected me with more than one traditional way of preserving and enhancing food.

These brine pickles have become an absolute staple in our kitchen. And here we go:

Cauliflower and Turmeric Brine Pickle
adapted from Sandor Ellix Katz’ recipe for Sour Pickles
Time frame 1 – 4 weeks
Will make enough to fill a 4.5l jar/crock pot.

  • 2-3 heads of organic cauliflower, cut to small florets, stalks peeled and diced
  • 1kg organic carrots, sliced into thin ‘coins’
  • 500g fresh turmeric.
  • 3-5 heads of garlic, peeled, cloves cut in half
  • ½ t Grape tannin powder (home brewing supply shops). Or a handful fresh grape-, cherry-, oak-, and/or horseradish leaves (if available).
  • 20+ black peppercorns
  • 1T black mustard seeds
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves, optional
  • 6 T sea salt and 2 liters filtered water (keep ratio to 3T salt/liter of water, if more liquid is required!)
  • 2-3 cabbage leaves, outer
  1. Chop cauliflower into small florets. Peel the stems and dice. Using a mandolin, grate/cut Turmeric into small matchsticks.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the vegetables, turmeric and garlic. Keep a few cloves of garlic aside to put on top of the finished crock. Keep cabbage leaves aside.
  3. Dissolve the sea salt (6T/90ml) in 2 liters of water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved.
    This concentration works well in most applications: 3T sea salt/1 liter water
  4. Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it some of the mustard seeds, fresh grape leaves and a pinch of black peppercorns.
  5. Place the mixed vegetables in the crock. Disperse some more of the black mustard seeds, bay leaves and black pepper throughout. Finish with the remaining garlic cloves on the top.
  6. Pour brine over the vegetables. Fill the jar/crock almost to the top. Put folded cabbage leaves on the very top of the mix and press down. The cabbage leaves should be partially covered by the brine. Now put lid in place and close the crock/jar.
    Cabbage leaves on top
    The jar in the picture has been fermenting for a week or so. You can see that some of the brine has been forced out by the fermentation. You can top that up with fresh brine (3T sea salt/liter of water)
  7. If the crock pot does not have a tight fitting lid or you are using a traditional Sauerkraut crock pot, place a clean plate over the vegetables  then weigh it down with a jug filled with water or a boiled rock. If the brine doesn’t cover the weighed-down plate, add more brine mixed at the same ratio of just under 1 T sea salt to each cup of water.
  8. Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.
  9. Check the crock every day. Skim any mold from the surface, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. If there’s mold, be sure to rinse the plate and weight. Taste the pickles after a few days.

10. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check the crock/jar every day.

11. Eventually, after one to four weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be fully sour. Continue to enjoy them, moving them to the fridge to slow down fermentation.

The same recipe works to create different colours, e.g. with zucchini (add tannin to keep crisp!!!), beetroot, carrots and garlic. This will be a deep purple pickle! Experiment with greens too! Silver beet pickles beautifully!

Purple Pickles

Feel free to play with other spices too! Ginger, coriander seeds, juniper berries etc.

Cauliflower Turmeric

This one was made at the last Raw Chef Training Level 1 http://wp.me/P1RysK-5F

I find it not necessary to weigh down the top of the pickles etc.. It is usually fine to fill the jar to the top with vegies and brine and then just seal the lid, put the jar into a bowl to ferment – to catch the brine that gets squeezed out during fermentation.

For metal lids I use a double sheet of cling film over the top of the jar before putting on the lid. That prevents the salt brine from corroding the lid.

Pickles

Enjoy your pickles as a side dish, vegetable part of your meal or a yummy snack between meals!

René
🙂

PS: Yes, we’ll make these kind of pickles at the Raw Chef Trainings, Level 1.

Water Kefir – explosive life force in a bottle

Here is the latest addition to my fermented product offerings. I’m still experimenting with certain variations. So take the recipes here as a launching pad. Should you require water kefir crystals/grains to get started please get in touch here. I just received an e-mail from Darlene in the Sacramento, CA area offering to ship live water kefir grains. Anyone on her continent I’m happy to put you in touch for a supply. She will send them all over America.

Water kefir crystals - surplus

A quick word about sugar based ferments (Water Kefir and Kombucha) – not approved by anyone but common sense. As good as these beverages are in boosting our intestinal happiness and gut flora, they are based on the fermentation of sugar and create not only a rich pro-biotic tonic. The liquid will also contain sugars and a small amount of alcohol. Dealing with certain dis-eases like cancer, sugar and alcohol are two of the least things you want to consume. Cancer cells feed on sugar!!!

I am not a dietitian or badge-wearing nutritionist, use your discerning mind and understanding here. And by all means listen to well-informed people like this one: Jerry Brunetti! Other easy fermented foods without the use of sugar are Sauerkraut, raw milk yoghurt (get in touch for raw milk sources in Auckland, NZ!), milk kefir, cabbage rejuvelac, brined pickles etc.

Attend my ‘Fermented Foods’ workshops or pay Sandor Ellix Katz a visit and buy his book ‘Wild Fermentation’!

Water kefir linup

f.l.t.r.: bottled water kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha, water kefir – fermenting (dried mango slices)

So here we go:

Water Kefir

  • 9 T kefir crystals
  • 4 T of golden raw organic sugar
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 dried fig or two dried organic apricots
  • 1 sea shell
  • Enough cold drinking water to fill the jar
  1. Place all ingredients in a 1.5 liter glass jar. Leave on the bench for 24 hours.
  2. Strain off the fermented water kefir into bottles and leave on the bench for another 24 hours to mature. Serve chilled.
  3. Replace the lemon halves with fresh ones. After 2-3 days/cycles replace the fig/apricots. Add new sugar and water for the next cycle.
Water Kefir jar

you can see the lemon, pineapple slices, vanilla pod, sea shell…

Here is another recipe from my fellow ‘fermentationista’ Lee:

Water Kefir the Lee-way

  • 1 cup boiled water (to dissolve the sugar, molasses and baking soda)
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1 tsp organic black strap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    Mix together to dissolve.
  • 5 cups cold water (we’re on tank water)
  • 1/2 C water kefir grains
  • Slice of lemon (I remove the peel because I can’t find organic lemons yet)
  • 100 grms (or to taste) fresh ginger sliced.

I left it ferment for about 2.5 days before bottling it and the grains have now doubled!

Notes:
I must admit that it’s not my original recipe. I did make adjustments.

It originally said a couple of dried figs but I’m not keen on dried fruit. Also a piece of eggshell, which I omitted because it is for minerals but we’re on tank water so I thought that should be enough.
LOL, also it said 1/3 – 1/2 Cups sugar but I’ve done 1/2 each time. It really does seem to be a good recipe for growing them.”
End of Quote.

Feel free to experiment further. Lee’s cultures definitely proliferate quicker. I had a phase when I added exhausted vanilla beans from vanilla essence bottles to the mix, and dried pineapple slices and replace the sugar with my home-made quince and guava syrup (see pictures!) The resulting flavour was marvelous yet the little crystals did not thrive.

Water Kefir

A last word to the packaging. This is where the heading of this post originates from. It seems to be necessary to refrigerate the finished product. I’m normally using bail-top bottles for water kefir. They usually allow you 3 seconds to pour the drink before the liquid starts foaming up and rushes out the bottle neck. We lately had several bottles which had rested at room temperature for longer than a day. These did not allow ANY time to pour the liquid. Once we flipped the lid, the surrounding area – us included – was dripping wet with water kefir. Very Funny! 😉

Water Kefir bottles

So be careful when opening your bottles or do not close them tightly in the first place. The remaining sugar is still being transformed into carbon dioxide and alcohol. A safe way of handling the problem can be old fashioned corks from emptied wine bottles. They will blow off when the pressure in the bottle increases. Still no guarantee against water kefir showers 😉

Good Luck and have FUN!!!

René
😉

Water kefir linup