Archive for Sprouting and Fermenting

Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream

One thing I love about being a blogger is that sometimes a series of events come together to create the perfect dish; and the byproduct of that is, of course, a blog post.

1. Last week was a very busy one for me, I had a bunch of blog-related events to go to, one of which was a trip to an Organic Dairy Farm in Abbotsford. It was a perfect day for it–warm and sunny–and we got to bottle-feed baby cows, and learn the inner workings of how milk gets from the cow to our refrigerators. The nice folks at Olympic Dairy sent us home with a cooler full of yogourt, and included in the cooler was a big jug of Strawberry Kefir.

Baby cow noses count as one of the cutest things in the world.

Baby cow noses count as one of the cutest things in the world.

2. It’s now strawberry season here in Vancouver. You can find strawberries in the Farmer’s Markets, and some of the grocery stores here in the Lower Mainland. I always love this time of the year. The annual arrival of strawberries, asparagus, and garlic scapes, to me, always symbolizes the beginning of summer.

3. I had a conversation online the other day with Harriet and Emily about making Kefir (in reference to my last post). In that conversation, Emily mentioned that she liked making Kefir into ice cream.

1 + 2 + 3 = Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream! 

You might remember a recipe I posted about this time last year, that showed you how to make Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. This is a very similar concept; there’s no eggs to thicken this “ice cream.” There is, in fact, no actual cream in it, either. It has that slightly tangy flavour from the kefir, but that makes it, as far as I’m concerned, even more refreshing. Things that are too sweet feel heavy to me.

Additionally, you get the probiotic benefits of kefir. Freezing it for a long period of time will abate some of the positive effects of the good bacteria, but it won’t last that long. Trust me.

strawberry kefir ice creamStrawberry Kefir Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • blender
  • ice cream maker
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup strawberry kefir (I’m using Olympic Dairy Organic Kefir)
  • 1/2 cup regular kefir (I used the stuff I made last week)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Method:

  1. Wash and hull the strawberries, and quarter them, or even cut them into eighths, if they are really big ones. Drop them into your blender with about 2 tbsp of the strawberry kefir. Puree until smooth. Add the sugar and blend again.
  2. Add the additional kefir (both kinds) and blend until smooth. Finally, stir in the vanilla. Taste, and make sure it’s sweet enough; you may want to add more strawberry puree or sugar if it’s too tart.
  3. Freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s directions. I have a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker, and it took about 15 minutes to achieve the correct consistency.
  4. Scoop out of your ice cream maker, and place into a plastic container, and place in the freezer to allow to freeze until it’s hard (at least a couple of hours).

 

How to Make Kefir

So… yeah. I’m all about the probiotics. I’m all fermenting and making my own yogurt, and I love me some miso.

I guess it was just a matter of time until I got to Kefir.

how to make kefir

I don’t know why it took me so long. It’s not hard. And according to some of the stuff I’ve been reading, the probiotics that go into Kefir are even better for you than the ones they put in yogurt. Well, maybe. Depending on where they come from.

You see, the kefir grains are a lot like sourdough. It’s one of those things that you can’t really buy (although you can), but you can have “passed down” to you. And because these strains have been around for so long, they are really rich and full of different kinds of bacteria.

If you’ve never had kefir, the best way to describe it is as a fermented milk drink of about the consistency of drinkable yogourt. It’s not as thick as yogurt, but it has very similar properties. You can drink it as-is, or some producers add blueberry or strawberry puree, for example, to it, to make a kind of strawberry drinkable yogurt. I use mine, simply, in smoothies, or pretty much any other place where you might use yogurt (I’ve even used it in a cake in place of buttermilk). I always put yogurt in my smoothies, as I like the creamy consistency it gives them, and the bonus probiotic.

There are basically three steps to making your own kefir.

First, you have to get the kefir grains. You can buy them commercially at The Gourmet Warehouse, and probably also Whole Foods, and they also sell more ancient ones at the Homesteader’s Emporium. Probably the best source of kefir grains, though? Craigslist. You can get water kefir, for making something similar to kombacha, or you can get milk kefir (which is what I use).

Secondly, you heat up your milk, then you let it cool a little. This helps to create the thickened texture of the kefir.

Next, you let it sit for 18-24 hours. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “waitaminit, lady. You’re telling me to let a milk product sit out, unrefrigerated for 24 hours?” Yep, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The bacteria need a warm environment to do their work. Once it’s completed, you can put your kefir in the fridge to keep for the next week.

How to Make Kefir

Ingredients: 

  • 1 litre milk
  • kefir grains or kefir starter (I’m using Yogourmet–one 5 ml packet)
  • 1 litre mason jar
  • candy thermometer

Method: 

  1. Heat the milk gently in a saucepan on the stove until it reaches 180 degrees F (82 C). You don’t want it to boil.
  2. Take the milk off the heat, and allow to cool down to 75 degrees F (25 C).
  3. Take a ladleful of the milk out of the pan, and place it in a small bowl. Add the packet of culture, and mix well.
  4. Carefully pour the milk into the mason jar, then pour the small bowl of milk (with culture mixed in) into the mason jar as well. Mix or shake well.
  5. Allow the mason jar to sit out, on the countertop, for 18-24 hours, or until your kefir reaches a desired consistency. It should be like a thick yogurt, but still smooth. If it gets too lumpy, you’ve left it out too long. Give the jar a good shake, and then store it in the fridge. Shake prior to each use.
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