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Why I Make Sauerkraut

What I didn't realize then was that I wasn't eating REAL sauerkraut.If sauerkraut is purchased from a shelf at the store (not refrigerated), odds are that it doesn't contain the live active beneficial bacteria found in fermented kraut.In most of these cases, the sour flavor comes from vinegar rather than lactic acid bacteria.Even if it was originally fermented, if you find it at room temp, that means it was heat processed- killing off the good stuff. Fermentation was originally a means of preserving food, but we now know that it's also a way to help maintain good digestion with healthy bacteria.Which types of bacteria, you ask?The long list includes: Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus pentosaceus, Lactobacillus brevis, Leuconostoc citreum, Leuconostoc...

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Making Friends With Your Milk Kefir

Milk kefir is one of the best ways to get your daily probiotics. It's full of the beneficial bacteria that helps your gut and digestive system work properly. If you're new to kefir- making, it can seem a little intimidating, but once you get production dialed in to your specific home environment, it's a breeze! Here are some things to consider: How much do you want to produce? It's always a good idea to start on a small scale if you're new to milk kefir. It will give you a chance to get the hang of it, reduce any waste, and you'll see results sooner. If you purchase live grains from NW Ferments, you'll receive a healthy teaspoon. This is...

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International Holiday Foods and Ways to Make Them Fermented!

I've always enjoyed learning how to make foods from around the world. Discovering new ingredients and methods not only helps to broaden your palate, it also gives you a little insight into different cultures. Ingredients are often chosen because of availability- what is most easily grown, foraged or purchased. The best methods are those that are passed on from generation to generation- lovingly taught or deciphered from well-worn hand written recipes. Celebrations are an especially good time to reconnect with old traditions and memories, or better yet start some new ones! Each culture has it's own unique dishes- some eaten regularly, some reserved for holidays and special occasions. Fermented foods are often a part of these meals, but if not,...

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Which Sugar Should I Use for Water Kefir?

There are many choices when it comes to sugar - what you decide to use depends on your desired result. Rapadura is the least refined sugar. It's produced by pressing the pure juice from the sugar cane, then cooking at low temps to evaporate the water off. The end product still includes the molasses, which holds all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Because of this, it has a stronger molasses-like flavor.  Rapadura is slower to metabolize, unlike more refined sugars, making it a better choice health-wise. Demerara, turbinado and muscovado are more processed than rapadura. The molasses has been removed during crystal formation. Then some is added back in for nutrients and color. Chemicals are sometimes used in the...

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