Thursday, 17 January 2013

Food Pets

For a number of years now I have regularly made our own sour dough bread. Nurturing the sour dough culture is like a little bread pet that lives in our fridge.

During our recent holiday we were unable to keep our bread pet going, so I am now just bringing a new culture to life. I always find in amazing how from flour and water you can create such an amazing fermentation. 

Having a food pet such as this, brings a sense of routing to our lives. They need feeding, cooking with, cleaning up after, maintaining. I quite like this sense of order and routine.

This week I have decided to increase our food pet quota to 3! I figure if I am already maintaining one... it shouldn't be too much harder to maintain three? Should it?

So now in our food menagerie consists of our sour dough culture, a set of sprouting jars and some Kefir grains. All need almost daily attention.

The kids are super excited about the sprouting jars. Yesterday our parcel arrived and we set to work soaking our first crop of Mung Beans. This morning to the kids (and my) delight the creamy white sprout tails had appeared! This afternoon the tails are even longer! They are growing before our very eyes!! I can't wait to have plenty of fresh, live sprouts to add to our salads, wraps and stir frys. We are starting with Mung beans but look forward to trying our hand at alfalfa, mustard, fenugreek, snow pea.... Any other good recommendations?

Kefir is something that I was reading about in Whole foods for Children. I had never heard of it but was interested by her descriptions. Apparently, when you ferment milk with Kefir grains, lacto-fermentation occurs which can assist our bodies to digest the proteins in dairy. Also during the process a lot of pro-biotics are formed so the resulting, thin yogurt like drink is super high in good gut flora. 

Wiki says that:

 "Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars, and this symbiotic matrix forms "grains" that resemble cauliflower. For this reason, a complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can be found in these grains."

So I ordered some live Kefir grains on the Internet and eagerly awaited their arrival! When they turned up they were rather 'interesting'. They looked like rancid milk that had formed lumps... YUM!  Apparently through the postage process they go a little 'sleepy' and take a few days of feeding before they come back to their full lively spirit. All I could think about was vomitus rancid milk, so I'm hoping I can change this mental picture :)

Already after 2 days and 3 flushes with fresh milk it is smelling much better. I just need to remember that it is meant to be like yogurt not milk and then we should be fine :)

With our Kefir I am looking forward to adding it to smoothies and ice-blocks and making Kefir cheese... I'll let you know how it goes :)

So yes, I will be busy caring for my collection of food pets, but think it will slip into our daily routine just fine. I also find it very nourishing to be able to care for and create food that will nourish my family with all the good things their tummies need.

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