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Fermenting Carrots,With Brine!

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So you have some carrots do ya. And you want to ferment them do ya. Let’s do this thing yo! Fermentation doesn’t always have to be about making sauerkraut, the sky’s the limit when making fermented foods. Whatever your favorite vegetable is, you can ferment it to give it a ton more health benefits. Or if you harvest to much from your garden and can’t think of what to do with it, ferment it up, yo! We are going to talk about fermentation using a brine rather than only salt.

When do you use brine?

When you have a vegetable that does not allow liquid to be withdrawn easily. For example, cabbage,  when you put salt on cabbage and massage it, you are able to pull liquid out by just doing that simple act. Now, unless you want to shred your carrots, you can’t just put salt on a whole carrot and get liquid to come out. So you’ll need to make a brine to create the liquid.

Things you’ll need:

1 quart Filtered water

2-3 pounds of Carrots

1-3 TBL Sea salt or Celtic sea salt

Optional: Lemon, peppercorns, garlic, dill, rosemary….

Glass jar (Quart size mason jars work beautifully)

Fancy lid or plastic lid or coffee filter

Fancy weight or plastic baggy filled with brine

Whatcha want to do is…

  • Wash and peel your carrots. Slice them to whatever size tickles your fancy. I did quarters.
  • In a pot dissolve salt in filtered water.
  • Place your carrots in glass jar and cover with liquid. Be sure to leave some head space for your weight.
  • Now either you can add your additional flavors now or wait until after the fermentation process is done and add them before you place in fridge.
  • Place weight on top of carrots.  ***If you’re not using a fancy weight don’t worry, just fill a baggy with some brine and place baggy on top of carrots. This will help keep everything down and if the baggy happens to have a hole or breaks, it has the same brine as the carrots so your fermentation is not ruined.

***Remember, your vegetables MUST stay below liquid. The liquid creates the anaerobic environment (free of oxygen) that allows good bacteria to form and prohibits bad from growing. BUT if your vegetable mass reaches air, mold can grow.

  • Place fancy lid on or which ever lid you choose and place in cabinet for about 7-14 days. Like sauerkraut, taste test it after 5 days or so. Find your ferment. If it is too salty, let it ferment longer. The longer it sits the more sour it gets. Plus the more health benefits it will have.

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Enjoy whenever! Adding some form of fermented food to every meal you consume, is the most effective way to get the health benefits.

Let’s ferment the world homies!

Happy fermenting!

If you are following from our last post on making sauerkraut, I can’t wait to hear how your sauerkraut came out. Leave a comment below. Let’s make this process loud and loved. I want to hear your questions, comments, thoughts even recipe ideas. 

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase a product through the link we provide, we get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Oh Sure I Can Homestead. 

 

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Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

 

Let’s make up some homemade Elderberry syrup.

If you haven’t already read the medicinal herb series post on Elder, I suggest you stop what you are doing and mosey on over there. Elder is incredible stuff especially during cold and flu season. Every year there is huge talk about how this years cold and flu season are the worst they have seen yet.

Every year it’s the worst one?

Crap, I am scared to see what next year brings. So, I plan on stocking up on this stuff to help prevent any nastiness that may come our way. Right now, I am putting all my faith into this stuff, well this and a handful of other herbs, my household is battling a stomach bug and I am wishing and hoping it doesn’t find a happy place in my belly. Fingers crossed that 4 doses of elderberry syrup, 4 doses of oregano oil and 3 doses of black seed oil throughout the day helps this mama stay strong. Anyway, back to what we are here for.

Elderberry syrup. Let’s do this!

First things first, get your grubby little paws on some dried elderberries. Mountain Rose Herbs is an incredible source, however, they were out when I went to order them. So next best place, Amazon. I bought these and so far, we are rockin!

What y’all want to do is…

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup dried elderberries

1 tsp cinnamon powder or 1 stick of cinnamon

1-2 tbsp fresh or powdered ginger

3 cups of filtered water

1 cup of raw unfiltered honey

Directions:

  1. Bring elderberries, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover for 40-45 minutes or until liquid reduces to about half.
  2. Strain liquid into a bowl using a cheese cloth or a metal strainer. Be sure to squeeze excess liquid from berries.
  3. Allow to cool just a bit before adding your honey. You don’t want to kill of the honeys natural properties but warm enough so that the honey melts.
  4. Stir it up!
  5. Pour into a mason jar or a swing top bottle.

Elderberry syrup will last about 2 months in refrigerator.

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Dosage: 

Children: 1 tsp once a day for maintenance. 1 tsp twice a day for maximum health benefit.

Adults: 2 tsp once a day for maintenance. 2 tsp four times a day for maximum health benefit.

Elderberry syrup from the store can cost close to $30 for a bottle. Making this syrup at home will not only save you a ton of money but you’ll feel good knowing you put your love and energy into keeping your family healthy.

Happy Syrup Making!!

The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any illness or disease. Consult with a health care professional before use.
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Kefir: You Got A Question? I Got An Answer!

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I have received a ton of question around Kefir. So I thought I would compile them all together and help take the fear out of fermented milk. When people hear the words fermented milk they immediately shut off. Seriously people, this stuff is the best stuff in the world for your entire well being. When I encourage people to make it at home, they look at me like, there is no way in hell I can make this stuff. Then they look at me and ask, are you sure it’s safe to drink? So lets take the fear out of it and start feeding our bellies with homemade Kefir.

What is Kefir: Kefir is a probiotic. It is a fermented milk that has the consistency of a drinkable yogurt.

What are grains: Grains are essentially little SCOBY’s, Symbiotic Colonies Of Bacteria and Yeast. Grains provide the milk with the necessary bacteria and yeast to create the fermenting process. They are only called grains, they DO NOT contain any wheat.

What kind of milk do I use: Preferably raw organic goats milk.

Next would be organic pasteurized whole milk. You do not want to used Ultra-Pasterized milk. When milk is pasteurized it is heated to a certain temperature inevitably killing off natural bacteria while still leaving some to live in the milk. When milk is Ultra-Pasterized, the milk is heated to such a high temperature that is kills of any and ALL bacteria, leaving no nutritional value in the milk what so ever. If you notice, that is why Ultra-Pasterized milk products have such a high shelf life.

You can use raw whole milk but you would want to acclimate your grains first. Using 25% raw to 75% pasteurized milk and then with each fermenting session increasing the amount of raw milk. Raw milk has tons of good bacteria already present. So sometimes if the grains you purchases or inherited were not acclimated to raw, they tend to compete with the other bacteria.

If you are looking for a non dairy option, coconut milk is the way to go. Coconut milk has natural lactose, which give the grains enough to feed off of to create the fermenting process.

How do I acclimate my grains: If you get fresh grains the first thing you should do is give them some fresh milk. Most likely you will receive 1-2 tablespoons of Kefir grains. To acclimate them place them in a quart size mason jar, pour milk to the top line and place in a cool dark place for 24 hours. After 24 hours, drain grains using a plastic strainer, place grains back in jar and pour more milk and do the process all over again. After the third time, your grains should be good to go. If you receive fresh grains in milk from a friend, those bad boys are ready to rock right when you get home.

When you buy dehydrated grains, some can take up to 2 weeks to acclimate. Usually dehydrated grains will come this a set of instructions to properly hydrate them.

Where do I buy grains: We have grains available for purchase here. When I first purchased my grains I purchased them from amazon. Just be sure you look into the company and feel good about who they are.

I am lactose intolerant, can I still drink Kefir: The grains feed of of the lactose in milk, which is basically the sugar. The fermenting process turns it into lactic acid making it much more easily digestible. 99% of lactose intolerant individuals can drink kefir with little to no problem.

One trick you can do is put a drop of kefir on your skin, let it dry and wait 24 hours and if you do not see any inflammation, you are good to go.

How long do I ferment for: Ideally, 24-36 hours. That doesn’t mean that you can’t strain your grains at 22 hours or if it hits 38 hours it’s ruined. That is just a guideline. The weather has a tremendous impact on any fermentation process. I’ve allowed my kefir to ferment 48 hours and I have also strained it at 18 hours, both perfectly fine to drink.

What size jar do I use: Best size jar to use is a 6 cup mason jar. You can use any size or style of jar you prefer, just make sure you can place a lid or coffee filter over the top during the fermentation process.

What milk to grain ration do I use: The best ratio I have found to make a great batch is 2-4 tablespoons of grains to 6 cups of milk. Now, I have also used about a cup of grains in about 6 cups of milk and my ferment comes out perfectly fine. So again, it’s a guideline. Fermenting is giving, it does not need to be exact. Adding more grains will speed up the fermentation process. Not having enough could make the process a bit longer. You need to play around and find how your grains like to react.

What kind of lid do I use: I used coffee filters with a rubber band at first, which worked great. However, sometimes my rubber band would break off. So I now use plastic mason jar lids. You can find them at any grocery store where they sell canning supplies. Plastic mason jar lids are not air tight, so it is perfect for keeping gnats out while still releasing CO2.

There is a lot of separation during my fermenting process, what is that: Separation is totally normal. When the grains feed off of the lactose it begins to separate the curds and whey within the milk. So you will most often times see a layer of yellowish liquid. Absolutely normal. That separation could occur super quick on a hot day or if you have to many grains for the amount of milk, either way perfectly safe to drink.

Is my Kefir supposed to have a strong smell to it: YES!!! The beautiful thing about grains is that they are a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, (SCOBY) so they will smell yeasty. They will smell sour. When they don’t smell is when I question my batch. If I do not smell a strong yeasty smell I usually allow my kefir to ferment a bit longer. Now with any ferment, your nose is the best thing you have to determine if something is not right. If in your gut you feel it’s not right, dump that batch and start a new one. BUT 99% of the time it’s a perfect ferment.

Why is my kefir sometimes really thin and watery: It could be the weather. If it is colder outside than usual, it may take your ferment a bit longer to reach desired consistency. Also, if you have to much milk for the amount of grains you have in your batch, you will end up with a thinner batch. Sometimes just letting it ferment another 24 hours will help thicken it up.

My kefir is super chunky, how do I make it smooth: Ok so you finished your ferment, you added your pureed fruit and it’s still really chunky, throw it all back into the blender and blend that puppy for 30 seconds or so. It will come out super smooth and delicious. It may seem a bit thin at first, I tend to find that after having out in the fridge for a bit, it will start to thicken up.

After each batch I strain out, I will puree 3 bananas for my 6 cup kefir batch and it helps thicken it up perfectly. I also add any seasonal fruit to add natural flavoring.

How do I store my grains when I do not want to make a batch: You can store your grains in the fridge if you’re not up to making a batch. Place them in any size glass jar, I use a quart size mason jar. Fill that bad boy up with milk and allow to sit in fridge for a week or two. When you start to see major separation, add more milk or make a batch. By placing them in the fridge your grains will hibernate.

My grains look different then from when I started, why: Grains are alive. They feed off of every batch you make, so they will grow and multiply. You may start with 1-2 tablespoons of grains and in a few months have 1-2 cups worth. They will look more plump than usual, thats ok, that just means you are loving your grains the right way.

I store my grains in the same jar I always have when I am not fermenting, but lately there is a lot of separation, quicker than usual, why: Your grains are multiplying and growing and they need more space and more milk to make them happy. Transition your grains to a bigger jar.

Can I rinse my grains: There really is no need to rinse your grains. After every batch just move your grains around as much as you can to get the kefir off of them. But if you must rinse them for any reason, you can do so by pouring milk or filtered water over them. Do not rinse your grains with tap water. The fluoride, bad bacteria and other chemicals found in tap water will kill your grains.

My Kefir is super sour, how can I sweeten it: I have found great results with 100% organic pure maple syrup. You can use fruit, agave or honey. However, there is some back and forth about honey. Because honey is an antibacterial and antimicrobial, some say it will kill off any bacteria found in the kefir. Some have great results using it. I’ll let you decide.

What are the nutritional benefits to Kefir:

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What is the difference between Kefir and yogurt: Kefir is considered a drinkable yogurt but is not considered actual yogurt. Kefir contains mesophilic strains, which are microorganisms that thrive in natural temperature. That is why we place our kefir in our pantry to ferment. Kefir contains about 10-40 strains of probiotics.

Yogurt contains thermophilic strains, which are single-celled organisms that are activated through heat. Which is why yogurt is made by heating up milk to a precise temperature. Yogurt also contains only about 4-10 strains of probiotics.

I hope I took some of the fear out of making homemade kefir. It sounds intimidating but once you find your groove it is super fun and the best thing you can give yourself and your family. I am always happy to answer any other questions. Please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Happy questions answered!

This post contains affiliate links, that means that I get a small commission when you purchase through a link provided at no additional cost to you. 

 

 

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How To Juice a Pomegranate Like A MoFo

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So come to find out these “seeded apples” are absolutely amazing for you. I mean, we all kinda figured. Pomegranate is an incredible little fruit that contains tiny little seeds. Around the seeds are ruby colored juicy pieces of fruit. If you have ever tried to enjoy a pomegranate, I’m sure you’ve discovered they can be extremely messy. If you have never had a pomegranate, they can be extremely messy. We are going to be juicing a pomegranate today people. And even though it was incredibly tedious, I really enjoyed the whole process. It was actually relaxing.

Ok, so why are we juicing a pomegranate?

Well, like mentioned before if you have ever tried to enjoy a pomegranate it can be messy and frustrating. Plus, eating the seeds, although super good for you can get a little bla.  So why not learn how to juice the mutha f-er and get all the incredible benefits that way.

What’s so great about a pomegranate?

This post is about juicing the damn things, so I’m just going to touch lightly on the benefits.

* High in antioxidants: The amount of antioxidants that are present in a pomegranate can actually reduce the risk of cancer. There is what is called natural aromatase inhibitors, which actually decrease estrogen in the body. This can actually protect against breast cancer.

* Promotes memory and mental function.

* Helps protect against heart disease.

I encourage you to dive deeper into how amazing this fruit is.

On to juicing!

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1. First things first slap on an apron y’all. These little suckers can spray a beautiful deep red juice that will stain like a……… (insert your choice of profanity)

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2. Fill a bowl with water.

3. Score the outside of the pomegranate with a sharp knife into fours. Do not cut all the way through. You just want to cut enough to where you can break it apart.

4. Dip the whole pomegranate into the bowl of water and break it apart. Once you have a quarter of the fruit apart, gently rub off the seeds. The white skin will float and the seeds will sink.

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5. Drain out the water using a strainer. And pour seeds into a blender.

6. Blend gently for about 30 seconds. The point here is to break the juice off of the seed. You do not want to grind the seed.

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7. Use a mesh strainer, place over a bowl and pour your pulp and seeds through.

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You should be left with a beautiful deep red juice that is absolutely delicious.

The fresh juice should last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

You can pressure can the juice to add a much longer shelf life without using refrigeration.

Or you can fill mason jars leave about an inch of head space and freeze it. I choose  this method.

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There it is my friends. Fresh pomegranate juice that is insanely good for you.

Happy Juicing!

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