Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kefir and Fermenting Class in Logan, Utah

I will be in Logan, Utah next week...Thursday, Aug. 23 at 5:30   at the Logan House 136 West 100 North, Logan, Utah.  This is a free event and I am the guest speaker/presenter.  Some of the people coming to this even will bring food they have successfully fermented.  This is a good time of the year to learn how to ferment or naturally "pickle" vegetables without heat.  I will be talking about and selling milk kefir grains and other starters like natural yeast for bread and "scoby's" for kombucha.  I will also bring some foods that I like to ferment.  I will demonstrate my dairy strainer cloth which separates casein from whey efficiently, and demonstrate how to work kefir grains to get a "super food" from milk.  It should be a great even with audience participation and plenty of samples and tasting.  The person organizing this even is Karen Batty  and you can email her for further information.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Barley Water; My Version

I've been reading up on the health benefits of barley water which are many and I will list some of those at end of blog.  In Europe it is very common and comes with lots of different fruity and spicy flavors and even as a soda.  My interest was further piqued by D&C section 89 (Word of Wisdom section)  verse 17 ...."barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.".  Which started me thinking about mild drinks.   I've always understood that phrase to mean slightly fermented drinks and knowing that some fermented drinks like the kombucha I  make and my raw milk kefir are super foods for me,  I wondered if a mild barley drink  slightly fermented would also be good.  Thus began my experimenting.

  I looked at all the recipes for barley water online  and there's not much to it, just boil some barley, strain it out and throw out the barley or eat it, cool down the water, sweeten it or flavor it and drink.   I noticed that the recipes called for pearled barley which is the most common in stores which is barley without hulls.  I wanted to experiment with hulled barley and the only place I could find that was the bulk section of my local health food store.  I figured that with the hulls still on, there might be more minerals and the barley might sprout.   Sprouting barley was the first stage of beer making in the Old World, and the  water barley sprouted in was known as 'worts' in the beer making industry.  The beer makers would drink this 'worts' when they felt themselves coming down sick with something and take it home to their families to ward off illness.  Apparently it worked well enough that it was a common practice among beer makers as a remedy to stay well.
What I wanted to do was create a 'worts' water first by allowing the grain to sprout in water ( but not cook this water), then boil the sprouted barley in new water  to get the copper and other minerals out of it that are so beneficial and finally combine the two waters for my drink.

My recipe:
1 ounce (2 TBS) hulled barley  (not pearled, but with hulls)
1 quart chlorine-free water
Combine, cover with paper or cloth and let sit room temp for 3-4 days.   Watch for bubbles the 2nd or 3rd day....this is good it means that it is sprouting and coming alive.
After 3 even 4 days, strain off the water and reserve it with a lid in the fridge.
Add the sprouted barley to a pot and add another quart of water and bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 40 -45 minutes.   Allow to cool down and strain out the barley.  Eat it or throw it out.
The boiled water should be a pretty pink color, for all the copper that has been drawn out of the barley.  While water is still warm you can sweeten it with some honey,  like 1/4 or 1/3 cup.   When cooled, add to the reserved barley water in a 1/2 gallon container if you have one.  The taste with or without the honey is very mild and pleasant.  It satisfies thirst on hot days.   My husband enjoys this and so do I.

Health benefits for  Barley Water
1.  Highly beneficial bulk or insoluble fiber so great for intestines and food support for friendly bacteria.
2.  Barley is high in niacin, selenium, calcium and magnesium, phosphorus, copper (great for arthritis sufferers), zinc, all the B vitamins and potassium.
3  Barley and barley water is used to treat bowel problems, lower cholesterol, kidney stones,  asthma and lung disorders and arthritis.  

Note;   I have tried eating the sprouted barley and it still doesn't agree with my system.  It makes me gas up. Barley is an AVOID for me on the blood type food lists, and I thought it would change when sprouted, because some other AVOIDs do change, but this one still gives me trouble so I don't eat it.  My neighbors chickens like it.

Note 2: A reader asked me to clarify the difference between water that soaks a grain so it sprouts and fermentation.  After giving that some thought and research here's what I found;  there is a difference; fermentation is where you introduce a bacteria or fungus culture to a food and it consumes the sugars in the food and produces bio-enzymes and some alcohol.  Sometimes the bacteria or fungus is all ready on the food mostly lactobacillus, ( such as grapes, plums and cabbage) and when the juices are released, the bacteria go to work and fermentation is the result.  I did not introduce a bacteria or fungus to the barley water soak so technically I cannot call that first soak a "fermentation"  unless, the lactobacillus was on the barley with it's hulls.  But it doesn't taste fermented even after 4 day soak.  The benefit is that the sprouting process releases some bio-nutrition into the water during the process but I don't think fermentation is taking place I could be wrong...perhaps with a longer soak beyond 4 days fermentation could start, but I haven't let it go that long.   Perhaps another experiment.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Take this Drought Seriously!

We have been watching all summer with mounting concern the news reports and maps of many different sources about this summer's extreme temperatures and the drought that has much of our county in it's grips.  I don't have my own pictures of drought, as my garden gets watered every night with city water and it is struggling here in Utah County because of the heat, but those folks who live on farms and ranches in the rest of the country are seeing some real damage to their crops and livestock because of lack of rain.  This drought of 2012 is serious and food is going to get expensive and scarce.
I am a believer in being prepared.  So, if you think that this drought won't concern you, please think again and  be warned and then do something.   Stock up now on food for the short term and long term while you can and can afford it.  It will within the next few months get very pricey.

Ranchers are sending their animals to slaughter now, those that are still alive and marketable because they cannot continue to wait for better water and feed.   They can't just watch their animals die and  with them their livelihood..  So, for the short term meat prices should be low and meat plentiful, so stock up and  fill that freezer if you can.  After that, meat will become scarce and expensive.  Dairies are having a hard time too with little water and expensive feed because pasture has dried up.   A lot of dairies will have to send their herds to slaughter too.  This will be very sad for those of us who love and live for raw milk.  The raw milk farmers struggle against overwhelming government regulations as it is and are so ready to shut them down if a microbe count gets a little too high and that is happening with this extreme heat even with the most scrupulous clean dairies.  I don't know what to do about stocking up on  raw milk...there's only so much freezer space.
Stock up on grains and legumes (not soy!) the government won't have any for us as they will have to sell whatever comes in to other countries like China. (after all, China has a huge claim on America because of  all the debts they have purchased off us).  Last year, our government sold off our wheat reserves and this year, America won't be producing enough food for our neighbors let alone American Citizens. Take a look at any number of online sources of news and get pictures of this, the second Great American Drought.  It's real and it's going to get worse and it will effect every citizen.  I urge my family and my readers to please get some food stored now.  Take this drought seriously!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Salt Lake City gets a Real Foods Market: Raw Milk!

Salt Lake City is so fortunate to soon have a source of  REAL MILK= RAW MILK!   I'm not sure of the opening date, but this is long overdue.   As far as I know, there is no commercial source for raw milk in Salt Lake City.  Real Foods Market is a pioneer retailer in that they bend over backwards to supply truly raw, nutritious milk for real people.   Raw milk from healthy, pasture-fed jersey cows is a gift from God, and it's coming to Salt Lake City,   My friend Laura Bradford who is a manager at the Orem, Real Foods Market, is leaving Utah County to go to the new store on Fort Union Blvd and manage there.   Many of us will miss her here in Utah County.  Please go to the Real Foods Market website to get opening time and address.

Why do I rave about raw milk?    Well, it is highly of those foods that is "nutrient dense"  and I believe it has helped strengthen my bones!   10 years ago when I knew that milk was bad for me ( that is, pasteurized milk products)  I dropped it from my diet and had been off it for many years.  I could not digest the milk sugar, lactose.   A condition common to most adults esp.  As and Os. (see a previous blog)  I was then practicing the mediteranian, vegetarian diet.....sort of.   I had a bone density test back then as suggested  by my doctor and considering my age, 56, had it done.  The doctor was concerned and said that my bones were on the low end of the scale, with bone loss which put me in the beginning stages of osteoporosis.  He wrote out a perscription  for a drug that would improve the condition and told me to exercise  more.  I did not get that perscription filled but did the exercise and  added calcium, magnesium supplements to my diet.

 10 years later, during the LDS Holistic Living Conference in June in which I was one of the speakers, I got another bone density test from a Chiropracter (HealthQuest Chiropractic of Murray) who had a booth in the hallway of the school where the conference was.  He had an electronic device that can read the density of your bones from your hand. My average bone mineral density was recorded as 61.37  and my T score was 1.08.   Note from this paper says that a T score number between -1 and +1 is in the normal range.  Mine was 1.08 slightly higher than normal!    My bones came back!   This was wonderful news to me.  

Raw Milk kefir which I have been making and consuming for almost 3 years now, has had something to do with my bone recovery, I believe.  Within that decade I also finished  menopause, started practicing the Blood Type Diet for Os ( definitely not vegetarian), added bio-identical hormones, got married again and  started using fermented products, the best of which is raw milk kefir.   I say, a woman CAN reverse bone loss.   I also say, raw milk is a gift from God.