We used to make all this stuff on a regular basis, but then life sort of got in our way for awhile and we lost our cultures to inactivity over a period of a couple years. We MISS them! And they are sooooo expensive to buy! So... does anyone have cultures of any of these that they could spare in exchange for something else? I can send seeds, plants or if you have something else in mind, let me know. All our seeds and plants are 100% organically grown and I have lots of variety. Especially a ton of non-GMO Golden Bantam corn from last year's harvest. It isn't enough to grind but way too much to plant (and I already have a big patch growing for use this year). Also lots of strawberry popcorn, loofah, pole beans and squashes. Starts from blackberries and purple passion fruit too. Besides, plants and seeds, we also have a lot of "junk" in the attic (vintage dishes, knick-knacks, books, etc.) if there is something in the household items category you are looking for. Name your price.
Let me know what you would like and I will see what I can do. I will be happy to pay postage as well unless it works out to a similar amount for shipping plants to you, then we can just swap like for like on postage.
For natto, you can use the ready-to-serve packs that are sold at Asian grocery stores. Those beans are still live with Bacillus natto, and you can use them to inoculate a new batch. I put the beans in a crock pot to cook them to the right tenderness, let them cool for a few minutes, and then inoculate them by stirring in a spoonful of store bought beans. I find that my food dehydrator is just about the right temperature (~110F) to incubate natto beans, so about 24-48 hours in a closed container stacked in the food dehydrator and they are ready to go. (Some may say ready to go into the garbage, but that is another discussion.)
Unfortunately, we live in the boonies in a place where salad without meat in it is considered an exotic food -- around here no one would even know what natto was, much less sell or eat it. Closest Asian market is an hour an a half away in a direction we only go about once every 3 or 4 years. Good idea though, if we ever do go that way!
Hey Deb, Ini and I are coming into your neck of the woods soon- we can bring a kombucha scoby!
forest gardening in the Ozarks on 18 acres. 2 high tunnels, 3 acres of young food forests, tiny cabin living. solar off grid. building a straw bale house this summer - come intern with us! established 2016.
wren haffner wrote:Hey Deb, Ini and I are coming into your neck of the woods soon- we can bring a kombucha scoby!
Fantastic! I just got your email too, and can't wait to meet you guys. Sending more info your way tonight -- or more likely tomorrow since it is late. (YES -- the timing is excellent. Full moon tonight, even. )
This is actually my first post! (just joined last week) I have been experimenting with dehydrating two of the cultures I have been using very successfully for about 8 months: sourdough and water kefir grains. I could mail some dehydrated water kefir to you if you are still in need. You didn't mention sourdough, but if you desire some I can send that too. I cannot attest to how well they will take the dehydrating, but I have read that they will recover quite well, and of course that is how many suppliers provide them, so the odds seem good.
If you want either of these cultures, let me know and I can send them out. I will be happy to receive some of your abundance in the future (blackberry as well as passion fruit plants)--especially since you seem to be in a similar growing condition to where I am headed soon (NE Arizona, 6b). But is it ok if I do a raincheck on them? I will be acquiring land early 2016, and will need to get planning, housing, water and soil amendments sorted before I start planting.
YES! Jennifer, I still do want water kefir and would love sourdough starter as well. That is another of the cultures I let go... sigh. I will be happy to send as many blackberry and passion fruit starts as I can cram in a box whenever you prefer to get them. They are taking over my garden and I am finally at the point of simply digging them out and tossing them in the compost. (I've already planted them along property borders and in the woods -- blackberries only -- don't want the non-native passion fruit taking over the woods!) I'll pm you with my address. Thanks so much!
These water kefir grains do really well on coconut sugar... the granulated kind. I generally feed them a mix of half coconut sugar and half sucanat (or dehydrated cane juice of some kind). I am all for avoiding processed white sugar, and they seem to agree with me. Besides it causes the batch to have a really nice flavor even when drinking plain--not doing the second fermentation (with juices etc).
When receiving the water kefirs dehydrated like the ones I sent you, you will need to build them up to the regular recipe. Start them in just a little (good) sugar water until they plump (and fix?). Then add more. I have never done that before, but seems logical. Then when they are awake, and you have built up to 1/4 cup, here is the regular recipe:
Regular recipe for the water kefir is:
1/4 cup sugar mix in a wide mouth quart mason jar
add 1 inch of hot water (filtered/well/rain) to dissolve sugar
wait 10-20 minutes for hot water to cool a little (or ad two filtered water ice cubes to speed up)
pour in more cold unadulterated water so it is 2.5 to 3 inches from the very top
then add strained water kefir grains
add a thin slice of organic lemon and a small piece of dry fruit (date, apricot, mango, fig, whatever)
cover with snug lid and then loosen lid regularly to let out pressure. (I have never had a blow-up, but others have!)
I find that these kefirs only need 1 day (24 hours) before they are ready to put in fridge, but that depends on temp/time of year. Literature says 2 days (48 hrs). The shorter time I use also gives me more time to sip the brew for 5-6 days. If you are drinking quickly, then a two day ferment may be perfect. You can do a second fermentation after the first one, where you strain the grains out, (put 1/4 cup of strained grains in a new batch), and then pour fruit juice into the remaining bubbly liquid and ferment it again on the counter for a day, then put in fridge. I find that my favorite flavor for secondary batches is mango or sour cherry. YUM. But lately, I am forgoing the secondary ferments and just sipping on the original batch until it gets too alcoholic or vinegary, then do a fresh one.
As for the sourdough...
Deb, I would save half of the dehydrated starter I gave you for back up, and start small with the other half of it. Put it in just enough water to cover the flakes so they can rehydrate. Once they are softer, you can build them up using the following ratios of flour and water:
In a glass container with glass or plastic measuring devices (sourdough starter should not touch metal):
1/4 C starter
1/4 C clean unadulterated water
just less than 1/2 C flour -- I use 1/2 rye and 1/2 org white... sometimes I alternate one then the other, sometimes I mix them
Mix thoroughly -- I use a silicon coated mini whisk that works great
Thickness: many opinions on this, but I like it like very thick pancake mix, or like a soft peanut butter consistency... so bubbles can move through but not too liquidy.
Cover and put on counter to ferment until bubbles appear, then put in fridge
I feed mine once or twice a week. I seem to only bake once a week, and the starter needs a refresh just before that, but it seems pretty happy to just wait for me in the fridge.
But starting it from this dehydrated state, you may need to do the 'feed once every 12 hours' thing until it gets reinvigorated again.
I (almost) never throw away any starter. I just save it for pancakes on the weekend. Or, lately, I just use 95% of it for the bread, and save a tablespoon for the next batch, then next feeding gets it to a 1/4 cup like it says above.
I'd just be interested in knowing if the dehydrated cultures survived the transfer. I'm still not at a stage where I'm fermenting (I actually detest the taste of most ferments) but I can see this being a great way keep an emergency restart on hand, in case of accidents where someone loses an active culture.
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
Casie, you may be addressing a specific transfer, but I can tell you that I bought dehydrated milk kefir grains from Cultures for health, and they revived, and I got them used to raw milk. By now I have given away starters of kefir to countless people close by. Having plenty of "neighbors" growing the same thing is a kind of insurance against the loss of cultures. Their website has instructions on how to dehydrate store and revive them as well. I've got some dried ones for myself "just in case".
For back up kombucha starter, I rely on the commercially available GT Dave's brand. Just a bit of information I hope might be helpful for some, the fleshy growth "mother" scoby is not required to start brewing kombucha. The organisms also exist in live liquid itself. Because I like mine fizzy, and don't want the organisms to produce the scoby, I cap it. I think the membrane scoby may be in response to air, and if brewing in an open container, it's a great adaptation by the symbiotic community of bacteria and yeasts to keep other organisms out, and keep the wonderful growth medium all to themselves. Not that live kombucha will always be commercially available, but a bottle of it is a LOT less expensive than buying a commercially available scoby, but it's nice to know.