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Substitute for probiotic capsule?

 
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I have seen a number of recipes that require probiotic capsules. This somehow makes me feel frustrated ... I mean isn't the probiotic goodness in the leftover juice of lacto-fermented onion for instance? Or even in the water from a soak? In other words, is there not a simple natural probiotic additive rather than having to go out and buy an unknown product?
 
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May I suggest making your own probiotics. I make two kinds of kefir for the sole purpose of probiotics. One is with raw milk, the other is with sugar water & molasses (raw, organic, unprocessed cane sugar). It does require buying kefir grains, but it's a one time purchase as they grow as long as they have fresh food to stay alive. More benefit is gained from fresh homemade ferments than any capsule that can be purchased from the store, for example kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut etc. Yes the lacto-fermented onion for instance is full of goodness. Some benefits of making your own is the microbes are alive and active, not dormant propagules or colony forming units (CFU's). Another plus for making your own is the sheer number of bacteria that can be obtained. For example, a lot of those capsules at the store boast 30 or 50, maybe even 100 billion cells, but a pint of raw milk kefir can contain several trillion. I make and drink a pint of milk kefir every day, my wife likes water kefir so she mainly drinks that. I recommend it!
 
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I second kefir as a probiotic source. You could also just as easily make your own kombucha. Kefir is so easy, I've left my grains neglected for over a month on the counter and they still crank out servings of kefir every day. If you like some heat in your food try making your own kimchi. I use this vegetarian recipe from the minimalist baker-- https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-vegan-kimchi/
 
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I agree with you guys. Experiment and find what you like.  I make sauerkraut out of many things.  Beets, vegetables that are too fibrous or don't taste that good like broccoli stalks, kale stems, turmeric, amla, etc. There are many kinds of fermented foods and try to find which ones you like. Then they become part of your life. My biggest problem with pills is that so many studies have found that they contain none of the claimed substance.  When you make sauerkraut, you're eating the vegetables that they are actively growing on, so it is more natural, cheaper and makes more sense.
John S
PDX OR
 
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Yep. There are many ways to get probiotics without buying pills.

Good, full fat Greek yogurt is the easiest one to use.  Making your own from raw milk is pretty simple. I know a lot of folks who make kefir. Kombucha is simple to make once you get the process down. Been making that for years and years. I also make wild fermented sauerkraut, but you can make it with raw milk whey if you want a big dose of lactobacillus.

A great book is Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. That kid can ferment!
 
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I'm a bit confused why the recipe would suggest a probiotic capsule.

If you are sterilising the veg prior to fermenting it, then it makes sense to add a starter culture.  But I always thought that starter would be of the bacteria we want to use.   Probiotic bacteria are of the bacteria our gut likes, not focused on the bacteria our ferment needs to get active.  


My preference is the method that Sandor Katz writes about in his books Wild Fermentation and the great big epic book the Art of Fermentation.  The veg and fruit are already covered in a great variety of wild bacteria - far more variety than is found in a manufactured pill.  I simply provide the environment that nourishes the kind of bacteria and other invisible beasties needed to make the sauerkraut or whatever ferment I want.  

I can't see the need to buy something when nature already provides all that is needed for free.  But I'm just miserly that way.  
 
Daniel Ray
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I just recently finished reading David Asher's book "The Art of Natural Cheesemaking"--he was also featured in the latest edition of Permaculture magazine North American--and I found it shocking his discussion of lab created cultures for cheese and kefir. I never realized that the starter cultures from the store were so limited in their bacteria diversity... I'm really glad now that I got my kefir grains from a friend instead of starting mine from store bought.
 
Tim Seaward
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Raven ... The recipe was for fermented banana. Being new to all this wonderful alchemical phenomena I cannot really answer your question as to why a capsule was part of the recipe. My guess is that perhaps the writer may have thought that any yeasts or bacteria for lactic fermenting might be removed when the banana was skinned, so they added a convenient way to ensure fermentation. I am with you in my own reluctance to buy a product when I am being told by the Katz that each fruit or veg already has the goods for fermenting. In fact my desire is to only use local plants in season - be they from the garden or in the wild. Also, I do not trust in the economic environment, so I want get as much info about off the grid living here in rural France.
 
r ranson
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Tim Seaward wrote: My guess is that perhaps the writer may have thought that any yeasts or bacteria for lactic fermenting might be removed when the banana was skinned, so they added a convenient way to ensure fermentation.  



Okay, I see the concern.  My theory is there should still be enough of the good stuff on it, but if one wants to make double sure, a date or three raisins should add everything you need.  Just put it in whole, then take it out (or not) at the end.
 
Alexandra Clark
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raven ranson wrote:

My preference is the method that Sandor Katz writes about in his books Wild Fermentation and the great big epic book the Art of Fermentation.  The veg and fruit are already covered in a great variety of wild bacteria - far more variety than is found in a manufactured pill.  I simply provide the environment that nourishes the kind of bacteria and other invisible beasties needed to make the sauerkraut or whatever ferment I want.  

I can't see the need to buy something when nature already provides all that is needed for free.  But I'm just miserly that way.  



Yes! I just mentioned him above. When I worked in the traditional foods/real foods blogosphere, I had the pleasure of interacting with Sandor and he is the BOMB!!! I also used his techniques to make my own wild sourdough cultures. What is interesting is just like with local wild honey, the fermenting cultures that exist "around us" on local produce, in our own gardens and even in the air in our homes are very supportive of our guts. Using cultures prepared elsewhere can be a bit distressing to the gut. Think of the divergence between Galapagos island finches expressed by darwin. With bacteria and yeasts, the distance of a few miles and a few years (bacteria/yeast reproduce very rapidly and their rna can alter quickly to become a completely divergent strain) can create a wholly inclusive ecosystem to support those in the area. Wonderful how that works.

Also a quick note on too much of a good thing. I have made my own Kombucha for many years and love it. I went to visit our Amish farmer a few years ago and we purchased some kombucha during the visit because I wanted to taste theirs. It was delicious, but I left it in the warm car for a few hours and then took a big swig. The culture had multiplied tremendously in that time, and for 3 days I was in sheer agony from the overload.  If my gut had not already been strong enough to address the seeming invaders (because of course there were too many of them and not exactly the same strain of scoby that I was using) I probably would have needed medical attention.  My take away from this is to always follow the rules of safe storage for ferments. They are a very active and powerful thing!  
 
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Tim Seaward wrote:Raven ... The recipe was for fermented banana. Being new to all this wonderful alchemical phenomena I cannot really answer your question as to why a capsule was part of the recipe. My guess is that perhaps the writer may have thought that any yeasts or bacteria for lactic fermenting might be removed when the banana was skinned, so they added a convenient way to ensure fermentation. I am with you in my own reluctance to buy a product when I am being told by the Katz that each fruit or veg already has the goods for fermenting. In fact my desire is to only use local plants in season - be they from the garden or in the wild. Also, I do not trust in the economic environment, so I want get as much info about off the grid living here in rural France.



Tim, I am wondering how the fermented banana turned out?  Can you add any suggestions or tips on fermenting them?


r ranson wrote:   My theory is there should still be enough of the good stuff on it, but if one wants to make double sure, a date or three raisins should add everything you need.  Just put it in whole, then take it out (or not) at the end.



Did you try using the date or raisins?

Here is some information I found:

" Use a starter culture. A starter culture is simply a substance that contains beneficial bacteria which is used to kickstart the fermentation process.

   For most recipes, it's not necessary to use a specific starter culture -- they are pretty much interchangeable.
   The most common starter cultures (especially for fermenting fruit as opposed to vegetables) are baking yeast, whey and special culture starter powders, such as Caldwell's starter.
   However, you can also use an opened probiotic capsule, the liquid from a previously opened jar of fermented fruit or a fermented beverage such as plain kombucha tea.
   To make a specific type of fermented fruit called Rumtoph (which is used in traditional German and Danish desserts) alcohol such as rum, wine, or brandy is used to encourage fermentation."

https://www.wikihow.com/Ferment-Fruit



 
Tim Seaward
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Hello Anne,

The fermented banana quickly became too intense a flavour, plus the banana simply dissolved into ... slime! An almost pleasant slime ... but far too strong for my delicate taste buds. No, I have not tried the date/raison thing yet ... I am just coming out of hibernation - with the garden!
 
Anne Miller
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Thanks for letting me know!  I was afraid that might happen.

Maybe I will try apple or some sort of citrus.

I want to try using raisins to get the yeast.  I have some I found in my food storage that are really old, though.
 
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