The Fiber Imp

Adventures in food, fiber, and family


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Water and Milk Kefir

My Kefir grains are here!

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I got them from a friend of mine who has been using them for ages to make water kefir and milk kefir. I’ve been having a lot of tummy troubles on top of my many other health issues (i’ll cover that in another post) and have wanted to try kefir for quite a while. Normally I take good quality probiotics but the cost is quite high so I was interested in a cheaper/healthier alternative. Kefir has many, many, many different strains of bacteria (around 50) that are all alive and kicking when you consume it. Probitics, on the other hand, only have a few strains and they don’t all survive the packaging/storing/eating so they aren’t nearly as good for you (still good, just not the best). Not to mention that kefir only costs a few cents a bottle.

I have developed a milk sensitivity in the last year so i’m hoping that I will be able to consume milk kefir occasionally without side effects. The bacteria and yeast break down the proteins and consume the lactose so many people who are sensitive to milk can still drink kefir. Right now I have a brutal migraine from the chinook we’ve been experiencing for the last few weeks. Once the wind lets up and the pressure goes back to normal, i’ll try the milk kefir and post an update.

My husband and I will be drinking mostly just the water kefir as he doesn’t particularly like milk either. My kids will be drinking mostly milk kefir as they like milk but aren’t very fond of juice.

Now down to business….The “recipe”. Kefir is pretty simple to make, it takes about 10 minutes a day for me to “flip” both batches.

Milk Kefir

I use store bought 4% milk (not organic, I’ve never even seen organic milk here, this is feedlot country after all). You can use pretty much any kind of milk other than skim and ultrapasteurized, these will slowly kill your grains.

2 Tbsp of milk kefir grains per litre (vary this amount based on how quickly your kefir develops)

Put grains in mason jar and fill 3/4 full with milk (leave about an inch of airspace). I cover mine with a coffee filter and a rubber band. Don’t use a metal lid, kefir doesn’t like metal and it needs to breathe.

Let sit for roughly 24-48 hours. Once it starts to thicken, pour the kefir through a strainer (plastic or nylon are best), give the grains a bit of a squish with a plastic spoon and start again with fresh milk. I use two mason jars and switch back and forth. You can store the finished milk kefir in the fridge for about a week. Also, if you need a break you can mix up a fresh batch with the grains and put them in the fridge for a week. Don’t do this to often or you may harm the grains.

Water Kefir

1 Tbsp sugar (preferably organic, if not organic make sure there is no aluminum, grains don’t like metal)
Dechlorinated water or spring (I leave a jug of tap water out overnight)
2 Tbsp water kefir grains per litre

Optional
Lemon slice
Dried fruit (1 or two pieces)
Ginger (small slice)
Sea salt
Sterilized egg shells

Put grains in mason jar and fill 2/3 full with water. Add in sugar. If using lemons DO NOT SQUEEZE, if you add the slice it will keep the ph nice and steady, if you add the juice all at once it can damage the grains. I like to add a few raisins or cranberries at this point as well. If you use white sugar you will need to add in molasses and sea salt occasionally for extra minerals. Do not use distilled or ro water, these have no minerals and your kefir will starve. Cover with a coffee filter and rubber band. Remember, no metal lids.

After 24-48 hours your kefir should be ready. Pour through a plastic strainer and start over.

There you have it!  Yummy, nutritious, kefir ready in just minutes a day.

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Yay! My silk scarves are here!

A few days ago my order of silk scarves came in and i’ve been impatiently waiting to have a dye day. Today is the day!

I decided to let my daughter help out with the dyeing as well.  She’s quite proud of the fact that she’s allowed to help with “adult” jobs now that she’s 6.

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She had lots of fun and did a really good job (there are a few questionable colour combos but that’s half the fun).

The process was pretty basic.  Put saran wrap on the counter.  Lay the silk scarves on the saran wrap in stacks of four.   Mix up your dyes (don’t forget the citric acid).  Start playing.  I use squirt bottles and a turkey baster when I dye, it depends on the effect I want.  Squirt bottles will give you a more speckled look and a turkey baster can cover large areas more evenly.   When I’m happy with the scarves I grab each end and flip the stack over.  I then touch up any spots where the dye didn’t penetrate all the way through.  When the dyeing is done roll up the scarves in the saran wrap and plunk in the steamer for 45 minutes.  You can steam for 1/2 an hour but I like to leave them in a bit extra just to make sure the dye is set.  After steaming let sit until cool.  Place in a hot water bath to remove excess dye.  I use a textile detergent at this point, I also add in a cool soak with dye fixative at the end to make sure the dyes won’t bleed.   Then dry and enjoy!

We dyed 30 scarves and they are currently hanging  in the window to dry.  One thing that I didn’t realise but am very happy about…Silk scarves dry super fast.  I’m so used to yarn and roving that can take a couple of days to dry inside that I had just expected the silk to take ages as well.

I will post some pictures of the finished scarves once they are dry.