Got Probiotics? (Kefir, Yogurt, Other?) - January 2005 - Page 5 - Mothering Forums
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#121 of 136 Old 01-27-2005, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by splendid
My kefir in mu jar smells like yeasty beer. Is that a bad thing?
Nope, not bad, but it might make it harder to drink, while it's going through this 'adjustment' period. The good bacteria and yeasts in the Kefir grains, and any that are ambient in your home, are just finding the 'just right' balance and are 'getting used' to each other.

I will say, if you happen to have an especially good batch of Kefir one day, try to 'keep' some of that Kefir batch to add with the grains for your next batch, then the flavors you already like have a greater chance of being duplicated.

If you took two samples of Kefir from one house, and gave it to two different friends, it might perform differently, even if they were both treated the same and given the same type of milk.

If you have done alot of bread baking or if you drink wine or beer, that also can affect them, as 'wild yeasts' will try to settle and colonize with them, as it's a 'good life' being feed every day and pampered with fresh milk!

So, it's safe to drink, you might need to add some other flavors though, to mask any 'heavy yeasty' tastes.
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#122 of 136 Old 01-27-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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I have one big grain chunk and no more seem to be growing. I'm not sure I'm doing the straining right. Some of the kefir goes through the strainer on its own but I'm left with a bunch of curdy stuff on the top. What I get looks like the picture under #9 on Dom's FAQ. I have been taking a spatula and working this through the strainer. Should I not be doing this? There is quite a bit left in the strainer but I never see anything that looks like grains, only curds. Should I dump it all back in the jar?

Thanks for your help!
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#123 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 12:51 PM
 
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1: How do I ship grains safely? I have too many and I'm ready to share some, but I'm not sure the best way to transport them.

2: If I eat raw garlic, which is a natural antibiotic (and I think I may have an ear infection brewing so I want to do that) will the garlic counteract the "good germs" in the kefir? Should I have the garlic and kefir a certain number of hours apart?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#124 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 01:14 PM
 
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HI Ruthla, I wanted to offer a suggestion for you ear condition.

A company called HerbPharm, makes a garlic/Mullein olive oil infusion that is fantastic for healing ear situations. One drop into the canal and one drop sweeped over the lymphatic drainage from the ear on the external, two times usually resolves any ear issues.

HTH
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#125 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 01:58 PM
 
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just here soaking up as much info as i can...

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#126 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoMommy
I have one big grain chunk and no more seem to be growing. I'm not sure I'm doing the straining right. Some of the kefir goes through the strainer on its own but I'm left with a bunch of curdy stuff on the top. What I get looks like the picture under #9 on Dom's FAQ. I have been taking a spatula and working this through the strainer. Should I not be doing this? There is quite a bit left in the strainer but I never see anything that looks like grains, only curds. Should I dump it all back in the jar?

Thanks for your help!

It sounds totally normal. Sometimes the 'one big Kefir Grain' (super momma) will keep reproducing and the babies will be 'attached' to her. They eventually will 'fall off' and start their own new 'Grain clump'. If you are getting the curdy stuff, she is doing her job great!

I also 'push' the curdy masses in my strainer 'through' with a spatula or silicon coated spoon (the kind Gerber sells). I have a super fine 'plastic mesh' strainer, and any really small babies are 'caught' and put back in with 'mom' in the brew jar.

If a few babies get through, into the Kefir, it's fine. It's actually a good thing to ingest them, as they will probably get into a happy place in your intestines and start producing the 'good stuff' on site, so to speak...

Just keep doing your thing, and eventually they will have more little ones that get 'caught' by your strainer. Conversly, you can put the 'curdy mass' in the new brew jar, and if there are any grains in it, they will have a chance to grow bigger. Just note that the milk will turn to Kefir faster and probably be 'curdier' sooner.
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#127 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
1: How do I ship grains safely? I have too many and I'm ready to share some, but I'm not sure the best way to transport them.

2: If I eat raw garlic, which is a natural antibiotic (and I think I may have an ear infection brewing so I want to do that) will the garlic counteract the "good germs" in the kefir? Should I have the garlic and kefir a certain number of hours apart?
1) Page one of this very thread has specific directions on how to ship grains in many formats. That being said, I usually take a small amount of grains, put them in a plastic baggie and pour a small amount of whole, organic milk on them (like if a tsp of grains, a tsp of milk) and seal the bag. Then I double or triple 'baggie' them to prevent spillage.

I always send priority (2 day) mail, regardless if it's in or out of state (the priority mail 'video tape' size boxes are great for this). I mail on a Monday or Tuesday so they are not sitting around too long and this works well. I've only had a problem shipping to Canada once. It took two weeks /bleh AND I'd paid for airmail shipping!! But had better luck the second time...

Include a 'start up' instruction sheet so your new 'host family' will know exactly what to do with them when they receive them. I have 'instruction sheet' info posted in the archived 'Got Kefir' thread, if you don't have one or want to retype up one. You can just copy and paste into MS Word and print it or 'them' off.

2) I agree with Mountain Mom's ear remedy. What a great thing! However you can still do the Kefir, as it will help recolonize you with good bacteria that will help kill off the bad ones. You can still eat the garlic, it has so many good uses. I think it will all 'balance out' eventually. You can never eat too much Kefir or garlic (well, maybe to the point of an upset tummy...)

Hope that helps. Glad to see your grains are doing so well!
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#128 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 02:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountain mom
HI Ruthla, I wanted to offer a suggestion for you ear condition.

A company called HerbPharm, makes a garlic/Mullein olive oil infusion that is fantastic for healing ear situations. One drop into the canal and one drop sweeped over the lymphatic drainage from the ear on the external, two times usually resolves any ear issues.

HTH
OK, I currently have about $2 in the bank and $4 in my wallet. I'm not doing ANY shopping for a while!!

I do have olive oil and fresh garlic in the house. Can I make my own "garlic oil" for my ears?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#129 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla
OK, I currently have about $2 in the bank and $4 in my wallet. I'm not doing ANY shopping for a while!!

I do have olive oil and fresh garlic in the house. Can I make my own "garlic oil" for my ears?

First,

Second, you will probably want to ask them to come get the grains, as priority shipping will cost you 3.85 ( ) or not ship them anytime soon. You could eat a few, or make a 'back up' supply that you dehydrate and then freeze. There are instructions on the dom's site and on the archived 'Got Kefir' thread.

Secondly, I know you can 'soak' garlic in any food grade oil and it will eventually 'strongly' smell of garlic. I will leave that 'recipe' up to mountain mom to give, as she's our 'herbal goddess'....
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#130 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 06:42 PM
 
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I can ask people to prepay for shipping via paypal, then use my paypal debit card at the post office. That's not really a concern. (BTW, if anybody's interested you can PM me.)

For now, I think I'll stick to what I've been doing with the plain olive oil in my ear and eating the garlic.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#131 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 09:54 PM
 
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If you want to do so, Ruthla, you could slowly simmer a few diced cloves of garlic in about 1/4 cup olive oil. This is called a maceration. Simmer for about 4 hours at least at a low temp. then allow to cool. You could add about 10 drops of tea tree and/or lemongrass. Then put one drop of that mixture in your ear. HTH
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#132 of 136 Old 01-28-2005, 11:00 PM
 
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Dom wasn't joking. I truly had a eureeka moment with the kefir. It appears, I wasn't giving it enough time, now my kefir looks like you all described. Woohoo!!!!
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#133 of 136 Old 01-30-2005, 12:01 PM
 
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Me again.

How do I make vanilla kefir? Do I just add vanilla to the kefir I strain?
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#134 of 136 Old 01-30-2005, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by splendid
Me again.

How do I make vanilla kefir? Do I just add vanilla to the kefir I strain?

Yes, for the safety of the grains, any additional flavorings should be added and mixed into the kefir, after straining out the grains.

And whoo hoo! Glad your Kefir brewed up /just right/ The ambient temperature of different houses and the amount of grains all affect the amount of 'brew time'. As they grow and increase in mass, you might find it brews faster. You can remove the amount of grains to control this brew time. In the summer, I noticed my Kefir would be ready by evening, if I put it to brew in the morning. So I was making a batch morning and night!
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#135 of 136 Old 01-30-2005, 03:31 PM
 
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me too.

I was just worried because I have it in my head it should smell/taste like yogurt, and it doesn't. Nor does it look like the store bought stuff (I'm thinking it is because there is no sugar, additives in mine).

I wish I could describe it, but it does look like all the kefir pics I have seen though.

Thanks again Heather.
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#136 of 136 Old 01-30-2005, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Splendid,

Hehe, I know. I was so hoping it smelled/tasted more like store bought yogurt (which is from a few isolated cultures), but alas, I grew used to the new flavor. It does 'grow on you'. And the diverse biologicals in it do give it the 'ongoing culture' ability. So it's a trade off.

So, if you get to the point where you have a 'back up' set of grains...here is something I tried once, but have not had enough grains to try again, as I have been shipping out all my babies!

Warm some whole, organic cow milk to 180 deg F. Let it cool to luke warm or at least 100 deg F range (body temp). Add in the back up set of grains, and dissolve a packet of yogurt culture with some of the heated milk, and pour that in also. Let it set as normal for doing Kefir, but maybe in a slightly warmer place (on top of your refrigerator, for example). Check it every few hours during the day, to swirl the jar. It will take on a much stronger 'yogurt' flavor and taste. As you just added in an abundance of the bacterias that give it that classic /smell and taste/. You have also just created a 'hybrid' grain set. From that point on, the Kefir you make with it will be close in flavor to yogurt, if you let it brew in a warmer place (those specific bacteria only grow at body temp range).

Note: Yeasts will grow easily at room temps, (bacterias prefer warmer 'body' temp ranges). However, since you have the 'living cultures' in the milk, the Kefir bacteria strains usually can compensate for this, and make it more balanced. But if your brew seems exceptionally 'yeasty' then give it a warmer brew spot and maybe a 'kick' in the bacterial A$$ with a culture packet and this should solve the problem!

And the Kefir is definitely 'thinner' than yogurt. Actually most home brewed yogurt is thinner and closer to a "kefir" consistancy. So that is all fine.
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