Coconut Kefir, Two Ways!
KEFIR. A fermented beverage - therefore probiotic-rich, good for the gut, pre-digested (by its beneficial bacteria) and therefore easily digested by the body! Best of all, it can easily be made to be DAIRY-FREE if organic, dairy kefir is not of interest nor tolerable for you.
Resembling a yogurt-like drink, kefir is just another way you may easily incorporate a lacto-fermented (lactic acid fermented) food into your day-to-day diet.
Requiring just a few ingredients, and being able to be flavoured in multiple ways, I can't wait to share this blog post with you. Here goes!
Ingredients & Supplies Required:
1 can organic, full-fat, coconut milk
1 probiotic capsule of your choice (*see notes about probiotics below)
1 jar (ideally just slightly larger than the volume of the coconut milk contents) (~500 mL)
Parchment paper (ideally unbleached, as the unbleached option doesn't contain unnecessary chemical additives)
1. Empty the contents of the can of coconut milk into a mixing bowl. Whisk, to thoroughly mix the contents that likely separated while in the can.
2. Open your probiotic capsule and add the contents to the coconut milk. Whisk once again, to thoroughly combine these two ingredients.
3. Pour this mixture into a clean glass jar, ideally leaving about 1 inch of headspace (space remaining) at the top. *Be sure to use a spatula to clean the mixing bowl, so as to not leave valuable ingredients behind!
4. Place a square piece of parchment paper between the jar and the lid, as an added seal. Screw on the jar lid, until you meet resistance; the lid is not intended to be screwed on tightly with ferments, so there is some "breathing room".
5. Place in a dark place at room temperature, so as to allow it to ferment for 24 hours without being close to a direct heat or light source. This conditions will allow the fermentation magic to happen!
6. After 24 hours, stir with a clean spoon and taste! You will notice the mixture is already plenty sour. *You may certainly taste test the mixture prior to 24 hours, to see how it is progressing - just be sure to use a clean spoon each time! The mixture will resemble that of sour cream once sour.
7. If not consuming right away, place the lid back on the jar and place in the refrigerator.
8. If consuming right away, refer to the two recipes below as two ways in which you may enjoy it!
*Consume within three days of refrigeration.
Flavouring, Once Fermented
1. Maple-Cacao Coconut Kefir
Coconut kefir (from above) (approximately 1.5 cups)
1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 heaping tbsp. hemp seeds
1 tsp. pure, maple syrup
Sprinkling of cinnamon
*Some sort of sweetener, whether pure, maple syrup or raw, unpasteurized honey will be required (I believe), when flavouring your kefir, so as to offset the sour taste to some degree.
1. Combine all ingredients into a high-speed blender. Blend until thoroughly combined. Add a little bit of water, if the mixture needs to move through the blender with greater ease.
2. Pour into a glass and garnish with additional hemp seeds and cinnamon, if desired. Enjoy!
*You can certainly use a variety ingredients to flavour this kefir - ingredients of which you may already have in your Culinary Nutrition pantry particularly if you're a smoothie-lover!
Such ingredients may include:
Raw, unpasteurized honey
Unsweetened, shredded coconut
Fresh or frozen berries
2. Maple-Cacao Coconut Kefir MOUSSE!
Upon sipping some of the above-illustrated beverage, I decided to chill the remaining portion of it in the refrigerator, overnight.
Upon chilling it for some time, it thickened and took on a mousse-like texture!
Therefore, I decided to enjoy this remaining portion as a pudding-like dish!
This can be garnished in infinite ways! I chose to use some wild-cultivated frozen blueberries and some walnuts, given the antioxidant value of the berries and the high-quality protein and fat provided by the walnuts! Gut AND brain food! Yes, please!
Additional Ideas for Garnishes:
Other fruit options (fresh or frozen)
Unsweetened, shredded coconut
Raw sunflower seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds
Flax seeds (whole, or freshly ground)
A Little Bit About Probiotics
Numerous strains of beneficial intestinal bacteria perform several critical functions within the body[i]. The three types that appear to be most important in the body are:
Lactobacillus acidophilus (most well-known; known for reinoculating the gut with beneficial bacteria following a course of antibiotics)
Such bodily functions include helping to:
Keep pathogens (disease-causing bacteria) in check
Produce B vitamins and Vitamin K
Aid digestion (by producing lactic acid)
Reduce toxins in the colon
Bulk up stools when they die
Enhance mineral absorption by the body
Reduce cholesterol, as they break down bile so that it may be reabsorbed into the blood)
Strengthen the Immune System
Protect the intestinal wall lining from damage due to cortisol (our stress hormone) , prescription drugs and the birth control pill
Support liver detoxification
Improve skin health
Reduce cholesterol levels[iii]
*My current probiotic contains 14 different strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, with 30 million Colony-Forming Units (CFUs) as a result of these multiple strains of bacteria.
I hope this has inspired you to try your own! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!
[i] Haas, Elson M. (2006) The Fundamentals of Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st Century Edition (p. 272). New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
[ii] Haas, Elson M. (2006) The Fundamentals of Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st Century Edition (p. 272). New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
[iii] Haas, Elson M. (2006) The Fundamentals of Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st Century Edition (p. 272). New York, NY: Random House, Inc.