Bees and Fermented Foods

I became interested in fermented foods less than two months ago but I’m sure I’ll be eating plenty of them for the rest of my life. The benefits have been very clear and — not that it matters — the intellectual case is strong. Being new to it, I have wondered how my ideas and habits might evolve.

I got a glimpse of a possible future from a comment on this blog by Heidi. She linked to a page about kombucha and probiotics and bee-keeping and later sent me a link to a discussion of using probiotics to keep bees healthy. A discussant named Tim Hall said this:

I once scratched open my index finger, and somehow caught an MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] infection so bad I was in the hospital for a week. This incident completely changed my perspective on chemical culture. Now not a day goes by that I don’t ingest some form of live cultured food…most of it I culture myself.

I make kefir on a daily basis. Kombucha I have not tried since I avoid caffeine. I also make my own sauerkraut, kimchi, koji, miso and koji pickles (and of course mead).

Hmm. I have never made kefir, but it’s not hard to make. I hadn’t even heard of koji, which is a kind of fermented rice.

5 Replies to “Bees and Fermented Foods”

  1. I started making kefir about two weeks ago, and I can confirm that it’s easy to make. Drop a few tablespoons of kefir “grains” into a clean jar, add a quart of milk, and let it rest at room temperature. The next day, strain out the grains, and you’ve got a quart of kefir. That’s it.

    I can also tell you that kefir tastes great. Think buttermilk but with a more complex range of bacterial-culture flavors and a hint of fresh-baked bread in the finish. There’s also a faint effervescence and, if you hunt for it, a subtle alcohol bite. It’s marvelous stuff.

    If kefir is what “probiotics” taste like, I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble getting my recommended daily allowance. 😉

  2. I’ve been buying a goat-milk kefir made by Redwood Hill Farm (in California) sold at Whole Foods for the past couple of months. It’s great tangy stuff and has done wonders for my GI system, but at $6.99 per quart I’m ready to start making my own (starting from raw cow’s milk). I already have the quart-sized mason jar but need to kefir grains. So, I second Seth’s question: “where did you get the kefir grains?”. Also, do you seal the jar while it’s fermenting or should it be open to the air?

  3. My roommate, who suffers from moderate to severe stomach ulcers, heart burn, and other digestive problems had a serious kefir habit. It apparently did wonders for his numerous digestive issues. He claimed it coated his stomach, soothing his ulcers and heart burn while taming his overzealous stomach acids.

    Unfortunately, it also did wonders to his waist line and he stopped after gaining 10 lbs in two weeks from the stuff. Kefir’s great, but also very high in calories, usually much higher than yogurt. One rather small serving can have something like 300 calories.

    Anyway, proceed with caution!

  4. Interesting. Since switching to eating a lot more milk products, particularly raw milk, raw-milk cheese, kefir, and yogurt, my weight hasn’t changed by my waistline has decreased by one belt-notch. Of course, the increase in consumption of these items corresponded with a decrease in the consumption of grains (bread, pasta, rice, chips, etc.) which may explain the drop in waist circumference.

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