What’s the Difference Between Water Kefir and Kombucha?

A lot of times, when describing water kefir, people ask me, “Is it like kombucha?”. While they are both fizzy, non-alcoholic, gluten-free, fermented drinks there are some major differences.

To start, water kefir does not include tea and is therefore not caffeinated.  Also, our water kefir is always unpasteurized while the bulk of kombucha is pasteurized.  Our water kefir starts with less sugar than kombucha and therefore there is less chance for the drink to ferment into alcohol.  Kombucha has a more sweet and sour taste while our water kefir has a yeastier and maltier taste.  Kombucha is reputedly from Eastern Europe and water kefir is supposedly from Mexico.  And most importantly, our water kefir is cheaper than most kombucha!

Try some of our St. Michael’s or Raw Tibicos kefir and see the difference for yourself!

Probiotics’ Health Benefits

A new study by Texas researchers has shown that probiotics can be helpful in treating conditions like autism.  Female mice were fed a high-fat diet and mated with male mice on a regular diet.  Some of the children of these mice had behaviors and symptoms similar to social disorders like autism.  The researchers found that the affected mice had a low concentration of gut bacteria (or probiotics).  When probiotics were re-introduced into their stomachs, the mice’s symptoms lessened.  While this is years away from clinical use, it is exciting nonetheless.

Read more here: https://www.rt.com/usa/347239-probiotics-cure-autism-study/

http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)30730-9

A New Look at Fermentation in History

We already knew that fermentation has been very important in human history, but it seems that fermentation has been around for longer than we thought.  A new archaeological site in Sweden has revealed a cache of over 200,000 fish bones from more than nine thousand years ago.  The fish bones show evidence of having been fermented, a common way to preserve food.  The researchers say that this evidence of fermentation show that settlement in Scandinavia occurred much earlier than previously thought.

You can read about it here: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2016/02/08/9200-year-old-fish-fermentation-site-found-in-Sweden/2971454953234/?st_rec=7951464786265

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440316000170

A Brief History of Water Kefir

First, let’s get one thing straight: water kefir is NOT milk kefir.  Not only does water kefir not contain milk, but the two use different grain types.

The “grain” used is actually a collection of bacteria held together with polysaccharides (carbohydrate molecules).  Don’t worry though!  These are the good bacterias.  The resulting mixture looks a bit like a bunch of jelly-like crystals, or “grains”.

It’s thought that water kefir originated in Mexico, where they collect the bacteria off the leaves of the Opuntia cactus, use it to make a drink called Tepache with pineapple, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Other places of origin have been suggested as Tibet, Caucasus, and Ukraine.

Now water kefir is across the globe!  You can find it in Germany under the name of Plitz, in France it is Les Graines Vivantes, and in Italy it is called Kefir di Frutta.    Water kefir has many other names in English as well: tibicos, Japanese water crystals, California Bees, Australian Bees, African Bees, Ginger Bees, Ginger Beer Plant, Sea Rice, and Aqua Gems.

And that’s a brief history of water kefir!  Thanks to Cultures for Health for their article the Origins of Water Kefir (http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/water-kefir/origin-water-kefir/).

 

Sole in Water Kefir

‎Easiest recipe ever! Dover sole sautéed in about 1/4 bottle (about 2.5 ounces or about 80ml), with a splash of oil, salt, and lemon juice, to taste. Seen here accompanied by carrots and red rice! Delicious and quick — the sole remains moist and tender, without breading.

Bon Appétit!

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