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Several readers have expressed an interest in home-cultured foods and have requested references on how-to and what-to-do-what-to, etc. ;-)
One approach is the use of kefir-grains. I suggest a thorough reading of "Dom's Kefir In-Site" pages, linked here and here. The process sounds quite complex at first glance, but is quite understandable and doable after a few passes through the text and a couple of test batches at home.
In the beginning of January, 2001, "Marlese" posted to the old message board some tips on cultured nuts/seeds she'd picked up in Natalie Cederquist and James Levin's book, Vibrant Living. I would also suggest taking a look at the book, since she mentions there are a number of different kinds of foods used in their recipes. I've reproduced her post in full here below:
Cultured Live Food Recipes: LONG
Posted By: Marlese O+
Date: Wednesday, 3 January 2001
Claire West asked for these, but I thought other people might be interested, so I’m posting here. I’m going to post the original recipe, and then each blood type can feel free to substitute avoids with HBs and neutrals. Cultured live foods have living enzymes, airborne lactobacillus, and lots of other good stuff. It’s also good for people who have difficulties digesting nuts because the culturing process breaks down some of the proteins and fats and pre-digests the food to a degree. I’m very allergic to nuts, but have absolutely no problems eating them this way. Except that they’re still fattening. Very fattening. It’s easy to overeat them in this form, but they do have nice milky feel which us O’s can miss sometimes.
I got all of the recipes from Vibrant Living by Natalie Cederquist and James Levin. When I was eating raw, I would use recipes from this book when I started getting bored. As an O, I simply couldn’t thrive on a vegan diet, and wasn’t willing to eat raw meat (except for ground beef, of course). But the raw movement has come up with lots of nice ways to eat seaweeds, fruits and veggies without destroying their benefits by cooking them. I’d recommend the book to anyone and am grateful to Claire for making me dust it off. I had forgotten some of this great stuff.
Basic Sun Almond Seed Cheese
½ c raw sunflowers (if subbing, use lean seed like pumpkin)
1 c raw almonds (if subbing, use richer nut like pine or filbert)
2 c clean (spring or filtered) water, or Rejuvelac (recipe below)
1 teaspoon(t) white miso
1. Grind the nuts into a powder (I use Vitamixer but blender might work), toss in water and miso and blend till mixed.
2. Pour mixture into a glass jar, cover with a towel, and let it sit on your kitchen counter for 8-20 hours. The longer it sits, the more of a sour flavor it gets. I like 10 hours.
3. If you used a regular blender, there will be "whey" on the bottom and "cheese" on top. Just scoop off the cheese and store in fridge (to make it even thicker, line a mesh colander with cheese cloth and let sit draining over a bowl in your fridge for a day). If you used a Vitamixer, the whole thing will be a softer sort of cheese.
Dream de la Cream (holy cow, does this live up to its name)
1/3 c raw macadamia
2/3 c cashews
½ c almonds
1 c clean water or Rejuvelac
Same as steps 1-3 above, only don’t let it sit more than 8-12 hours. This is a more delicate mix, probably because of the higher fat content, which will spoil if left out too long. But it’s delicious.
Seasoned Nut Cheese
1 c almonds
1 Tablespoon(T) nut butter
1 T Golden or white miso
¼ c chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
2 t umeboshi plum (I’m not sure if this is OK for O’s, but I don’t add anymore. Can substitute a pinch of sea salt)
optional: herbs like basil, oregano, cumin, dill, dulse etc. Fresh is best, but in a pinch, can grind dried herbs in mortar and pestle first to release flavor.
1. In glass jar or bowl, cover almonds with water and let soak overnight (8-12 hours) on your counter.
2. Drain almonds and toss into blender or Vitamixer with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Pour into glass container, cover with towel, and let sit on your counter for 6-10 hours.
REJUVELAC—stinky and hard to get right, but it has tons of B vitamins, enzymes, lactobacillus and lots of good stuff. Some people even claim to like the taste. Weirdos. I think it’s good mixed with other stuff like cold soups or juices. If you use it to make seed cheese, they culture a lot faster.
½ c wheat berries
6 c clean water
optional: ¾ c raisins
1. Soak the wheat berries for 24 hours.
2. Sprout the wheat berries for 2 days.
3. Toss sprouts in blender with 1 cup water and chop to break them up. If you’re using a Vitamixer, resist the temptation to blend; CHOP ONLY. If you’re going to add the raisins, now’s the time to do it. The sugar helps the taste and fermentation process. Add another cup water and blend a bit more.
4. Pour the mixture and 4 cups water into a large enough glass jar, like an iced tea jar, cover with a towel, and let the whole thing sit on your counter for 3 days. Stir it twice each day.
5. At the end of the third day, it should smell sour like lemons and sauerkraut. If it smells bad, DO NOT DRINK IT. That means that the unfriendly bacteria have taken over. This is what makes it difficult to make. There are so many variables over a three day period that it’s hard to control each batch. I spoiled my first few batches, so don’t be discouraged. I think everybody did. If the batch is good, it helps you detox and aids in food digestion. Start with 1 cup a day and work up slowly from there (don’t rush because you’ll detox too hard).
6. Strain off liquid and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. There are lots of recipes for using this stuff, like blending it with fruit into smoothies. It’s kind of bubbly and mixes well.
7. If you want, you can take the strainings from the last batch, add 6 more cups of water, and let it ferment for 3 days, stirring twice a day like before. The second batch is lighter in taste.
I hope these suggestions get the home-cultured-foodies off to a great start! and, thanks, Marlese!! :-)