Thursday, June 7, 2012

Austin Book Signing and a Recipe for Coconut Water Kefir

Last night there was a nice turn out of old and new friends at Book Woman in Austin!  We had a lively discussion on allergies, some yummy treats and more copies of my cookbook are now out into the hands of folks who are changing their picture of health one meal at a time.  Thanks so much to everyone who came!  I appreciate that you took the time to spend your evening with me!

One of the topics we discussed was adding more probiotic rich foods to your diet.  This was in response to a young couple who came to ask questions about their 3 year old son with food allergies.  I promised to share one of my most "kid friendly" probiotic drinks with you and them today . . . coconut water kefir!

I was first introduced to it by one of my naturopathic colleagues, Venetia Peach (great southern name, right?) who had learned about it from Donna Gates of The Body Ecology Diet.

For many years I purchased young coconuts, cut off the top and used the fresh coconut water from inside the coconut.  It's quite delicious and has many health benefits, including a near perfect blend of electrolytes.  However, it is a bit time consuming.  So when I started experimenting with various kefir recipes I decided to try using some coconut water I had purchased at Whole Foods.  To my delight it turned out great.  The next time I tried adding the water from 1 fresh young coconut and the packaged version to make up the rest of the liquid and it did turn out to be a bit more "active".  So feel free to use all fresh, unprocessed coconut water, or all packaged organic coconut water or some combo and I know you will be happy with the results.

Coconut Water Kefir

This is an amazingly healthful drink that’s easy to prepare and inexpensive to make.  You will need either fresh or pre-packaged organic coconut water.  Of course the fresh coconut water will contain more naturally occurring enzymes than the packaged variety and gets a bit more “bubbly”.  However, I found that each produced a great result and that adding the coconut water from a single coconut to the packaged variety seems to be a fantastic compromise.  The addition of the probiotic capsules simply increases the number of strains of good bacteria growing in your fermented coconut water.

Yield – 1 pint

1 pint young coconut water
1 packet kefir starter
2 probiotic capsules

Using a pint jar with a tightly fitting lid, add the coconut water 1 packet of kefir starter and the contents of 2 probiotic capsules.  Shake well and sit on your kitchen counter for 48 hours.  When your kefir begins to bubble or show strains of cultures that look a little like a cloud in your kefir it’s ready to either use or refrigerate. 

Each time you remove a few ounces, replace with additional coconut water and return to the refrigerator.  If you use half or more in a 24 hour period, leave the jar on the counter for 24 hours to speed up its “recovery” process before returning to the refrigerator.  Start a new batch every 3-4 weeks.

For children or anyone new to eating or drinking many probiotic-rich cultured juice, I recommend pouring  1-2 ounces into your small glass and then adding 3-4 ounces uncultured coconut water.  The drink is still very rich in probiotics but it tastes a little sweeter and more refreshing.  Over time you can increase the cultured juice to a 50-50 ratio.  

Generally speaking, I recommend about 6-8 ounces of kefir per day or 2 1/2 cup servings of cultured veggies per day to regain and maintain balance in your intestinal tract.  After a few months of this, you can maintain digestive health by adding at least 1 serving of kefir, cultured veggies or Kvass at least 3 times per week.

This recipe cost me approximately $6.50 to produce 48 ounces of Coconut Water Kefir.  While traveling I purchased this 8 oz bottle of Coconut Water Kefir for $7.99 at Central Market.  While I completely appreciate the fact that I could purchase some on the road, you can see just how much more economical it is to make your own!  But in a pinch or to use it to start your own, this one is a fantastic product.

Many thanks to my wonderful friend Nita Kostroski for organizing this even, to Book Woman for hosting it and to my daughter Angela and daughter-in-law Al for helping me set up and clean up and photograph the event.  

I had a wonderful time and look forward to seeing more of you in Albuquerque on Saturday and Sunday in Santa Fe at La Montanita Co-op.

Dr. P

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