Do I need to keep water kefir in the fridge?
Yes. It will continue to ferment if left unrefrigerated, becoming fizzer and slightly more alcoholic over time.
What is the most powerful ferment?
Hmmm - they all work in different ways it seems. Milk kefir is pretty amazing - but then so is kimchi with all of that ginger and garlic. Oh, but how about the ginger in the water kefir … the kraut juice is great too…
My kefir was flat.
Leave it on the bench out of the fridge overnight and watch it come back to life.
Why does my kimchi or kraut fizz out when I open it?
There is life in your jar. We tend to wait long enough for the life to settle a bit, and pop them in the fridge where the life becomes less active. If somehow the fridge wasn’t as cold as it should be, or the kraut comes out of the fridge for even an hour - that eager life will wake up and start eating any sugars left in the cabbage - causing carbondioxide - gas. It’s pretty lovely to see it - we call it blooming - so open over the sink if you see any pressure in there at all. No matter what - the bubbling means its fresh. It is most certainly OK to eat. It couldn’t be better actually!
Mine was so fizzy - I lost half of my bottle when I opened it.
Hmm - it can sometimes take 5 minutes to open a particularly active bottle. Same with wild fermented sake, some beers and other natural ferments. Open and close, let it settle, have a glass ready and pour.
How long will it last in my fridge after I open it?
As long as you have kept it clean - and there aren’t too many little pieces all sitting on the jar, it will be fine. Push it down each time, but it can be fine for a year in your fridge…. Not sure WHY anyone would treat a kraut or kimchi as a condiment that gets lost at the back of a fridge though, are you?
How can you supply pickles all year round?
We’re lucky enough to have found a Victorian grower near Ballarat who grows in a hoop. When we can’t get those, we have one in Queensland. It expanded our food miles a tonne, but then again we thought about all of those pickles being imported from India and the US - and were told by our shops that if we couldn’t supply year round they wouldn’t be able to stock it. Stores aren’t as set up for seasonal as they should be.
Are your products REALLY made by hand?
How else would we do it? There are a few machines we have our eyes on. You’ll know if we get them because we’ll be so excited that we’ll post pictures of it.
Do you pasteurise your ferments?
We are all about life. Not killing life - pasteurisation was good for many things - but we consider ourselves “post-Pasteurian’. Once foods were pasteurised - heated to kill all of the life in the food so it could be shelf-stable and easily shipped all over the world - our food life changed a lot. We are trying to bring one of the better old ways back. Ferments just need to be refrigerated. If they aren’t - they’ll keep fermenting - which would be fine too.
Why do I need to store these ferments in the fridge?
To keep them fermented right where they are. Slowed down and waiting to be eaten. They can come alive in your gut where it is nice and warm.
Why isn't there more liquid in my jar? I thought they needed liquid to cover them.
Ferments need liquid to cover them when you are fermenting. We need the liquid that comes from within the vegetable - we NEVER add water - to keep the oxygen out. Once they are fermented - we feel it would be ripping you off to fill the weight of the jar with liquid. We push as much cabbage in the jar to the point that we once measured there could be half a cabbage per 700g jar.
How long does water kefir last after opening?
Our recommended ‘best before’ date is 9 weeks from the date of bottling. We recommend drinking your bottle of water kefir 1-2 days after opening. It will not go ‘off’ as such; it simply won’t be at its peak deliciousness.
Why do you use fish sauce in your kimchi?
Fish sauce adds a depth of flavour. But we are working on some sauces made from Kombu and mushrooms to replace that soon. We also have vegan kimchi if fish sauce is a no-no ingredient for you.
Where does water kefir come from?
No-one actually knows where the original water kefir ‘grains’ (also known as a SCOBY) came from. A popular theory is that they originated from the Opuntia cactus in Mexico. This theory is persuasive because the Tibicos culture that is part of the water kefir grains grows on this plant. Remarkably, water kefir grains have been shared person-to-person for centuries, as they can’t be grown from scratch.
Is water kefir safe for coeliacs?
Yes. Although we say ‘water kefir grains’, water kefir does not contain any gluten. ‘Grain’ only refers to the grain-like shape of the starter bacteria (SCOBY).
How much sugar is in kefir?
The water kefir is fed sugar - it consumes about 97% of that - and that’s how we have natural fizziness. Isn’t it amazing? If you are after a no sugar diet, or love Splenda, Xylitol, Erythritol and the other non-fermentables - go to a cheap, supermarket brew - they love saying sugar-free to you.
Why don’t other water kefirs contain alcohol?
Many other water kefirs are alcohol-free, because a small about of water kefir is added as an ingredient to soda-style drinks, or they have been heavily diluted. Any kefir that has been naturally, slow-fermented will always contain a low amount of alcohol that occurs as part of the fermentation process.
What is the best ferment for...(a certain health issue)
don’t ask us that – we’re fermenters, not doctors! But psychiatrists, naturopaths, chiropractors and more recently actual doctors are prescribing it for all kinds of things. As well as nature walks, eating with family or friends, less screen time, hugging people. These are all good things.
Can children eat or drink this?
Yes they can. Keep in mind the water kefir has residual alcohol so maybe water it down if you are worried about that.
How much should I take?
Lots of people have asked us this - to be clear - it is our aim to make the most delicious ferments we can - and to talk and share about them and provide ideas for how to eat them. This question has caused a bit of reflection. It is asked regularly enough to talk about here. Our ferments are brimming with diverse life, and fibre, and vitamins and nutrients. BUT. Eat it because it’s delicious. These sour and bitter foods that were once in our everyday diet have been missing for a generation or two and need to be put back. It won’t happen if we think of it as a medicine to take. This is gorgeous, precious food that has been prepared with love - enjoy. If you know you have a serious gut issue - or have never eaten any living foods like this, then start small - use as a condiment, eat small amounts frequently. And try to eat a variety. We are after a diverse array of bacteria after all.