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Old 06-10-2007, 04:20 PM   #1
Nikki Young
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Default Coconut Kefir

Heya!

I want to start making my own coconut kefir, but i'm un-able to find a starter culture for it. Like the one body ecology use (un-able to send to Aus). I was wondering if i could use a yogurt starter culture to do the same job?
If so, is there any ingredient i should try and avoid seeing in a yogurt culture starter pack?

I'm also wondering, as it's not always easy finding a fresh coconut. Can i use canned coconut milk/cream. The coconut milk i use for cooking has no preservities, which i would assume would stop a lot of good bacteria growth when making kefir. Ingredients: Organic coconut extract (certified bio agri cert, Italy), guar gum (less than 0.5%). Would this work well?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:33 PM   #2
Robert Allison
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Generally, it is the water from young green coconuts that is used to make coconut kefir, and canned coconut milk is completely different and doesn't work for kefir. Here in the States, there are some commerically available coconut waters, usually in a tetra pack. If health food stores in Australia carry them, they are an adequate substitute for kefir when you can't find the fresh coconuts.

Since kefir and yogurt cultures contain different bacterial strains, I am not sure how well a yogurt starter would work for kefir. But I guess you could always give it a try--it might produce a fermented beverage of some sort. The bacterial strains in kefir deliver a more potent probiotic benefit, but the yogurt strains are better than nothing.

In the past, I did a Google search for kefir starters and found some forums where people were willing to share kefir grains. I don't know if that is still the case, but it is probably worth looking into.
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:32 AM   #3
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Nikki I've made the coconut kefir several times (it does work great). I don't think yogurt cultures would work since these are made to digest lactose.. but I could be wrong.

After making 5-6 batches of the coconut kefir I think its a really neat recipe but not sure if its worth the time investment for each batch.

As Garrett pointed out to me a cheaper (time+money) alternative would be kombucha tea so if you aren't having any luck with a culture for the kefir why not try that? A quick google search reveals that kombucha culture is readily available in AU (I actually have dual Canadian-Australian citizenship- so I was curious to check!):

http://www.kombuchaustralia.com/
http://www.kombuchacultures.com/
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info guys. Greg, i have looked into kombucha tea before and it could be a more convenient option, i've just been looking into coconut kefir the last few days so was keen to make some myself. I'm really just wanting some good bacteria though! I might puchase some of the kombucha you linked me too.

On the Australian link you passed on, in the instructions it says to add a heap of white sugar, is this important because in other kombucha tea instructions i haven't seen sugar to be needed (not that i noitced anyway). I presume seeing as it turns into acids and stuff, the GI is gone too?
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:06 AM   #5
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Probiotics need a sugary fuel source to feed on. Any recipe you see should have a source. For coconut kefir its the sugary water/meat in the young coconuts. For the kombucha you could use sugar or even honey I think would work.

The longer you let it "culture" the less sugar will be left over.. so you are turning sugar into more probiotics. There will always be a little bit of sweetness left (otherwise fuel source is gone and probiotics die) but if you sufficiently ferment it the GI would be negligible!
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Old 06-25-2007, 03:58 AM   #6
Nikki Young
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Is it possible to make coconut kefir without a starter culture?
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Old 06-25-2007, 06:32 AM   #7
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Nikki,
I have not tried it. The issue is one of getting the right/good bacteria off to the quickest start, so that they crowd out and prevent bad bacteria from forming. The starter culture is an attempt to guarantee this, to "seed" the population with desirable bacteria.

Cultured veggies don't need a starter, so it is possible. If you don't have access to a starter, maybe they would be an easier route to go.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:39 PM   #8
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If you don't have any issues with diary, raw milk can also be cultured without a starter. But I don't know how available raw diary products are in Australia.
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:57 PM   #9
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Thanks guys! I bought some cabbage the other day actually to culture, im going to get me some good jars today so i can make it happen!
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Old 07-04-2007, 04:41 PM   #10
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Ok sorry to bump this thread up again. I'm in about day5 of fermenting my cabbage and it looks pretty... yucky... how do i know if it's not fermenting right or if its actually growing good bacteria?

Also, i bought some organic sauerkraut yesterday, i know it probably doesn't have as much good bacteria as in a home made batch, but would it have some benefits and worth eating? Ingredients; Fermented white cabbage (95%), sea salt, juniperberries (organic also). The brand is Global Organics, made in Holland, if anyone's familiar with the brand.. i'm thinking of just purchasing my sauerkraut instead of making it, would this be ok in terms of getting lots of good bacteria?
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