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Coconut Kefir

by Lisa on May 26, 2010

I’ve been reading a lot about bacteria balance within the body. Riveting, no…Useful, YES!

Donna Gates, of the Body Ecology Diet, promotes the consumption of fermented foods to help the body digest and the immune system to work well. My first experiment with fermented foods (making them myself, that is) was the Almond Cheese. And second, I attempted to make fermented coconut water. Coconut water is an amazing health-promoting drink, and the only downside (if you’re not using it for a sports drink) is that there is some sugar in it. The amount of sugar is significantly lower than other drinks, especially juices and sports drinks, but the fermentation process provides a way to get all the benefits of the drink without the sugar!

Ideally, one would use Kefir Starter to ferment coconut water, and I’ll talk more about that when mine comes in the mail. I used Probiotic Powder. This worked fine, but I think nutritionally, the kefir starter would provide more value.  The process for making the kefir began with buying several young thai coconuts and opening them (first to get out the water, and second to get out the meat). I bought a drill, drilled a hole in the top of the coconut, flipped it over onto a jar, and then drilled a hole in the bottom so the water would flow out.

Draining the water out of coconut number 1 (of 5)

Next, I took the coconut outside and tried to hack it open (at 10pm, this was way too loud to do inside!). I ruined a knife, and gave some neighbors something to laugh at. It was a lot of work to get it open, and I aim to be more prepared next time! I repeated the process with all 5 coconuts…and this mess was the end result.

The Aftermath

I strained the water (in case there were any bits of coconut in it), dumped it all into one jar (make sure to open them separately in case one is bad—it won’t ruin the whole batch), and then warmed it to 90 degrees. At that point, I added the probiotic powder, stirred it, covered it, and left it on the counter for two days. If it had been warmer, I could have left it for less time–but the trick is to taste it, and when it is no longer sweet (it’s tangy) it’s done.

The End Product

The liquid becomes cloudy over time (this is good!). The cultures multiply and eat the sugar, and in the end you put it in the fridge to stop the fermenting process. Voila—benefits of coconut water and fermentation (good bacteria) without the sugar!

It tasted good—and I concocted a drink out of this, lemon juice, lime juice, stevia, and aloe gel. I’ll post that recipe soon when I talk about aloe.

I blended the coconut meat and added probiotics to that too—this is supposed to turn into cheese, but I found it to be more like yogurt. Honestly, the taste….blech. I need to experiment more with that part so I don’t waste the meat. I think adding something for flavor (anything that would taste good in yogurt, or herbs to make it cheesier) is the way to go.  I’ll let you know!

Coconut Meat, pre-blending

A friend suggested that I could buy a Dremel attachment that would cut through through the coconut shell easily to avoid all the hacking…which means, I’ll also have to buy a Dremel. So, it better work!

I know this looks labor intensive and possibly expensive (depending on how easy it is for you to get coconuts), but once I streamline it I think it will be the opposite of both of those things.  You can order kefir starter online.  Mine should be on its way, so I’ll give you an update once I try it out.  Make sure you do not buy the Kefir Starter in the grocery store for this!  It is dairy-based and won’t work well with a non-animal substance (i.e. the kind in the store is meant to be used in milk).

What do you think?  Would you try it?

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