Since we moved off-grid and began a slower way of doing everyday tasks, I have struggled in the kitchen. I have struggled to keep up with dishes. I have struggled with fitting enough vegetables into my cooking and my budget. I have struggled to find a balance between foods with enough calories to fill up hardworking boys and fermented foods that are too important to miss out on.

Needless to say, we haven’t felt our best. When I bought cabbages to make sauerkraut I quickly ran out of time and ended up cooking them in a soup instead. The prospect of extra dishes were a deterrent too, if we’re being honest.

So I have finally come back to three of the easiest ferments that I can introduce to our diet and my chaotic off-grid kitchen. All of these involve minimum muss and fuss and can be made quickly and easily.

They still make dishes, but I am making my peace with that aspect of things.

Creme Fraiche.

This is just a fancy word for sour cream. I make it by throwing 1-2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk into a pint jar and filling the rest of the jar with cream. The quality of the cream may or may not be a factor, I am unclear on this. I have only made it with pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) cream, so I can’t verify the claims out there one way or the other.

Shake your jar (with a tight lid on it!), loosen the lid or place a coffee filter/towel and rubber band around the lid to allow some air exposure. Let it sit out on the counter for 12-24 hours or until thick. And just like that you have truly cultured cream with probiotics and enzymes for happy bellies.

Water Kefir.

We were making this frequently about a year ago and absolutely loved it. It is similar to kombucha but ferments much faster so you get a better turnaround, I think. It also seems to have slightly different properties and I find it less dehydrating than kombucha.

You can find my detailed instructions here, but the basic premise is dissolve sugar in water, cool, add grains, ferment for a couple of days, pour into bottles, add juice or fruit, cap and carbonate. Enjoy. Feels so good in the tummy!

Find water kefir grains here.

Milk Kefir.

I’ll be honest and say I’m not a huge fan of the taste of kefir. I still have a hard time having it straight up and in the past have deferred to smoothies to mask the yeasty milk champagne flavor. It is, however, easier than yogurt to make regularly so I choose you, milk kefir, over yogurt.

The process couldn’t be easier, either. Add the grains to fresh milk every 24 hours or so, straining the grains out each time. Stir with a wooden spoon, cover with a coffee filter/towel and rubber band, and allow to ferment for about a day. You now have highly probiotic, enzymatic, yeasty flavored milk.

Find milk kefir grains here.

So here’s a question for you… how do you make milk kefir palatable?