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Life has been pretty busy lately. In addition to running a growing business, we homeschool our oldest, our middle daughter is learning to read, and our baby has become fully mobile. Some days it feels like there is very little time left for planning and cooking meals, let alone incorporating cultured foods.

However, when life is crazy, our bodies are stressed and it’s exactly when nourishing cultured foods are most needed. I have found that for me, developing a routine is crucial and here’s what I’ve been doing lately to stay on top of my cultures.

5-10 Minutes Each Night While I'm Making Dinner or Cleaning Up the Kitchen:

  • Every other evening I harvest the latest batch of water kefir and place the kefir grains in fresh sugar water. I generally make at least a gallon at a time. The kids and I drink a lot of water kefir and it provides a steady stream of probiotics in our diet as well as an easy way to make popsicles which are very popular around here.
  • Each night I combine a can of coconut milk and 1/4 cup of water kefir in a glass jar. I cover it with a towel and let it sit overnight. The next morning we have coconut milk kefir for our morning smoothie.

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30-60+ Minutes on the Weekend:

I rotate my weekend time depending on what cultured foods we are in need of or which ongoing cultures need attention.

  • Each weekend I take 5-10 minutes to make a new batch or two of salad dressing. The exact flavor profile depends on what ingredients I have on hand and what dishes I’m planning on making the following week. Click here to see how I make a delicious customizable salad dressing using kombucha for an easy probiotic boost.
  • Every 3 weeks, I use my weekend time to bottle my finished kombucha and start a fresh batch (click here to read about my kombucha routine). I generally make about 8 gallons which when bottled keeps us supplied for the following three weeks.
  • On the weekends when the kombucha doesn’t need attention, I use my cultured food time to make up a couple of jars of cultured vegetables, fruits, or condiments. Just depends on what we have on hand from the farmer’s market or what we are running low on in the fridge. For example, on a recent weekend I set up a batch of dill pickles, a batch of dilly beans, a batch of sauerkraut, a batch of lacto-fermented lemons, and started a batch of kombucha mustard. Most weekends though its 2-3 items and I’m done in under an hour. One trick I’ve found is to make larger batches so each item lasts about a month. This cuts down on the number of items I need to make each weekend.