Nuts and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, cashew, macadamia, almond, flax and sesame, are all rich and savoury ingredients that can be transformed into delicious dairy-free cheezes, pâtés and milks. These nutritious condiments gain improved texture, flavour and digestibility through fermentation.
There are many ways to add a fermentation culture such as sauerkraut juice, pickle brine, miso, whey (a by-product of yoghurt making, if you’re okay with eating dairy), or a magical substance called rejeuvelac.
Seed and nut cheezes are considered short-term ferments, meaning that they are ready to be eaten after sitting overnight or a couple of days. Like other fermented foods, they will ferment more quickly and get more tangy in hot temperatures and mature more slowly in cool temperatures.
What is Rejuvelac?
Rejuvelac is a non-alchoholic, fermented liquid made from sprouted grains. Rejuvelac is prepared using whole wheat, oats, rye, quinoa, barley, millet, buckwheat & rice (see this sprouting guide). Rejuvelac is cloudy, with the colour of pale straw. It has a flavour that is lemon-y, sharp and slightly tangy, with a mild, earthy aroma.
What does it do?
Rejuvelac helps improve the digestion of food. It can be consumed as a digestive aid or used as a starter culture for other fermented foods such as raw nut and seed yoghurts, cheezes, and sauces.
How to make Rejuvelac:
Choose 1 cup of grain (if gluten intolerant, choose an appropriate grain for you, i.e. quinoa, brown rice etc). Soak the grain fully in water for 8-12 hours. Drain the water then just add enough water to moisten the grains but not to cover them. Place the jar in a warm place out of direct sunlight for 1 – 3 days. Rinse your grains a couple times a day until you see sprouts (little tails emerging from your grains). Once the Grains have sprouted, cover the grains with 6 cups of filtered/dechlorinated water and let sit for 1-3 days until the water turns cloudy and white. Strain the liquid and use the grains for crackers, compost or other inventions.
How long will it last?: Rejuvelac can last up to 4 weeks sealed in the refrigerator.
Makes about 1 pound of ‘cheese’
2 cups of mixed raw cashews/almonds/brazil nuts and/or sunflower-seeds, soaked in water for 3-8 hours (too long and cashews change colour)
pinch of salt
¼ cup to ½ cup rejuvelac or other culture like sauerkraut juice or pickle brine.
*optional* add some cooked grains, a tablespoon of miso or a dallop of tahini
Blend the cashews, salt and enough rejuvelac to make it smooth and creamy but not runny
Let sit in a clean glass bowl or container, cover with a cloth or a plate, and let rest at room temperature for 8 – 36 hours. Transfer to fridge.
– the longer you wait, the tangier it becomes
– the warmer your room is, the faster it will culture
– cheese will thicken as it cultures
Keep cheese for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months
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