Happy July! I am so excited to share this visit and Marissa's beautiful kitchen with you. I have known Marissa in one way or another online since 2009, and we finally met in person on a gorgeous June afternoon at her farmhouse just outside of Annapolis Royal. My husband and I took our boys and made this a bit of a family day trip, and we unexpectedly met Marissa's husband at his studio after a visit at the Annapolis Royal Farmer's Market. (Which I highly recommend - it was great! A wide variety of quality fruit and vegetables, prepared foods, flowers (see below), handmade body care, beexwax candles and products, pottery - it had just about everything and is definitely worth a visit. The playground across the street is great, too, and next door, you can buy handmade chocolates in a bookstore which has an entire section devoted to Agatha Christie. It's really a magical place.)
Marissa's kitchen is so bright and lovely, I couldn't help but take many, many pictures. And I typically don't tell you that you can stay at the homes I visit, but this time you can! Marissa runs an Airbnb farmstay at their farm, and offers workshops via Experience Annapolis as well. And you can follow Marissa on Instagram to see more pictures from her lovely home and the rental suite. Enjoy!
Water kefir is a fermented probiotic drink. It is different from milk kefir, which is cultured milk. It's a lightly effervescent drink that can be flavoured with pretty much any fruit or herb, and is especially lovely on a hot summer day (of which Nova Scotia is experiencing several this week!) You will need one unique key ingredient that may be difficult to source, depending on where you are - water kefir grains. It is the grains that consume the sugar and convert the water / sugar mixture into kefir, so you really can't make it without these. If you're curious, you can read all of the details here. And there are more details about the best water and sugar to use, here.
Bottles (as pictured below) with secure flip-top gaskets are helpful for the second ferment. You can often find these at second-hand stores, beer and winemaking supply stores, online, or you can reuse ones from the grocery store, like these. And the bottle brushes she mentions are these ones.
If you have the kinds of friends who keep sourdough starters and kombucha scobys in their kitchens, you might find that someone has some extra grains that they can give to you. If not, you can order dehydrated ones online from a few places; just make sure that you're ordering water kefir grains and not milk kefir ones. Marissa ordered hers from this site. They are Canadian, you can order live or dehydrated grains, and they have very detailed and comprehensive instructions here.
Seven Acres Farm & Ferments in Canning sells delicious water kefir, already made. They also sell other fermented products including kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha, and they're available in several locations in NS; check out their site for details. You may also be able to find it at your local health food store.
Before I sign off with the recipe, I'd also like to let you know that I was featured in the Chronicle Herald a few weeks ago - have a peek! Enjoy, and happy summer!