Many of us in the autistic spectrum can’t eat dairy products. Sometimes we have outright allergies, and sometimes just gut dysbiosis, in which case the opiates in the milk protein (casein) don’t get broken down, and end up making us fuzzy brained and addicted.
Now, dairy products also add to inflammation (one of the main sources of all chronic disease) and total mucous load. So like me, you might be wanting to find some substitutes that your family – and especially your children with ASD – will enjoy. And you might be looking for better, less-expensive ways to consume probiotics.
My husband Bill is too considerate to finish the jars on me when I make cashew yoghurt or sour cream, but his face lights up like a five-year-old’s, when I mix some with berries in the morning, and offer him some.
Since we’re in the thick of fruit season here in southern Ontario (the strawberries, serviceberries, mulberries, cherries and currants are about done, with raspberries, apricots and blueberries just coming on), I’m making cashew sour cream about every 2-3 days. It can be used as is in smoothies, mixed with herbs for salad dressing (e.g. blend it with fresh green onions and tarragon from the garden), or tossed direct with fresh fruit.
This is how it’s made:
- 1 clean 750 ml wide-mouthed canning jar ( wide mouth makes it easier to clean after)
- 3 and 1/2 cups raw, organic cashew pieces
- 2 Tbsp. cabbage rejuvelac or a packet of commercial yoghurt starter culture
- 1/2 tsp. celtic, caribbean, or himalayan sea salt
- filtered water to fill jar 1/2″ from top
Put the cashews, salt, and starter culture in the jar, and pour in enough water to more than cover the cashews, but leaving air space at the top. Screw the lid on loosely (this ferments and releases gas, which expands… do not screw tightly!!) and leave for 48 hours on your kitchen counter, or somewhere else that’s room temperature (unrefrigerated) and in full sight so you don’t forget about it. It will get gooey!
Empty the fermented cashews into a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy, adding water if necessary. I will often add another cup of water, using the excess to shake in the jar and remove more of the pieces of cashew and gooey ferment (this is less time-intensive than a spatula). Pour the cashew sour cream into smaller clean glass jars and refrigerate until use.
Alternately, use a hand blender right in the fermenting jar, gradually working the blade down to the bottom of the jar. It takes a little more time to get it creamy, but it can all be kept in the same jar afterwards, and it makes a thicker sour cream.
The jars of sour cream don’t usually last more than a day or two here, but when I’ve taken some on camping trips, it’s been fine for 5 days at a time, just getting a little more sour despite no refrigeration. It’s already so chock-full of probiotics, they outcompete anything else trying to establish!
For camping trips, there’s a little store nearby called Fenigo where I can get water-tight stainless-steel food containers with lock-down lids and sealer rings. Using a couple of teaspoons of the cashew sour cream in the soaking water for the next morning’s dried fruit and nuts for breakfast keeps the probiotics high, also. I promise, I’ll do another blog post with the cabbage rejuvelac recipe…
Let me know how you experiment with this one in the comments, please!