Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Until Told to Shut the Fuck Up About It

OK, I’m getting obsessed.

IMG 1609

Left to right:

  1. Dill pickles (fresh dill weed, garlic, sea salt).
  2. Sauerkraut (with caraway seeds, sea salt).
  3. Second ferment of raw cow milk kefir with a sliced tangerine & peel, and 4 oz fresh raw orange juice (see here about 2nd fermenting kefir).
  4. Raw goat milk kefir, just getting started.

I got the jars yesterday, Le Parfait. I’ll probably have to get more, seeing as how the pickles and cabbage are a 2-4 week process. I added a bit of raw sauerkraut juice I had on hand to each, hoping that will speed the process a bit so’s the little buggers get to munching and multiplying right away.

IMG 1610

For right now, I have the pickle and cabbage jars clamped, with a soy sauce bowl to hold stuff submerged. I’ll see if there’s any pressure buildup daily. The 2nd ferment of the kefir is supposed to be clamped off for a day. The fresh kefir is open.

Ha! I guess Ann Marie Michaels and Kelly the Kitchen Kop get the last laugh on me.

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  1. Angelo on April 16, 2013 at 15:25

    Grape leaves will really help crunch up those cucumbers. Looks fantastic, Richard.

  2. Jessica K on April 16, 2013 at 16:38

    Why not use whey as your starter, a la Nourishing Traditions? I can get raw yogurt so easy enough to separate out the whey. I’ve had great success with it. I will never eat store bought pickles again. Where’s the kimchi?

  3. Leigh on April 16, 2013 at 16:44


    I’ve even gone so far as to purchase an airlock fermenting jar for my sauerkraut!

    I love that I can control the salt when I ferment at home. Plus the cultures are nice.

    Speaking of cultures, my kefir grains recently died. I’m just too busy and distracted at the moment. You can really tell when your cultures die. I knew instantly just by looking at the rotten milk.

    It’s a sad day when your grains die.

  4. Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2013 at 17:03


    Actually could have used some whey from the 2 quarts of kefir processed this morning (I leave mine until separation happens). We’ll see how it goes. Would be easy to get in minutes just by putting some kefir into a coffee filter.


    Wow, never heard of that. I started with less than a tablespoon. Have given away a full tablespoon and still have gobs. Just separated some out this morning and put in the fridge to feed a tiny bit to the dogs each meal.

  5. Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2013 at 17:04

    Oh, yea, kimchi. If my kraut comes out well, that will be next. BTW, how much salt do you use for a quart?

  6. Dennis Murray on April 16, 2013 at 17:36

    I just bought a fermentation crock. I had 4+ pounds of mustard greens I harvested this week and need to store long term. I believe it’s called Swan Tsai in China.

  7. Gabriella Kadar on April 16, 2013 at 18:47

    There are some people who eat the chewy kefir grains because eventually there are just too many of them. I bet your dogs would eat them. I’ve got only one cat who eats yoghurt and won’t touch kefir much less eat the grains. Cats are picky that way. Dogs eat anything.

  8. Jessica K on April 16, 2013 at 18:56

    For pickles and kraut, 1 tablespoon. I have to admit that I don’t make kraut often as I can’t get enough people around here to eat it. I ferment my condiments (ketchup, salsa, etc.). I have not attempted Kimchi as of yet. I have access to a great Asian market and until I started fermenting, never considered making it. Currently I’m going to experiment with a spicy pickle, kind of a cross between hot pepper sauce and sour pickles.

  9. John on April 16, 2013 at 19:31

    Nice! I’ve made sauerkraut before, always comes out pretty good. Tried making pickles, that was a little more hit or miss. Just ordered some kefir grains myself, and also have a buttermilk starter coming as well. Looking forward to both. Might be time to do another round of kraut, and see if I can’t get the pickles right.

  10. Jscott on April 16, 2013 at 19:36

    Fermenting sliced carrots and jalapenos are simple and nice to have around.

  11. Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2013 at 19:53

    Yep, both dogs love kefir and they each scarfed up a dollop of slimy grains on top of their food this afternoon.

  12. Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2013 at 19:55


    Another question, how long do you ferment for? I saw various sources at 2 weeks all the way up to 6 weeks. Also, once done and you refrigerate, how long will they keep?

  13. Jessica K on April 16, 2013 at 20:05

    I should mention that I use 4 tablespoons of whey per quart to get it going. I do only 3 days at room temp. Then into the fridge. I usually wait about another two weeks before eating. It continues to ferment (slower of course). I believe most will keep in fridge for approx. Six months. Less for the condiments like ketchup. I put whey in homemade mayo for increased shelf life too (about a month).

  14. Jessica K on April 16, 2013 at 20:15

    I’ve been meaning to ask, have you tried Kombucha at home? That’s where it’s at for fermented beverages in my opinion. Because of my casein allergy (and my daughter’s) I don’t do as much with kefir. I’ve always been a fan of unsweetened ice tea. Kombucha is easy and can be packed easily in a lunch pail and dressed up many ways (juice, seltzer, lemon, ginger, etc.) for variety. I’m seriously thinking of bottling and selling at a local farmer’s market.

  15. Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2013 at 20:21

    I’ve only been buying the GTs Original, both the original flavor and the ginger flavor. My prob is that when I checked the fermentation is way long, so would require enormous batches.

    I also drink tea java straight, never any sweetener, nor lemon. Love it.

  16. Keoni Galt on April 16, 2013 at 20:35

    You’re slowly but surely working your way to the holy grail of home fermentation produce, Richard:

    BEER. :-D

  17. tatertot on April 17, 2013 at 10:51

    I can’t remember if I showed you this study or not.

    In it, they fed pigs (because they are similar to humans–digestive tract-wise) Raw Potato Starch (RPS) and observed the changes that occured.

    “The present experiment was designed to study the adaptive responses of growing pigs over time to the intake of high amounts of resistant starch, using raw potato starch as reference material.”

    “Adaptation to increased consumption of RPS resulted in a marked hypertrophy of the colon… as measured by the weight and length, and a similar prolongation of the transit time of digesta in the colon. Other authors have reported that the transit time of digesta in the large bowel was prolonged after increased RPS intake in rats and swine. This appears to be an adaptive response aimed at salvaging energy from fermentation…The differences in weight of digesta in the colon suggest a physical adaptation of the digestive tract to the extent of RS digestion. However, the variations in the microflora mass and SCFA through the large bowel may suggest a pronounced effect of RS on the proliferation of nonproteolytic bacteria, which deserves a more detailed study. RPS provides a large amount of RS available for LB fermentation. However, the full adaptation of growing pigs to supplementary amounts of RPS requires a period of several weeks to reach complete degradation.”

  18. Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2013 at 21:03


    I have my brother for that. He’s been doing it for a long time and is very good at it. He can do any knock-off recipe and you can’t tell the difference. He kegs his.

  19. tatertot on April 17, 2013 at 11:04

    And another with rats fed RPS or High Amylose Corn Starch (HAS):

    This study looks at mineral absorption enhancement and cholesterol lowering of Raw Potato Starch.

    Isn’t high LDL another bane of the paleo community?

    “In conclusion, although direct extrapolation to humans may be questionable due to differences in digestive tract structure and colonic microflora, the substitution of a portion of digestible starch by RPS or HAS leads to enhanced intestinal fermentation, improved mineral absorption and reduced cholesterol absorption in rats. It is of note that RPS or HAS may play a role by increasing mineral absorption in the large intestine, and this effect may be of particular interest when the overall process of digestive absorption is inefficient, such as in elderly subjects. This awaits further investigation in human subjects, particularly to assess whether low levels of RPS or HAS are effective as cholesterol-lowering and mineral-improving agents. “

  20. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on April 16, 2013 at 21:26

    i want creme Fraiche

  21. tatertot on April 17, 2013 at 12:51

    I’ve seen several presentations on the production of potato starch. As long as it is ‘unmodified’, you can be sure it has never seen heat. If it was heated, the starch cells swell and burst (gelatinize) and it would be impossible to package and use.

    I have never contacted Bob’s Red Mill. I wonder if they answer questions like that? It would be neat to know where they source it and the exact processing steps. Maybe I will look around their website and see if I can ask.

    I don’t know if you can buy food grade modified potato starch. I think it is mostly used in industrial processes like glue.

    As to the nonproteolytic bacteria, I don’t know what that means. I think it is just a type of bacteria found in all guts. Proteolytic means ‘an enzyme that breaks down protein’, so non-proteolytic must mean the opposite.

  22. EF on April 17, 2013 at 04:57

    I am about to embark on kefir making with raw jersey milk. Question – I’ve seen some instructions that say cover the grain/milk mixture with a coffee filter or some other air permeable membrane and secure with a rubber band. But others actually secure a lid over the mixture that would seem to let a lot less air into the brew. I assume less air would mean a slower ferment. Any thoughts or experiences with these different methods would be appreciated. Thanks

  23. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 06:51


    I have just set a cap loosely on the bottle. The bacteria give off a lot of gas, so I think it’s not about letting air in as it is about allowing pressure to escape. You can tighten the cap in the last few hours and sometimes you’ll get a light carbonation which is interesting (I quite like it).

  24. Karen C. on April 17, 2013 at 08:06

    You should have plenty of whey from your kefir to make all the ferments that you want, if you don’t shake it.

  25. tatertot on April 17, 2013 at 09:35

    “Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Until Told to Shut the Fuck Up About It”

    Well, since nobody has told me to STFU, I’ll keep on about resistant starch!

    Have you still been eating potato starch? I have been doing some N=1 with plantain starch and potato starch.

    I care about my blood glucose because in my fat-man days, I was a 250lbs pre-diabetic with FBG in the 130’s. I went LC Paleo 3 years ago and lost 90lbs, but FBG stayed around 120.

    I think there is ample evidence to show an FBG in the 85-95 range is much more healthful than FBG in the 100-120 range. There is also ample evidence that shows an LC diet creates physiological insulin resistance, even in people who weren’t insulin-impaired before.

    So, with no RS except what is normally found in cooked potatoes and whatever else I ate, my FBG averaged 115 over a 2 week period.

    Eating about 40g of dried plantain chips daily, lowered my FBG to 100 averaged over 2 weeks.

    Eating 4TBS of Bob’s Redmill Unmodified Potato Starch lowered my FBG to 92 averaged over 2 weeks.

    When on nothing, and when on the plantain chips–overeating meat would raise my FBG to the 120’s the next day. On potato starch, overeating meat raises it to the low 100’s.

    I am amazed at how fast the changes took effect. Most studies show that a complete gut transformation will occur in 28 days feeding pigs a diet high in potato starch. The very first day I tried the potato starch, my FBG the next morning was 89, the lowest I’ve ever seen it.

    I find the potato starch very easy to ingest. It mixes well with any liquid and actually has a good mouth-feel. Last night I mixed 4TBS with a handful of blueberries and enough water to make a slurry–it was like eating pie filling. It also mixes well with potato salad, milk, home-brewed beer, and kefir.

    4TBS is about 30g RS. My next N=1 will be a month or so of 15g (2TBS) taken right after dinner, and also overfeedings on meat while taking 2TBS/day.

    I have also learned that potato starch heated above 140 deg F will lose it’s RS qualities!


  26. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 10:12


    Funny, I was just looking up your previous comments for reference.

    OK, while I haven’t pricked myself, I do know that back when losing weight, fasting regularly, VLC mostly I often—not always—had physiologic insulin resistance with fasted readings (even like 24-30 hours into a fast) in the 110-115 range.

    So, yea, I’ve been doing two tbsp of potato starch every night right before bed stirred into a glass of kefir, raw milk, or a mixture. I agree. I find the taste/texture to be quite pleasant. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

    1. Very calm stomach, surprisingly, because I typically like to avoid anything close to bed for fear of reflux.

    2. Often 5-6 hours of completely uninterrupted sleep.

    3. Weirdest of all: my “dreamscape” has changed completely. Rather than off-the-wall weird, short shit that might often keep looping, I’m having long, complex narratives about things more or less current in my life.

    4. I wake up feeling completely rested and ready to go.

    Noticed any changes in dreams?

    So, anyway, I’m now going to do 2 tbsp in the am, 2 before bed.

  27. tatertot on April 17, 2013 at 10:38

    The RS has completely changed my sleep, even the plantain chips had a noticeable effect.

    Here’s what I think is happening: Some time in the middle of the night, you run out of glycogen and the liver has to start converting whatever it converts to form glycogen out of protein or dump excess liver glycogen. This is a stressor and releases other hormones casing disrupted sleep and high morning FBG.

    With the RS, you are better able to partition the glucose/glycogen needs of the brain/muscle/liver and you get a good nights sleep.

    Two big problems in LC Paleo: Disrupted sleep and high FBG. Could the cure be this simple?

    I have noticed more vivid dreams, often ones which I think I’m awake but then realize I’m actually dreaming, feeling well-rested in the morning with perfect FBG.

    I drew a definite correlation this winter with disrupted sleep and high FBG those days, but thought it was the sleep causing the high FBG, now I believe it is the other way around.

    I’d like to get more people involved in this…any FTA readers regularly check FBG or have disrupted sleep?

  28. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 11:58


    Interesting about the “nonproteolytic bacteria,” which I take to mean the bad stuff.

    BTW, have you contacted Bob’s Red Mill to ask whether any significant heat is applied to potatoes in their processing?

  29. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 13:49

    Good info. Looks like just some warm air is used. Amazing that such a fine powder still has 20% water. So, yea, 4 tbls seems what’s needed to get 30g RS.

    Near as I can tell, non-proteolytic are adverse bacteria that produce neurotoxins.

  30. Pauline on April 17, 2013 at 14:30

    I gave my partner half a glass of freshly made kefir mixed with juice of one orange as an after dinner drink around 8.30pm. He felt so sleepy within an hour or so and says he hasn’t felt that kind of ‘have to go to sleep feeling’ since he was a boy? Any thoughts? I am not sure if kefir with orange juice is a good mix for me but I am experimenting and it does taste good. I think I prefer to drink it in the morning.

  31. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 14:32


    Nope nothing like that for me at all. Today, I mixed 20g of whey powder with milk just for a test and that made me a bit sleepy for a couple of hours whereas, never with just milk, kefir or a mix.

  32. Marc on April 17, 2013 at 15:17

    Thank you for sharing. Informative and quality!

    As to your question:
    “I’d like to get more people involved in this…any FTA readers regularly check FBG or have disrupted sleep?”

    A few years ago when i was pretty darn “strict paleo/primal” my sleep was all fucked up! And I used to be a solid sleeper before that.
    For two full years (YES 2!) i shrugged it off justifying it….as in, I’m paleo! Look at all this extra energy i have I don’t need as much sleep anymore. BS!
    The moment i added rice back into the mix, my sleep problems went away. So the depleted glycogen at night makes a lot of sense to me.
    I don’t eat much rice these days…. I found my old love Ms. potato again.


  33. tatertot on April 17, 2013 at 16:13

    I was surfing around trying to find info on the non-proteolytic bacteria referenced above…I couldn’t find much related to that term, but it does seem to indicate bad bacteria.

    What I did find, however, on any reference to proteolytic bacteria, is that it is very beneficial and the best source is fermented milk products like kefir. RS is often talked about in these articles as setting the stage for the probiotics to do their magic.

    So it seems a perfect storm for ideal gut health is set with kefir and potato starch.

  34. Bill on April 17, 2013 at 18:12

    For some reason, my kefir is always better with regular whole milk. Goat milk and raw grass fed milk usually produce clumpy or way-too-acidic kefir. Only regular whole milk gives me the good creamy, yogurt-like stuff. Are you getting this too?

  35. Natalie on April 17, 2013 at 18:24

    We must be on the same wavelength Richard. I’ve just made a new batch of sauerkraut, got some pickiling cukes to try for the first time and I’m waiting for the kefir cultures from the Kefir lady to arrive next week.

    I’m also contemplating trying einkorn sourdough bread (Weston Price style). Definitely not paleo, but as the ancient form of wheat einkorn is higher in protein, lower in carbs and, most importantly, much lower in gluten. Even Dr. Davis of the Wheat Belly fame didn’t have any issues with ancient varieties of wheat. According to Weston Price people, the fermentation makes gluten less of a problem. I’m thinking one or two slices a day won’t kill me and it’ll stop my non-paleo friends and family members from complaining I don’t bake bread anymore.

  36. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 18:29


    First, I have zero idea what you mean by “acidic.” Can you explicate where that comes from?

    Clumpy. Jesus and the Fucking Christ already, how many times do I have to repeat in a fucking million comments to stick blend it, stupid?

  37. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 18:31

    …Bill: that’s tough love, man. :)

  38. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2013 at 19:38


    Let me know how it goes,

    I’m pretty comfy being 90% gluten grain free. I’d rather just have a burger now & then, or couple slices of pizza (nothing like the large I used to down) and call it a day. To me personally, I’d rather just live with my indulgences as they are than spend a lot of time and effort trying to duplicate them but not,

    Dairy is a whole other issue for me, and this is something that Paleo will need to reconcile sooner or later.

  39. marie on April 17, 2013 at 21:15

    I get about the same thing as you (but never too clumpy, use the stick blender, man! :))
    It’s ‘way-too-acidy’ , but only if I run the raw milk kefir fermentation for the same time, more or less, as the store-bought milk one.
    The reason, perhaps, is that the process runs faster in raw milk, that is, it goes further than for Pasteurized-Homogenized milk in the same amount of time.

    Nerd-alert : Sour/acidy is the flavor imparted basically by lactic acid, since fermenting lactose gives lactic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide. So more acidy flavor means more acid, as the simplest explanation (one can imagine others, but Occam’s for now….).
    My more acidy batches are also ‘frothier’ which again points to the process running more towards completion.
    Now Why does it, perhaps, run further for raw milk than pasteurized?
    Dunno, there are several possibilities. Pick, anything from “there are bugs there already” to “it’s also not homogenized so the lactose may be more easily separated and attacked” to….some foo factor.

    So, you may want to try to use 1/2 – 2/3 the time as for your store-bought milk to see if it tastes better (and let me know if you do? curious to see if it’s same effect….)

  40. tatertot on April 18, 2013 at 14:22

    Richard – The stuff in the first link is Hi-Maize. It is made from corn and is a modified starch (Resistant Starch Type 4). It is modified so that it can withstand the heat of baking. It also comes from specially GMO corn bred for high amylose content.

    Hi-Maize is a product of National Starch who was recently bought by Ingredion–these are the companies that formerly supplied all of our High Fructose Corn Syrup needs! I guess they need a new marketing strategy for their corn due to the loss of the HFCS market.

    Anyway, Hi-Maize is only 45% RS whereas Raw Potato Starch is 78% (according to several sources such as: table 2)

    The link above is what got me looking at Bob’s Red Mill as a source of RS. I have a feeling that RS is soon going to be on everyone’s agenda and Ingredion will be looking to lead the way with their franken-corn Hi-Maize!

  41. Shelley on April 18, 2013 at 04:52

    @Marie, Bill – using raw milk, I have had to cut back the kefir fermenting time from originally 24 hr to 12 hr to now 6-9 hours. I am also trying a new technique, since it’s so warm here in FLA and it would be ridiculous to think I can keep the A/C running to have a 72 degree home, I put the jar in a stainless steel bowl filled with a couple inches of water. Despite the house averaging about 79 degrees, the water keeps the jar at about 72 and hence slows down the ferment process a bit. I have also done this with my other vegetable ferments. So until I can find a kimchi refrigerator, I have quite a few stainless bowls lined up on the counter.

    I also use a pickl-it jar to lock out the oxygen, so I have no idea if that speeds up or slows down the process, but I assume it’s the same as Richard’s jars that are locked shut.

  42. LeonRover on April 18, 2013 at 05:04

    Yes, Richard, the dairy thing is a whole other problem for pHaleo.

    Cordain make two claims against dairy:

    i) lactase non-persistence in a very high %age of World population, coupled with occurrence of lactose problems in some persons
    ii) that the casein protein is problematic for some.

    Some milk producers provide a product which cleaves di-sacc lactose into mono-saccs glucose and galactose.

    You would seem to have found that kefir is a solution to ii).

    As an aside most Paleos are wine drinkers and thus presumably carriers of alcohol dehyrogenase (ADH).

    Many from the Far East, Japanese in particular, do not carry ADH and have problems with ethanol. Far Eastern populations comprise a large proportion of World Population, yet Paleos do not advise against CH2.CH3.OH in general.

    I note that Paleo hero Lindeberg’s comparison diets have an alcohol allowance. Hmmmmm!

    Another thought – I have seen speculation that ADH has arisen in populations with sweet fruit eating habits to deal with fermentation from air borne yeasts.

  43. Bill Lagakos on April 18, 2013 at 05:31

    By ‘too acidic,’ I meant ‘unpleasantly tart.’

    WRT stick blending: this isn’t an issue anymore – just moved to Jersey, can’t find raw grass fed milk anywhere :/

  44. tatertot on April 18, 2013 at 20:01

    Joshua – That’s a good point. I’m all for a healthy gut, in fact I think it’s probably the biggest controllable factor in a person’s health. I really can’t imagine that eating RS for a while and then stopping would be harmful, I was just throwing that out there…as far as I know, there is no diet protocol in the world wherein the person is eating 30-40g/day of quality RS source, but that’s what all the studies use and most of the recommendations from those studies suggest is healthful.

    Today at lunch, I had a large baked potato w/only ketchup, and tracked my BG afterwards. Normally I would see a spike of 150-200 at the one hour point returning to 90’s by hour 3. Today, I saw a peak at 30 minutes of 140 and 95 at 1 hour, 80 at hour 2 and 85 at hour 3. I have been tracking my FBG and periodic potato meal post-prandials, and I have never seen a return to normal as fast as today’s.

    In my little mind, this fully proves that the ‘second-meal effect’ works extremely well with RS. My first meal today was 40g potato starch in water, and there was zero glucose response with first meal.
    2nd Meal Effect w/RS described here:

  45. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2013 at 06:29


    You may still want to go with the stick. Even when I experimented with ghetto pasteurized, it still clumps up and I like mine smooth (as well as tart—the tarter the better, for me). Actually, kefir is probably the ideal way to make bad milk into something way better if one cannot get raw pastured.

    BTW, readers might find this interesting, on the issue of whether milk cows should be fed any grains/seeds:

  46. Austin Pitts on April 18, 2013 at 10:10

    Hey tatertot! Glad to see your comments again! I just ordered the potato starch and will start taking it Saturday before bed. Do you recommend starting with 2 T’s right away? For what it’s worth I had two potato’s for dinner last night and had a really lengthy dream like Richard described. May have been a placebo effect but it was very noticeable since that’s different from the norm.

  47. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2013 at 13:09


    Got a response from Bob’s Red Mill, not good:

    Hi Richard,

    Thank you for contacting Bob’s Red Mill!

    The potatoes are boiled during the process of creating Potato Starch.
    Please feel free to contact me if you need help with anything else.
    Have a great day!

    Josh Wenzel
    Customer Service Representative
    Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc.
    (800) 349-2173

  48. Natalie on April 18, 2013 at 13:13

    “I’m pretty comfy being 90% gluten grain free. I’d rather just have a burger now & then, or couple slices of pizza (nothing like the large I used to down) and call it a day. To me personally, I’d rather just live with my indulgences as they are than spend a lot of time and effort trying to duplicate them but not,”

    Well I’m with you on this one. Even sourdough is still an indulgency to me and is more for my family’s benefit (or so I’m telling myself). I’ve found a few recipes online which use kefir or kefir whey instead of sourdough starter with no-knead (slow rise) method. If I have too much kefir or whey from kefir cheese it seems like a decent way to utilize it.

    “Dairy is a whole other issue for me, and this is something that Paleo will need to reconcile sooner or later.”

    I’m reading Nina Planck’s Real Food, the chapter on dairy is quite comprehensive (especially for those of us too lazy to dig into the sources she cites).

    Apparently cow (and other mammals) had been domesticated for a lot longer than previously thought, i.e. during paleolithic (or late paleo) times. If humans and cows have evolved alongside each other it’s reasonable to assume our ancestors tried to make milk more palatable and nutritious.

  49. Galina L. on April 18, 2013 at 13:40

    I think fermented salsa will be a nice addition to your collection of jars with fermenting things. In order to do it, I just chop preferable ingredients, add salt and couple Tbs of picking juice from another jar with already well-developed population of wild yeasts and bacteria and leave the salsa weighted on a counter-top for couple days. I prefer to add fresh herbs to my salsa.

  50. tatertot on April 18, 2013 at 14:06

    I’ll bet the Bob’s Red Mill people are scratching their heads…I asked the same question and got this reply:

    “Our potato starch is made from starch potatoes using an extraction process. Starch potatoes are mechanically peeled and boiled then ground into a pulp. After grinding the potatoes and separating the fruit water from the potato pulp, the starch is extracted out of the potato pulp with tap water. The starch is then separated from the fibres by fine sieving.The extracted starch passes the fine sieve and fibres flow off the sieve. For more information, please contact our customer service team at 800-349-2173. Thanks!”

    However, I don’t think this is accurate and called the number–they are going to contact the manufacturer (they don’t make it themselves) and let me know.

    What could be going on is the potatoes are blasted with boiling water to clean them, but they are not ‘boiled’ as in ‘cooked’.

    I found this description as to how it’s done in one potato starch factory:

    “…It is a suspension of starch in water, which needs dewatering up to 20% of moisture. This is equivalent to the moisture content of commercial starch when stored. High temperature cannot be use in this process because of the danger of starch gelatinization which destoyes granular structure. It may result in significant changes of the functional starch properties. Therefore, removal of excess water from milk shall be done only under conditions that prevent the gelatinization of starch.

    Dewatering of refined starch milk is carried out in two stages. In the first stage the excess water is removed by means of a rotary vacuum filter. Secondly moist starch is dried, without starch pasting. For this purpose a pneumatic dryier is used. In this device moist starch (with water content 36 – 40%) is floating in strong and hot (160°C) air flow and then dried during 2 – 3 seconds. Then, the starch is separated from hot air in cyclons. Due to short time of high temperature drying and intensive water evaporation from the starch granules, it’s surface is heated only to 40°C.”

    So, I will let you know if I hear back, but I don’t think it’s possible to extract starch from cooked potatoes.

  51. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2013 at 14:10

    @ tater

    Found this:

    According to this, 4.5g per T:

    So, that would require 6.5 T to get to 30g.

    Got a reply to a follow-up to Bob’s saying they have no info regarding what percentage of the PS product is resistant starch.

  52. tatertot on April 18, 2013 at 14:12

    Splitting this up for coherency:

    Today, I did a test with Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch to see if it had an effect on my blood glucose.

    For reference, a 1/2 pound potato contains 35g carbohydrates and will spike my blood sugar to approx 175mg/dl at 1 hour post-prandial.

    I drank a mixture of cold water and 4TBS of potato starch on an empty stomach. 4TBS is 40g carbohydrates according to the nutrition label.

    I started with an FBG of 89. At 30 minutes, it was still 89. At 60 minutes it was 93. At 2 hours 85. At 3 hours it was 82.

    So, I think this confirms that Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch is a good source of Resistant Starch. If it were not RS, my blood sugar would have spiked similar to eating a plain potato.

  53. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2013 at 14:14

    Well, then, that’s all good news. Thanks.

  54. tatertot on April 18, 2013 at 14:30

    Austin Pitts – I think anywhere from 2-4TBS a day no matter how you spread it out or eat it would be fine. It’s almost like eating nothing–your stomach and small intestine can’t digest it, so there should be no discomfort or gas. I noticed no gas or distress after drinking 4TBS mixed with water on an empty stomach.

    Some studies show that the gut changes that occur start immediately and are maxed out at 28-32 days. I’ve seen potato starch recommended to people with IBS and also to prevent diarrhea in cholera cases. It’s also used in organic pig farms so that they can raise pigs without antibiotics–the things you learn on Free The Animal, huh?

    Try mixing the starch with a bit of cold water and mix with berries/fruit, or in milk/kefir, or in a smoothie of some sort. It mixes really well and tastes smooth–not grainy or flour-y. Just mixed with a cup of water is easy to take, too.

  55. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2013 at 15:49


    Did you ever see this? Found it a while back, checking to see if Paul Jaminet had ever touched on RS.

    Anyway, sure looks like the potato starch is the optimal way to go.

  56. Bill on April 18, 2013 at 15:53

    Who cares if it’s not Paleo. Kefir is warrior.

  57. tatertot on April 18, 2013 at 16:19

    That’s funny–commenter ‘Rhonda W’ turned out to be a marketing rep from National Starch hawking corn starch to Paul J.!

    A lot of the studies done on RS were done by National Starch, trying to make Hi-Maize look good. It probably is a good product to get in the SAD food-chain, but I will pass on it.

    RS from potatoes is a funny thing. Raw (or raw starch) is very high, boiled very low, but roasted at high temps or even fried in oil they retain a lot of RS. Roasted or boiled and cooled and they form another type RS (retrograded RS). Some studies show very high RS in roasted potatoes.

    I like to tell people to eat potatoes in as many ways as they can, even a slice or two of raw, to get the most RS you can. Now, I’m keeping an empty Whey Protein Powder jar full of Bob’s Red Mill PS on my counter–the scoop that comes in whey protein is about 4TBS. It’s easier to scoop than pour from the bag.

    Here’s what I am wondering, though: Let’s say you eat 4TBS of PS daily for several months, you develop super-human gut flora and a hypertrophied colon (presumably a good thing). Then you quit eating it…what happens? I guess you just go back to where you were. Or does this big, monster large intestine now demand more RS and will atrophy if not fed? I’m also wondering how to go about figuring a minimum effective dose. I hate to start something I can’t adopt long-term and you’d look like a drug-dealer bringing a baggy full of potato starch everywhere you go.

  58. marie on April 18, 2013 at 16:23

    Shelley, thanks a lot for sharing, that makes one more who’s noticed the time difference, but better yet, your ‘countertop engineering’ (!) with the steel bowls sounds so easy, I’ll be trying that this summer.

  59. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2013 at 16:48


    How long will the salsa keep in the fridge after fermentation? That’s always been one of my deals. I love fresh salsa as opposed to the crap in jars, but it doesn’t keep worth a shit.

  60. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2013 at 16:51


    Good to know. I love roasting potatoes and making oven fries, which I typically do at 500F.

  61. Joshua on April 18, 2013 at 17:34

    Tatertot – I’d be hesitant to assume that an adult human will develop a “hypertrophied colon”. The pigs in the cited study were “growing pigs”. I’m not sure what that means, but maybe adolescent animals? I would expect different results from adolescent animals vs. adults. i.e. I’d guess that your colon is probably not going to change much – though the biota almost certainly will.

  62. tatertot on April 18, 2013 at 20:07

    One of my sources for the differing levels of RS in potatoes was:

    Tuber products were also an important source of starch in the subjects’ diets. In our di
    etary survey, the daily intake was estimated to be 149 g. Potato and sweet potato ac-
    counted for 59 g and 56 g, respectively. The RS content in boiled potatoes and fried potatoes were similar, 4.37% and 5.19%, respectively. High RS levels were found in the deep-fried products, like
    potato chips (9.05%). Even higher RS contents were found in steamed and cooled potato (refrigerated for 24 h) and roasted and cooled (in a refrigerator for 24h) potato, 31.0% and 52.5%, respectively, suggesting an influence of the deep-frying and roasting process on RS forma
    tion. According to Åkerberg t al, refrigeration of boiled potatoes might influence the
    formation of retrograded starch considerably. Therefore, when steamed or roasted potatoes were stored at 4degC for 24 h, the RS contents presumably increased considerably. The nature of the RS formed was probably retrograded amylopectin, since retrogradation of amylose is favored at
    around 100 C. In addition, the RS fractions in the fried yam slices and steamed taro were also considerable. “

  63. Jessica K on April 18, 2013 at 20:43

    Tater, just one comment. I how the ketchup was fermented.

  64. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on April 18, 2013 at 20:57

    1. why is “hypertrophied colon” a good thing?

    2. why is boiled potato starch a bad thing?
    it’s still minimally processed. yes?

    3. if you prefer the potato starch to be raw for RS, doesn’t RS form again if potato is cooled down?

    (RS is new to me)

  65. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on April 18, 2013 at 21:02

    you could also add those Chinese Si-Chuan (?) brown pepper corn. those are the only spice/seasoning i use in fermenting cabbage.

    those are dark red then become brown once fermented or cooked. they’re not hot/ i.e., they don’t burn your tongue or lips (more like tingle & buzz on tongue)

    happy fermenting,

  66. tatertot on April 19, 2013 at 08:03

    Dr. CG – The ‘hypertrophied colon’ reference was from one of the studies above where they fed raw potato starch to young piglets and then dissected them at various points to see the effect on the intestines. They discovered that they had ‘hypertrophied colons’ as compared to non-RPS fed pigs.

    I sssume they just mean that the colons of those pigs were thicker and longer, which was a ‘good thing’ for pig growers. I doubt eating potato starch will put the colon of an otherwise healthy adult human into growth overdrive.

    The deal with potato starch is, when it’s in a raw potato or unmodified potato starch–removed with cold water–it retains it’s indigestible cell wall that can only be digested by humans in the large intestine where it becomes food for beneficial gut bacteria that otherwise remain underfed in most humans. The colon is lined with special cells called ‘colonocytes’ that can convert RS into short-chain fatty acid. This process makes the colonocytes healthier and better able to assimilate vitamins and minerals and also blocks the absorption of cholesterol and helps to regulate blood glucose among other things.

    Once heated, the cell walls of RS granules swell and burst, turning them into RDS (Rapidly Digestible Starch) which is fully digested in the stomach and small intestine.

    RS that forms in cooked and cooled potatoes is called retrograded RS and is a bit different than the RS found in RPS. It is still good, but there is only a tiny fraction found in cooked and cooled potatoes compared to raw or RPS.

    If you don’t want to go to great lengths to get RS from potato starch, the second best way is to eat potatoes cooked in a variety of ways, ie. fried, roasted, boiled, cold and raw, every day. Also eat cold rice and green bananas when available. Still, doing this, you’d be lucky to exceed 10g/day of RS.

    The SAD is said to provide 3-5g/day, the LC Paleo diet provides 0-1g/day. The recommendation for optimal gut health seems to be 20-50g/day, which is easily accomplished with 2-4TBS of potato starch and including potatoes, cold rice, and green bananas in your diet. Legumes, such as kidney beans are also a good source, but not really paleo.

  67. Galina L. on April 19, 2013 at 08:12

    From the perspective of foods not being “Paleo”, it is difficult to imagine that our ancestors ate much of uncooked tubers, choose green bananas over ripe ones or waited until cooked starchy roots got cold.

  68. tatertot on April 19, 2013 at 08:40

    A list of RS containing foods available to the ancient man makes it very believable he got lots of RS:
    – Nuts
    – Seeds
    – Legumes
    – Tubers
    – Vegetables (Water caltrop, Water chestnut, Lotus root, Water bamboo, Pumpkin, wax gourd Lily, dried Garlic bulb, Silverweed cinquefoil, Kidney bean, green, with pod, Hyacinth bean, green, w
    with pod, Pale green soybean, without seed coat)
    – Fruits (bananas, plantains)

  69. Austin Pitts on April 19, 2013 at 09:09

    tatertot – Glad to hear about the mouthfeel of it. Although I’ll try anything, a feel of grittiness would be tough to overcome. Also glad to hear about the IBS and diarrhea too, for whatever reason stuff just hasn’t been regular down there lately. Looks like Bobs should be delivered tonight so I’ll be trying it out sooner and let you know.

  70. tatertot on April 19, 2013 at 09:15

    Try mixing 2-4TBS with a cup of yogurt, if you do yogurt.

    Last night, I had a big scoop mixed in a bowl with a mashed banana, cocoa powder, and a handful of blueberries. It mixes easier with stuff if you wet it down first–turn it into a runny paste with a bit of water.

    It would probably also be awesome in some homemade icecream made with kefir.

  71. Galina L. on April 19, 2013 at 09:17

    From the look at the list tatertot provided it looks like the potential amount of resistant starches consumed by HG could be small and occasional.

  72. tatertot on April 19, 2013 at 09:31

    It’s not hard for me to imagine that if an H-G type was grubbing around for food, and had to get 2-4000kcal/day from stuff he could find, dig, or kill, he would end up eating a lot of RS, even if it was in small, occasional doses. Probably even truer for the very earliest ancestors of ours before they started cooking.

    I just think it’s ironic that the paleo diet, especially the brand that excludes potatoes, is nearly void of RS. All paleo writers talk of the importance of gut health, but downplay the importance of RS. I may be completely wrong about the relative importance of RS, but Dr Oz was talking about it the other day, so it MUST be true!

  73. Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2013 at 09:45


    Can you email me? I have a proposal for you.

  74. Natalie on April 19, 2013 at 10:34

    I don’t have potato starch on hand, is this gonna work with arrowroot or tapioca?

  75. tatertot on April 19, 2013 at 10:47

    re: arrowroot or tapioca?

    No idea. There is little published data on the RS in refined starches, the only ones I have found are the manufactured corn starches (Hi-Maize, etc..) and raw potato starch.

    Richard – I emailed you at, is that still a good email?

  76. Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2013 at 10:52


    You should have gotten my reply already.

  77. Bill Lagakos on April 19, 2013 at 10:52

    I don’t think the Paleo “brand” exclusively prohibits potatoes – Lindeberg allowed potatoes in both of his big Paleo intervention studies (PMID 19604407 & 17583796), and these Swedes did too (PMID 17522610).

  78. tatertot on April 19, 2013 at 11:18

    It’s funny – most paleo authors/bloggers like potatoes, but the end-users often stop eating them in an effort to cut carbs. Most people see potatoes as one big carb molecule. It seems many paleo followers like to keep carbs under 100g, which they get mostly from fruit, non-starchy veggies and cheat sugars. This makes potatoes, at about 40g carbs per serving, an easy target for curbing carbs.

  79. Jessica K on April 19, 2013 at 11:27

    I think another Paleo argument against the potato its that there are much better alternatives that supply more micro nutrients. In other words, there isn’t that much to trade off for the calories/carbs.

  80. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on April 19, 2013 at 13:05


    i think potato is not that nutritionally poor tho.

    bye now,

  81. Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2013 at 13:12


    People can actually live exclusively off potatoes and tubers, because of the complete protein.

    Let me know of another vegetable.

  82. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on April 19, 2013 at 13:26



    1. i’d prefer sushi to raw plain potato or green banana (tastes better, easier to digest)

    2. thicker colon is probably better. longer, may be not, wouldn’t they tangle?

  83. Natalie on April 19, 2013 at 14:18

    Richard, have you tried adding carrots and/or cranberries to sauerkraut? I always add them for extra flavor and vitamins.

    Unrelated: Boston lockdown threatens my weekend milk run! I’ll go anyway, screw the government.

  84. Galina L. on April 19, 2013 at 14:36

    In my native Russia sauerkraut always prepared with grated carrots (1-2 carrots for one head of cabbage), sometimes cranberries are added as well. Usually sauerkraut is served with thinly sliced raw onion or green onion and sunflower oil(I use olive oil). Sometimes shredded apple is added, especially when fermented cabbage gets too sour at the end. It is the Eastern European style to do sauerkraut.

    It looks like Richard uses the Northern European style – with caraways seeds, sometimes dill seeds, coriander and even juniper berries get used. Northern Europeans use caraway seeds a lot, usually bake their rye bread with it.

  85. Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2013 at 16:22


    Damn right. Milk has a shelf life. It doesn’t wait for anyone.


    Yea, my dad is a German immigrant and caraway seeds are how sauerkraut is done. In cooked form, it’s pork spareribs braised for hours in the kraut & juice, with onion, until fall off the bone. Served with bread and butter.

  86. Galina L. on April 19, 2013 at 17:41

    I remember two main dishes made out of a sauerkraut – cabbage soup made with sauerkraut , beef on a bone and dried porcini mushrooms. Sounds like nothing special, but I love it. It is what my mom cooks for me when I visit. Another dish – the equivalent of a Polish bigos – stew of several meats, mostly pork, and sausages with the mix of cabbage and fermented cabbage, with added bay leaf, a lot of black pepper, sauteed onions and carrots. I guess it is very close by taste to the braised ribs you described.

  87. Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2013 at 18:05

    Try this Galina

    1 polish sausage cut into cubes
    1 onion, chopped
    1 head of cabbage, chopped, as much as you need
    1-2 cans of diced tomatoes
    Water as needed

    Bring to a boil, simmer about 30 minutes. Dare you to not go for seconds.

  88. Galina L. on April 19, 2013 at 18:50

    OK, I will give it a try. Probably, I will saute the onion and add a bay leaf. The wonderful cabbage/kielbasa combination. On a LC diet veggies became my indulgence food.
    Sounds close to a bigos with tomatoes as a source of acidity.

  89. Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2013 at 18:57

    Yea, that’ll work too. Might as well brown the kielbasa while you’re at it. :)

  90. Bill on April 19, 2013 at 23:32

    @Tater, great observation, but it gets me wondering: by that definition (<100g CHO/d), they'd be bona fide LC; why not pwn it instead of sticking with the label "Paleo" ? Is it because Atkins Bars et al. aren't Paleo?

    @N, G, RN, etc.,
    These comments are like a 'kraut revolution for me. I thought I was getting dicey with a half a clove of garlic or 2-3 shiitake mushrooms per head of cabbage (or even a bifidobacteria pill). Never even thought of cranberries and carrots.

  91. Galina L. on April 20, 2013 at 20:47

    Bill, there are so many variations in fermenting, it is easy to write a book. Here is another one – cut a head of a cabbage into 8 wedges, add several slices of beet, chopped carrot, several garlic cloves. Boil enough water to submerge the cabbage, add to the water 2 Tbs of salt per one liter, spices (bay leaf, cloves, all spice, black pepper, red pepper). Pure water over cabbage and other veggies, put some weight to keep solids down. After all cools down,remove the bay leaf and add several spoons of alive brine from any jar with fermented vegetables. Let your cabbage to ferment on a counter-top for couple days since the start of fermenting, move to a fridge for a week or two before eating.
    You can do it with mushrooms.

  92. Natalie on April 24, 2013 at 14:10

    Three weeks of drinking a pint of raw milk every day and no IBS flare ups. And I’m not even squeaky clean – although I do try to avoid fodmaps as much as I can. Unfermented cabbage has cause distress before but sauerkraut is fine. Can’t wait for my kefir grains to come in.

    By the way, I tried the einkorn bread (slow rising method) – worked out pretty well and didn’t cause any issues. The problem is, it’s very hard to keep myself from eating half a loaf when it’s fresh from the oven so the weight starts to creep up. I won’t be doing it every day (or even every week). It helps that einkorn flour is more expensive than regular whole grain wheat.

  93. EF on May 9, 2013 at 08:22

    Just made my first batch of kefir with live grains ordered over the net. Total bust. Almost zero coagulation after 24 hours. There were some curds attached to the grains when I strained it. My second batch is fermenting now. Hoping for better results. I think the grains just need to get stronger. They were in transit for 5 days.

    Anyone else have their first batch or two not come out? Thanks

  94. Richard Nikoley on May 9, 2013 at 09:38


    the grains I ordered first were in milk and worked the first time from a small amount. As they grew, I would get increasing separation into curds & whey, still fine but not as creamy. Then I got clever and did the second ferment which worked great, so I got too clever by half and I think I partially compromised my grains. I put about a cup of OJ into the ferment instead of waiting til done and going a second time without the grains. Possibly the acidity or whatever from the OJ did bad things but can’t be sure.

    I was getting sour but thin and not think kefir after that, lots of separation. So, went to the store and bought quality kefir and added about a cup to each ferment hoping to revitalize. Took a while but seems to have worked. Now I’m getting perfectly thick and creamy kefir again and culling the grains each time such that I only have about 2 teaspoons worth for each quart.

  95. EF on May 9, 2013 at 11:15

    RN – thanks for the response.

    My grains came rinsed (no milk). I also think I need to let it go for longer than 24 hours. My kitchen is fairly cool by kefir standards – 68 degrees. Second fermenting sounds like the way to go but first I need to get the first ferment down…. I have about 1.5 tablespoons for 2 cups of raw cow milk (as instructed). Also, I am pouring cold milk over the grains. But my research says that is ok. Also just ordered The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. Fermentation is damn neat.

  96. Richard Nikoley on May 9, 2013 at 11:26


    Yes, if they come rinsed or dehydrated the info I’ve seen is it takes about a week to get then ready. 1 cup of fresh milk per day, let sit out for 24 hours, dump the milk & refresh. Cheap pasteurized is probably the way to go for that.

  97. EF on May 9, 2013 at 11:44

    I’ll give that a try because it sounds right to me but the website I bought from said the first batch would be fine.

    Checking with the seller too for help. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again.

  98. EF on May 10, 2013 at 14:07


    Second batch was great. My source told me I was using too much milk. So I extended the ferment time to about 40 hours. Nice and thick with small lumps and no separation. Current batch has only 1 cup of milk so i can get the ferment time to 24 hours. Once I get rolling I will try the second ferment. Stevia and a little vanilla extract makes it into a nice treat.

  99. Kelly-Lee on May 14, 2013 at 13:22


    Don’t open those pickle and kraut jars! Lea Harris of ‘Nourishing Treasures’ did an exhaustive fermenting experiment testing 18 different jars/pickling methods, including analysis of the contents after 23 days. Both these posts are a MUST READ for lacto-ferment enthusiasts!

    The Science Behind Sauerkraut Fermentation

    Sauerkraut Survivor – Final Report

  100. Richard Nikoley on May 14, 2013 at 13:48

    Ha, Kelly-Lee

    Thanks. Haven’t read thoroughly, but I will. Read just enough. Seems my significant experience with creating a microcosm in a salt water aquarium reef tank (water chemistry is everything and thousands of dollars of invertabates count on it) led me to do the right conclusion. Anaerobic buggers.

    What I had to do was set bot on plates to catch the seepage as the internal pressure and volume pushed fluid beyond the seal. Kept it out about 4 days, then 2 weeks in fridge, still sealed. The Kraut is fucking amazing. The cucs are snappy at the rind, a bit too mushy in the center.

    Angelo of Latest in Paleo said adding grape leaves made his pickles snappy.

  101. Kelly-Lee on May 15, 2013 at 11:47

    I have a 3 quart jar thats been fermenting away happily in the kitchen cupboard for 3 weeks. I’ve had to change the towels I set it on twice due to overflow and the cabbage is now firmly pressed against the lid (I didn’t insert a plate or bowl inside) but the contents haven’t discoloured at all. Going to wait until 12 weeks have passed before opening it. I was thinking of doing some cucumbers in the meantime – I like mine with a couple of whole, peeled garlic cloves in the bottom of the jar. Grapes sound interesting too though… might have to try that one.

  102. Kelly the Kitchen Kop on May 21, 2013 at 05:44

    Hey Rich, you’re officially a real foodie freak now, too! My favorite is fermented carrots, have you tried those yet?

    (Sorry I just now saw this, I’m on FB more than Twitter these days.)

    Kelly p.s. Can you email me? I don’t know if I still have your email address and want to ask you something:

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