Q & A: March 13, 2011

by Ann Marie Michaels on March 13, 2011

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"Yes! Even Goggle Hasn't All The Answers"

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Question: Replacing Plastic Freezer Bags and Kombucha While Nursing?

1) I store my veggie scraps in a freezer bag for stock, but I am trying to go plastic free. Can you recommend a way to store them in the freezer without using plastics or aluminum?

2) I am nursing currently, but I would like to start drinking kombucha. I was wondering, since it has detox effects, is it safe to drink while nursing and how much can/should I drink?

– Theresa

Answer

1) I’ve been thinking about this myself. I use plastic freezer bags, too. I love the convenience but I don’t love the plastic.

I am personally not comfortable freezing with glass since I worry about the glass breaking. I would be comfortable using the OLD Pyrex… or Pyrex from Europe.

Even though the manufacturer claims that Pyrex is safe for freezing or for high temperatures, I don’t trust them anymore. I’ve had 3 Pyrex glass pans shatter in the past few years, and my Pyrex measuring cup has chipped. The old vintage Pyrex never ever chipped, and never shattered.

According to a thread on Chowhound:

Pyrex in US used to be made of borosilicate glass, now the Pyrex bakeware you see are made with soda lime glass. The Pyrex lab glassware are still made with borosilicate glass.

In short borosilicate glass has a very low thermal expansion coefficient which is why scientists have little problem using these borosilicate lab glassware for chemical reactions. Not to say they will never break, but they are resistant to thermal shock. Soda lime glass is not. Therefore you hear all these US Pyrex bakeware breaking.

I kept saying US Pyrex, because European Pyrex are still made with borosilicate glass.

I do plan to start collecting vintage Pyrex, which you can find on Ebay or at garage sales. And, this summer we are going to Europe, and you can bet I will be lugging back a suitcase full of the real borosilicate glass Pyrex!

I have another idea for freezing things like veggie scraps and chicken bones that doesn’t involve glass: butcher paper. I am planning to get a big roll of butcher paper, the kind you can get at a restaurant supply store. Here’s what it looks like. You can get a dispenser to cut it — although I’m not sure yet where to find those. Oh wait here you go.

I also like butcher paper because you can use it to wrap sandwiches and snacks in for travel. And butcher paper is compostable, unlike wax paper.

The problem with butcher paper is that it’s not ideal for long-term storage in the freezer. Apparently people used to use “freezer paper” which is a plastic-lined paper (similar to wax paper). But freezer paper is not compostable.

I think it would be fine to use butcher paper for chicken feet and veggie scraps that you will be using in the near future. You just need some making tape and a sharpie on hand to always mark what’s inside, along with the date (which I do anyway with my freezer bags).

There is another way to make butcher paper more suitable for long-term storage. I just found this post that explains that there are some kinds of wax paper that are made with natural wax, not plastic. So you could, as the blogger suggests, use an inner layer of wax paper (with natural wax, which would be compostable), and an outer layer of butcher paper. I think that’s a very good solution!

2) Kombucha is safe to drink while pregnant or nursing. It is a traditional fermented food, just like yogurt or sauerkraut.

You only need to worry about “detoxing” if you are very toxic. The good micro flora we have in our gut is responsible for detoxifying the majority of the toxins we ingest and absorb.

What makes you toxic? in my opinion, the number one thing is dental work. Root canals or cavitations caused by wisdom teeth extractions cause the most amount of toxicity (“A zillion times worse than mercury fillings,” according to Hal Huggins.)

Mercury fillings are also very toxic, since they outgas every time you chew. However, the cavitaitons and root canal sites harbor toxic pathogenic bacteria which act like magnets, attracting all the mercury and other heavy metals and holding them in the jaw. Yuck, right?

That said, I would not have dental surgery to remove mercury fillings or root canals, or have your cavitations cleaned out while you are pregnant or nursing. I’d wait until after you are done nursing.

The other major thing that makes you toxic is having a lack of good bacteria. If you don’t have adequate amounts of good flora in your digestive tract, you are not going to be able to properly detoxify.

So, what to do? Wait until after you’re done nursing to start adding probiotics and fermented foods? If you are already depleted of good micro flora, then your breast milk is too, and so is your baby. So I would say it is much more important to start taking probioitcs or eating fermented foods so that you can start giving them to your baby via your breast milk.

So even if you do have a lot of major dental work which is making you toxic, that’s even more reason to get more probiotics into your diet. Not only for your sake, but for your baby’s. Because if you are toxic, your milk is already toxic. Probiotics can only help the baby detoxify.

The only caveat — you may want to go slow if you are very toxic. Start with small amounts of kombucha, other fermented foods, and probiotics and gradually increase over time.

Question: Ways to Use Raw Milk?

I would love to know all the different things to do with the raw milk once you get it (i.e. Making butter? Separating the cream? Can you freeze it? How long does it last, etc.)

And, I would love to know more about recipes and uses for the whey after making yogurt cheese/kefir cheese.

– Amanda

Answer

There are lots of ways to use raw milk. I don’t personally like to separate the cream because I like to drink whole milk, not skim milk.

However, if you wanted to, you could separate the cream and use it to make butter, and you could use the skim milk to make buttermilk or yogurt, which you could use for things like marinating chicken — or you could feed the skim milk to pigs (if you’ve got ‘em).

You can also make yogurt, kefir and cheese with your raw milk.

I don’t have time to make butter, so I buy cream and butter separately. Our raw milk is really expensive here in California, so I buy mostly pasteurized grass-fed butter and cheese (although I do buy some of it raw).

You can freeze milk, cream, butter and cheese. Freezing changes the texture slightly in everything except the butter. The milk and cream gets a little clumpy and the cheese gets crumbly. If you grate your cheese first, then freeze it, it’s fine. I don’t mind the slight clumpiness of the milk or cream, because it saves me a lot of driving to buy my milk in bulk just once a month or every 6 weeks — instead of having to go back and forth every week.

My milk tends to keep 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

I use my whey for fermented salsa, sauerkraut, probiotic ketchup and mustard, and mayonnaise. You can even take storebought condiments and make them fermented just by adding a little whey. See my post on how to make 30-second fermented salsa and other condiments.

I also add whey when I’m soaking black beans, oatmeal, and rice.

You can also add whey to smoothies, applesauce, soups, and a variety of other things you want to add more nutrition to.

Here are some more ideas from Jen Allbritton on the Weston A. Price Foundation site:

* Drink it! Drink it straight or mix it in with a fermented beverage or hot tea.
* Freeze whey into ice cubes and blend them into smoothies for a more slushy texture or cool-down a beverage on a hot day.
* Replace a portion of the water used to cook grains.
* Include in soaking water in legumes and grains to improve digestibility (see Nourishing Traditions for details).
* Lacto-ferment almost anything – apples, zucchini, cabbage, cherry chutney, ginger carrots—see Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
* Feed to pets – chickens, dogs, cats, they all can benefit from this nourishing liquid.

Whey will keep in the fridge for many months — or you can freeze it for longer.

Submit Your Question

If you have a question to submit, please email it to me at questions@cheeseslave.com.

If you have an URGENT question that you can’t wait to get answered, please post it on my Facebook page. I tend to get on Facebook pretty much daily. I can’t promise to answer all the questions on Facebook, but I try! (Note: Please do NOT email me on Facebook — I can’t get through my email on there!)

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