Kefir Madness: Probiotic Pumpkin “Pie”

Another holiday season is upon us, with its attendant stress. That’s not to say that it can’t still be enjoyable…and that you can’t give your immune system a boost while drinking delicious beverages like water kefir. Who needs a big, sugary pie with a carb-laden crust? Not me – I prefer to drink my pumpkin pie!

So…this partial can of pumpkin puree kept looking at me (perhaps a bit accusingly?) each time I opened the fridge. It was left over from a recent episode where one of our dogs had an upset stomach; unfortunately, she doesn’t like pumpkin, so we had to resort to other stomach-soothing offerings. I try hard to avoid wasting food, though, so I made a keto pumpkin mug cake one day that used a couple of tablespoons of the pumpkin. But there was still about 2/3 cup left.

I see you

I’ve made pumpkin water kefir before using both fresh and canned pumpkin. While they imparted a recognizable pumpkin flavor – though slightly “veggie” in nature – it wasn’t pie. And only pie will do!

As I considered how to deepen the pumpkin flavor of the water kefir, I realized that the baking could be responsible for the flavor transformation. To test my hypothesis, I decided to cook the pumpkin on the stovetop, adding the spices and sweetener (powdered stevia). After about 10 minutes of cooking on medium-low heat, I deemed the pumpkin “cooked”, and left it to cool (adding hot pumpkin puree to water kefir would be harmful to the probiotics).

Once cooled, I added the pumpkin mixture to the water kefir first ferment. It immediately turned the blank slate of water kefir into a lovely amber-hued liquid. After 24 hours, I strained the finished water kefir into flip-top bottles.

The finished water kefir looked distinctly pumpkin-y, but the true test is the taste test. Poured into a glass, it looked thick and rich. A sample proved that it also tasted remarkably like pumpkin pie. Delightful as is, a splash of whole milk took it up a notch: it tasted like pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Make it à la mode in 1-2-3!

If you’ve read about my other water kefir adventures on the blog, you know that I like to keep it fresh and experiment with flavor combinations. Usually, the outcome is good; sometimes, it’s fantastic. It’s always educational. This is one of the cases where I employed some “process improvement” and the result was a truly a major enhancement. This holiday season, I’ll be having my pumpkin pie in a glass, with extra probiotics. Cheers!

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