I made enzymes... what???? I know. The first time my dear friend Kerry told me that she had "made" enzymes I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained a lot of it to me, but I am slow learner so I still didn't grasp what a big deal enzymes are until I did a little more research.
To start off with here is a layman's explanation of what enzymes are and what they do. "Enzymes are catalysts. Enzymes serve as the labor force to perform every single function required for our daily activities and are required to keep us alive. They are most important in supporting our body defenses and immune system to protect us from harmful forces and specific dangers to our health." I took these sentences directly from this site here, Soul Guidance - Enzymes. It has some wonderful, in-depth information so I highly recommend a visit to read their page.
Several weeks ago, Kerry came over bearing gifts. She had made far too many spring enzymes for her family to use and gave me three huge bottles. Two were made from plums and one from spring grasses. My children and I have been drinking them almost every day since then. I don't want to say its a cure-all or anything like that. We still catch colds, we still get tired. But for the most part, since I started drinking my daily dose of enzymes I have had more energy and I notice that I feel more clear-headed.
So yesterday, I went with her to Tomoko-sensei's house and we made fall enzymes. I can't find my list of all the ingredients, but I used three kilograms of raw fruits and vegetables and about three kilograms of sugar. (Yes, I know that's a lot of sugar! But it too acts as a catalyst for the fermentation.)
Apples, pears, pumpkin, ginger, mushrooms, 9 variety of beans and grains, passion fruit, several citrus fruit varieties, broccoli, carrots, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, red beets, radishes, persimmons, and I few exotic fruits I don't know the name of.
We first carefully weigh out the proportions of each fruit or vegetable as determined in advance by Tomoko-sensei. In a large 5-kg plastic bucket, we first place 1 kg of sugar. Then we start cutting. We slice and dice each variety, adding in the skins, seeds and all! After we have a good layer of fruits and veggie mix on top of the first kilo of sugar, we mix it up by hand (using the hand we do not cut with).
Oh, I just remembered something very interesting. It is absolutely best for each mother to make her own families enzymes because of the natural bacteria in her body. That is why we cut and mix everything by hand - in order to add our own bodies bacteria and natural defenses to the mix. Even though all participants use the exact same ingredients and measures, each batch of enzymes will taste differently because of the maker's natural bacteria being added. The Japanese even have a saying, "Fukuro no Aji," which means mother's taste. Every family can usually tell which dish their own mother made because of her individual style and because of her bacteria that gets added in the process. I know that sounds very strange in English... but it sounds beautiful in Japanese! This is just another way we mom's can protect our children.
Okay, back to the making process. We continue cutting, slicing and dicing, and mixing in more sugar until all our ingredients have been used up. After its all mixed up its already starting to get juicy and sticky. On top of all this, we add kelp powder. This also kick starts the fermentation process as well as adding a huge amount of healthy goodness. (Kelp is a natural radiation fighter and you know how important that is to Japan these days.)
Finally, on top of that we add the last kilo of sugar.
This will sit for 24 hours in a cool, dry area. After 24 hours, we stir the mixture by hand. From now, its also important that each person who will be drinking the enzymes also stir the mixture by hand. So every morning and evening for the next week, my kids and I will each be reaching our freshly clean and washed hands up to almost the elbow into this bucket full of sugar, fruits and veggies. This will add even more of our natural bacteria and immunity into the brew.
Tomoko-sensei told us that while we are cutting and making the enzymes, its important for us to be thinking happy thoughts. And while the enzymes are stewing and brewing, we need to place the bucket in the most used room of the house so they don't get lonely!
After one week, I will need to add the entire contents of the bucket into a net and strain the juices out. I will then add a liquid called Umi no Sei which is... well, I don't know really what it is, but its chocked full of nutrients. I'll then pour the juice into glass bottles for storage.
Each morning, my children and I each have about one tablespoon of the enzymes mixed into a glass of cool water, it tastes like sweet fruit juice. Once cold and flu season roll around, we'll probably have a glass in the evenings too.
And that's it. Pretty easy overall as long as you've got all the ingredients. Its certainly not cheap, but I hope in the long run we will all be healthier!
Here is a pict of my dear friend Kerry (on the left) and Tomoko-sensei.
And one of me with her too.
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