Fermented by LAB

water kefir

Why I Choose House-Pressed, Cold-Extracted Juices to Flavour FBL Water Kefir

FermentsAlana Holloway
Cold-pressed rhubarb juice

Cold-pressed rhubarb juice


Happy Friday folks! How are you?  

I was uploading an Instagram story the other day about why I choose to cold-press apples in house in order to make apple juice, over buying in ready-made organic cold-pressed apple juice. The reason being: because most, if not all, pre-pressed apple juice contains ascorbic acid.  Ascorbic acid is a concentrated derivative of Vitamin C, which really isn’t that bad, I know.  It’s often used as a preservative to extend shelf life, prevent spoilage, and to retain colour… ever noticed how your home pressed apple juice turns brown pretty quickly? The reason it does all those things is because the pH of ascorbic acid sits somewhere between 1.0-2.5, meaning it prevents microbial growth. Which is precisely the reason I’d rather leave it out of FBL Kefir!  Kefir is built on microbial growth (of the beneficial kind).  Adding something that prevents that would also stop any further beneficial microbial growth from taking place.  You see, because FBL Kefir is alive and kicking with microbes, those microbes produce even more microbes once it’s flavoured with (cold pressed) juice, which acts as microbe fodder; it’s known as the second ferment.  Call me crazy but adding something that prevents microbial growth just doesn’t make sense!   

It got me to thinking about all the other reasons I choose to only use organic, house pressed, cold extracted fruit and vegetable juice in FBL Kefir… 

-      It’s additive free.

-      It’s fresh as can be.

-      It retains far more nutrients than juice that isn’t cold-extracted.  Cold-extraction uses a masticating action, rather than centrifugal. It effectively chews the whole fruit/vegetable to extract the juice.  Centrifugal juicing is very fast action spin and chop motion and produces a fair bit of heat in the process, which begins to kill off heat sensitive nutrients in the juice… I’m all for maximum nutrients!

-      I have control over choosing fruits and vegetable varieties which yield the tastiest juice and therefore, the tastiest Kefir.

-      The pH of Kefir (between 3.0 - 4.2) offers all the ‘preservatives’ I need.

-      It gives me more freedom to choose to work with a wide range of organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables… carrot, rhubarb, grapefruit, beetroot, the list goes on!

Producing the highest quality ferments is of utmost importance to me and using fresh, organic and seasonal cold-pressed juices is just one way of ensuring that.  

Just a short one for today. Have a lovely weekend,

Alana x

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Introducing the Spring 2019 Collection!

FermentsAlana Holloway

I have to say, I’m so excited to welcome in the Spring this year.  Working with the seasons has me even more aware of the changes that happen and every day, a big smile is put on my face by the blooming of flowers, morning song bird and longer days.  The welcoming of Spring means the welcoming of the Spring Collection here at FBL and I’d like to introduce you to each of the new flavours.




Last Spring, I was addicted to the lemony tang in the Fennel + Lemon Kraut but wanted to try something different this year.  Krauts are famous for pairing well with rich meaty dishes but Spring calls for something a little lighter.  Saffron, lemon and fish are a match made in heaven and I can’t wait to create some recipes… I just know the colours will be beautiful! 


OK, this one isn’t exactly new but I think I might have a mob on my hands if it wasn’t brought back.  It’s been a firm favourite since day one; its sweet and tangy with a spicy kick and works well in so many dishes.  I’ve got a Kimchi and Kale loaf in the making… trust me, it’s delicious.


This one was born out of my love for roasted carrots sprinkled with nigella seeds.  It’s great for anyone following a low FODMAP diet as there’s a hint of onion brought by the Nigella seeds, without actually containing onion!  I’ll be tossing this one into salads and slaws, for sure.



I had such pleasure using red grapefruit last Spring.  Every batch of grapefruit showcased a rainbow of pinks, peaches and reds, displaying what it truly means to work with nature’s bounty.  I love this combination; the back note of basil somewhat calms the pallet smack that grapefruit is so famous for!


Another front runner from last year… I just wasn’t ready to let it go!  This one’s the perfect cocktail (alcoholic or not) mixer.  The rose is definitely present but by no means overpowering. It pairs so perfectly with the rhubarb, which changes from shocking pink to a deeper red as the season progresses.  Plus, it’s pretty pink hue makes for the perfect Instagram shot!!


I start to get really into smoothies and vegetable juices in Spring.  Autumn and winter are all about the warm and the well-cooked but as the temperature rises, I crave the fresh flavours of a cold pressed juice.   I always add Kefir to my smoothies at home and wanted to give you something similar, ready-made.  Carrot, apple and ginger is a classic combination.  The ginger eases you in whilst the weather is still a bit temperamental, providing a little heat for those not-so-warm days.

A full list of the ingredients can be found here. The Spring Collection will run from March - May, with the last orders being taken on May 13th (delivery on May 15th). I can’t wait to hear what you make of the new collection!

Over and out,

Alana x

Introducing the Winter 18/19 Collection

CollectionsAlana Holloway

I’m writing this post a little later than planned… better late than never though, eh! Anyone else find that they fall massively behind schedule at this time of year?! Creating the seasonal collections is one of my most favourite parts about running FBL. I get to stretch my creative legs, work in alignment with nature and the beautiful seasons all whilst getting the much loved buzz from feeding my customers a range of new and exciting fermented flavours.

This is the second Winter collection I’ve created since launching in April 2017; the nice thing about doing it the second time around is that I have a great base to work from. I know what worked last time and more importantly, what the favourites were. It’s my mission to make each collection a box of ‘favourites’… so I should have it in the bag by year three!!


Curried Parsnip Kraut was the favourite last year, so I just had to include it again (remember, I’m working towards a Box of favourites!!) It’s tangy with a sort of creaminess (brought to the party by parsnip). One of my customers said I should’ve called it Coronation Kraut, because that’s exactly what it tastes like. I popped it on top of lamb biryani last year and it was MAGIC.

Winter Spice Kraut. What is a roast without a side of braised red cabbage? Incomplete, in case you’re wondering. Especially at Christmas. This Kraut will save you the job of making braised red cabbage AND add a probiotic lunch to your plate. Load up on it and it’s one less job for you to do when all your hob rings are taken and the oven’s full to bursting.

Horseradish + Mustard Kimchi. As the seasons have come and gone, one thing has become blatantly obvious. You lot LOVE Kimchi! I honestly think it’s down to the fact that it contains both prebiotics (the fibre that feeds your gut microbes) and probiotics (good bacteria)… it’s a combination that the gut microbiome craves and has you going back for more, fork and jar in hand. Horseradish is a wonderful vegetable and is even better when fermented. It’s what brings the heat to this Kimchi as it’s chilli free, making it a ‘white Kimchi’, not the red kind you may be used to. It’s also vegan, as all of my Kimchi’s are.


By combining two of the best winter fruits last year in the Cranberry + Citrus Kefir, I was missing a trick, so have decided to let them shine own their own this year…

Cranberry + Cinnamon Kefir. I imagine this one is going to make some wicked cocktails - alcoholic or not - over the festive period. It’ll also be the injection of Vitamin C you’ll need come January.

Clementine + Thyme. I always remember Jamie Oliver using clementines a-plenty in his Christmas cooking shows. They are delicious, so I really don’t blame him. Also, if Jamie does it at Christmas, the rest of us should too, right! If you’ve ever tasted one of my Kefirs using a woody herb (Pomegranate + Thyme, Red Grapefruit + Rosemary) then you’ll know just how marvellous they are. The woody earthiness of the herbs perfectly balance the sharpness of the fruit and sweetness of the Kefir. Again, this’ll make a fantastic mixer!

Pomegranate + Beet Kefir. If you’re thinking I’m mad for putting beetroot in Kefir, then I dare you to give this a try and say the same. It’s just enough to add a beautifully round earthiness to the astringent qualities of pomegranate. With a touch of lemon juice, its pure health in a bottle.

That’s about all for now, folks. I’ll be back soon with posts about the health benefits of these ingredients as well as some recipes showcasing how you can whip these ferments into a full on gut loving dish. Watch this space…

Wishing you a fantastic week,

Alana x

The Incredible Link Between Kefir and Cancer

HealthAlana Holloway

Phew, what a week!  Whilst Alana had a few well earned days off in Devon over the Bank Holiday, I was busy with a mammoth project for one of my clients.  Why is it that the week after a Bank Holiday seems to be the most hectic and stressful of all?  The silver lining is that it’s given me lots of food for thought about next week’s post, so stay tuned! 

Last week we were sent some information by Dr Caroline Kerridge, and felt that it was just too exciting to keep to ourselves.  Caroline is a fellow fermented food fan (don’t try saying that after one too many!).  She put together the following paragraph for us after conducting some research on the effect of kefir on cancer.  As a nurse who has cared for countless cancer patients, I think this is really quite incredible.

Dr. Caroline Kerridge says:

"Exciting research is emerging from scientists around the world implicating yet another potential benefit of Kefir.

There is a small, yet consistent body of evidence to suggest that Kefir products (both milk- and water-based) have beneficial effects on cancer prevention and treatment. Although the mechanisms of action are not clear, the effects have been attributed to the special bioactive products that are made during the fermentation process. Experiments have been carried out in numerous cancer models including cancers of the breast [1], skin, colon [2], sarcoma, stomach and blood. What is striking is the consistency between the studies, all of which show significant evidence of the slowing of cancer cell proliferation [3] (or growth) whilst having no negative effects on healthy (non-cancerous) cells [4]. There is still a long way to go, as studies will need to be carried out on humans, however, it is a promising emerging area of scientific investigation."

There is a significant amount of research which shows a link between consuming kefir (and other fermented food/drink) and the decrease of symptoms and growth of disease.  I’ve listed a small selection of the areas of research below, and look forward to exploring some of these fields in future posts.  This is life changing stuff!

-  Infertility

-  Diabetes

-  Multiple Sclerosis

-  Depression

Keep reading to find out about the countless ways in which enjoying fermented food can help us heal.


  • [1] Zamberi et al (2016) The Antimetastatic and Antiangiogenesis Effects of Kefir Water on Murine Breast Cancer CellsIntegr Cancer Ther. 15(4):NP53-NP66.

  • [2] Khory et al (2014) Kefir Exhibits Anti-Proliferative and Pro-Apoptotic Effects on Colon Adenocarcinoma Cells with No Significant Effects on Cell Migration and Invasion. Int J Oncol. 45(5):2117-27.

  • Rafie et al (2015) Kefir and Cancer: A Systematic Review of Literatures. Arch Iran Med. 18(12):852-7.

  • [3] Jalali et al (2016) Kefir Induces Apoptosis and Inhibits Cell Proliferation in Human Acute Erythroleukemia. Med Oncol. 33(1):7.

  • [4] Chen et al (2007) Kefir Extracts Suppress in-vitro Proliferation of Estrogen-Dependent Human Breast Cancer Cells but not Normal Mammary Epithelial Cells. J Med Food. 10(3):416-22.