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Kombucha is a must-have in the summertime! When the body is exposed to excessive heat, the liver can become stressed and kombucha can help! Drinking kombucha can keep you cool and hydrated in the summertime. It can also help your liver which is one of the organs most vulnerable to excessive heat. Just like a plant can wilt in the heat, our bodies can suffer as well. Kombucha has special compounds that help the liver do its job in detoxifying you and keeping the liver running smoothly.

Keep the heat and inflammation out of your joints. Kombucha is packed with glucosamine which helps prevent joint damage by supporting the preservation of collagen. It does this by increasing hyaluronic acid which is important for the lubrication of your joints. When joints are better able to move, the collagen isn’t worn down as much. Kombucha is a very healing drink for many different parts of the body.

Here are my best and most helpful tips for making kombucha in the summer when temperatures rise, not only outside but inside your home as well. If your house gets above 80 degrees, these tips can be a lifesaver!

7 Tips For Summer Kombucha

kombucha sizes
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Kombucha and warmer temperatures.

Kombucha (during fermentation) prefers to be warm - 75 to 80 degrees. It does better overall in warmer rather than cooler temperatures. That being said, the fermentation time is much shorter in warmer temps. Move the kombucha to a cooler room if your temps are climbing above 85 degrees. You don't have to keep kombucha in your kitchen. If you have a spare room, extra large pantry, or dining room that stays a little cooler than your kitchen, you can move it there. While kombucha prefers to be warm, it will ferment more rapidly if the temperatures are very high and you'll have more kombucha faster!

Kombucha Step 8 Thumb
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Make sure you aren't using TOO much starter tea.

When I make kombucha, I don't always do exact measuring. Sometimes I just leave a little of the finished kombucha in the jar to start the next batch. But in the summer, it's best to measure and make sure you aren't using more than 1 cup of starter tea for 3 quarts of sweet tea. The more starter tea you use, the faster the brew ferments and in the summer it doesn't need any extra help if your home is warmer. If you do have an over-fermented batch, never fear!

10 Ways to Use Your Over Fermented Kombucha

Kombucha vinegar
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Make sure your starter tea isn't too sour.

The more sour/over-fermented your starter tea is, the faster your kombucha will brew. It's best in the summer to use starter tea from your previous batch rather than starter tea from a SCOBY hotel that is much stronger/more sour. If it does get too sour, I have tips to help.

Kombucha is too Sour!

Kombucha Day 1 Side
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Don't use a heat strip.

If your home stays naturally warmer in the summer (75  to 80 degrees) there is no need to use a heating belt. This will only speed up the process unnecessarily. You'll find yourself making kombucha much more often then you may want. Making kombucha is all about temperature and the strength of your starter tea. Once you get those variables in place, you can make it work for you and fit your lifestyle.

kombucha testing
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Taste test your kombucha sooner.

Kombucha in warmer temps can be done as early as 4-5 days, depending on the temperatures and how strong your starter tea is. So make sure you taste test it a little early in the summertime so it doesn't become over-fermented or too sour. If you want to taste your kombucha, stick a straw along the inside of your brewing vessel. You can do this without disturbing the SCOBY too much. Just slip in the straw along the inside of your brewing jar. Then put your finger over the top of the straw. If it's too sweet, not all the sugar is converted. When it tastes like sparkling apple cider and just a little tart, it's done!

(If you're using a jar with a spigot, just use the spigot for your taste test.)

kombucha sizes
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More bubbles.

If you want to increase the carbonation in your kombucha tea, make sure it doesn't ferment too long. The good yeasts in kombucha eat the sugar and then release carbon dioxide. This is what creates carbonation. If you let it ferment too long, the kombucha goes flat. If you don’t let it get vinegary, it will stay bubbly. When the yeasts eat the sugars out of the tea, they make carbonation. When they run out of sugar to eat, they start to die and so do the bubbles. Second-fermenting is another way to achieve carbonation. The process requires adding juices or extra sugars and then capping off bottles and letting them ferment so the yeast can transform the sugars into natural carbonation.

How to Make Bubbly Fruit Favored Kombucha

Scoby Popsicles
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Extra SCOBYs.

If you make a lot of kombucha, you're going to have a lot of extra SCOBYs. We have lots of creative and delicious ways to use your extra SCOBYs.

20 Smart Ways to Use Your Kombucha Scobys

SCOBYs are good for you too!

These are five ways SCOBYs are beneficial:

  •  Contain no calories
  • Absorb water, making it easier to pass stools
  • Aid in waste removal, including metabolic waste normally excreted in bile
  • Lower cholesterol levels by absorbing excess cholesterol from the bloodstream
  • Slow the absorption of sugar and help normalize blood sugar levels

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Certain foods and sources available in the summer time have nutrients that super charge the immune system. Check out my favorite cultured recipes and summer foods that are fun, easy to make, and oh so good for you!

Kefir is a living food that tends to have a mind of its own. It ferments differently in the winter than the summer, so understanding the process can make a huge difference. I'm sharing seven tips to help you make great summer kefir. These special kefir microbes have taught me more about who I am than just about anything else I have ever encountered. I think drinking kefir first thing in the morning works best for me - especially in the summertime. It's a fast breakfast and I love it so much. I love to take a grapefruit and squeeze the juice into my kefir. I can't tell you how good this is first thing in the morning. I flood my body with C and B vitamins along with a cup of coffee or chai tea and a slice of sourdough Einkorn toast and I'm off and running. I love this breakfast and it helps me so much. It gives me so much energy and I feel full and satisfied It takes just minutes to prepare. Here are the seven tips to help you make the best Summer Kefir!

7 Tips For Summer Kefir

Kefir ferments in 24 hours at 69-73 degrees, but raise those temps and have a lot of fluctuations, and it’s going to take your kefir less time to ferment.

1: Use Fewer Kefir Grains

One tablespoon of active grains can ferment 2-6 cups of milk - maybe even more in summer temperatures. The warmer your kitchen, the faster it will ferment. Make sure you aren't using too many grains vs. milk. If you want to slow down the fermentation, then remove some grains (use the extras to blend into a smoothie) and this will help slow down your fermentation time.

2: Use More Milk

Same tip as above just in a different way. Instead of reducing your grains you can always increase your milk until you get the desired ferment time. I try to aim for 24 hours so I'm only making kefir once a day. Think of it like this: the microbes are eating the milk sugars or lactose out of the milk and converting this food source into a probiotic. The more lactose they have, the longer it takes them to convert or ferment it.

3: Ferment For Less Time

I always try to aim for 24 hours to ferment my kefir. This is so it is easier on me and I'm not making kefir more than once a day. BUT the 24 hours is a guideline and kefir can take less time in warmer temps or if too many grains vs. milk are being used. If your house is extremely warm (closer to 80), your kefir is going to finish faster no matter how many cups of milk you use. So you'll need to strain it sooner rather than later. You get the most probiotics from kefir if you don't over ferment. The microbes will die as they run out of food, so a longer fermenting time is not better. However, this does not apply to second fermentation where you add a prebiotic (food for microbes). This does add more probiotics, since kefir has been given another food supply.

4: Keep In A Cooler

If your house is too hot, place your kefir in a cooler, without ice. Using cold milk from the fridge will help slow the kefir fermenting time down and allow your kefir to ferment without the high heat. This will help your kefir to be more creamy and won't separate into whey and curds as quickly.

5: Keep In A Cooler Room

You don't have to keep your kefir in the kitchen. My kitchen is often the warmest room in my house because I often cook in the summer. So feel free to move your kefir to a dining room, a spare room, or even an extra large pantry. Just make sure it is well ventilated and always use a lid on your jar when you're making kefir.

6: Make Larger Batches At Once

If you are using Easy Kefir packets. After your first batch you can make larger batches of kefir at once. This means you only have to make it once or twice to have enough for the whole week, making it a bit easier in the summer when the kefir ferments quicker and you don't have time, or aren't able, to "catch" it every day before it over ferments.

7: Give It Some More Food

Adding a prebiotic to your kefir gives it extra food, and this can help slow down the fermentation time. You can add a prebiotic to it such as Prebio Plus. This will keep it from over fermenting, and give it a creamier texture.

Summer Kefir Keeps You Shining! 🌞

kefir for breakfast

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Certain foods and sources available in the summer time have nutrients that super charge the immune system. Check out my favorite cultured recipes and summer foods that are fun, easy to make, and oh so good for you!

Seven Probiotic Foods to Always Keep in Your Fridge

7 probiotic foods

When it comes to cultured/probiotic and fermented foods, I am officially obsessed. Not everyone is going to make as many of these foods as I do; but once you get started, it's an exciting journey! Here are the top seven probiotic foods I ALWAYS have on hand, and why . . .

Seven Probiotic Foods For Your Fridge

strawberry-kefir

Kefir was the first cultured food I tried, and it has become my go-to food when I need extra help. I use it to prevent colds and flus or any type of sickness. When I'm struggling with anxiety or stress, kefir calms me down. Researchers have established a compelling link between gut bacteria and mental health 1 and believe you me, I'm a believer. Nothing calms me like kefir, and I just couldn't do what I do without its help. When I've taxed my muscles through exercise, kefir gives me a boost with 14 grams of high-quality protein in each cup. Its anti-inflammatory properties help my body recover quickly and supply the vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks of health. When I need a quick meal, kefir is what I reach for and the reason I have hundreds of kefir recipes in my books and blog. I eat a lot of kefir! There is a lot of science behind the power of the 50+ microbes in kefir. It has more probiotics than any of the other cultured foods, it's the easiest to make, and it's the most versatile. If I had to choose only one cultured food, I would choose kefir because of its huge benefits and because it's my personal guardian angel.

Kefir Cheese

Kefir Cheese is something I use constantly. If something calls for cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, I substitute with kefir cheese. You can make kefir cheese overnight if you have milk kefir on hand, or some health food stores sell kefir cheese as well. You can use kefir cheese to top your potatoes, add extra creaminess to an ice cream recipe, add to soups and tacos, make dips, and more! Kefir Cheese has many of the same benefits as kefir, and don't throw out the whey because this has benefits, too. Check out this article:

43 Ways to Use Kefir Cheese!

kombucha fruit

Kombucha: This is the main drink in our house. It has replaced our soda addiction and we are forever grateful! Kombucha's unique probiotic properties allow for more diversity in the diet and assist the body in cleansing the liver. It also supplies you with acetic acid which helps with joint pain and digestion. It has one of the most researched and used probiotics, saccharomyces boulardii, that can't be killed by antibiotics. Kombucha is a tart and bubbly drink that is unique and delightfully delicious.

kraut-and-caraway

Sauerkraut: You can get up to 700 mg of vitamin C in one cup of fermented sauerkraut as opposed to the 60 mg in cabbage alone. We add sauerkraut to many foods. A spoonful has more probiotics than an entire bottle of probiotic supplements. Nothing is more effective on an upset stomach or even food poisoning. A spoonful of the juice works quickly. When you feel the relief, you'll wonder why everybody doesn't know about this wonderful home remedy. A jar can last over a year in the refrigerator and remain perfectly preserved. Add a spoonful to sandwiches, wraps, on top of your stir fry, or alongside your meat and veggies! We even have dips and sauces with cultured veggies, so check out my books and recipe section.

garlic

Fermented Garlic: These garlic buds will last months in your fridge. You can use them in hundreds of recipes (the juice as well) and they will knock out a head cold ASAP! Garlic is also a prebiotic, so it provides extra benefits as well. You just peel a bunch of cloves and throw them in a jar, cover them with water, salt, and a culture - and you're done. It's easy, and the juice can be added to salad dressings and sauces to make them probiotic!

Water kefir finished

Water Kefir or Kefir Soda: This is a wonderful substitute for soda pop.  It's a naturally carbonated drink that has probiotics, enzymes, minerals and very little sugar compared to conventional sugary sodas. I love how you can change the flavors and please all your taste buds. We have three ways to make this drink, one made with water kefir crystals and the other two ways are made with kefir whey, or a kefir culture package. Pick the way that suits you, and keep your favorite flavor in the refrigerator.

kombucha mayo2

20 Second Kombucha Mayo: This recipe is in my new book, Cultured Food in a Jar, and I wanted everybody to have this recipe because it’s quite life changing to make your own mayo. I can’t count the times I needed mayo, went to the store, stood in the aisle, looked at the ingredients on all the jars, and just couldn’t buy it. Soybean and canola oils, along with chemicals and preservatives, made me cringe and I would wind up buying healthier versions of mayo at the health food store. But they were super expensive. So, I found a way to make my own and it only takes 20 seconds and is crazy good!

While consuming a wide variety of cultured foods is ideal, these seven staples cover a lot of ground and give you plenty of probiotic diversity for different meals!

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Loaded with probiotics, these six foods are in different food groups and bring health and well-being to the body in a myriad of ways. Join me to find out what they are and easy ways to incorporate them into your daily life today!

Fermented Garlic is a MUST-have for your refrigerator! It’s a wonderful medicine-like food, and making it a part of your diet can work wonders for many health concerns. Garlic fights colds and flus Garlic has a compound called allicin which has many health and medicinal uses. It has been used to fight…(Read More)

9 Ways to Use Extra Kefir Whey!

If you're making kefir, and especially kefir cheese, you're going to wind up with a lot of whey. Whey has been called liquid gold, and it has been used throughout history to help with many diseases.  In fact, Hippocrates and Galen, two founding fathers of medicine, frequently recommended whey to their patients to heal them.

Lactoferrin, a special protein in whey, acts as a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It also contains vitamin B2, or riboflavin, which helps the body to convert carbohydrates into fuel. Bovine Serum Albumin, which is abundant in whey, is an amino acid that is an effective scavenger that removes toxic substances and supports white blood cells and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Whey is rich in potassium and can help balance and remove excess fluids in the body. Whey also removes toxins, which will take a great strain off the kidneys

If you have extra whey, then don't throw it out! Check out the many uses for extra whey - some of these unique ways might surprise you!

Uses for Extra Kefir Whey

Kefir Smoothies
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Add kefir whey to your smoothies for extra protein. Kefir whey has more protein than the cheese or curd part of kefir. The whey contains the whey proteins of the milk, whereas the curds contain the milk caseins.

Try our 21 kefir smoothie recipes

Cultured Vegetables
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Make Cultured Veggies! You can use the whey from kefir to culture your vegetables. Always use freshly strained kefir whey to make your cultured vegetables. If the kefir whey is too old, it will not successfully culture your vegetables.

Try our 73 cultured vegetable recipes

Stain Remover
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Use as a stain remover. We had a reader tell us that she uses kefir whey to remove stains from her clothes. Soak your clothes in a sink of warm water and at least a cup of kefir whey for the best results.

Kefir Whey Facial Toner
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Kefir Whey Facial Toner Kefir has a soothing effect on the skin when used as a facial toner. Kefir is loaded with nutrients for your skin. Kefir contains calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2), iodine, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), zinc, potassium, protein, and molybdenum.

Check out the recipe

Kefir Whey and Lemon
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Lemon Juice replacement. Use kefir whey instead of lemon juice in recipes. With its tangy flavor, it works wonderfully in recipes calling for lemon juice. and you’ll get probiotics too. You can also put a splash in your drinks, like iced tea, for extra flavor. It pairs well with herbal iced teas too.

Kefir Soda
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Make Kefir Soda! Apple Ginger Kefir Soda! with kefir whey is a delicious and simple soda. You can make it within a couple of days and your kids will love it!  Ginger has incredible health properties that can work like medicine. Ginger is something you should add to your diet whenever you can, the benefits are many.

Check out the recipe

buttons
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For pets! Pets love kefir whey and it's so good for them! Chickens and goats love it and cats do too! You can put a few spoonfuls in a bowl of water - decrease or add more as your pet desires.

Read the story of Buttons

The tiny Silky Yorkie who loves, loves his kefir whey.

Read More

We also have more information regarding pets and cultured foods.

Check out Probiotic Pets

Kefir Whey Shot
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Do a shot! Drink whey straight from a little shot glass to get tons of benefits.

Whey is a superfood which contains a lot of healing properties. There is something known as “The Whey Cure” which was used throughout history. In fact, Hippocrates and Galen, two founding fathers of medicine, frequently recommended whey to their patients to heal them. This whey was often referred to as “liquid gold.”

Kefir whey Lemonade
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Make Kefir Whey Lemonade! Kefir, lemons, honey, and whey combine well for a refreshing summertime, or anytime, drink. This is a wonderful drink for seasonal allergies. Loaded with vitamin C, it will boost your adrenals and load you with probiotics too!

Check out the recipe

Check Out More About Whey And Kefir Cheese

How to Make Kefir Cheese and Whey

43 Ways to Use Kefir Cheese

Whey The Liquid Gold in Kefir

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Whey has been called liquid gold, and it has been used throughout history to help with many diseases. It's a superfood that can help with a myriad of ailments. Kefir cheese has many wonderful properties too. Let me show you the many properties and ways to use this wonderful food!

Cultures

How to Store Them

Having lots of fermented foods in your fridge is the same as having a medicine cabinet stocked with natural remedies. We reach for these foods not only to keep us healthy and disease free but also when we find ourselves struggling with a virus, stomach ache, or any other kind of ailment that requires extra body support.

Cultures Can Travel

In 2017 we moved from Kansas City, Missouri, to southern California to be near our two older kids and their families. Selling our home, packing trailers, U-Hauls, dogs, family, and all our worldly possessions is an experience I don't care to repeat. We were on the road on my 57th birthday and I was exhausted from packing and staying up late trying to get it all done. On our journey across America, I felt myself getting sick with a sore throat and a stuffy nose. I had worn myself out and my body had had enough. Unable to breathe, I grabbed a couple of  Q-tips from my purse, dipped them in my kimchi, and swabbed the inside of my nose. I had a radio show caller tell me that this got rid of a sinus infection she had for six months, so I thought, "I'm doing this, I'm desperate to breathe!" Five to ten minutes later, my nose began to run and I could breathe. My husband grabbed me a kombucha and I drank the whole bottle in like five minutes. The whole trip all I could think about was, "Where are my coolers and cultured foods and how can I get to them?" I've learned a few things about storing these foods because I don't go anywhere without them and they are the most important foods in my fridge. I trekked halfway across the country to bring my whole family together again and I took these foods with me tucked tightly in coolers. If you don't have a lot of room in your fridge, then let me help you make room for these foods that work like medicine. It's more important than you can imagine.

This last week, there have been lessons learned, pages turned, and a few bridges burned; but I'd do it all again to be with the people I love the most in this world. As long as my cultures are with me, I can take any journey, go the distance, and find my way home. Make your cultured foods a part of your family and everyday life. They can see you through the most troublesome of times, and they will live forever . . . inside of you. Remember that those around you benefit from these probiotic foods. You spread your bacteria everywhere you go, just make sure it's the good kind!

Here Are Six Ways to Store Your Ferments

1. Use tall bottles. Using taller 32-ounce bottles to store or make your kombucha, water kefir, or even store your milk kefir is a great way to store more while taking up less space. Make sure when you're storing kombucha or water kefir that you have thick bottles made for brewing.

Check out this link to see the bottles I use.

Kombucha bottles and stuff

2. As you consume your kraut or veggies (especially those made in a gallon jar),  put them into smaller glass containers to save on space. Glass canning jars work great and you can use metal or plastic lids. I love Weck Jars, too, that have glass lids and clamps for easy storing.

Check out this link to see the jars you can use.

Veggie jars

3. Even better, store your cultured veggies in square stackable glass storage containers! You can transfer your kraut, pickles, and more to glass food stackable containers. Just make sure they have at least some of the cultured veggie juice in with them (it preserves them even longer). This can be a great way to store them as you can stack them high and wide!

Check out this link to see the ones I use.

Glass storage containers

4. Use up, give away, or eat your extra cultures. I know it can be hard. These little guys are like family members to me, but don't hang on to dozens of SCOBYs or kefir grains or water kefir crystals. Keep enough extra cultures on hand in case you need to give one or two to friends or use as a backup for failed ferments. Then you can blend the rest up in a smoothie or throw them in your garden and then they live with you forever! Don't forget that they will continue to grow and you will get more and more every week and every month!

Check out the many things you can do with kombucha and SCOBYs. We have lots of ideas and recipes!

What do I do with all these SCOBYs?

5. Buy a mini fridge. You would be shocked how much a mini fridge can help you when storing a lot of cultured foods and often you can find them used for very cheap at garage sales or online. It is said that in Korea they sell a Kimchi Refrigerator that is specifically designed for ferments! You can store a lot of cultures in a mini fridge and have room for other things, too. We second ferment kombucha in leftover store-bought kombucha bottles and store them in the mini fridge. If you make lots of bottles of kombucha, a mini fridge can store kombucha for over a year. I've had some that were left in there for close to a year and it was still good!

6. Leave your over-fermented kombucha out. When storing SCOBYs or over-fermented kombucha (to use as a starter tea), you can leave it out on the counter and it's better for the SCOBY than storing it in the fridge. The starter tea will simply turn to vinegar kombucha (stronger starter tea) and will last several weeks on your counter or on a shelf.

Check out the many things you can do with kombucha and SCOBYs. We have lots of ideas and recipes!

What do I do with all these SCOBYs?

10 Ways to Use Your Over-Fermented Kombucha!

Kombucha is a wonder drink. This fermented tea has been around for centuries and is legend in many countries such as China, Russia, and Korea. There are even stories that Genghis Khan drank it often and gave it to the men in his armies.  It can become a part of your life very quickly and…(Read More)

Cultured vegetables are super powerful, but so is the brine they are made in. The powerful bacteria in cultured vegetables called Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum) is a powerful weapon against pathogens that can invade your body and try to make you their host.  L. plantarum is a transient  resident in your body, which means it…(Read More)

When you’re brewing kombucha, you need to feed the microbes so they can make probiotics. Sugar is the fuel source for these hungry critters. Always remember that the sugar is for those little microbes and not for you. They consume the sugar and then make probiotics and naturally occurring carbonation through the process of…(Read More)

The “ginger bug” has grown in popularity over the years and is a fantastic way to make soda for your family. You don’t need a starter culture or even kefir whey.  A ginger bug is a mixture of sugar, ginger, and water that captures wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria. Let it ferment for a…(Read More)

So, you all keep asking . . . What do I do with all these SCOBYs?! If you are anything like me, you have a pile of SCOBYs in a massive SCOBY hotel just waiting . . . It feels somehow wrong to throw them away when you have taken care of them and watched…(Read More)

For some of you, this culture is old news . . . for others, you may have never heard of it. Jun is a cultured food similar to kombucha but supposedly its own separate thing. It is brewed with a SCOBY culture that is light in color and is made using green tea and honey.…(Read More)

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