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10 MYTHS ABOUT KUMYS: KAZAKH “LIVING WATER”. About Mare’s milk from the stories of the Kazakh horse breeder.

22 October 2020

Koumiss instead of alcohol on Toi, Mare’s milk for the treatment of tuberculosis, shampoo and ice cream from koumiss, baths with saumal for jaded tourists, a German “patent” for koumiss, and now also koumiss as a remedy for coronavirus – themes-refrains that the Kazakh has somehow heard.

MYTH 1: ABOUT THE APPEARANCE OF KOUMISS
According to Kazakh legends, Saint Kambar ATA was the first to train horses and become their mystical patron. He also put the first” experiments ” on Mare’s milk, in which it turned out: it is not boiled on fire, it is not fermented in kefir, sour cream, cheese, etc. Since it is impossible to say for sure whether there was such a Kazakh Merlin or not, the appearance of koumiss is our first myth. However, unusual properties are a recognized fact. Mare’s milk due to its unique qualities can only ferment and only in kumis.

MYTH 2: SAUMAL-MARE’S MILK?
Kazakhs consider themselves experts on kumys, jokes about it have already become part of the stereotypical, but native culture. Is it true? The second myth was dispelled by the Almaty horse breeder and entrepreneur Kurmangali Zhumagulov, to whose farm I went to find out the details of treatment with kumys. So, paired Mare’s milk is not saumal, it is called ” sut ” in Kazakh. Saumal is a transitional drink between fresh milk and fermented koumiss. If you want to drink “from under the Mare”, say so: “Fresh milk for me, please.” However, people are so used to the word “saumal” that it’s easier to keep going, Kurmangali says.
MYTH 3: ONLY MARES ON DZHAILAU HAVE REAL KUMYS
Re-qualified from a distributor of American marbled beef to a producer of Kazakh kumis, Kurmangali Zhumagulov approached the matter thoroughly. The study was based on research of Kaznii, consultations and exchange of experience with scientists Toregeldy Sharmanov and Abay Zhangabylov, etc. According to Kurmangali, stable koumiss is no different from the milk of free-grazing mares. Sometimes even better, for example, he achieved an increase in fat content from 0.8% (on average) to 1.9% only due to good food.

MYTH 4: TO INCREASE MILK YIELD, YOU NEED CHEMICAL INTERVENTION
As it turned out, no special feed with additives or injections with hormones are needed for a natural increase in milk yield, that is, the amount of milk that the Mare gives at a time. On the contrary, extraneous “chemistry” can adversely affect both the animal itself and koumiss therapy. Naturally, at the same time, no one canceled the usual vaccination and veterinary control. So, what do horses eat in the stable? Hay from mountain grasses, alfalfa, millet, bran and barley.
MYTH 5: KOUMISS ONLY HAPPENS IN SUMMER
The lactation period, when you can milk an animal, of course, comes after the birth of a foal, this is called “ozhrebka”. Mares bear fruit, as the Kazakhs say, ” 11 months and 11 days.” Extensive ozhrebka usually in the spring, and in the fall it is already called ” Kenzhe tuma “-literally”birth-afterbirth”. According to Kurmangali practice, there is less milk in winter, but there is. In the future, our expert wants to try artificial insemination – as it turned out, this is also possible.

MYTH 6: ABOUT MILKING MARES
At the horse farm, where I went to watch the horses, I shared with the layman the idea that mares should be milked for a long time, thoroughly, during the day and several times. An-no, the owner of the Kazakh ranch genuinely laughed at this. Mares are milked here 9 times a day, every two hours, at a time the milk yield is from half a liter to one and a half liters. Night milk starts at 23: 00, then at one o’clock in the morning, then at three and five. At noon, they are scheduled to walk for two hours-exercise. In the evening local Bektashi conipany again take the mares out for a walk to eat alfalfa in a nearby pasture.

The most amazing thing I learned: mares need to be milked in 40-50 seconds, maximum-a minute. These noble and beloved by the people among the rest of the livestock animals are not just capricious, but terribly fastidious. Kurmangali says with a laugh that the milk of mares is not in the udder, like cows, but in the ducts. If she does not want to, then she will not “drain the milk” – this is called “IU” in Kazakh, but lactation in scientific terms. In addition, mares are sensitive to the smell of strangers and choose milkers to their liking, so for the convenience of animals it is not customary to wear gloves and you need to wash your hands thoroughly, and for this reason I felt it necessary to stay outside the stable.

MYTH 7: GOOD KOUMISS NEEDS LEAVEN
No, to get real koumiss, you can not dilute it with rice broth, millet water, kefir whey, cow’s and goat’s milk, and even more so with water. All this is just the consequences of bad faith and the desire to benefit by increasing the volume and artificial acidity. This drink is harmful. A very wild story was told by Kurmangali, it turns out that he once poisoned himself with kumys with lime water. Since then, his credo is “it is Better to increase the price by 100 tenge than add 100 grams of water”. What is needed for fermentation of steppe wine?

KUBI (KUBI)
First, Kubi is a national barrel made of wood, since Mare’s milk is oxidized when it comes into contact with iron and the taste spoils. If there is no wood at hand, an enamel pot will do. Second, beat and shake, but evenly. Kurmangali refused to share all the secrets, but said about the 10 steps he developed. So I asked to make a container from a local woodworker and learned some life hacks: for the first time, the barrel is filled with water so that the parts of the body connect and sink – “kirigedi” (KAZ.yaz., author’s note). So the container is idle for a day, then the tree needs to be fumigated with tavolga – for disinfection, and then immediately smeared with fat or oil: fat fat, horse fat or ordinary homemade cream. In addition, like the best Italian geyser coffee makers, French wine barrels and Chinese ceramic teapots, Kazakh Kubi can not be washed with anything soapy, the tree should eventually absorb the entire flavor bouquet.

MYTH 8: YOU CAN DRINK KOUMISS ANY WAY YOU WANT
A journalist in my face decided to become a kumys sommelier. Here’s what we found out: like a grape drink, koumiss has an extract, and our ancestors gave each stage its own name. It was even said that only khans, Bai and well – to-do gentlemen drank winter kumys, while the entire population drank summer kumys.

Well, according to Kurmangali, milk and saumal are useful for everyone, it should be popularized to prevent many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system and improve health. He came to the kumis business in search of his own healing from “internal heat”, a diagnosis made by Tibetan monks. Later it turned out that this is a violation of the functions of the kidneys and liver due to stones. Therefore, from personal experience, and after consulting with Kaznii and doctors, Kurmangali says that the most important thing in drinking koumiss is the dosage. For people with high blood pressure, koumiss is contraindicated, you should start with fresh milk. For ulcers, gastritis, stones in the bile duct and diabetes, the same advice. The initial cycle, according to him, is at least 21 days, he himself drank saumal continuously for five years. Of course, as with any therapy, people need to take a responsible approach to their own health, consult specialists and pass appropriate tests. Horse breeders aren’t doctors after all.

MYTH 9: ONLY DATURA IS ADDED TO KOUMISS
Fact: koumiss contains alcohol. Fact: herbs are added to koumiss. Myth: herbs are needed to stupefy the mind. Grandmother tarriance were treated as a child my lungs soumala, and then a Mare. I remember how she often remembered the miracle plant-kushala. It took me years to find it, Kazakh-Russian scientists, an Altai doctor, and a Dungan herbalist.

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MYTH 10: EUROPEANS PATENTED AND TOOK AWAY KUMYS FROM KAZAKHS
The world intellectual property organization publishes data on the International patent system every year. Disputes about who invented electricity and the scandal about the patent for the Sun are hot topics for discussion, as well as the fact that Kazakhs swear at the German Zollman family, who allegedly patented the national drink and popularized it in Europe. However, you can be calm – no one has patented Mare’s milk, this is as impossible as it is absurd.

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Information taken from the site El.kz
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