Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Fermented Foods Bug

Yeah, I have it.  I found the Nourished Kitchen web site and that was it.  I'm hooked.  Now, for us, sauerkraut is just one of the fermented foods with all of their attendant probiotics that we will be eating in this house. 

In an earlier post you will recall I tried my hand at making fermented lemons.  Well, I wasn't sure quite what to do with them, so I experimented with one lemon by making a loaf of lemon bread.  Oh, yeah, that was good. (No pictures because it is already eaten!) I have the lemons in the refrigerator now to slow down the fermentation process.  They are supposed to keep a long time.  Tomorrow I will add a slice or two chopped finely to some quinoa for lunch, and I look forward to experimenting with them in other recipes. 

I then bought a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts) from Kombucha America and tried making my first batch of kombucha.  I was originally afraid that the cultures had died from being in the mail over the last really cold days we had, but I was not to fear.  I think if I had not had previous fermentation experience I would have freaked seeing the kombucha "mushroom" develop in the tea, but as it was, I was cool, and the tea turned out just fine.  My first batch was of fermented green tea and my second batch, now fermenting, is of Irish Breakfast black tea.  It will be interesting to compare the difference in taste between the green and black teas.  This is really fun!

For my birthday back in November, my sister, Mary, gave me a little fermentation kit -- a plastic lid with an airlock that fits a large mouth canning jar -- so now I will put it to use and pick a recipe from my Mastering Fermentation book and see what happens. It is going to be interesting to observe any health improvements we may obtain over time from eating an increased amount of these probiotic foods.  Fortunately for me, our in-house gourmand, Lara, is all for my experimenting.  She loves drinking the kombucha green tea.

Another fermented drink I had been making regularly for several years now is milk kefir.  I originally bought my authentic kefir grains from Marilyn the Kefir Lady.  I make a quart of kefir every other day, and a glass of kefir with a little orange juice stirred in is my alternate breakfast when I don't have eggs. Milk kefir is easy to make.

Kefir Grains
These are kefir grains.  You place them in a jar, cover them with milk (I have even used powdered milk successfully),

then cover the jar with a permeable cloth or paper towel, and set it somewhere fairly warm but out of direct light for at least 24 hours.  Kefir is similar to yogurt but doesn't firm up the way yogurt does.  It tastes much like buttermilk and can be used in recipes that call for buttermilk. I love drinking buttermilk, but I haven't had to buy it since I've been making kefir.

When the kefir is fermented to your taste, strain it into another clean jar and put it in the frig.  The kefir will continue to ferment, but refrigeration slows the process. Then put the kefir grains into another clean jar, cover with milk, and begin the process all over again. Just remember to keep your fermenting projects separated by a couple of feet so the cultures don't cross.

Try fermenting.  It's easier to do than you might think and opens up a whole new world of taste.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I have to agree about fermenting, it makes for great eating and drinking. And healthy! My latest love is lacto-fermented Jerusalem artichokes.

    And thanks for mentioning the book and the link! I have Sandor Katz and Sally Fallon's, but that one looks really, really good.