This sort of sounds like a kitchen nightmare! Yes, there is something growing behind my crock pot that is filled with beef bone broth, but I put it there and started it growing on purpose. Actually, there are several things growing. My ferments! I was a busy bee in the kitchen today and started several foods on their fermenting process today.
From left to right: navy beans (not fermenting but soaking so they can start sprouting tomorrow), regular sauerkraut, sauerkraut with carrots, kombucha, lemonade, ginger carrots & sourdough starter. I cleared out the corner of my counter which was filled with odds & ends that have no permanent home and turned it into my fermentation corner. Since my kitchen stays pretty chilly during winter, I figured that behind the slow cooker would be a nice, cozy and slightly warmer place for my little cultures to grow.
Sauerkraut is amazingly easy to start. Shred the cabbage, salt it, beat it up a little & then pack it in a jar. Since I don't have a proper crock, I just used a couple of wide mouth pint mason jars (I made smaller batches since this is our first and I'm not sure how it will go over). To keep the cabbage under the brine, I used an upside down lid for a regular mouth size mason jar and then weighted it with a jelly jar filled with water. I used the Wild Fermentation website to learn the particulars on how to make my own sauerkraut.
This is my kombucha tea which has already been brewing for about a week. That funky white-ish looking thing on the right side is the scoby which is what does the work of fermenting sweet tea into kombucha. When it is ready, I'll mix in some fruit juices to flavor my kombucha. When it's ready to drink, it will be a fizzy, tart beverage that is full of healthy bacteria. I've been drinking store purchased kombucha and the past few days, I've been sipping wonderful kombucha from Fab Ferments that I got as a prize in the 30 Day Kombucha Challenge contest but I am super excited about making my own and can't wait until it's ready! For more info on kombucha and how to make it, check out Kombucha Kamp.
Next on the counter is lacto-fermented lemonade. This isn't my first time making this but if I don't mess it up, it will be my first time drinking it. While it was finishing in my fridge last time, I barely bumped the jar it was in with another jar which cause a quarter sized chuck of glass to break and my lemonade went pouring out onto the shelves of my fridge. Total bummer! My daughter is especially excited for this one to be ready. She loves lemonade! This is a Nourishing Traditions recipe that I saw on Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
Then there is my jar of ginger carrots. This is also a Nourishing Traditions recipe but I wasn't thrilled with the idea of using grated carrots so I cut them into matchsticks instead. I also decided not to grate the ginger and sliced it into tiny matchsticks too. The carrots & ginger are in a salt water brine with a little bit of whey from my homemade raw milk yogurt to aid in the fermentation. I used less ginger than the recipe called for and a little less whey as well.
This one is hard to see but it is a freshly started batch of sourdough starter. The one I started last week up and died on me. I don't know what happened. It was bubbling and doubling every day and then, 2 days ago, when I took the cover off to feed it and noticed it was not bubbly and hadn't increased at all. I went ahead and fed it again but again nothing happened. I was so disappointed. I hope I am more successful with this one.
I've been wanting to start consuming cultured foods & beverages for some time now but I was already overwhelmed with all of the other changes that we were making or wanting to make. Since allowing myself time to make the changes more slowly and taking baby steps instead of trying to do everything all at once, I am finally able to be more successful in implementing new items into our lives. I'm excited to be taking this next little step and can't wait to sample our ferments when they are ready!