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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Real Food Journey: There's Something Growing Behind My Slow Cooker

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!

For information on fermented foods and why they are beneficial for us, check out this article or this article on the Nourished Kitchen website.


DeliciousObsessions said...

I love the matchstick idea for the ginger carrots! I'm going to have to try that. Your kitchen looks like mine! I need to find some plastic lids that fit in my jars so I can do my ferments like yours. Right now, I'm just using a clean water glass inside my jar to weight down my veggies, but there is a little space around the edge. Did you get your jar/lid combos somewhere, or did it just work out that you had lids that fit inside the jars?

Love your blog! I look forward to reading more!

Stacy said...

Thanks for all of the wonderful links. I already read some of them in the past, but have forgotten about them. Have you read the book "Wild Fermentation?" Very comical for me reading what the author writes in the beginning. My Hubby told me that he did not want me reading that book because of the author's views, but I assured him that I did not nor would ever agree with her religious views and just wanted to try the recipes; the rest was just entertainment! LOL!

~LKB said...

Hi Stacey! I have heard of Wild Fermentation but never read it. I have been to his website though. It's funny how many far out ideas & views there are in the real food world but I guess you find that in every area of life, huh? I read a lot of whacky webpages but just so I can get some awesome recipes and techniques for making some of my fabulous ferments and real food goodies. I also read a lot of blogs by other Christian moms on this same ride so it evens things out a lot.


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