Sunday, February 04, 2007

ferment








well, i must say ~ i've been quite the fermentation fanatic lately. ~not a fermentation "fetishist", as Sandor Katz calls himself, but quite crazy. watch out Plant Kingdom: if you don't seem as if you've a Career Goal prior to the compost pile... you might just get FER-mented.

this week i made: some version of sauerkraut/fermented veggies (Gyrlene says, "TiffieKraut".), beet kvass (a tonic from which you use the liquid and discard the solid), mango chutney, and lemon-orange-grapefruit marmalade. OH YEAH!!
this is not even counting the raw milk yogurt and sourdough breads i made (ok ~ now it is!!)...

after reading (and loving) _The_Revolution_Will_Not_Be_Microwaved_, and reading just the first chunk of _Food_Not_Lawns_ [how to turn your yard into a garden and your neighborhood into a community], by Sandor Katz, and H.C. Flores, respectively, i am even more enthused to WASTE NOTHING!!
and fermentation is another layer of utility you can tastily easily enjoyably employ.

one of the many ways i appreciate Sandor's writing is that he finds a way to encourage me not to be afraid to experiment and try something new ~ with style and confidence. another is that he insists that, at least with fermentation (different from, say, cake-baking), "recipes" are just ideas and guidelines; mix and match, use what you have, do what you like and what works for you. i hope to try every single recipe/idea in his _wild_fermentation_ book. it inspires me.

with what falls under his term for "sauerkraut," almost anything in the kitchen can go, it seems.
this time around i used: red cabbage, the outer *leaves* of cauliflower heads, green onions, garlic, celery, strawberry daikon radish, and apple ( i think that's it. . ), a bunch of stuff in our kitchen that didn't seem to have a plan.
i varied the cuts and shapes for interest.
i collected it all in a bowl and pounded it with a coffee cup to get the juices flowing ( i think i left the apple out of this.. for integrity of shape. .).
then i packed it tight into jars, layering it with light sprinklings of sea salt as i crammed with my fist.
i fit jar lids from slightly smaller-sized jars in on top, and weighted them with full beer bottles. this is because the stuffs tend to float in the salt water brine, and you need them to be covered by the liquid in order to ferment correctly.
after a day or so the juice was not flowing amply enough to cover the lot of it, so i added some filtered water and a sprinkling of salt. in another day, they were bubbling ~ one was frothing, and looking and smelling goo-ood!!
i'll wait about a week, then put it in the fridge.

the beet kvass recipe i used from _Nourishing_Traditions_, by Sally Fallon.
i used a few clean beets,
chopped them up, and put them in a 2-quart jar.
then mixed about 1/4 cup whey (from my yogurt and cheese-making endeavors) with
a ..tablespoon sea salt, and added it in with the beets.
i filled the jar with filtered water, and closed it tight.
it'll be ready in a few days.

i cleaned out the fridge one day, and found a half-full (not half-empty!!) jar of mango quarters that someone had left in there since.. summer.
i opened the jar and ! whew! that's alcohol! then i thought: what a perfect candidate for fermentation!!
so i used the _Nourishing_Traditions_ recipe for "fruit chutney" as a guide. it has raisins, chopped almonds, lots of lemon rind, and spices, plus whey and sea salt.
we'll see . ..

and today: i used a grapefruit that seemed sad and neglected, a rind-less lemon, and an orange i borrowed from a neighbor's sidewalk (yup ~ i live in california!) to make marmalade. :)
i scrubbed and sliced those babies real thin.
then i attractively layered them in a quart jar.
i mixed: whey, sucanat (evaporated cane juice), and sea salt with some filtered water, and poured it in.
(this, from _Nourishing_Traditions_, once again)
it is so lovely to behold!

things already have the necessary fermentative bacteria and yeasties to go on their own. however, whey gives them a boost. sea salt helps control the action (and gives flavor and minerals)..

what can we ferment next??

photos:
the kraut makin's,
tampin' it down,
weighting.
beet kvass (with my lovely new set of measuring cups and spoons in the background [thanks, Mom!!]),
mango chutney,
citrus marmalahd,
the family portrait

1 comment:

joy said...

wow, I am so inspired! I got here searching for kombucha making and am glad to have stumbled upon all your food experiments. the "marmalade" looks & sounds awesome.. just my kind of thing. thanks for the book recommendations, too.