Category Archives: PICKLES


POST #926
Now, this is kind of fun! I have a meetup on June 5th (I like meet-ups – I meet new people, go to interesting places in what is perhaps the most interesting city in the world – what’s not to like?)  This one is with a “fermented foods” group.  Up until now, I haven’t been able to hook up with them – once, I got to the place, but did not understand that they were in a hidden room behind the bar, and the other time, because work ($$$) called.  I’ve cleared the schedule for this one because it is about one of my favoritest food ingredients – GARLIC!  I’m thinking a garlic/dill sauerkraut, so I’ve been looking on-line for recipes. Guess what!  I came up with my own blog post recipe, among a couple of others. Okay, so that’s what I’ll do.

Curiously, I am participating in two courses right now (Russell James’ Home Chef Study  , as well as Tera Warner’s Health Homesteading  , in which both are coming up on a Fermented Foods module – so I took a quick sneak peek, and, guess what! Sauerkraut!  Okay, so it has been confirmed.

My kitchen is finally taking on an aspect which is easier to deal with, so I am looking forward to starting this ferment in  a few days (I generally prefer a 3-day ferment, so I might start up on this coming Wednesday, and see how I like it, and, if I don’t, start another which will be ready for the event on June 5th.


OPENING CEREMONY: You can’t always get what you want

POST #867
OPENING CEREMONY this afternoon.

The cranberry sauce I made from the cranberry pulp left over after I made cranberry juice came out very well.  I tried a spoonful, then spooned out about a cup on the plate and inhaled it. Yumm!  This stuff is too good to share. It’s mine, all mine!  I’ll make some more as soon as I get some oranges.

The butternut squash came out rather spicy, but, mixed with my fresh lentil sprouts, it was delicious.  I’ll use it as an ingredient, not as a dish on its own, and the next time I make it, I will go a lot easier on the jalapenos.  It is good enough that I’ll mix it with lentil sprouts and take it to a potluck party this coming weekend.

The sauerkraut is good, but somehow I made it too salty. How did I do that? No clue – I am very parsimonious with salt.  I am going to leave it another week to see if it gets better.  It is still good, just saltier than I would like it to be.

Mmmm.  Well, this is the first time I have opened up stuff that I haven’t absolutely loved right off the bat.  Actually, this is the first time I have made any foodstuff that I did not like. (I guess it had to happen sooner or later.)

The cranberry sauce that I made from the recipe I got from a book was not the best stuff I have ever eaten.  For some reason, it lost all its color, and had little taste. I’m not even sure there is anything I can do with it, other than throw it out.

 This is the first time I tried fermenting mushrooms, and it will be the last. First, the mushrooms really do shrink down to very little. That wouldn’t be a problem if I like the texture or the taste.  I did a jar of portobellos and a jar of criminis, and I didn’t like either.  I’ll probably stick these in some soup where they might hide from me. 

SANDOR KATZ’S NEW BOOK: The Art of Fermentation

POST #860
Okay, I’ve gone and proved it now. I am a culture junkie (maybe not as much as some people, but culturing foods is high on my list of fun things to do).

Today, I received Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation.  This is not a book for someone who just wants some fermenting recipes (for that, check out my list of raw fermenting/culturing books in My Raw Library . )  The Art of Fermentation is like an encyclopedia of the ways to ferment foods.  I inhaled it in one sitting (Okay, I read things I know I am interested in and looked at all of the pictures — I will go back and read bits of it as I feel the call.)  I should mention that this is not an all-raw book on fermentation, nor is it vegetarian — Katz explores all areas of culturing/fermenting/aging foodstuffs of all sorts.

What a fun book to have!

CHEW-FREE RAW LIVING FOODS: Raw foods for the toothless

POST #859
There is one area of raw live foods that nobody ever looks at.

A number of my nutrition clients, and, also my speech therapy clients, have complained to me that raw food is often difficult for them to eat, the reason being that they either have no teeth or use dentures.  Some people just simply say that raw food is difficult to eat because they have problems with their teeth.

An interesting thing about “Mrs. Richter’s Cook-Less Book” which I wrote about a couple of posts ago, is that a section of the book is devoted to “Soups for the Toothless”.  I found that quaint,  odd, at first, and then I realized that Vera Richter was the first raw living foods author to address such an issue, and that no one has mentioned the situation since.

I do champion the “chewing challenged”, particularly since I am a lazy chewer (I simply don’t like to have to chew much). Many of my clients have dentures  or are toothless.  Most raw recipe books have recipes which are mostly inaccessible to people who do not or cannot chew well (too hard, too chewy).

Most raw vegan recipe writers/chefs assume that the chewing challenged can get by with blended foods, without considering that a liquid diet can get boring.

If you are looking for more substantial food, i.e foods that fill your stomach while, at the same time, addressing your taste buds, as well as your subconscious food ideas), which can be eaten with no teeth, or plastic teeth, consider pates,  kale chips, A while back, I wrote a mainstream recipe book for chewing-challenged people.

Since the beginning of my new interest in cultured vegetables, some people have written complaining that their teeth come loose when they eat cultured foods.  Now, that is interesting.   Something in the probiotic is dissolving whatever adhesive people use to secure their dentures.

As a result, I have decided that, when I make up a recipe, I will note ways that it can be converted to “chew-free”  (actually, most of my recipes are, in fact,  chew-free, simply because I am a lazy chewer).

Meanwhile, in the case of the fermented/cultured vegetables,  100% of my denture-wearing clients have complained of the denture-loosening effect.   I plan to eat my fermented vegetables either before I insert my dentures, or after I am at home and don’t need them anymore.  (Of course, you can always just carry adhesive with you and use it if your food loosens your dentures) . If you have removed your dentures and you want to eat a cultured vegetable, please consider blending or food processing it into a paste – you will have the taste, and, at the same time, be able to manage the food in your  mouth.

GRAND RE-OPENING! I learn longer can be better

POST #840
I put up some kohlrabi/garlic/dill/jalapeno pickles on October 5.  4 days later, I opened the smallest jar, but left the other two jars to ferment a bit longer.

To tell the truth, I didn’t much care for the 4-day pickles. They were not very spicy at all.  I am very very glad that I left the other 2 jars for a while longer.  

Last night, I opened one of the jars and tasted the pickles. … and tasted some more…. and some more… dang! Those things were super ultra really very wonderfully gooooood!  I put some in a baggy to take to take to a woman at work who has been bringing me herbs from her garden.  She tracked me down later to rave about the pickles.  It turned out that she had shared her pickles with someone else (a person I don’t know) who also tracked me down and raved about them.   Okay. I get it. Some things are better if you wait longer.  

I’m taking the remaining jar on vacation with me to see how my Mom likes them (I think my Dad will like them, unless he has mysteriously gone off spicy)  I’m also going to pack up a bunch of these pickles for snacks on my train trip Down South (only problem is that they are “very aromatic” — well, that might not be a problem… people might smell them and not want to sit next to me on the train.)

I still do like 3-day sauerkraut, though, so I’ll open the sauerkraut I put up on Sunday night tomorrow, and pack it with me, too.

VACATION TIME! I’m going down South to the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

POST #837
I’m going on vacation at the end of next week — yea!!!!!

I will be taking a 10-hr train trip down South, to meet up with my parents in Virginia Beach and then continue on to the Outer Banks in North Carolina (where I’ll be is just down the road from the road from where the Wright brothers made their historic first airplane flight — there’s a cool museum there.  It is also down the road from the largest sand dune in America.  Then, too, it is a few miles away from that wonderful house that starred in the Richard Gere movie, Nights in Rodanthe
which was based on the lovely book, Nights in Rodanthe,
by Nicholas Sparks.

I am planning to to pack a food bag with some fresh sauerkraut, and some of the other fermented vegetables I have in the fridge from last week’s bout (I hope I have some left when I get there, so I can show them off to my mom).  I want to make some kale chips because they are so good — again, I hope some will last so I can show them to my mom.  I’m ready – I have the red bell pepper, the cashews, the garlic, the chili powder, and, I think I have the onion powder (hope hope) — I do need to fetch some lemons.

Traveling raw requires a bit more pre-thinking than just packing.  I’m also thinking of making some crackers (haven’t done that in a really long time). Almond/corn/flax crackers are always my favorite, but I might make some sunflower seed crackers as well, from my first cracker recipe (gosh! I haven’t made up that recipe in years, but now it calls to me)    

Sounds like I’m going to be a bit busy this weekend.

Will I have space to pack clothes?

It’s all good! I’ll be on an island 25 miles out to sea. (It looks like there are no hurricanes to interrupt my idyllic vacation).  If it’s warm enough, Mom and I will spend some time on the beach.  If it isn’t, I’ll just spend some time on the beach by myself, looking for shells and stones and sea glass to make jewelry.  I’ll get up early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the ocean  from the veranda (yes, we have a veranda!) That is my favorite part of this vacation that I take every year with my parents.  At some point, Mom and I will probably go shopping at the outlet mall.  We might also work on a project for Mom’s church’s pre-Christmas bazaar (past projects have included making and decorating creche scenes and making sea glass jewelry with sea glass that my mother collected in Cuba).  

10/11/12 CSA SHARE: What we actually got

POST #836
Sometimes you hit the jackpot, and sometimes the jackpot just laughs at you.  I got there at 4:00 and, still, someone had gotten there before me. Oh well. Next week I’ll go at 3:30.

Butternut Squash – 1 or 2…… got 1
Green Cabbage – 1 hd…………. broccoli
Cilantro – 1 bun
Baby Arugula – 1 bag……………traded for cilantro
Toscano Kale – 1 bun
Red Russian Kale- 1 bun

I looked so longingly at the share box, hoping that something would appear there that I wanted, that someone noticed me mooning over it and asked me what I was looking for, and what I was willing to trade: I traded the broccoli for her kale.

Since I really did want to get the cabbage for sauerkraut, I stopped off at the supermarket on the way home and picked up two medium-sized heads, and I got some of the Scotch Bonnet “aji” peppers that I met in Venezuela (here they call them Jamaican peppers)– they pack fire, which is what I want in my sauerkraut (I don’t know why the jalapenos have been so lack-luster lately — I’ve been putting two or three large ones in each of my ferments, but the spicy hasn’t been coming through.  I actually ate a piece of jalapeno from the carrot ferment, and there was absolutely no fire)

ANNIVERSARY MONTH: It was 10 years ago this month that I knew I had taken off 100 lbs. They are still off!

POST #833
Ten years ago, on October 2, my birthday, I realized that my clothes were rather loose.  I ultimately took off @100lbs.

So, now, it has been 10 years that  I have kept the weight off.  I hope you will understand if I reach around and pat myself on the back.  Yeah, I’m proud.  Today, instead of wearing a size 22, I am wearing a size 2.


10/04/12 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get and what I am thinking of doing with it

POST #862
Here is what they say we will get:
Mesclun Lettuce Mix with Baby Arugula
Baby Bok Choi
Japanese Salad Turnips
Green Boston Lettuce
Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes
Toscano Kale

So! We’re back to leaves again! Just means that I have to get to the share distribution early early early, so I can trade some of those leaves for maybe more kale, more bok choi or more turnips, and maybe more kohlrabi.

I’ll make cultured kohlrabi with whatever kohlrabi I get (probably “dill pickle” style). When it’s in the jar, I’ll tell you the recipe.

The kale will likely go to kale chips. I haven’t had any in a while. I won’t buy them commercially-made — too pricey.


POST #802
I’ve been reading a lot of raw fermenting recipes during the last few days (don’t know why it never occurred to me that others were reporting their ferments online before).

In books, and on-line, I’ve found a recommendation to use whey, but I never have and do not plan to (I am very milk allergic — it’s the casein– so I avoid milk products of any kind).  I’v also heard that whey ferments can fail.

I guess I am lucky.  When I set out to make my first batch of sauerkraut, I picked up from somewhere that I could use probiotics powder (or caps) to make a good ferment.  To date, I have only lost one batch, and that was the batch where I forgot to add the probiotics in.

I’ve always used New Chapter Probiotic All-Flora — I don’t rightly remember why I use this particular one, but I do recall that I made a point of chasing it down —  I suppose you could use any other probiotic you have lying around or choose to obtain.

Without having experience in any other way of making fermented vegetables, I think my way works very well, and ferments up in 3 days (for sauerkraut, and just about any other vegetable I ferment).  Sometimes, if I’m working with someone else’s recipe, if they recommend a longer ferment time, I’ll leave it for up to 14 days, but, usually, the longest I leave a jar is 5 days.

I’m excited about trying out all of these new recipes I’ve found recently,  but I expect I will continue my way of fermenting, because it works very well for me.  You might try it yourself.