Tag Archives: sauerkraut

GNOWFGLINS – interesting resource for food prep lessons

GNOWFGLINS is a homesteading blog/website/newsletter with mountains of information. Wardee Harmon sends out newsletters with all sorts of useful free  information, and, too, she offers on-line e-classes, each of which contains numerous useful items.  What’s interesting about her courses is that they are offered on a “membership” basis, i.e., you pay by the month (so, if you are like me, you could probably inhale at least 5 courses in the space of a month).  These courses are not exclusively even vegetarian, but quite a few offer useful items for raw vegans (I have my eye on the first course, Fundamentals, which talks about sprouting beans, making water kefir, sprouting whole grains, and making natural pickled foods, among other items which are not of interest to me). Fundamentals II covers equipment for a traditional foods kitchen, natural sweeteners, superfoods, homemade salad dressings and sauces, and kid-friendly snacks, among other things I probably won’t be interested in). LactoFermentation covers all aspects of fermentation (I’ve read Wardee’s book on fermentation, but I still think this might reveal some things to me. I know she uses a whey-based fermenting culture, but I know I can get around that with lactobacillus caps. This lesson promises how to ferment fruit, fermented condiments, kefir, kombucha, and kvass, fermented honey, and more)  The dehydrating course is of interest to me because I am self-taught, and I think I might be able to learn some extra things

That’s 4 courses that I think I can learn something from, which, if I can focus and finish those courses in a month’s time, will make the month’s $17.95 membership very cost-effective. 

You might consider checking out Wardee’s site, and these course offerings – I haven’t seen such a good over-all pricing for the information I am after, and, anyway, I’d like to see how she does this, so I can tell you more at another time.

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GRAND OPENING: SAUERKRAUT

POST #936
I opened the sauerkraut this afternoon – at 3-1/2 days.  The jar I made with probiotics was great, as usual, but I am not terribly crazy about the jar made with the kimchi juice.  It is okay, I mean, it isn’t off or anything, but I am not so sure I like the taste. It seems a little bitter to me. Perhaps it will grow on me (meantime, I can hope that the people at the meet-up do like it and eat it all up).  I’ve put what was left in the jar back on the board to ferment a little longer – that might help, too.  I was kind of surprised that, despite all the garlic and jalapeno I put in there, it doesn’t taste all that garlicky (at least not to me) nor does it seem overly spicy.

I put half of each jar into pint jars, identifiable by different lids, to take to the meet-up tonight.  I always hope the people will like what I have made.  This is my first time with this group, so it should be interesting.

MY LATEST FERMENT-ATHON IS ON!

POST #932
I have just put up my latest two jars of sauerkraut.  I don’t always tell you about my sauerkraut jars, simply because I always do them the same way, more or less.  This time, however, I have done two things differently, and one is a big experiment for me.

I’ll start with the big experiment:  I have always made my sauerkraut with probiotics powder, and it has always worked for me – the only failure I have ever had was the batch where I forgot to put in the probiotics.   I keep hearing about using sauerkraut juice or kimchi juice from previous batches, and I’m curious (I never end up with juice, really – so I wonder about that, too).  A few weeks ago, at the Union Square Greenmarket, I found a stall that was selling kimchi juice as a tonic.  I asked them how I would use it to start sauerkraut, and they suggested I use a couple of tablespoons to a jar of sauerkraut.  So… tonight, I put up one jar using only 2 T of the kimchi juice.

Different thing number two, which goes for both jars:  I am going to a fermented foods meet-up where we are supposed bring some garlicky fermented food.  Garlic goes in most things I make, so… what is garlicky? Do I put more?  I decided to add about 8 cloves of garlic for each of the two  heads of cabbage.  In addition, I sliced up about 3 fairly large jalapeno peppers and added them to the mix, simply because I have always liked my sauerkraut spicy, and spicier sounded like a good idea.

One interesting thing happened: when I went to open the probiotics capsule, I had a hard time with it, and then it slipped and fell into the water I was going to mix it into.  Since that was my last capsule, I could not afford to lose it, so I ended up swishing it around in the water – the gelatin capsule finally gave up the powder, but was still solid enough for me to remove it from the water. That’s good to know – I mean, I don’t plan to extract the powder that way, but, I won’t have to worry any more if I drop the cap into the water.

The two jars are sitting there in bowls on my stove shelf (I don’t use my stove, so I have a large cutting board covering the burners, and, when I am fermenting, half of that goes to the ferments).   Both jars have the “dome lids”, i.e., the two part lids, although the jar with the kimchi juice has a re-usable plastic disk for the dome lid.

My meet-up is on Wednesday, so that gives me 3 days to ferment.  I am confident that the probiotics mix will be ready on time, but I am not sure about the kimchi juice ferment. I’ll just have to test it on Tuesday night and see how it is.

I’M GOING TO A FERMENTED GARLICKY FOOD MEET-UP

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.

SUCCESSFUL TASTY SAUERKRAUT: why other people don’t like raw sauerkraut and how you can

POST #899
SUCCESSFUL TASTY SAUERKRAUT: Why Other People Don’t Like Sauerkraut, and How You Can

Swayze Foster recently posted a “low-sodium” sauerkraut-related video, in which she talked mostly about how she hates sauerkraut.

I’m a fermenter, and I do like sauerkraut, and I have been lucky that everyone who has tasted my sauerkraut has liked it (I do get lucky like that – people who say they are don’t like something that I am pushing  generally tend to like it once they have tasted it). 

Swayze says she put her sauerkraut in a jar covered by leaves, and topped  by cheesecloth to ferment for three days. That is, by me, the first mistake – if you are going to make “short-ferment” vegetables of any sort, you need to 1) press the vegetables down under the liquid, and/or 2)cover the recipient with a tight lid.

I’ve tried several ways to weight the vegetables, all of which involved putting a cabbage leaf on top and putting a weight on that, and then putting the lid on.  Each time, I have ended up with a slimy cabbage leaf, and an iffy batch of sauerkraut.

The sauerkraut I make is low sodium (I use a maximum of 1 T sea salt to a large head of cabbage — 2 1-qt jars worth). The sea salt is already low sodium, and it helps to draw the liquid/juice from the cabbage.  I find that the kicker, or the trick, to making a successful, tasty raw sauerkraut is the addition of 1 – 2 capsules-worth (or 1 teaspoon) of probiotics to the mix  (you could mix it in by hand, but I worry that some might get stuck on my glove and not remain in the mix, or you could mix it into the water you add to top off the jar)  The salt works to ferment, but salt wants a while.  The probiotics go to work immediately, and practically ensure that your batch of sauerkraut will succeed (when I first started making sauerkraut, I was warned that my first batches might fail – the only failed batches I have ever had were the ones where I did not use the probiotics)

I usually let my sauerkraut batches go for 3-4 days before I open them.  With the tight cap on them, I need to open them over the sink, as the probiotics will have created a fizzy pressure, and the cabbage sometimes pops out of the top of the jar.  I like the sweetness of the 3-4 day ferment, but I have left it as long as 7 days with no ill results.  My batches rarely last more than 7 days in the refrigerator, as, when I have a batch of sauerkraut, it goes into almost everything I make up (wakame seaweed and vegetable salad, raw tuno, crackers – you name it!)  I often eat it on its own, as I love the flavor (I most frequently simply add jalapeno pepper slices, but often I add garlic, dill, cilantro, curry powder, or kimchi spices).

The way I figure it is, if you don’t like raw sauerkraut, most probably, you have gotten a bad batch, or you don’t like the flavorings.  A simple, plain raw sauerkraut made with just sea salt and probiotics will be tasty, sweet-ish,  to almost anyone, even children, and will be a good addition to just about anything you want to make up.

One last thing about sauerkraut, or any other fermented vegetable: If you don’t like to chew,  or if you don’t like crunchy, process your vegetables to a fine grate (not applesauce texture, but more like if you chopped for 20 mins) and be sure to include probiotics in your mix (many people tell me you can use sauerkraut juice from an older batch, but I never have that much juice left, and I don’t trust commercial batches.  For my first batches, I used a Zukay salad dressing for the probiotic, but, since Zukay salad dressings are not available in New York City as of this writing, and the company refuses to sell even crates of their product to individual buyers, I have never used that since).

CULTURED VEGGIES FOR FLU PREVENTION – from Nourished Kitchen

POST #879
CULTURED VEGGIES FOR FLU PREVENTION
from Nourished Kitchen

Donna Schwenk, the author, says:”These are a little spicy, and a little sweet and sour. They are wonderful for digesting your food, building up your immune system, and helping your adrenals feel nourished. It is the flavor I love the best. I’m a foodie and it has to taste good! You can find Vegetable Starter Culture online or in well-stocked health food stores.”

CULTURED VEGGIES FOR FLU PREVENTION
Yield: 2 quarts (64 Servings) Prep: 5 mins
1 medium jicama
1/2 head cabbage
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 medium apple
1 small onion
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
1 large orange (zested and juiced)
1 package vegetable starter culture

  • Shred or chop the first six ingredients and place¬† in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  • You can also layer it in the jar instead of mixing.
  • Firmly pack the mixture into 2 quart glass canning jars or a half-gallon jar
  • Then add the orange zest juice, and culture, and cover with water, leaving an inch or two at the top.
  • Seal jar tightly and let sit on the counter for 6 days and then place in the refrigerator

I haven’t tried this yet, but I will start it this week. I will use 2-3 probiotics capsules instead of the “vegetable starter culture”, which contains sugar and dairy.

11/15/12 CSA SHARE: A perfect world: What I got

Post #861
My perfect world:  What we got, what I took home:

Leeks……………………….traded for kale
Watermelon Radish
Green Kale
Russet Potatoes…………traded for cabbage
Cabbage
Broccoli……………………traded for carrots
Baby Carrots

Yep, I wanted it and I got it all!  (I’m kind of worried, though. I hope my nemesis, the old guy who always gets there before I do, even if I get there before the CSA workers do, and always takes whatever I want from the trade  box, is okay.  He didn’t show up in all of the @20 minutes I was there.)

Curiously, the workers were watching me like hawks when I was doing my trades.  Okay, I do go to the trade box first and take what I want, because I want to get what I want before someone else does, and because I know that I will be bringing back certain things (you’ve seen my plans — I stick to them ), but I told them exactly what I would bring back, and I did so as soon as I dug them out of the box.  I took back the broccoli, the leeks (they were few and small), and the potatoes.  I also took the radishes because I thought that maybe something else I wanted would wind up in the box before I left. I went back for the radishes but  I only took three, although I had put in about seven (I realized that later).  

Nuff said about my “CSA experience”

I made up some kale chips last night, only I forgot to put the red bell pepper into the cheeze mix, although it was sitting right there on the table.  Du-umb!  I am here to tell you today that the red bell pepper really does make a difference.  The chips are okay, and I’ll eat them all, anyway, but I will never ever ever forget the red bell pepper again.

I have another large bunch of kale – I think I’ll halve it and make cheddar cheeze chips and smoked jalapeno chips, as well — that was the original plan, anyway.

Those cabbages are big enough to make up maybe 3 quarts of sauerkraut each. Flavor experiments here we come!  

The carrots will probably go to sticks again — those were good.