Lacto-fermented Garlic and Dill Pickles

I ended up with a bunch of pickling cucumbers in my CSA box a week or two ago, so decided that it was time to make some pickles.

I like to enjoy some probiotic rich food with every meal if I can, and these pickles fit the bill perfectly….

2 Chicken drumsticks, collard greens with bacon, half a sliced avocado and some pickles

2 Chicken drumsticks, collard greens with bacon, half a sliced avocado and some pickles

Because the cucumbers I received were not very even in size, I decided to slice them this time and make pickle slices.  You could easily make whole cucumber pickles or even use cucumbers cut lengthwise into spears.  Whole cucumbers may take a little longer depending on the size, but the process is exactly the same.

In order to keep the cucumber pickles crunchy, you need to use a source of tannin – some people use grape leaves, but I decided to use green tea because that is what I have handy for making my kombucha.

Lacto-Fermented Garlic and Dill Pickles

Makes 1 pint jar

pick2

Place the teabag and the salt in the 2 cups of boiling water and leave to stand until at room temperature.  Stir well to dissolve the salt.

Meanwhile slice the cucumbers into ¼” thick slices.

Peel the garlic but leave the cloves whole.  Place the garlic and dill in the bottom of the jar and then fill the jar with the cucumber slices.

Once the tea/brine has cooled to room temperature, pour this in the jar until they are covered with the brine. You probably will not need all the brine, but it is better to have made too much!

Now you need to weigh them down.  As you can see in the picture above, I used a smaller mason jar that fit nicely inside the mouth of the larger jar.  Other people use clean, boiled river-rocks, glass marbles or even a food-grade plastic bag filled with more brine.  Anything will work as long as it is non-toxic, will fit inside the jar, and will hold the pickles under the brine.  A glass jar just works well for me.

pick2

Cover the jar and any weights with a clean, densely woven cloth.  I like to use a tea-cloth as they wash well in case of any accidental brine spillage, yet they are densely woven enough to keep bugs out.  Do NOT try to use the cheap, loosely woven “Cheesecloth” sold in grocery stores – the weave is far too loose on this, and even with multiple layers fruit-flies and other bugs will get into your pickles!  Hold the cloth in place with either string tied tightly round the jar or an elastic band.

pick1

Leave your pickles on the counter for 4-6 days at room temperature.  I like to stand the jar in a dish to catch any brine that might spill over the edge of the jar – it makes less of a mess on the counter.

After 4 days, taste one of the pickles and see if it is to your liking.  If it is, now is the time to put a lid on the jar and stash them in the fridge.

pick7

If not, leave them on the counter-top for an extra day or two.

Serve cold with your favourite meals….

pick4

If using small whole pickles, they may take an extra 3-4 days depending on size.  Really large whole pickles might take up to a week or two to get properly pickled.

When making whole pickles I will sometimes use a crock or a large pot – in this case a baked bean pot that I will never use for cooking beans…

pick6

Just scale up the recipe, remembering to use 2 cloves of garlic and 2 sprigs of dill for every cup of brine you are making up, and using 1 TBSP of salt and 1 green teabag per cup of brine.

Place the garlic and dill at the bottom of the crock, then pack the cucumbers on top:

pick5

Pour over the brine, and then weight down with something that will keep the pickles under the surface of the brine.  In the case of my bean-pot, because of the shape and the narrow neck, I use a ziplock bag filled with brine.  If you are using a straight sided crock, you could use an appropriately sized dinner plate or anything else that fits.

Cover the crock tightly with a lid or a cloth (I like to put a piece of clingwrap over the mouth of my bean pot, and then place the lid on top to make sure no insects get in.

Ferment for 1-2 weeks depending on the size of the pickles before transferring them to smaller jars and storing in the fridge.

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

AIP Waldorf Salad – Nut Free

A Waldorf salad is usually made from celery, apples and walnuts, dressed with mayonnaise.

Because neither nuts or mayonnaise are allowed on the stricter version of the Autoimmune Protocol, I decided to modify the recipe so that it did not contain either of these ingredients.  I added cucumber and radishes to provide a bit of extra crunch, and in place of the mayonnaise, I used some of my homemade coconut milk yogurt.  This made it tangy and refreshing, and much lighter.  It also added some gut-friendly probiotics.

I served the salad on a bed of baby greens.

DRibs1

This recipe was one of the side dishes that I served with my AIP BBQ Ribs that I made the other day.

AIP Waldorf Salad

serves 2

WS1

  • 1 stick celery – diced
  • 1 granny smith apple – cored and diced
  • ½ cucumber – diced
  • 5 radishes – each cut into ½” chunks
  • ¼ cup coconut milk yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • Baby spring greens to serve

Mix together the coconut milk yogurt, lemon juice and parsley.  Season to taste with sea salt.

Chop the celery, apple, cucumber and radishes into ½” chunks.

Mix the vegetables with the coconut yogurt dressing.

WS2

Serve the salad on a bed of baby greens.

Shared at: The Gathering Spot, Handmade Tuesdays, Tell Em Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesday, AIP Paleo Recipe RoundtableFull Plate Thursday, Gluten Free FridaysReal Food Fridays, Lets Get Real Fridays

Turmeric-Avocado Deviled Eggs

This is the second batch of deviled eggs that I made for the Ostara Potluck I attended.

ye2
The first batch was the Pink Deviled Eggs I wrote about a few days ago.

Unlike the pink eggs, which used leftover beet brine, I made a fermented turmeric brine especially for these eggs.  They will need to be started at least 2 weeks in advance of when you want to serve them in order for you to have time to ferment the turmeric brine.

But the results are worth it!

Turmeric adds the yellow colour to the outside of the eggs, and is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflamatory.

The avocado not only provides the green creamyness to the yolk filling, it also provides some heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, a ton of nutrients and yet more anti-inflammatory properties.

These are a stunning contribution to a potluck, but also make great snacks and would look wonderful on an Easter buffet table.  They would also be good for breakfast or in packed lunches.

You could also just eat the turmeric pickled eggs whole without going to the trouble of cutting and filling them with the avocado mixture.

Whole eggs/egg whites are an AIP stage 2 reintroduction, so if you are following the AIP plan, you will need to wait until you have successfully reintroduced egg yolks and egg whites before eating these.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Turmeric Avocado Deviled Eggs

Makes 24 halved eggs

YE4

To make the turmeric brine:

  • 2 TBSP pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 small carrot – sliced – peel if not organic
  • 2″fresh root ginger – sliced thinly
  • 2″ fresh turmeric root – sliced thinly
  • 4-5 slices fresh horseradish root
  • 3 cloves garlic – peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cabbage leaf (to weigh down the veggies to ensure they all stay underneath the brine)

To make the eggs

  • 1 dozen eggs – preferably free-range/pastured/soy-free

To make the filling

  • 1 large ripe avocado – peeled and diced
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme – chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

The first thing that needs to be done is that the brine needs to be made and fermented.  This needs to be started at least 2 weeks before you want to serve the eggs.

Take all the brine ingredients, except for the cabbage, and put them in a quart mason jar.  Add filtered water to cover and mix well to dissolve the salt.  Tuck the cabbage leaf on top of the veggies to hold them down under the brine.  If necessary weigh this down with a small jar or shot-glass filled with brine.

YE1

Cover and leave to stand at room temperature for at least 7 days.  It may get fizzy and bubbly as the naturally occurring cultures start to ferment the sugars in the veggies and herbs.  This is normal.  Open the lid every now and again to release the gas.

Once the brine is fermented to your liking, strain out all the solids, reserving the fermented brine.

Take the dozen eggs, and place them in a pan with cold water.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain and place in cold water.

Once the eggs have cooled enough to handle, peel off the shells and pack the eggs in a large mason jar.

Carefully pour over the brine to cover the eggs.

Place the eggs in the fridge and leave to “pickle” for 5-7 days.

To make the deviled eggs…

Drain the eggs from the brine.

Cut each egg in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the yolk.

Mash the yolks with the avocado.

Place the herbs, garlic, lemon juice and the olive oil in a blender or food processor and puree to a paste.

Add the herb puree to the egg yolks and avocado and mix well.

Season to taste with sea salt.

ye3

Carefully spoon or pipe the green mixture back into the egg whites and arrange on a serving platter.

Shared At Full PlateThursday

Shared at Home & Garden Thursday

Shared at All Things Thursday

Shared at Pure Blog Love

Shared at Natural Family Friday

Shared at What to do Weekends

Shared at Simply Natural Saturday

Pink Deviled Eggs

This is an unusual way to prepare eggs, but it is both delicious and very striking to look at.

I made these for a Ostara celebration that I attended.

bpe3

They would also be perfect for Easter, and would make a stunning addition to a brunch table.  I also made some yellow deviled eggs as well, but they are a separate recipe.

They also make great appetizers or snacks.  Kids love them due to the unusual colour…

The striking pink-purple colour is 100% natural, and comes from soaking the cooked and peeled eggs in leftover beet-brine or beet kvass.

BPE1

The eggs need to soak in the brine for several days  – the longer you soak them, the more the whites take on the colour – I left these in the brine for 7 days, and as you can see, the purple-pink colour penetrated all the way to the yolks.  In fact, the yolks were stained slightly pink at the edges.  I suspect that leaving them in the brine for even longer would result in pink yolks as well.

If you also need to make the beet brine or kvass, you will need to start these at least 2 weeks in advance.  The recipe for the beet brine/kvass can be found here.

While these are not 100% AIP (egg yolks are a stage 1 reintroduction, and egg whites are a stage 2 reintroduction), if you have successfully managed to reintroduce eggs, you could enjoy these beauties.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Pink Deviled Eggs

makes 2 dozen halved eggs

BPE2

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • beet brine or beet kvass to cover
  • ¼ cup homemade mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup coconut milk yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill – chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste (black pepper is a stage 2 reintroduction – omit this if sensitive to it)
  • dill sprigs to garnish

Place the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain the eggs and cover in cold water.  Leave to stand until completely cold.

Remove the shells from the eggs, and place them in a large mason jar.  Cover the eggs with the beet brine/beet kvass, and put on a lid.

BPE1

Store the eggs in the fridge for between 3 and 7 days.  The longer you leave the eggs, the more colour the whites will take.

To make the deviled eggs, drain off the beet brine/kvass.

Slice each egg in half, lengthwise and scoop the yolks into a bowl.

Mash the yolks with the mayonnaise and coconut milk yoghurt until smooth.  Season with salt and black pepper, and stir in the dill.

Spoon or pipe the yolk mixture back into the whites and garnish with a small sprig of dill.

bpe4

Keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve, and be prepared to explain to everyone how you achieved that wonderful colour!

Shared at Mostly Homemade Monday

Shared at Fat Tuesday

Shared at Tuesdays With a Twist

Shared at Corn Free Everyday

Shared at Handmade Tuesday

Shared at Simple Life Sunday

Shared at Show and Share

Shared at The Art of Homemaking Mondays

Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday

Shared at Homestead Blog Hop

Shared at Full Plate Thursday

Shared at Home & Garden Thursday

Shared at All Things Thursday

Shared at Awesome Life Friday

Shared at Simply Natural Saturday

Simple Small Batch Sauerkraut

I don’t own a large fermentation crock, so I make my sauerkraut in small batches in mason jars.

It does take a bit more work to do it this way because you have to make and fill several small jars rather than just packing it into one large fermentation crock or jar.

But I have a large number of wide-mouthed mason jars, so this method works well for me.

I posted about my vegetable ferments that I made a while ago, and sauerkraut was part of this batch.

I made a batch with red cabbage and another batch with green/white cabbage.  You could use either or even mix the two.

I don’t add any spices to my kraut, but if you are not AIP and like the flavour, you could add some caraway or fennel seeds to provide a slight aniseed flavour.

Sauerkraut is very good for you – it has been shown that a small amount of sauerkraut will provide you with far more healthy probiotic bacteria than even some of the very high quality probiotic supplements.

This makes it a very valued addition to any diet as far as I am concerned.

But in addition to it’s probiotic content, sauerkraut is a good source of vitamins A and C, and has all the health benefits of the other cruciferous vegetables.

It is also very tasty – tangy and slightly salty.

Simple Small Batch Sauerkraut

makes 1 quart sized mason jar

kraut1

  • ½ head of cabbage (you could double up the recipe and use the entire head if you prefer).  Either red cabbage or white, or a mixture of the two – it really does not matter.
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

Take your cabbage and remove the core and some of the outside leaves.  Reserve one or two leaves.

Now shred the cabbage finely – I like to do this in my food processor to save time, but you could use a knife.

Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt evenly over the surface.

Now you need to pound the heck out of the cabbage – I use the end of my rolling pin, but you could use a meat pounder or even your fists.  What you need to do is to break down some of the structure of the cabbage and make it release it’s liquid as this forms the brine that will preserve your kraut.

Pounding the cabbage can take upwards of 10 minutes, and you want it to be really juicy when you squeeze it.

After this, transfer the cabbage to a wide mouthed mason jar, packing it down well with your fists.

If you have pounded it enough, you should see the brine starting to rise up over the surface to cover the cabbage.  If not enough brine rises up, no worries, just mix up a little more brine (2 tbsp salt in 1 quart of water) and pour that over the surface.

Now take the reserved cabbage leaves and lay them on the surface of the cabbage, pushing them underneath the brine.  These will stop lots of little bits of cabbage from rising to the surface, which will help prevent mold forming.

After this, I like to weight the cabbage leaves down – I use the very small jelly-sized mason jars as they fit perfectly inside a wide-mouthed mason jar.  I fill them up with a little brine to help hold them down and prevent them from floating.

And finally, screw the lid on the mason jar.

Leave your sauerkraut to ferment for 2-3 weeks, opening the jar to release any gas every day.  I like to taste it towards the end of the fermentation period at this point as well.

The sauerkraut is ready when it tastes good to you.  In cold weather it may take longer to ferment than it will in the summer.

If you don’t think it is ready, reseal and leave it for a few more days.  Some people like to ferment their kraut for several weeks (6-8), but I prefer it “younger”.

Once you think it is ready, transfer it to the fridge as this will slow down the fermentation process.  Now it will keep for months.

If you make sure that your cabbage is well submerged under the brine, you should have very few problems with spoilage or mold formation – but in the unlikely event that it does mold, throw the whole lot out.  Mold produces toxins that can spread rapidly throughout the entire jar of sauerkraut, and you cannot just scrape it off the surface.

When I make red cabbage sauerkraut, it looks like this:

RK1

And the green cabbage sauerkraut looks like this:

GK1

Because this is a live culture, I don’t really recommend that you cook your sauerkraut – it will be tasty if cooked, but it won’t contain any of the probiotic bacteria as they are killed by high temperatures.

I most often eat my sauerkraut raw – either with sausage patties for breakfast:

AIPbfast1

Or with other meats/fish/eggs (this is pulled pork)

AIPbfast3

I also sometimes add it to coleslaw to make a lacto-fermented slaw.

Lacto-Fermented Beet And Carrot Salad

I made this vibrantly coloured salad to use up some of the lacto-fermented beets that I had leftover from making Beet Kvass.

I don’t like to waste anything (It is the thrifty Yorkshire Woman in me!), and I did not want to throw the beets away after I had made the kvass, but I also did not want to just eat the chunks of beet.

This salad was a perfect compromise, and went very well with some pork chops that I had cooked for dinner.

This recipe is both Paleo and AIP Friendly.  And thanks to the lacto-fermented beets, it is full of healthy, gut-friendly probiotics.

And it is so pretty!

Lact0-Fermented Beet And Carrot Salad

serves 4-6

FBCS3

  • Lacto-fermented beets – I used about 2 cups of chunks in total
  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic from the jar of lacto-fermented beets (optional)

Grate the beets and place them in a large bowl – I recommend using a food processor for this or you will end up with red stained hands.

Peel and grate the carrots and add to the beets in the bowl.

Trim the green onions and chop them.  Add to the beets and carrot in the bowl

If you like, you can now take 1-2 cloves of garlic that was fermented with the beets and crush them.  This step is entirely optional.

Place the apple cider vinegar and olive oil in a small mason jar along with the crushed garlic if using it.

Shake the jar well to mix the contents, then pour over the salad and mix until it is all incorporated.

Serve at once.

FBCS1

I like to pile this on top of shredded green lettuce leaves – the green of the lettuce provides an attractive colour contrast with the purple/red and orange of the carrots and beets.

FBCS2

This particular salad was also served with some pork chops that I had cooked on the grill and served with apples, onions and bacon.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #35

Shared at Thrifty Thursday week 69

Beet Kvass & Lacto-Fermented Beets

This is another recipe in my cultured/lacto-fermented foods series.

And the best bit is that this is a 2-in-1 recipe.

Not only do you get a wonderful probiotic beverage (the Beet Kvass), you also end up with some lacto-fermented beets that can be used in salads or as a condiment to provide yet more probiotics in your diet.

I love Beet Kvass – it has a slightly sweet, slightly salt, earthy flavour that is full of beet.

BK5

When you sip it, you can feel that it is doing you some good!

Beet Kvass is a cleansing tonic, that is good for many systems of the body.

Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions says: “This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”

In addition to the cleansing nature of kvass, the finished drink is full of beneficial enzymes and probiotic bacteria as a result of the lacto-fermentation process.   As the beets ferment, the sugar and starch in the beets are converted to lactic-acid preserving the kvass and stopping it from going bad.

Regularly eating lacto-fermented vegetables, including beet kvass, will promote healthy gut flora, and greater absorption of nutrients from your food.

I add both garlic and ginger to my kvass for extra flavour and nutrition.  If you don’t like them or you cannot handle them in your diet, it will work just as well without.

This is another fairly quick ferment, taking less than a week on the counter top, but it does benefit from a week or two in the refrigerator to allow the flavours to mellow and even out.  It can be drunk straight off the counter however, but I think it is better to wait…

You do need dechlorinated water for this as chlorine will prevent the growth of the lactic-acid bacteria that ferment the beets.

The water you use can be dechlorinated in a number of ways – you can buy reverse osmosis filtered water or distilled water.  You can run your water through a household filter that will remove the chlorine.  You can leave it to stand on the counter-top for 24 hours, you can boil it for 20 minutes and then allow it to cool, or you can whir it in a blender for 5 minutes.  These last 3 methods will remove chlorine from the water but they will not remove chloramine.  Some municipalities have moved from using chlorine in their water supply to using chloramines.  These cannot be removed from the water, so it is important that you contact your water provider and check.  The city of Calgary does not use chloramines, so all of these methods work for me.

Beet Kvass and Lacto-Fermented Beets

Makes 1 quart-sized jar

BK7

  • 3-4 large beets
  • 1″ piece of root ginger
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • dechlorinated water

Take the beets and wash them well – there is no need to peel.  Cut the beets into large chunks – I usually cut them into 8 wedges.  Slice the root ginger into thin slices – again, no need to peel.

Place the ginger and garlic in the bottom of a quart sized mason jar and add the beets.

BK4

Mix the sea salt with the water to make a brine and pour this over the beets to within 1″ of the top of the jar.

Seal and stand at room temperature for 2-7 days.  The ambient temperature will determine exactly how long the fermentation process will take.  Check the kvass each day, removing the lid to allow any gas to escape.

After a couple of days, it is also a good idea to taste a little – the kvass is ready when it is a deep red colour and there are a few small bubbles working their way to the top.  It should smell and taste earthy and salty and a bit like beets.  If your home is very warm, it could ferment in as little as 2 days, during the winter or if your house is colder, it could take up to a week.

bk3

Store the kvass in the refridgerator.  You can drink it straight away, but if you leave it for a couple of weeks, the saltiness will diminish and the flavours will keep getting better and better.

Some of the best kvass I have ever drunk was forgotten at the back of the fridge for around 8 weeks!

You can use the leftover beets to make a second batch of kvass – follow the directions above, using the beets, ginger and garlic, and adding more brine.

After the second batch of kvass, use the beets in salads or just eat them as a snack.

BK6

I love to grate the fermented beets and mix them with grated carrot and some green onion to make a fermented beet salad.

FBCS1

The Kvass can be drunk just as it is as a cleansing probiotic tonic.  It can also be added to salad dressings, soups or used as an interesting addition to a cocktail (it tastes wonderful when added to a Caesar!)

BK8

Shared at Gluten Free Fridays #98

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #34

Shared at Homestead Blog Hop

How To Make Kombucha And Grow Your Own Scoby

Kombucha is a fantastic beverage. Naturally fermented, it contains large amounts of gut-friendly microbes (bacteria and yeasts).  In essence, it is a slightly effervescent drink made from fermented, sweetened tea.

While you can purchase kombucha from health food stores, this can work out as a very expensive option, especially if there are large amounts of people in your family.

For example, to purchase a 500ml bottle of GT’s Original Organic Raw Kombucha from Community Natural Foods in Calgary costs $3.87. Even if I were to share one bottle between 2 people, that would still mean buying 3 bottles at a cost of $11.61 to supply my family of 6. And if I were to do that every day, it would run to a cost of $81.27 a week!  $4226.04 a year!  Just for a healthy drink. I don’t know about you, but I can think of plenty of other things that I could spend that money on,

But Kombucha is very easy to make. All you need is some tea (black or green, your choice), a fermentable sweetener, you could use pasteurized honey (Raw honey is not recommended as it has an antimicrobial action that can affect the growth of your scoby),  coconut sugar, raw cane sugar or even regular sugar as the sweetener  See this post by the Paleo Mom about using sugar. And the final thing you need is a Kombucha Scoby, which contains all the bacteria and yeast cultures that will ferment your drink and be so good for your gut-health.  Scoby stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts….  Essentially, a scoby looks a little bit like a lump of jelly.

kombucha6

You could use a scoby saved from your previous batch of Kombucha, but if this is your first time making this drink you will need to obtain one from somewhere.

You could consider buying one over the internet from sites such as Cultures for Health or KombuchaKamp.

Occasionally I have seen people offering scobys on Freecycle, and I have also seen them offered for sale on Kijiji.   You could also try craigslist.  But it is also possible to grow your own Scoby from a bottle of raw Kombucha.

Growing a scoby is as simple as picking up a bottle of raw kombucha, tipping half of it into a mason jar and adding the tea and fermentable sweetener of your choice. Make sure that the Kombucha is raw. If it does not specifically state “RAW” on the label, it may have been pasteurized which will have killed all those active cultures that will ferment your beverage and grow your Scoby.

I grew the scoby pictured above from a bottle of GT’s original unpasteruized (raw) kombucha.

GTkomb.

I used 2 green tea-bags that I brewed in 1 cup of boiling water and added 2 tbsp of sugar.  I covered this with a cloth held in place with an elastic band and left it on the kitchen counter until it was almost cold.  Then I poured in my kombucha (I used half a bottle and drank the rest).

Then I covered the mouth of the jar with a cloth to keep out any beasties and bugs, and I then stashed it in a cool, dark place to ferment. I kept mine in the pantry.

After a week or two, you will notice a jelly like mass in the liquid in the jar.

kombucha3

This is your new Scoby. Once the scoby is about 1/4 inch thick and more white than clear it is ready to use.

kombucha2

Carefully lift it out of the liquid and place it in a clean jar with a small amount of the Kombucha you have just fermented – just enough to keep it moist.

When you come to make a new batch of Kombucha, you take your Scoby and add it to a jar with some tea and fermentable sugars (I use 2 green teabags and 2 tbsp of unrefined organic cane sugar to a quart jar filled ¾ full of boiled water that is then allowed to cool to room temperature) , cover it and leave it to ferment.

Don’t worry if your scoby floats, sinks like a stone or even lies sideways in the liquid – I have had scobies do all of these, although mine mostly float (they seem to have some trapped airbubbles in them).  No matter what they do, they all ferment the sugars in the tea to kombucha pefectly well.

This time it won’t take as long. After about 7-14 days, you will notice a few bubbles in your mixture and there will be 2 scobies in the jar – the original one and a new “baby”.

Carefully lift these out and store them in some of the Kombucha. The remaining liquid can either be drunk as it is, or it can be sealed in a spring clip glass bottle for a few days. If you do this, it will become slightly fizzy.

You can also flavour it using fruits or fruit juice in a secondary fermentation.  This is more likely to make it develop fizz, and will add extra flavour.

To carry out a secondary fermentation, I transfer the brewed kombucha to a clean mason jar and I then add some fruit or fruit juice.

VBB3

Favourites of mine are:

  • mixed frozen berries
  • sliced citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit – either individualy or as a mixture)
  • pineapple and mint
  • individual berries (saskatoon berries taste wonderful!)
  • stawberries, mango and mint

SMMWK1

Try all of these or come up with your own combinations.

After carrying out a secondary fermentation in the mason jar at room temperature for 24-48 hours, you should strain your flavoured kombucha off the fruit (you may notice a substantial increase in the fizziness).  At this point I like to store it in a fliptop bottle in the fridge, but you could use any bottle that has a good seal or even another mason jar.

This is the kind of bottles I like to use – the one on the left is a flip-top one, the one on the right is an old GT’s kombucha bottle.

SWK3

Store your ready made Kombucha in the fridge and drink it within a week or two.

VBB2

At this point, you can now make 2 batches of Kombucha, resulting in 4 scobies. And they will keep doubling up in this fashion.

The scobies can be stored in the liquid in the fridge for a few weeks. But if you notice an unpleasant smell, your Scoby may have died, so throw it out and start again. If you keep a constant batch of Kombucha on the go you shouldn’t run into this problem most of the time, although I have had the odd batch where one Scoby has died for no apparent reason.

When you have more scobies than you can cope with, you could consider offering them on Freecycle, so that others can benefit from this healthy, delicious drink.

But an alternative use that I came across the other day is to dry the scobies out to use as dog-treats….that way your pooch can also benefit from some gut-friendly bacteria.

BK2

Happy fermenting……

Shared at Real Food Wednesday 7/2/2014

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesday

Shared at Thrifty Thursday

Shared at Pennywise Platter Thursday 73

Lacto-Fermented Gingered Carrots

Lacto-fermented vegetables add not only gut-healthy prebiotic bacteria, but also the vitamin-rich vegetables.  And they provide attractive colour, a salty-sour tangy taste and an appetizing crunch to meals. I like to include some kind of lacto-fermented food in every meal I serve.

These ginger-flavoured carrots are one of our favourites.  The have a great crunch, a pleasant saltiness that is tempered with some acidic sharpness, and a subtle ginger flavour. I like to pack these in lunch boxes, to serve them as a snack with a dip or to chop them up and include them in salads.

To gain the most benefits from the gut-friendly bacteria, you really do need to serve these raw and cold.  Think of them as crunchy, salty, sour carrot sticks.

You can obtain the un-chlorinated water in a number of ways – you could run your water through a water filter that will remove chlorine.  You could leave the water on the counter-top for a day or two (but be aware that a number of municipalities are now using chloramines in the place of chlorine to sterilize their water – chloramines will not dissipate over time, unlike chlorine.  Call your water provider to ask if they use them).   You could whirl your water in a blender for a minute or two do “de-gas” it (this does not work for chloramines), you could boil it for 10 minutes (again does not work for chloramines).  You could use bottled, reverse-osmosis filtered water.   Or you could do what I do, and not worry too much about it….  I have never had a fermentation fail due to using tap water!

Don’t be afraid of the salt – the carrots really do not absorb all that much of it – they just have a pleasant salty-sour taste from the salt-solution they were cultured in that remains on the outside.  If salt is an issue for you, please do not try to reduce it (it is there to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria), simply rinse the brine off the carrot sticks before eating them.  You may reduce some of the beneficial bacteria by doing this, but most will remain.

I recommend that you use organic carrots to make these – carrots can absorb toxins from fertilizer use that they store in their skin.  If you have to use regular, grocery-store carrots peel them first as that will remove most of the toxins.

Lacto-Fermented Gingered Carrots

makes 1 quart mason jar

gc1

  • 1lb organic carrots (4-5 medium carrots)
  • 1″ piece of fresh root ginger – thinly sliced into rounds (no need to peel)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • filtered/de-chlorinated water as needed

Wash your carrots well and remove the ends.  Peel if using non-organic carrots.

Cut the carrots into sticks.

Place the ginger and salt in the base of the jar then pack the carrot sticks in tightly.  I like to hold the jar on it’s side and slide the sticks in one by one, filling in any gaps so that all the carrot sticks stand vertically.  You want them so tightly packed that nothing can float to the surface.  Use an extra carrot if necessary.

Pour the water over the carrots so that they are all covered by at least ¼” of water.  The water level should be less than 1″ from the top of the jar. Seal with a lid.  Give a quick shake (gently – you do not want to dislodge any of those carrots!) to dissolve the salt.

Check once a day, loosening the lid to allow any carbon-dioxide build-up to escape. After 3-7 days store in the refrigerator. The best way to judge whether these are ready is to taste one.  If it tastes good to you – pleasantly sour-salty, it is ready.  If not, allow it to ferment for a few more days.

The carrots will continue fermenting in the refridgerator but it will be much slower.  Eat the carrots within a week or two and they should stay crunchy.

If all the carrots are fully submerged in the brine you should not get any mold growth.  But in the unlikely event that you do (most often caused by a stray carrot or piece of ginger floating to the surface) discard the entire jar. Mold most often looks fuzzy and can be white or colored (blue, yellow, green).

Shared at Paleo AIP Roundtable #28

Apple Cider Vinegar

When I made the Apple and Onion Chutney the other week, I had a large amount of apple peelings and cores that I did not want to waste.

I remembered seeing a post about how you could make your own from apple scraps on Real Food, Real Deals, so I looked it up, and started the process of making some.

We used the peels and cores of 3lb of the apples that I was lucky enough to be given on Freecycle.

These were packed into 2 mason jars, then we covered them in water with a glug of some apple cider vinegar that contained a mother, stirred in 2 tbsp of honey and covered the jars with some blue shop-towel (we didn’t have any paper-towel!) held in place with an elastic band.

ACV1

These went into the pantry for 2 weeks.

After that time, we strained off the liquid, discarded the peels and cores and returned the liquid to the jar, covering it once again with more towel and the elastic band.

This was left in the pantry for 4 weeks and we stirred it daily.

After that time we tasted it to see how acidic it was.

It actually tasted just like store-bought apple cider vinegar!

Then I sealed it up with a plastic mason jar lid (I figure that the vinegar is so acidic that it would cause a metal lid to corrode), and I have it stashed in the pantry ready to use…  From the 2 jars of apple peelings and cores I ended up with 1 full mason jar of ACV.

acv2

Not bad for something you normally throw away or compost!

Please note, this will not be as strong or as acidic as a commercial apple-cider vinegar, so it will not be suitable for preserving foods.  But it is great to use in salad dressings or other recipes where you would normally add some vinegar for flavour.