Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to Make Kosher Dill Pickles

I'd like to tell you about the method I use to make naturally fermented cucumber pickles. The same technique can be used for many different fruits and vegetables by varying the spices and the time. If you read no further, this is what you need to know:

 A. Use an appropriate amount of salt. Too little and unwanted molds and bacteria can develop and the cucumbers will become soft. Too much and you will retard the growth of good yeasts and bacteria, the pickling will take an unnecessarily long time, be unpalatably salty, and the cucumbers could get too sour, or too soft before they're ever really tasty.
B. Keep everything submerged. As long as your cucumbers (or other veggies) are safely deep in the brine, you can skim off whatever scum forms on top.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

[More Than] 10 Ways to Use Preserved Lemons

I made preserved lemons after coming across this video from DietEasily. The whole series is excellent!

I started selling some of the fermented foods I've been making (see current selection HERE). The pickles and Sauerkraut are flying off the shelf (ok, more like trickling of the half-shelf in my refrigerator.) But no one seems interested in these gorgeous organic preserved lemons I have! My friends want to know, "What do you do with them?" Well, I shall tell you!

There are three basic ways to use the preserved lemon:
A. Whole - Slice it, cut it in chunks, chop it, blend it. The whole thing is edible.
B. Just the rind - When I want a more subtle sparkle where the lemon will be eaten raw, I use my thumb to scrape off the pulp and the pith. Then I usually slice the rind into thin slivers.
C. Juice - The lemons are usually packed in lemon juice, which becomes salty and mildly fermented. To keep the lemons for as long as possible (without mold) they must stay submerged in this wonderful elixir or salt water. But there is usually some to spare.

I encourage you to use them raw as much as possible, in order to preserve all the beneficial microorganisms. Preserved lemons can replace lemon juice and salt in a recipe.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Disappearing Kohlrabi

This gets gobbled up so quickly it doesn't always make it to the table!
  • 2-4 kohlrabi bulbs/heads/roots (what do you call them?)
  • Paprika (sweet, smoked, spicy, whatever you like... I used fresh gourd sweet and smoked)
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  1. Peel kohlrabi, cube, and remove woody part around the point.
  2. Season generously with all the other ingredients.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake around 200 C/390 F until they start getting golden brown, about 20 minutes, then turn off oven and leave in until they are soft.
You may also enjoy "Kohl Slaw" Kohlrabi Salad.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Probiotic Soda Recipes

Probiotic soda made from water kefir is an excellent way to stay hydrated and nourished all day!

If you missed my post What is Water Kefir? you probably want to check that out. Today I want to tell you how to make flavored soda from water kefir. In this post I will refer to the water kefir (a.k.a. tibicos) SCOBY as "grains." This term refers to the look of them, as in "grains of sand", they are in no way grains like wheat, barley, oats, rye, or spelt.

If you're starting from scratch, you will need to acquire water kefir grains. I ordered my grains from Keysands, which sells dehydrated and live grains. They have excellent, friendly customer service, so email them if you have questions. Follow their instructions to re-hydrate or revive your grains.
Now that you have a healthy batch of grains... Lets get started!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What is Water Kefir?

For video and recipes - CLICK HERE.

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to my new friend Tibicos, AKA Tibi, Sugar Kefir, Water Kefir, Japanese Water Chrystals, California Bees, Beer Seeds, and more. In past posts I've written about kefir, usually a yogurt-like drink made from milk, and kombucha, a fermented tea drink. Water kefir uses a similar process to make a unique fermented beverage full of probiotic goodness. Dispite the name, water kefir is a different organism from dairy kefir. 

What is Water Kefir Soda?
When sugar water is cultured with the water kefir SCOBY, the resulting liquid can be bottled with other flavors to become a slightly fizzy natural soda. It has tiny gentle bubbles like natural champagne  as opposed to the big bubbles that are artificially pumped into commercial soda pop.

How does it taste and smell?
I mix mine with juice, tea, ginger, vanilla sugar, or whatever else I want it to taste like. I would describe the taste as slightly sweet, earthy, and yeasty. The longer is ferments, the less sweet and more yeasty or sour it might taste. Eventually it will taste a little alcoholic or vinegary (though I've never had any that long.) Kelly compares it to a mild wine cooler.


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