With the new year, I’ve been motivated to try a few new things: fermenting, healthy cleansing (read: no juices or starvation), and taking real food cooking to a new level. I’ll start on fermentation and why it’s piqued my interest.
Hubs and I started taking a liquid probiotic supplement every morning last fall. We both agreed that we felt better after taking it – helped to keep us balanced and the digestive tract functioning more smoothly. I became a fan and a repeat customer. Two issues: it’s hard to find and pricey. Well, what’s in this magic elixir but the extract of fermented real foods?
I found inspiration from many fellow bloggers in the real food community about fermenting:
- Probiotic fruit snacks from Coconut Mama
- Fermented berries from OhLardy!
- Fermented Carrots from My Cultured Palate
- Crunchy Fermented Pickle Slices from GirlMeetsNourishment
- …And an easy to follow starter guide from OhLardy!
And so I began last week. I started with lacto-fermentation, straining a container of whole milk plain yogurt and reserving the liquid that resulted (whey). Thanks to OhLardy! for the step-by-step instructions here. A fun by-product of this was ultra-rich homemade Greek yogurt, which I had for breakfast this week. With my homemade whey, I tried making sparkling orange juice – add a few tablespoons of whey to OJ for a probiotic rich drink. And then, I moved on to fermented coleslaw.
Roughly following the Fermenting Vegetables recipe from Feedmelikeyoumeanit, I made my first batch of slaw using salt as my fermenting agent. Super exciting. I used my Cuisinart to shred 1/2 head of purple cabbage and slice 1 whole yellow onion, grated 1 carrot by hand, and then used the equivalent of 1 sliced red bell pepper that I had “put up” over the summer from Wolfe Spring Farm‘s CSA. Felt like a regular homesteader, I did.
The recipe filled 2 – 1 pint Mason jars. After 2 days of rest, I carefully opened one jar to test it and tamp it down. As forewarned, open carefully! There are live cultures inside and pressure builds. The concoction bubbled up and spilled ruby-colored juice on the counter, but it needed a few more days to “cook.” I sealed the jars back up and left them alone. By day 5, we were ready. Shifted to the fridge, my fermented slaw was ready to go. Crunchy, salty, savory, I ate several forkfuls with my dinner last night and loved it. I can’t say that the digestive benefits were felt as immediately as with taking a supplement, but I knew I was eating something real and homemade.
Have you ever fermented?