Nourishing Food

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As I was going through photos I realized I have a lot of things I meant to share here but just haven’t gotten to. The rains came and left, company came and left, and the only excuse remaining was my broken login. Well, Stewart fixed that too so now I am out of reasons not to share when time allows.

Ferments seem the most logical place to start, right?

Vegetables

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I do most of my fermenting in canning jars of various sizes. These jars become a convenience food after weeks of fermenting on the counter top. When meal time rolls around I can just plop some jars on the table and we have the raw/enzymatic portion of the meal covered.

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I pretty much like all fermented vegetables at this point but one of my absolute favorites, by far, has to be cortido. That jar above on the right is one of the tastiest things you can eat and I will pretty much put it on everything – eggs, salads, tacos – until it is gone.

Kefir

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We recently acquired some new kefir grains and I’m so excited because I see milk kefir as a one-stop-shop for whatever ails you. I make about a quart a day from Abby’s milk and everyone wants some. We all feel better when we’re drinking it and it makes me wonder why stuff like this isn’t used by anyone and everyone with a health issue. Maybe we should start the billion dollar milk kefir industry?

Sourdough

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This was a loaf of chocolate chunk gluten-free sourdough banana bread. Yes, it is a mouthful in so many ways and it was pretty tasty too. But more importantly, hungry little Ruthie fingers.

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And then there was this plate of Gluten-Free Sourdough Blueberry Pancakes. Covered in grass-fed butter. Drizzled in this delicious raw mint honey. I don’t want to tell you how to live your life… but might I gently recommend something like this for breakfast alongside a hot cup of coffee swirling with raw milk?

Kombucha

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This easiest of fermented beverages is now taking over my counter tops (along with all of the other junk I haphazardly throw on there). We love kombucha but when my Dad comes to visit he seems to enjoy it as well. I don’t think he cares a whit about probiotics or liver-cleansing acids; he just thinks it tastes great!

Ruthie calls it “boochie water” and follows in line with her older siblings who just can’t seem to get enough. That’s what I love about fermented foods – not only do we feel great eating them, they’re almost always the kind of delicious you’ll never find at the grocery store.

What are you fermenting these days?

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I recently got a new kombucha SCOBY and, after a hiatus, got back into brewing. I always start with a quart, move up to a half-gallon and then jump into our two-gallon vessels.

We drink it straight after it has a good tang to it but we also really enjoy bottling it in airtight bottles to create a bit of carbonation. More often than not I just throw a few pieces of fruit into the bottles to flavor it but sometimes we’ll splurge and throw in some juice instead.

Airtight fermentation can be dangerous, and not for health reasons. Anything you make or ferment at home is going to be far less dangerous than what you can purchase from a large food system. The danger in airtight fermentation – usually beverages, but also vegetable ferments in jars – is that carbon dioxide gas builds up as a by-product of fermentation.

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This is great in that it provides the carbonation in water kefir, kombucha, and other delicious fermented beverages. The danger is that if you do not use the correct vessel, it can literally explode. We’ve had this happen in the middle of the night with fermented pickles that I’d forgotten to burp. The ensuing baseball bat, find the intruder scenario made for a funny, if heart-pounding, scenario.

That is why I highly recommend checking your vegetable ferments and quickly burping them a couple of times a day in the first week or two when the majority of the carbon dioxide is produced.

Kombucha can be bottled into canning jars, but keep in mind that these jars are not designed for such a task. I was reminded of this the other day when, standing near the counter, Stewart ended up with kombucha all of over his legs. Our floor and cabinets received a similar fate. Thankfully it was a clean break and no one got hurt, but this may not always be the case.

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The day I bottled this kombucha the baby was fussing in the sling and I reached swiftly for a quart jar, seeing as it was the nearest available vessel. We generally bottle kombucha in old store-bought kombucha bottles we’ve collected or flip-top bottles designed specifically to withstand the pressure of carbonated beverages. And now I am reminded of why.

So never, ever be afraid of homemade anything but always, always use the appropriate vessel.