Fermentation With Green Plate Special

“For me, fermentation is a health regimen, a gourmet art, a multicultural adventure, a form of activism, and a spiritual path, all rolled into one.” -Sandor Katz, Wild Fermentation

Recipes

SAUERKRAUT: Makes 2 quarts

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp.                sea salt

1 pound              cabbage, Chinese (napa or bok choi)

Optional Seasonings:

Caraway seeds, dill seeds, cumin seeds, hot peppers, ginger, coriander seeds, juniper berries, or other spices of your choice

Optional Vegetables:

Carrots, garlic, onions, beets, turnips, daikon radish, or other vegetables of your choice

Make it:

  1. Shred, chop or grate cabbage and any other vegetables. Place prepared vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt (and any additional seasonings) on the veggies as you go.
  2. With your hands, mix the vegetables, seasonings and salt together well. By now they will seem to be getting wet, as the salt draws liquid out of the vegetables. As you mix, squeeze the vegetables – this will help the brine creation! Continue squeezing the cabbage with your hands until about 2 cups of liquid is released.
  3. Pack vegetables tightly into your jar, either a quart sized or ½ gallon sized mason jar or ceramic crock. As you pack the vegetables in, push them down with your hand, a smaller jar or some other kitchen utensil (such as a pestle).
  4. Weight the vegetables with a plate or lid that fits tightly in to the jar. You may also fill a plastic bag with brine and use that on top to weight the veggies down. The goal is to keep all the vegetables submerged under your brine. If there hasn’t been enough brine created to submerge the vegetables, keep pressing the weighted plate down for a day or so – the brine should be drawn out of the vegetables by then.
  5. Cover the fermenting vessel with a cloth to keep the flies out and leave it in a safe place.
  6. Check it every day or so by taking the weighted plate off, rinsing it, tasting both the kraut and the brine. When it is tangy and fermented to your desire, put it in the refrigerator to eat!

Notes: The sauerkraut and brine may be to your liking in 7 to 10 days, or sometimes even longer!

PRESERVED LEMONS: Makes 8 whole lemons

Ingredients:

8 each                 meyer lemons or any type of lemon

5 Tbsp                 salt

Make it:

  1. Slice off the tips of both ends of each lemon to create a flat top and bottom.
  2. Stand the lemon on one of its flat ends and cut an “x” in the lemon, stopping about ½ inch before you get to the bottom so that you don’t cut the lemon all the way through, and the quarters of the lemon remain attached at the base.
  3. Open the lemon and pack in ½ Tbsp of salt.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for every lemon
  5. Pack the lemons into a quart sized mason jar as tightly as possible. You can use a spoon or pestle to push them in
  6. Once all of the lemons are packed in the jar, add an additional 1 Tbsp of salt on top. Press down the lemons again to release as much lemon juice as possible. If there is not enough juice to cover the lemons, add additional fresh lemon juice so that they are totally submerged in juice.
  7. Seal the jar and store in a cool, dry place for about 1 week. Then move the jar to the refrigerator. You can store these lemons in the fridge for up to 6 months. Make sure that they are always submerged in the liquid!
  8. When the peels are translucent and soft, they are ready to use (usually after 1 week in the fridge).
  9. To use a lemon, take it out of the jar and rinse it under cold water to remove excess salt. Cut out the gooey inside so that just the peel remains. Chop the preserved lemon peel according to your cooking needs!

Notes: Preserved lemon peel is often called for in Middle East and Moroccan dishes, such as Tajines or couscous. It’s also great to use minced in salad dressings.

SOURDOUGH STARTER

Ingredients:

2 cups                 flour—any kind (plus more as you go)

2 cups                 water (plus more as you go)

Make it:

  1. In a medium bowl or pint-size jar, mix the flour and the water. Stir vigorously!
  2. Cover with cheesecloth or a dishtowel to keep out bugs, but allow air to circulate.
  3. Store in a warm place with good air circulation. Stir it vigorously at least daily. This will stimulate the process and distribute yeast activity.
  4. After a number of days, you’ll notice tiny bubbles forming on the surface of the batter, which is a sign that the yeast is active. If you don’t find bubbles forming after 4 days, try to find a warmer spot. You may also add a pinch of packaged yeast to get it going.
  5. Once you can tell that there is yeast activity, add 1-2 Tbsp. more flour to the mixture each day for 4 days, and continue stirring. Add more water if the batter gets so thick that it starts to cross over into solid form (you want it to stay a liquid).
  6. Once you have a thick, bubbly batter, your starter is ready to use! Make sure to use only what you need and save some of the starter in the jar or bowl to keep it going. To replenish the starter, add water and flour equal to the volume that you removed for the bread, and stir (ie. If you take out 1 cup to use in a recipe, add back in 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water)
  7. If you’re baking weekly, continue to feed it a little flour every day or two. If not, you can refrigerate it, and feed it only once a week. Remove it a day or two before you plan to bake.

KOMBUCHA: Makes 2 quarts

Ingredients:

8 cups                 water

4 each                 tea bags (oolong or any black or green tea of your choosing. You may also use 2 Tbsp loose tea)

½ cup                  sugar

1 cup                   kombucha (to use as the starter)

1 each                 scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)

Make it:

  1. Measure water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar to dissolve.
  2. Take off the heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 10 minutes, then remove tea bags. Cover and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Pour the tea into a wide glass container. Add the 1 cup of store-bought or already made kombucha.
  4. Place the kombucha scoby in the liquid. This is the “mother” scoby. (Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and rinse off all soap before handling the scoby!)
  5. Cover with a cloth (dishtowel or cheese cloth) and store in a warm, shaded spot with good air circulation.
  6. After 7-10 days, depending on the temperature in the room, you’ll notice a skin forming on the surface. Taste the liquid. The longer it sits, the more acidic and less sweet it will become.
  7. Once it reaches the flavor that you like, bottle and store your mature kombucha in the refrigerator. Add any additional ingredients to the bottles that you like, such as fresh grated ginger, turmeric, or berries.
  8. Start a new batch with the leftover scoby. Give either the new or old scoby to a friend (or compost it). Each generation will give birth to a new scoby and the old mother will thicken.

 

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