Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Last Fermentation Class of 2014






Tuesday, Dec. 16  at 1:00 pm

           727 N. 450 East in Orem       no fee

This is a basic fermentation class but we will be making sauerkraut this time.  If you want, bring a wide-mouth jar, a head of cabbage, a chopping board, a sharp knife and large plastic bowl.  

We will be making a mess but it is fun.  If you just want to watch that is fine also.  I will have foods to taste and print-outs to take home and study.  

Holidays are busy times, but you might take advantage of this class so you can start getting healthy after the holidays.  Take care of your "gut" and your "gut" will take care of you!   
 (Ha!  I just made that up).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Smreka! Juniper Berry Ferment

Smreka....fun word to say.  Just had to try this.  Someone in a class suggested I make this, they said all you need is a cup of juniper berries and good water and a gallon glass jar.   That sounded easy enough so I bought the juniper berries, another gallon jar and of course my own chlorine-free, "Prill Water" at ph 8.5.  No sugar or anything sweet was added.  It was supposed to sit for a month!   It took about a week before I saw any fermentation activity but the berries began this cute little "dance" of bobbing up and down slowly in the water.  Fun to watch. 
  
At my class last week at the Herb Shop here in Orem, (the shop where I bought the juniper berries)  I poured off (decanted) Smreka and all of us had a taste.  This was a week before the month was up, but hey, it was a new fermentation and I wanted to share the moment with others. 

Well?   It was kinda boring....not much flavor to it. It was definitely fermented and gratefully, no discernible alcohol, but just not exotic or exciting like I had hoped. 

I had a half a gallon left so I took it home.  Others suggested I add some more flavoring to it so I added some sliced ginger, a small organic lemon and a handful of raisins.  



For the next few days it fermented just fine and then today I decanted it and the flavor was really much better. I could taste the lemon and ginger but not the raisins or juniper berries.

  I decided to do a second ferment so I put all the berries, ginger, lemon and raisins back in and added more water and put the paper/elastic cap back on.   I think within the next couple days I will buy some more juniper berries and add some new ones. 

When I "muscle tested" this drink, it rated very high for me.  So, I'm going to keep it going for a while.  I like that it didn't require sugar.  I guess the sugar came from the berries when soaked, they split open a bit and the lactobacilli got access to the sugar and started the ferment.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Water Kefirs!


I have water kefirs!   These are big and healthy and reproduce well in captivity!   I got them from a friend, not a box.  Now the reason I am so excited about this is two-fold: 1.  my husband will drink finished water kefir and he likes it  2.  I had bad experience with last batch couple years ago and didn't want to start again. But, these guys look like they will be fun to work with and any fermented drink I can get my husband to drink will be a winner for me.   In a couple weeks I should have enough to start selling them if anyone is interested.  

I make water kefir in a 2 quart jar with 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 tsp. dark molasses added to 2 quarts of filtered or chlorine-free water. When the kefirs are added to this mixture with a lid on top, it sits in the fridge for a week then the kefir grains are strained out and put in a smaller jar with more sugar and water and kept in the fridge to await another big batch.  The large container of kefir water is then consumed.  It can be flavored with added fruit or juice but I wouldn't try essential oils.  The lemon essential oil I used on a batch tasted great but it killed off the pro-biotic mirobes that are one of the benefits of drinking a fermented product.  

Some fermentors keep the kefir grains going full time from batch to batch and they bottle the kefir water with different flavors and seal tightly so the carbon dioxide gas builds up and causes the opened bottle to fizz, like a soda pop. In fact, many people start fermenting with water kefirs to take the place of soda pop.  

I found that my microbes like a chlorine-free water that is slightly more alkaline than neutral ph of 7.  I get this by using "Precious Prills" (magnesium crystals) with city tap water.  After sitting a few hours in a glass container with these "Prills" the chlorine has escaped and the ph has been raised to a nice 8.5 which my microbes like. ( I sell Precious Prills too or you can look them up online)  

I also found out that the microbes, the friendly ones, need minerals, like we do, that is why I add some molasses to the sugar water mixture.  It is amazing what the friendly microbes do with just sugar, molasses and water.   They turn that bare minimum food into a healthy, pro-biotic liquid that tastes good and is very "gut friendly".   


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sourdough Banana Nut Bread


OK, a kind friend brought me some big, very ripe bananas that had to be used up right away.  I don't like freezing them.....takes up too much freezer space and I forget about them.   So, I came up with sourdough banana bread.  I don't bake sweet things very often either, because I eat it and stuff like this is just another weight gain source for me....not my husband.  But, this recipe turned out well and I used my small loaf pans and froze the finished loaves except one.  These I will keep in freezer...if labeled properly so I don't forget them.

Note; Using sourdough start for this kind of baking has some health advantages: the natural yeasts and bacteria in your start do some good things to the flour if given enough time...18-24 hours.  They start to consume or deconstruct the starches and the proteins which makes them more digestible for them and for US.  Soaking the flour also reduces the phytic acid on all grain flours, nuts and seeds, thereby rendering the minerals and nutrients bio-available for us. Baking also kills all natural yeasts, which is desirable. This is how to get some nutrition from the sweet baked stuff so many of us crave.   

Day before baking; combine the following...

3 eggs
 2/3 cup soft butter, or coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 cup sourdough start (you fed this yesterday)
1/2 cup kefir or whey or yougurt
1 tsp, Real Salt
1 huge or 2 small really ripe mashed banana
(you could also use pumpkin or squash puree about 1/2 cup)
2 cups of flour, mixed varieties like; whole wheat and sprouted spelt, or kamut or white wheat

optional; some raisins, soaked walnuts or pecans, chia seeds or flax seeds.

Mix together then cover until next day.  Then add
3/4 cup honey or agave or combination or same amount dry sweet stuff like sugar ( I like to use honey crystals).
Add 1 tsp.baking soda and maybe 2-3 drops lemon essential oil or vanilla. 

Pour into greased loaf pans or a 9x9 square baking dish.  Bake at 350 for at least 30 minutes or longer if in a single baking dish.  




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kefir Cheese Dehydrated


In the bowl with spoon is my kefir cheese that I got by separating the whey from the caseine by using my Dairy Strainer Cloth ( I show how this is done in older blogs and in my classes)....you can see the cloth on the wooden board and the scraper tool I use to get it off the cloth. The cloth cleans up very fast in warm water and dries fast also.  It is a polyester fabric designed for use in 'silk screen' printing. I do sell those at my classes for $10.  

I flavor the kefir cheese with either honey, maple syrup, garlic powder and salt or curry and other spices and herbs.  Nice thing about cheese is that it can flavor up sweet or savory.  Once flavored, if I know I am not going to consume it within 3 days, I spread it out on some clear plastic trays ( that came with my L'Quip dehydrator) and dry it.   

In the front of the picture is a snack size, zip lock bag with some dehydrated kefir cheese.  These bags are labeled and kept in the fridge.  I've used them to flavor commercially sold sour cream and to inoculate ( takes about 2-3 days) the commercial product with living kefir microbes, which of course, are  better pro-biotics than the commercial varieties.  

I know, a lot of trouble, but I can't imagine a future without my raw milk kefir and this is a small way to prepare for an uncertain future.   

Sourdough Muffins and Silicon Cups


I've posted this recipe before but it is worth posting again and this time I have picture of muffins with these colorful silicon muffin cups, regular size.  I have a set of 18 of these cups and have used them for over a year now and I'm very happy with them.  I don't have to grease them before dropping dough in them and the baked muffins come out perfectly.  Once filled, I place them in my old metal muffin tins so they keep form but my guess is that they would keep their form without my old tins.  Love the colors too.  Now, if giving away muffins, I still use the papers but for our use, silicon is the way to go. 

My recipe is for 18 muffins and my husband goes through 2 of these a day.  Doesn't cause constipation in him and he is satisfied.  I eat one per batch because they are a source of weight gain for me.  

Sourdough basic Muffin recipe:

Day before baking: Mix together...

2 eggs 1/2 cup sourdough start  ( you fed your starter yesterday)
1/2 cup water or kefir or milk or whey or yogurt
1/3 cup olive oil or soft butter or ghee or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey or agave or combination (but hold until next day before baking)

1 cup whole spelt or wheat flour or sprouted flour
1/3 cup  millet flour'
1/3 cup  oat flour
1/3 cup  other flour, white or corn or brown rice
1 tsp. Real Salt
1/2 tsp.  baking soda (hold until next day before baking)
optional:   some raisins, nuts, chia seeds or flax seeds and some flavoring like vanilla or lemon essential oil.  If using essential oils save until right before baking as they can kill the yeasts prematurely.  I love the flavor of lemon, orange, cinnamon and ocatea.  Not all in the same batch...individual batches.  

Mix together all ingredients except the honey and the baking soda.  You will add those right before baking.  Cover bowl and allow to ferment overnight.  Next day, add the honey and baking soda....dough will poof up a bit and then fill those lovely silicon cups 2/3 full.   Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.   
While hot, I brush on some coconut oil.  When cooled down, I store them in the silicon cups in a large plastic lidded container in the fridge until they are gone. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November and December Classes

I think this is it for 2014.    Up coming classes:

The next one is Tuesday Nov. 11 at the Herb Shop in Orem on State Street just a block south of Center Street at 6:30.   This class will be the usual introduction to Fermentation with emphasis on vegetable ferments and lacto-fermentation of all read canned foods.   No fee but plenty of tastes. 


The next two classes are at my house in Orem, 727 N. 450 East.   No fee
Wed. Nov. 19 at 7:00.  This class will focus on 
"Grains, Sourdough and Pulses;  Wheat Sensitive Alternatives for Health and Food Storage".   I will have blood type pulse combinations for tasting and packages for sale.  


Tues. Dec. 16  also at my house but in the afternoon at 1:00 pm.  The emphasis will be on lacto-fermentation of all ready canned foods and vegetable ferments.  I will also demonstrate how to put together a basic cabbage sauerkraut.      No fee

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Harvest Dinner from my North Carolina Mother


My mother and grandmother were from North Carolina and I learned how to can tomatoes, corn, jam, peaches, cherries, pears and a whole lot of other foods....from them.   We had a small house and small kitchen so mom would set up tables outside under the trees for shade with bushels of fruit or tomatoes and that's where my grandma would set up her work station and my sisters and I assisted her in the peeling, pitting and bottle stuffing while mom worked in the kitchen with the hot water bath pot and hot syrups.  

In between hot water bath batches of fruit (7 quarts at a time), she would put on a pot of food for dinner.  It was usually harvest foods from our gardens or neighbors.  This large pot of food would cook slowly through the afternoon, taken on and off the burner as the canning process took priority.  It smelled so good and tasted so good long about 6 or 7 in the evening, it was worth the wait.  There was enough food for at least 2 meals for our family of 7.  

Pictured above are all the ingredients before cooking and below is the finished meal with some whole grain sourdough bread.  



Ingredients and process
:
In a large pot with lid, layer some new red potatoes on the bottom of pot. Next layer some ears of fresh corn, broken into pieces, next layer some fresh green beans, then some carrots, then some cabbage wedges. If there is more room, add some thin sliced onions, some sliced squash and even some mushrooms.  Pour in a quart of beef stock or water then sprinkle some salt over each layer, maybe some pepper. I like to use my own bone broth stock.  
On the top, place some sausage or bacon strips...not the maple or peppered bacon, just the thick sliced, country style bacon.  Some times  if mom had the time, she would saute the bacon first with some onion and then pour that with the fat over the top, if not, just the raw bacon or "fat back" on top.  

Bring the pot to boil, then turn down heat and simmer for a couple hours with the lid on.  Don't skimp on the sausage or bacon.....this is the age of natural fats and they are good for us and they make vegetables taste good.  This meal is so hardy and good with sliced tomatoes and sourdough bread dipped into the "pot liquor" as my mother and grandmother called the liquid at the bottom of the pot.  




Monday, September 22, 2014

Classes for Fall 2014

My next class is this Saturday, Sept. 27  starting at 11 am here in my home at 727 N. 450 East in Orem.  No Fee, but lots of taste samples.    It will be a lacto-fermentation class that teaches the benefits of making your own sauerkraut and other vegetable ferments without heat or vinegar.  I will demonstrate kefir making, whey, kefir cheese and their benefits.  I will show you how to "liven" canned food with whey....lacto-fermentation.  Tastes of kombucha, sourdough bread, beet Kvass and the idea of Pulses....a potential nutritious food to make from your stored grain and legumes.  

Next class will be Wed. Oct. 22  at 6:30 again here at my home.  Again, no fee.  This class will discuss "Healthy Food Storage" and be focused on grains, wheat and legumes.  What can people do with all that wheat if they have gluten sensitivities?  That question and others will be addressed like, what other kinds of wheat are there?   what are alternative grains and are they good for storage?  How to make Pulses and why is sourdough bread better?   There will be taste samples as well. 

Last class will be Tues. Nov. 11 at 6:30 at the Herb Shop in Orem on State Street a little south of Center Street.   This will be another introductory class in Lacto-Fermentation.  No fee.   

Lacto-Fermentation is such a good skill and knowledge to have when times get tough. You can make storage food so much more digestible and nutritious and tasty knowing this old fashioned way of preparing food.  Learn this now and practice while things are still "normal" and convenient. 

Sourdough, Whole Grain and Seed Crackers



I think I have posted this recipe before but I will again, only this time the crackers are round.  Round so I can "bottle" them in wide-mouth pint jars and save in storage for what I call "fast food".   There are plenty of cracker and chip products you can have in storage that you can buy at grocery stores but none are made with quality ingredients and fermented flour as you can get with home made sourdough. 


My husband just said that those crackers look like sausage patties. Really?  Ok, maybe they do but they are seeded, sourdough delicious crackers about 14 to a wide-mouth pint jar.  There is a piece of duct tape on the top that covers a small hole.  I put the hole there and pumped out the air with a little hand pump that I got from the store from the Zip Lock company.  A couple years ago, Zip Lock had a zip seal bag with a small hole in it and covered with tape and this hand operated pump.  I bought it, tried it out and used up all the bags.  I was not very impressed with the bags, but the pump works well so I kept it and then got the idea to use it with regular jars and lids.   I don't have a picture of the hand pump.  Maybe I can add that later.
 I don't know if this product is still sold.  

Cracker Recipe
1/2 cup recently fed natural yeast starter
1/2 cup whey, kefir, yogurt or milk
1/2 cup soft butter or coconut oil
2 cups whole wheat flour,or spelt or a mixture of whole grain and unbleached organic white
1 tsp. Real Salt
Seeds:  suggestion....1 tsp. chia, 1 tsp. flax, 2 TBS raw sunflower 
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda added after fermentation. 

Mix all ingredients except the baking soda, and knead together so all flour is incorporated.  Oil a bowl for the dough and cover it with oiled plastic wrap.  Set the dough in the fridge for 1 or 2 days. 
Baking day, take dough out to warm up.  Flour a clean surface and roll the dough out.  Sprinkle the the baking soda on the floured surface and knead it for  2 minutes.  Dough will poof  up a bit.  Let it rest, then flour the surface again and roll the dough out with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness.  
Sprinkle the surface with more seeds like sesame, then cut cracker shapes square or round. Pierce the surface with a fork, 4-5 times per cracker.  Remove with a spatula to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in hot oven  400 degrees for 7-10 minutes.  Watch for too much browning.  Every oven works differently.  You may need to reduce the heat of your oven or reduce the time.  I usually bake this recipe in 3 batches. Makes a lot of crackers. Good with raw milk cheddar cheese and black raspberry jam.   

Friday, September 19, 2014

MOLD; The Importance of Submerging Food in the Brine


See that white stuff on the top of those beans?  Mold. Yup, the yucky white stuff.  Now it is not toxic, I've eaten it before and it tastes salty, but it is just disgusting.  I threw them out, didn't want to deal with it.  I should have come up with some kind of device to keep that food under the brine. 

This was what that quart jar looked like while it was fermenting. The fermenting device on top,(a piece of plastic with an indentation, the kind that are on the plastic milk cartons at Real Foods Market, cut out) works just fine and is kept in place with marbles, but look at the space below the beans.   That's how badly the beans or any fresh food want to float and I had no device to keep them down under the brine during the 5 day fermentation. So, the parts sticking above the brine grew mold. 

Now, with my ferments, I install something to help keep the food submerged under the brine.  I use pieces of cotton cheese cloth and stuff them down between the food and the jar, I have used round pieces of plastic that come with my coconut oil, and clip the edges and poke holes in the center, I use pieces of plastic mesh bag, and a large sturdy, clean cabbage leaf will do the trick, or more clean marbles or a sterilized rock the correct size and I also have an old plastic sprouting jar lid that I cut up that fits nicely inside a quart jar.  

The point is, to avoid spoiling your vegetable ferments, invent something that will hold the food down under the brine below the device that you use to keep air and mold out.  I  have seen mold grow on the top of a ferment even with an air-lock device.  I hate wasting food and time and so do you.  Be inventive, using alternative air-lock systems or the "water" air-lock devices. 

This last picture is my second    


 batch that I protected properly and kept under the brine and it turned out wonderful.  I used a 2 quart jar for fermenting and several garlics, black pepper corns and 2 TBS Real Salt and chlorine-free water.....fresh dill is also good.  After the 5 day ferment, I took off the air-lock device, and the brine-lock device( white plastic round piece that is pierced and fluted on the edges) and divided up the pickled beans between 4 pints.   Two pints have the new white plastic jar lids....these I will keep in the fridge and eat from and the other two pints have regular metal and rubber lids that seal tight and keep downstairs in storage.  So the lactic acid doesn't eat at those metal lids, I put a rounded, square piece of clear package tape on the inside of it and then screw down tight.  No heat, no sterilizing. They should keep downstairs, in cool, dark area for a year or more.    

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lacto-Fermentation Classes Coming Up

Real Foods Market in Orem on 400 West and 800 North.  Thursday, Sept. 11  at 6:30   no fee. 

Will cover lacto-fermentation of vegetables and canned foods.  Both are processes of lactobacillus fermentation using either the natural lactobacillus all ready on the fresh vegetables or using whey from cultured dairy that has the lactobacillus in it.   Lots of tastes, if time will talk about kombucha, kefir, and sourdough bread.  
As usual, lots of tastes and starters and cloths to sell.  

Next class will be Saturday, Sept. 27 at 11 am but this one will be at my home.   727 North 450 East.   Same agenda as above and no fee.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rejuvelac; A Fermented Grain Beverage


     Rejuvelac is the watery beverage made  from sprouted, fermented wheat but it can be made from just about any grain.   It's easy and very worth the effort.  It's another good thing to do with wheat storage..... that is non -bread.  
     I made this for my class Aug. 7 but most thought it tasted nasty.  I'll admit, it doesn't taste that great but with some lime juice and a bit of honey, it was quite delightful.  (I added lime and honey to the rejuvelac left over after class left).   Other blogsites say it is supposed to taste kinda sour, and tart with a slight taste of lemon.   Ya, maybe. 
      I say, this is worth a try.  Take a look at the nutrition I gleaned from other websites about this ferment.
1.  the ferment process breaks down the proteins in easy-to-assimilate, amino acids.
2.  It makes digestive enzymes especially amylase which breaks down starches.
3.  The ferment process is possible because of the presence of lactobacillus and aspergillis bacteria....the friendly ones.
 4.  It contains the entire B vitamin complex including the elusive B12   and B17!
5.  The good bacteria help fight and destroy bad yeast and bacteria colony growth in the gut  to make it hospitable for the good bacteria and that improves and boosts the immune system!
6.  Rejuvelac reduces inflamation in the body very similar to the action of apple cider vinegar.  
7.  The sugars are in simple compounds; dextrines and saccharines which are easily burned and not stored. 
8.  Fermentation produces lactic acid which is a natural astringent which cleans out the bowel to make room for good bacterial growth.  

That is a pretty impressive list!

      So, this is the process;
Soak 1/2 cup of wheat, spelt, millet, brown rice or  quinoa in chlorine-free water overnight.  Next day, drain and place in a bowl or a sprouting jar. Rinse the grain twice that day....water in and then right out.  If kept in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying out.  Next day you should see little white tails as the grain sprouts. 

At this point, you can put the sprouts in a 2 quart jar and fill with chlorine-free water let it ferment for about 2-3 days at room temperature.  If you want the process to speed up, put the sprouts in a blender with about 2 cups of the chlorine-free water and blend breaking up the sprouts.  This mixture goes into a 2 quart jar with more water.  The quick method should take only one more day to get a good ferment.  As with most other ferments, you should see some bubbling and the water should be cloudy and it should smell clean and yeasty. 

     Depending on how strong you want it, drain the water off when it is bubbly and smells yeasty.  Add more water and wait another day or two for a Second ferment.  Rejuvelac will keep in the fridge for several days, but it does get stronger.  Mix juice or honey with it only when you drink it otherwise if it sits in fridge with sweet stuff the fermentation picks up speed and you could get alcohol. 
     What do you do with the grain after?   If you let it go for a second ferment, then throw it away, or give chickens.....if only 1 day ferment, you could try cooking it. After a second ferment, there won't be enough nutrition left to bother with...only lots of fiber.   
      The little bowl in the picture is a pulse I cooked up with the rejuvelac grain plus some white rice and chia seeds and a little bit of husband's left over cooked oatmeal cereal.  It was good but wow, talk about FIBER!  Yes, lots of fiber with whole wheat, but it was very tasty.  While still hot, I sprinkled it with garlic powder, added lots of coconut oil and melted some cheese on it.  Nice lunch!     
      

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fruit Fly Traps


Harvest is here!   And with it come the fruit flies. Ugh!  Last year I bought a couple commercial fruit fly traps and they worked, but this year I wanted to create my own. Fruit flies are drawn to fermenting or over-rip fruit so I placed a couple really ripe/rotten apricot halves on a small plate with glass covering them.  Lifting one edge with a pencil allows the flies to find the fruit but they don't seem to know where to exit.  They fly up to the top/bottom of the glass.  I can pull the pencil out and trap them.  I take the plate and trapped flies outside on the sidewalk and the hot sun kills them. Ha!  then rinse the plate and glass with garden hose. 



This trap uses a tall glass with some kombucha or apple cider vinegar in the bottom and with the corner of an old zip lock bag cut out...tiny hole, the flies are attracted to the smell of fermentation and find their way in but cannot find their way out and are trapped.   Same killing method....outside in sun for couple hours. 
  
Easy methods that work!  yea!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Brick" Custard; A tasty use for failed Sourdough bread.

        
     Not every loaf of sourdough bread will be perfect.  I've finally accepted that, so I freeze the ones that don't rise well( I call them "bricks"). 

  I took one of my "bricks" out and let it thaw and sawed off a few slices to eat with honey, spread then coconut oil then raw milk cheddar cheese.  Even"bricks" taste good with this combination. 

  "Bricks" do have value and I advise folks not to throw them away because there are ways to still eat fermented grain breads that do not rise.  This recipe is one of them. I crumbled up the rest of the loaf and let dry out and created this wonderful custard variation; recipe for "Brick" Custard. 

Recipe:
1 cup dried  sourdough bread crumbs
2 cups raw, whole milk
2 pastured eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey or agave) 
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Real Salt 
1/4 tsp  baking soda

Optional ingredients   1/3 cup raisins and maybe some sliced almonds and cinnamon on the top.  

Beat eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and mix in the bread crumbs and let soak for 2 hours.
Add raisins also if using. Stir. 

Pour into greased baking dish that can fit into another baking dish with water.   Finish top with almonds and cinnamon and bake 50-60 minutes at 325.   Test center with tooth pick to see if it set up.    

Monday, July 28, 2014

August 7 Class at 7

     August 7 class at 7 here at my home on Vegetable ferments and proper grain preparation with a new(old) wheat ferment called Rejuvelac and Apple Cider Vinegar.   No fee.  

     Contact me at joannesmithseal@gmail.com 

     Wow!   another very large turnout for class last night.   Thank you all for coming.  I apologize for not having enough chairs and printouts for everyone and I'm sorry I couldn't get around to talk to more people.   

     Besides my regular fermented sample foods, I had some Rejuvelac to taste which is a fermented water begerage made from sprouted wheat.  Most said it tasted nasty, but I liked it and was very impressed with it's pro-biotic and nutritional benefits when I did some research a few days ago.  I think I am going to keep doing this for my self.   An old pint of sauerkraut from last Sept. was wonderful when I opened it last night....still bubbly and very alive and flavor was great.    
     I made a batch of wheat sourdough crackers with sunflower, flax and chia seeds that turned out very good.  I am going to make more and air-lock bottle them for future quick snacks.   

     I will do another home class but not until October sometime.   Meanwhile, I have 2 other classes scheduled;  Sat. Aug 23 in Syracuse, Utah from 11-1   and another one in Mt. Pleasant Utah, at 1 pm.    If you are interested in attending either one of those classes, I will email you the location and the hostess's number.     

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lacto Fermentation; Making canned food into Living Food


     Lacto fermentation means a fermenting process that uses lactobacillus bacteria found in milk.  Lactation, ( milk making) lactose (milk sugar), lactase ( enzyme) and lactic acid 
(a bio acid made in the first stage of fermenting process) are all terms used when talking about fermenting.  However, lactobacillus which is found in raw milk (from healthy animals that also have lots of lactobacillus in their stomachs), also is found in good garden soil and so they are on fresh vegetables from that garden and are also found inside healthy people
     Lactobacillus are the healthy, necessary bacteria that are needed in the gut for good health.   That's why raw milk and cheese are much better for you than pasteurized milk and cheese, even those products made with pasteurized milk where they inoculate them with pro-biotics and lots of sugar.  That's why fermented vegetables are so much better for you than canned or frozen vegetables. "Living" foods with live friendly bacteria are going to boost your health and vitality. 
     Here is the exciting news, you can take those home canned or commercially canned foods and by adding whey from raw milk yogurt or kefir or raw clabber, you can make pasteurized, sterile foods "living" again and therefore much more nutritious and beneficial.  Following are a few suggestions how to lacto-ferment some common, canned foods.

You will need a steady supply of whey.  You get whey when milk separates.  Letting raw milk sit out, covered, at room temper for 2- 4 days will separate the whey from the caseine.  You can also take some plain yogurt or kefir and separate the whey using a cloth.  Pictured is my polyester cloth that does the job really well and cleans up fast and can be used over and over.   I sell these 
cloths at my classes or from home if you email me.  


The first recipe I would share with you is a Tuscan white bean dip.


1 can White beans, Great Northern or cannelloni beans, drained
3-4 med. garlic cloves
2 TBS virgin olive oil
2 TBS whey
5-6 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp. dried basil
Real Salt to taste
Process all in food processor til smooth.  Scrape out into a bowl and cover with plastic lid and let ferment for 2-3 days.  The lactobacillus will consume the starches and sugars in the beans creating lactic acid which will make the bean dip taste even better than the regular lemon juice the original recipe called for and you will have living pro-biotics in your food.


Next recipe is Salsa


1 pint of home canned salsa or commercially prepared salsa and add 2 TBS of whey.  Cover and let set at room temp. for 3-4 days to ferment.  The lactobacillus in the whey will consume the sugars in the tomatoes and other vegetables and procude lactic acid which will add a "kick" to the salsa and add living pro-biotics to your food.  


Fruit Juice

Take a quart of home canned fruit juice or commercially canned juice and add 1/4 cup whey to it.  Most fruit juice is too sweet for me anymore so I let the lactobacillus microbes consume some of that sugar for me and leave me the lactic acid which is much better nutritionally.  Let the juice with whey, set for 2-3 days and taste. If you keep the lid tight, it will build up some carbon dioxide which makes it a little fizzy. Put into fridge when it tastes right for you.  I also use some of my  kombucha  in fruit juice to take down the sugar.  


   

       

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Classes in July and August

     I will be teaching classes on fermenting;  July 15th at 6:30 at the Herb Shop on State Street (89) in Orem just a couple blocks south of Center Street.  The shop is on the west side of State Street.  No fee.  It will be about 1 1/2 hrs and I will have  kefir, kombucha and sourdough starts to sell as well as my dairy strainer cloths and some air lock lids and Prills.  

     The August class will be at my house on the 7th at 7.   727 N. 450 East in Orem.  I will be teaching all things fermenting with focus on fermented vegetables for the harvest season.  But I will talk about the benefits of pulse based diet and sourdough as well.  No fee.

     Class at the Herb Shop was great!   Thanks for coming any of you that came because of this blog, thank you!   I was a bit overwhelmed with so many, and I think Susan and Dustin were too.  I only expected 20 at the most, but it was great to see so many.  I didn't bring back much food, that was a good thing, nor my print-outs.   I sold out of just about everything, especially kefir grains and it will take a couple weeks to build my supply back up.  Great questions and thank you for being so patient with me and answers.  Looks like a lot of people will be getting started with fermented foods which makes me happy.  

     Next class will be at my house, Thurs. Aug. 7 at 7.   Please come if you could not make this week's class.  No fee again just bring a lot of questions and willingness to try new foods and new tastes.     

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My New Peddle Grain Grinder


      I love my Wondermill Jr. grain grinder.  I've had it on my kitchen counter for a couple years.  I bought it through Emergency Essentials a few years ago and put it in storage, but when I began developing my recipes for sourdough bread I took it out of storage and attached it to my kitchen counter.  It works great.  I highly recommend it.  Mine cost about  $215.  It came with a pair of stone grinders for grain and a pair of steel grinders for nuts and seeds.  The steel ones are great for hard, small beans which I have been using for pulse recipes.  Don't use the stone grinders for crushing the split peas and beans...they will wear out the stones too soon.  


           My husband recently adapted it to a stationary bicycle so now I can peddle my grain into flour and not hand and arm grind it.  Although, I didn't mind the hand/arm work.....it was a good upper body work out, but he had concerns that when we need to leave and live in tents, that a stable counter would be hard to find so he thought of attaching it to an exercise bike. 

     If you notice, the seat and handle bars are not positioned on the bike frame the way they are supposed to be; they are switched.  This solved a problem when he thought he was finished and I tried it out but the auger inside the grinder was going backwards not pushing the grain forward into the stones.  We laughed about it and he thought he had to take it all apart to put the grinder on the left side of front not the right side.  I suggested switching the handle bars and seat and it works which saved him the work of making new plate and putting grinder on left side where it should have been.  So, now I peddle grind backwards without seeing the grinder.  Still works. 
  

      He had to buy a couple used bikes at thrift stores to get the 2, 48 teeth sprockets and 1, 38 teeth sprocket 2 chains to make this work.  He can do metal cutting and welding which is really handy for projects like this.  Finding a small table or chair to put the catch bowl on will be easy enough.  The grinding goes much quicker with leg power, than arm and back power.  
This doesn't work.


Update!
My husband has since modified this machine to work better.  In the picture above, the grain grinder is behind seat.  We switched out the handle bars and seat so the auger in the grinder would rotate the right direction but.....it was not easy to grind.  The peddles for the bike have to be right under the seat otherwise your legs are stretching to far forward and it was very awkward.  So he reattached the grinder to the left of handle bars proper place and now seat is above the peddles where it should be and it works!  I can now grind a cup of hard wheat in 10 minutes where before by hand it took 20.  As my legs get used to the action, I will get quicker.  Another modification is straps to the peddles to keep my feet on them.  We will have this machine at the Liston's Pot Luck Dinner July 21.   

One thing I forgot to mention is the need to purchase Wondermill's "adaptor" that fits the auger inside the grinder.  This "adapter" is welded to  one of the 48 teeth bicycle sprockets so it can be run by a chain.  The "adapter" from the company is for a power drill, but Perry knew a belt would not work and a chain would work better.  You need to get the "adapter" and weld it to the sprocket.  

This picture is the latest update and now it is perfect.  Peddles are underneath the seat where they should be for better action, the mill is on the left side of handle bars and stabilized with 2 steel rods and the peddles have toe holds to hold your feet to the peddle otherwise the hesitations bounce your feet off and that slows down the action.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bone Broth Stock



     I make bone broth stock.  Pictured is a lovely blue/green enameled stock pot which I was lucky enough to see at "Tuesday Morning" discount store.   Isn't it a beauty?  Making bone broth stock is not beautiful so a beautiful pot helps.  It's rather disgusting really, but once you get past that, the results are wonderful and so nutritious. 

 This picture is the second day of this batch and I just added  some vegetables, garlic and bay leaf to beef bones.  With beef bones, I cook the bones on warm or low setting on my electric stove for 3 days.....round the clock. Some use a crock pot...good if you can find one big enough and that cooks low enough. 

 I want all the minerals and nutrition out of those bones and the tissues hanging onto them that I can get.  You see, that bone broth is used to cook up my pulses.  Homemade broths add extra nutrition and flavor that can't be duplicated.   

Bone broth is big on the GAPS diet for those trying to kill off candida yeast overgrowth.  You have to starve those yeasts by not eating any starchy foods or sugar for about 3 months.  You may eat meat, bone broth, cultured raw milk products, vegetable soups and stews made with bone broths and vegetable ferments.  From what I hear, it works really well! 

You can use chicken bones, or lamb, or elk, buffalo, beef, turkey and fish. Here in the West, we do not have a big choice of fish so it is the land animals and fowls that are available for us. 

You can find lots of good information about the benefits of bone broth on the internet and you can search where to get good quality bones in this area.  I will mention one farm I use;  Christensen Family Farms in Vernon, Utah.   They have pig and goats on their farm that are "pastured" and they can bring the meat, lard and bones here along the Wasatch front when you purchase them on their online site.    Real Foods Market sells beef bones that I like, I don't know about chicken bones. This process is becoming really popular so there are sure to be other stores now that offer animal bones.   

Easter Sunday this year, my sister invited the whole family to her home for the Easter meal and she and husband grilled up about 30 lamb chops.  I did not let anyone throw the bones away.  I collected them all and over the next 3 days made 3 quarts of the most delicious lamb bone broth.  I bottled the broth and stuck them downstairs in storage.  

Bone Broth Basic Recipe:

3-5 pounds bones, with connecting tissue, some meat and fat.  Large bones like joints and knuckles should be cut up at the processing plant.  Grass-fed animal bones are best.
Water; lots of it, enough to cover the bones by an inch ....in a stock pot with a lid and big enough to hold it all. 
Vinegar;  about 1/3 to 1/2 cup vinegar.  Can be apple cider or regular.  It is needed to help or pull 
or leach the minerals from the bones.

The second day, you can add  2 carrots cut up, not necessary to peel, 3 stalks of celery with leaves, 1/2 large onion cut up, 4-5 cloves of garlic and 2-3 whole bay leaves.  All of this will be tossed out when broth is finished as it won't have any flavor.  

Begin by roasting the bones in a pan at about 400-375 degrees for 1 hour or more.  This helps to render some of the fat that you can keep or throw away and provide some flavor for the stock.  When bones are cooled down, add them to your stock pot with the right amount of water and bring the water and bones to boiling. 

 Reduce heat to simmer, warm or low, place lid and continue to cook low and slow for 24 hours.

 Next day, skim some fat and scrum off the top, add vegetables and continue cooking. 

Third day; skim the top and leave lid off so liquid can evaporate faster.  Take the bones out onto a platter and allow to cool.  Continue low/slow simmer to reduce liquid.  When bones have cooled, look for marrow inside bones.  Scoop it out and reserve for yourself.  It will be dark and hold together and doesn't look like the fat and cartilage. Pick over the bones removing all the disgusting stuff.  Remove the vegetables also.  Cool down the broth, maybe even cold storage for a while so the fat will harden.  Remove the fat and strain the broth.  If the broth has "set up" because of the gelatin, that's good, gelatin is very good but you may warm it up a bit to strain the broth faster.  A stainless steel mesh strainer works. 

I use some old newspaper to dump all the disgusting stuff onto and then fold it up before going into the garbage.  The bones when you are done are not for dogs....there's nothing nutritious left and they will be soft and not good for them, so they get wrapped up in paper too and put in the dumpster.  

Strained broth now gets some salt and is heated up to hot.  About 1 tsp. Real Salt per quart of broth.  I heat up some quart and pint jars and heat the lids in hot water too.  I "heat pack" the broth.  Hot broth in clean hot jars, with clean hot lid tightened down will preserve your broth for several months, even a year or more if you keep it in cold storage.  The nutrition you get from this process can't be duplicated or purchased.  It is worth the effort once in a while.  Be sure to label and date the jars.      

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fermented Radishes



     Radishes?  I do not like fresh radishes....never have.  I do not like the sharpness, the hotness?  whatever it is, I do not like it.   But....fermented..... they are delightful!
     Look at that color!  isn't that wonderful?  

     I bought a bunch of radishes, just the regular red variety, then I added about 3 white and 3 black radishes.  I cleaned, and sliced them thin and cut in half and loaded one of my liter fermenting bottles  "pickleit.com" and added 1 TBS. Real Salt and chlorine-free water.  6 days later I stuck them in the fridge but opened them the next day for a class and what a surprise! 

 That hot, sharp flavor, that some people do like, had mellowed out and these pickles were wonderful.  They never did make it to the basement.  They are almost gone.  By the way, those white radishes are the most beautiful red fan pattern in the inside.  The black ones are just white but all of them are pink now.  I finally like radishes!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Nutty Winner; Phytic Acid Reduced Nut Mixture


    Nuts are a good, healthy snack and we eat a lot of them.  I used to buy the mixed nuts at Costco, but we quickly grew tired of them.  I examined the ingredients and found a cheap oil; canola oil or some other cheap vegetable oil.    "Industral food" preparation does not remove the natural phytic acid present on all nuts that still have their skins on.  I think it was the phytic acid and canola oil that "put us off" to those Costco nuts.  I also noticed that whatever the cheapest nuts are at the time, are the ones that take dominant percentage of the "mixed nuts" and lately it has been the cashews. Peanuts usually serve as filler but we don't eat peanuts at all.    

I have heard a lot of people say that they can't eat nuts because it makes their mouth pucker or tastes bad or something.  It is the phytic acid that does this.  Remove the phytic acid and many of those sensitive folks would be able to eat nuts again.  

   The book, "Cure Tooth Decay" had some suggestions about how to reduce the phytic acid of grains and nuts and seeds.  I decided to put those suggestions to the test. 

     Soaking is first thing to do to reduce phytic acid from the nuts that still have the skins on. 
  I buy our favorite nuts ( walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia and cashew) in bulk and still they are expensive....except cashews right now.    Walnuts, whole almonds and pecans have skins so these are the ones I soak in a large tub with just plain water for 2 days.   I soak all of them together for 2 days then drain (reserve the water for the garden) and lay them out to dry.  I have an electric dehydrator so I fill up the trays and dry overnight.  
      The next phytic acid reducer is roasting.  Heat will reduce the remaining phytic acid.  I found that  nuts spread out on a cookie sheet and roasted at 400 degrees for 7 minutes works perfectly.  Roasting the skinless nuts (macadamia and cashews)  right along with the dried nuts works just fine. Roasting improves the flavor of all the nuts. 
     The hot nuts are dumped into a large container and allowed to cool.  Next I melt some coconut oil, the kind that tastes like coconuts and drizzle over the whole roasted pile and then I sprinkle some Real Salt over the bunch.

     My selection of nuts is based on taste and on the blood type diet lists.  Walnuts and almonds are listed as "highly beneficial" for Os and Bs so they are the ones we use with added neutrals pecans and macs.....cashews are an avoid but they taste good, so I use a few.  No peanuts for Os and Bs. 

     I keep prepared nuts in large, 2 quart glass jars with lids.  These nuts are very satisfying for snacks, travel and lunch bags.  No phytic acid and  real-good-for-you-oil and high mineral salt; a nutty winner!    

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Great Class at my House!

     Thanks to everyone for coming Saturday the 31st.  I barely had seats for everyone and I'm sorry there wasn't more room.  But thank you for coming and for your questions and comments. 

 This class really focused on Kombucha and vegetable ferments and thanks to Dustin who brought his new batch of kombucha to try.  We tasted a variety of fermented vegetables and some fermented canned foods like white beans made into a fermented Tuscan bean dip and some tomato paste made with canned tomatoes into fermented "catsup".  I demonstrated how milk kefirs work and had some "kefir cheese" flavored with maple syrup to try.  That was wonderful, but the best was my latest batch of beet Kvass this time made with slices of lemon and ginger.  Wow!  that tasted so good....tip I learned from Steven Hassler.  Another surprise, good one, was my newly fermented radishes.   They mellowed out during the fermenting process and tasted really good.  I don't like fresh radishes so this was a nice surprise. These would be so good in a salad.  
     Real Foods Market called and wanted me to teach one more class before the end of season so  I agreed and will be doing a class next Thursday, June 5 at 6:30;  Real Foods Market in Orem on 400 West north of  800 North. 

     My next class here at home will be in August and will focus on Vegetable Ferments as we slide into harvest season.  Don't have date picked out yet but will post it end of June.   Another class here at home in November will focus on grains...sourdough breads and pulses.