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.