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Category: Fermented

Raspberry Mustard

Raspberry Mustard

insta raspberry mustard

Lactofermented, at that!

What does lactofermented mean, really? That this mustard has been cultured with beneficial bacteria, and it’s good for your stomach! That just a bit of this condiment on the daily or weekly can actually boost your stomach function–not too shabby, and way cheaper than a daily probiotic capsule, right? Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Lactofermented Raspberry Mustard

1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup kombucha vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon raw honey (can also use maple syrup or other natural sweetener)
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons whey* (optional)

In a clean, pint size glass mason jar, add both types of mustard seeds (you can play around with the quantities for these. Yellow mustard seeds are more mild in flavor, which brown are sharper and spicier). Combine all remaining ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour liquid mixture into the mason jar with the mustard seeds and stir to combine. Tightly fasten the lid on the jar and allow to sit for 1 day. After 1 day (or so, you can be flexible), pour the contents of the jar into a blender or food processor and blend to your desired mustard consistency–more for a smoother mustard, or less blending for a more whole grain batch. Transfer the blended mustard back into a clean mason jar, screw the lid back on, and allow to sit for another 2 to 3 days. Transfer mustard to the fridge for storage. Mustard will keep for 6+ months in the fridge. Makes about 2 cups.

**want to use whey, but don’t know where to get it? Yeah, you can’t buy it, but you can make it! Take 2 cups of whole milk yogurt, and place in a colander or strainer lined with a clean dishtowel. Put the colander over a bowl big enough to catch the liquid that drips from the straining yogurt. Put the whole thing in the fridge, and allow to strain for at least 2 to 4 hours, or overnight. Save the liquid that drains away from the yogurt, because this is the whey! You can put it in a mason jar with a lid and it should keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. The strained yogurt is now what you would consider Greek yogurt–extra thick and creamy! Eat it as you would any normal yogurt.

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Crunchy Fermented Green Beans

Crunchy Fermented Green Beans

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Oh, lactofermentation. How simple you are, how amazing your benefits! Really, any vegetable can be fermented. This natural fermentation process provides a batch of green beans that snap and crunch with every bite–a perfectly refreshing and snarf-worthy way to get in all the good bacteria and live enzymes fermenting promotes.

Lactofermented Green Beans
roughly 1 cup of green beans, ends trimmed and longer beans cut in half
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon whey (optional)*
1 pint size glass mason jar

Sterilize the mason jar and its lid by running through a hot cycle in the dishwasher, boiling in water (if your lid is plastic, do not put in boiling water), or cleaning with dish soap and hot water. Use clean utensils during this process and clean hands, too!

In a separate container, mix the water, sea salt and optional whey together until all are dissolved. Put aside. In a small bowl, add the garlic, coriander, red pepper flakes and mustard seeds. Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently crush the seeds and smash the garlic a bit. Then add the spices and garlic to the bottom of the sterilized jar. Begin to stand the green beans upright and pack them into the jar until you have just enough so that they’re all standing up against one another. You want them to be no higher than 1 inch below the top of the glass jar. This is so you may leave 1 inch of airspace at the top of the jar during the fermenting process, and also because you want the beans to be fully submerged under the fermenting liquid (brine). Once all your beans are packed, begin to pour in the brine until it just covers the beans. Push any down that try to float up when you add the liquid. Pour the liquid in until 1 inch of airspace is left at the top. If you need more liquid to do this, add some extra filtered water. Screw the lid on, place in a cupboard, and allow to ferment for 3 to 5 days. After this, store the beans in the fridge. They last for at least 6 months refrigerated.

*want to use whey, but don’t know where to get it? Yeah, you can’t buy it, but you can make it! Take 2 cups of whole milk yogurt, and place in a colander or strainer lined with a clean dishtowel. Put the colander over a bowl big enough to catch the liquid that drips from the straining yogurt. Put the whole thing in the fridge, and allow to strain for at least 2 to 4 hours, or overnight. Save the liquid that drains away from the yogurt, because this is the whey! You can put it in a mason jar with a lid and it should keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. The strained yogurt is now what you would consider Greek yogurt–extra thick and creamy! Eat it as you would any normal yogurt.

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Beet Kvass

Beet Kvass

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Hey guys: Today is the last post Amy K and I have co-written in our three-part series about the beautiful beet! Our first post explained why beets are good for your liver and how to prepare a beet carpaccio salad, and our second post included a recipe for beet greens pesto. Check ’em out and love up your beets!

Kvass is a drink that is lacto-fermented, traditionally made from grains such as wheat, rye or barley. Beet kvass has its roots (hah!) possibly from Lithuania, where kvass is called gira and more variations abound. Lacto-fermentation is the process in which lactobacillus bacteria proliferate in a controlled environment, in this case the salty solution of water, sea salt and beets. After a few days on your counter, the beet kvass liquid is full of good lactobacillus bacteria and is now a probiotic real food, similar to the more popular bottled kombuchas and kefirs out there in stores these days! The good bacteria have been hard at work while they sit on your counter those few days, primarily changing the natural sugars in the beets into lactic acid, an acid which preserves the vegetables and gives fermented liquids and foods that special tang!

But you might be asking yourself “why eat fermented foods?”

Well, not only does the fermentation process break down nutrients into more digestible forms, but it also produces B-vitamins, enzymes, and a variety of healthy probiotic bacteria. Ever wonder why your stomach gets upset and you go running for the bathroom more frequently when you’re taking antibiotics? It’s because those incredibly strong bacteria-fighting machines kill any and all bacteria that get in their way. That means that although the antibiotics annihilated the group A Streptococcus bacteria hanging out in your mouth that was giving you strep throat, they also eradicated the majority of the trillions of healthy bacteria that call your digestive system “home sweet home”. You depend on those healthy bacteria for your digestive system to work properly!

So pour yourself a drink, sit back and relax, and let the good bacteria settle into their new home.

Beet Kvass

2 medium sized beets
1.5 tablespoons sea salt (or 1 tablespoon sea salt and ¼ cup whey (drain about 2 cups of yogurt overnight in the fridge in a cloth lined sieve with a bowl underneath; the liquid that accumulates under is whey, and the yogurt above? Greek yogurt!)
2 quarts filtered water, or a bit less
2 quart-sized mason jars with lids

Wash and peel the beets. Roughly chop into one-inch cubes. Split the beet chunks into both mason jars and evenly sprinkle half the sea salt into each (or, if you are using the whey, split the ¼ cup between the mason jars and note the reduced salt content!). Fill the jars with filtered water, stopping one inch below the lid. Tightly fasten the lids and shake to dissolve the salt in each. Place in a cupboard or on your counter top for two days. Drink approximately four ounces in the morning. After you have consumed the liquid in the jars, you may add more water (no need to add more salt) and make another batch using the same beet chunks two more times.

Pro Tip: Diluted kvass makes a great electrolyte replacement drink with NO sugar!

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Medicinal Vinegar

Medicinal Vinegar

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Back to school, back to cooler weather, back to… colds. Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with the onslaught of nose-turned-faucet for months–which is why I am such a baby about this most recent cold. But really, who needs to be reminded of what it’s like to have aching teeth, simultaneous hot face and cold extremities all the while pathetically kicking it, quarantined in a sea of tissues? Yeah, no thanks–I’d rather be bounding around in the crisp fall air, chomping on apples and teaching the pooch how to not run into people (to the lady in the dog park–I hope your kneecap is… not black and blue). I continue to try to ward off and exterminate whatever bug I have, which I assume is the same one that’s going around all of the metro area. So it’s kombucha, chomping down pickled carrots and doing shots of its liquid (believe me, it’s quite enjoyable), spoonfuls of the master tonic, and now thyme vinegar, promoted for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Join me, won’t you? We can round out the day by chewing raw garlic until we’re cross-eyed.

Medicinal Vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme or dried thyme, chopped or whole

Combine vinegar and thyme and store in a cupboard for two to three weeks, shaking every few days. It is best to use a glass jar with a plastic lid (or use plastic wrap between the vinegar and a metal lid) because when you shake the vinegar it will splash onto the metal and create a reaction you just don’t want. Store in the fridge for up to six months.

Take a few teaspoons at a time–either plain, mixed in water, or mixed in water with equal or lesser amounts of raw honey. Take up to three times per day. Do not let vinegar sit around in your mouth–it is acid, and will erode your tooth enamel after time. Just drink water after your dose, and your chompers will be fine.

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Cream Soda

Cream Soda

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Well, kombucha flavored as cream soda. Maybe old roommates wouldn’t have named the forever fermenting jars in the cupboards “kombucha monsters” if I had developed this delight back then! While part of kombucha’s charm is its vinegar twang, this rendition almost keeps the pucker factor completely at bay.

Cream Soda Kombucha
4 cups unflavored kombucha (find recipe here, use for this recipe before you bottle and refrigerate as the instructions read)
2 tablespoons black-strap molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
your time

In a large bottle with a stop-top (to help create fizz), pour in unflavored kombucha. Carefully pour in the molasses and vanilla extract, tightly fix the lid on and gently swirl until all ingredients are combined. Let sit on your counter for three days, then drink or transfer to the fridge. Will keep for months! But, don’t do that to yourself. Drink it all now!

Zucchini Pickles with Coriander and Lemon

Zucchini Pickles with Coriander and Lemon

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There is something meditative about making ferments. Maybe it’s because you don’t consume anything after you create it; there is no craving that will be immediately satisfied. The consumption is completely removed from the creation. You put it away to sit and think about itself for days. It’s an exercise, though not even in restraint (see: fresh mulberry granita goo or chilled cookie dough). No, a ferment before it’s gotten its bubble on differs so wholly from the end product, it’s–if you’ll pardon the grandiose notion–more like an act of self-care. You prepare it, and then it will be there for you for months upon months. It will satisfy cravings, sure, but not right now. You make it for your future self, knowingly. A different feeling when you’re in the kitchen, and that’s nice… real nice.

Zucchini Pickles with Coriander and Lemon
6-7 small zucchini, sliced in half length-wise
1 heaping tablespoon coriander seeds
12 whole peppercorns
zest from 1/2 lemon, in large strips and without bitter white pith
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 cups filtered water (plus more if necessary)

In a small bag or in a clean dish towel, combine the coriander and peppercorns. Hit a few times with a rolling pin to gently crack the majority. Drop and stuff all spices into the mason jar, including the pieces of lemon zest. Place your clean, sterilized quart-sized mason jar on its side and stack in the zucchini slices until just tightly packed (this helps prevent the zucchinis from floating in the jar once you add the brine). In a separate jar, mix water and sea salt until the salt has dissolved. Pour the brine over the zucchinis until they are covered, adding more filtered water to the brine if necessary. Remember to keep about an inch of airspace at the top of the jar (to prevent fermented explosions!) Screw lid on top, place in a cool cupboard for three days to get funky, then store in the fridge. Keeps for a really long time (thanks, bacteria!)

Citrus Pickled Carrots

Citrus Pickled Carrots

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One last hurrah for the winter vegetables; those starchy and dense sources of energy. These carrots, eaten straight from the chilled jar, are the opposite of summer preserving–they bring a bit of winter to your hot days, a subtle spice mixture that takes your mind off the blistering sun. Lactofermented vegetables impart friendly bacteria into the body’s system, strengthening the gut and fortifying your ability to digest food. Not bad for a little bacterium and his buddies.

Citrus Pickled Carrots
5-6 medium sized carrots, peeled
2 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
1-inch knob of ginger, finely sliced
peel of one orange, without bitter white pith
2 cups filtered water (slightly warm to help mix the maple syrup)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon sea salt (or two tablespoons whey)

Slice the carrots in half lengthwise, then each half in half again for long, slender sticks. Place carrot slices in a quart-sized mason jar, then add the cloves, cardamom, ginger and orange peel. In a separate container, mix the warm water with sea salt (or whey), maple syrup and orange juice. Pour liquid mixture over carrots, leaving 1 inch of room at the top of the jar (use additional filtered water if necessary). Cover tightly with a lid and allow to ferment for 5 to 7 days (or more, if you so desire). Store in the fridge. Want more kick next time? Try adding a sliced garlic clove and/or a pinch of red pepper flakes.

*you may place a washed oak leaf into this ferment to ensure crispy carrots. Since we’re still waiting for outdoor growth here in MN, I cross my fingers and hope for the carrot crunch.

Curried Cauliflower Ferment

Curried Cauliflower Ferment

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Now that we’re officially one week in to that great big leap forward, why not pay homage to these bright and sunny days with a little bit of edible sunshine? Zippy, red, orange, crunchy, garlicky–you like flavor? This is it. We won’t even get into the sneaky fridge sips of brine, but know this… they’re a thing.

Curried Cauliflower Ferment
1/2 head large cauliflower, broken into small florets
1.5 tablespoons curry powder (I use Mark Bittman’s fragrant curry powder recipe from How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more or less, however you so zingily desire)
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 quart filtered water
1.5 tablespoons sea salt

1 sterilized 2 quart glass mason jar and lid

Mix curry powder and cayenne powder in small bowl. Mix sea salt in water until dissolved in liquid measuring cup. In the clean 2 quart mason jar, alternate layers of cauliflower florets, garlic slices and spice mixture until just under one inch of the lip of the jar. Firmly press down layers. Pour salt water over until all florets are covered, making sure to leave one inch of room at the top of the jar. Gently lid the jar, and place in a dark cupboard to lactoferment for 5 to 7 days. Store in fridge and eat as you will!

Master Tonic

Master Tonic

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So, you’re trucking along, feeling fine. The world is yours to master, you’ve got a plethora of playmates, you’re just at peak performance, work is spiffy and you weren’t even all that awkward this week. Then one fateful evening… the sniffles. You chalk it up to the wool sweater that tickles your nose when you wear it– you’ll just go to bed, sleep it off. Morning comes; yikes. Bloodshot eyes? A sinus cavity filled with more pressure than any prom-fearing lad could fathom. The day wears on, you’re pathetic at everything, any brain you have left is mush.

Buck up, babeski. The master tonic is in tow and well… it’s into healing what ails you.

Master Tonic adapted from Heal Thyself!

1 cup roughly chopped garlic
1 cup chopped white onions
1 cup grated ginger root
1 cup grated horseradish root
1 cup chopped Cayenne peppers (or any hot peppers)
Apple cinder vinegar

Combine first five ingredients in a glass container. Mix well, then fill container with vinegar until mixture is covered with liquid. Lid your container and allow to sit at room temperature for two weeks, shaking once per day. It is advised to start this process on the day of the new moon, and finish on the full moon (I say making it is making it, but I’m heathen-y). Strain liquid from mixture. Use approximately one ounce of the liquid per serving day when you feel poor–gargle and swallow. Use multiple times per day as you see fit. You can use the strained mixture for cooking (combine with olive oil and sea salt as a marinade, for example). Or, you could also leave the mixture unstrained and eat the master tonic as a relish.

Lacto-Fermented Cranberry Relish

Lacto-Fermented Cranberry Relish

Four more days, then the bounty of Thanksgiving will be ours! The bits and bites before, the mashed potatoes, Mr. Sir His Royale Supreme The Turkey, all those pesky dressings, the drinks, the pies pies and more pies, the coffee, the appetite that seems unending until… well, you know the feeling; all of a sudden you need to stretch out, the belt should be flung to the other side of the room, the game is to guess which article of clothing will burst at the seams first. My tip? Proper digestion, which begins with a healthy inner gut biome. And how to foster such a lofty notion? Start with a heaping (or humble) portion of this cranberry relish, which literally teems with probiotic goodness.

Lacto-Fermented Cranberry Relish
adapted from Oceans of Joy

1/2 cup raw cranberries
1 small organic orange, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or seed or nut of choice)
1/4 cup white sugar, brown sugar or sweetener of choice (not honey, as honey is anti-microbial)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dried diced fruit (optional–but dates or raisins are delicious!)
1 teaspoon sea salt or 1 tablespoon whey (recipe is dairy-free without the use of whey. Whey promotes good bacteria during the fermentation process)
1 additional teaspoon sea salt

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except additional teaspoon of sea salt. Process until a rough consistency is acquired. Put mixture into clean and sterilized quart-sized mason jar. Sprinkle additional teaspoon of sea salt onto top of ferment. Cover with lid and allow to ferment for two days in a dark cupboard. Transfer to refrigerator. Before serving, remove the top layer of salt. Enjoy and let the eating begin!

Another tip? Wear a dress.