August 17, 2015 at 1:53 am #24601
This topic is a continuation of the conversation that started here:
I had a sourdough for 10 years (Carlo – from a powder mailed to me in Austria from Carl’s Friends), lost it a couple of years ago and have never been really able to keep a new “local” starter going. I miss my Carlo!!!
I’ve made Sauerkraut before I’d like to try making Kim-chee, next.
For 2+ years I’ve been making Kefir (in the winter I speed-up fermentation in the Instant Pot). I even brought some “grains” with me on my trip to New York last year but the kefir tasted terrible. It tasted like.. corn. I give it to my kids as well and it tames my son’s acid reflux.
I can’t get my mind around kombucha – it grosses me out!
How about you, what have you fermented or plan to?
LAugust 17, 2015 at 2:49 am #24604
Here’s the Science of Sauerkraut (for Greg):
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/lab-rat/the-science-of-sauerkraut-bacterial-fermentation-yum/August 17, 2015 at 3:38 am #24606
Not much science there Laura. But hey it’s biology. What can you expect.
As well as getting a cabbage to try Sauerkraut, I also tracked down some kefir today too. Only the powder which from what I am reading is not as good as the “grains” whatever they are. Still it’s a start.August 17, 2015 at 4:08 am #24608
Greg, you’re living in the same country as the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic person earth who is informed on all things Kefir. I just realized he sells grains, too!
It’s going to knock your digestion right back into place! Powdered, bottled, whatever kefir… yea not as good as fermenting your own but it’s waaaay better than not taking any probiotics at all.
Also, there is a facebook group that connects local “growers” to share, sell or send kefir:
I was lucky, it was gifted to me by my son’s Karate teacher before I even knew what it was. But the above sources helped me figure it all out. I do well with pictures so all the photos in the facebook group really got me going and feeling like.. hey, I can do this it’s not that difficult!
Also, they have kombucha photos… yeach! But, all you need to start that is tea and sugar. I. just. can’t.
LAugust 17, 2015 at 9:54 am #24610
What a great subject! I LOVE FERMENTING! I have been doing it for years. I mostly use a Harsch crock from Germany. They are no longer in production, and would love to find another one. Many fermentation crocks on the market now, are sad imitations of the Harsh crock. I use the 7.5 L one.
So far this year, I have made sauerkraut seasoned with caraway seeds and juniper berries, and sauerkraut seasoned with garlic. I have also made two small batches of garlic dill pickles seasoned with horseradish, dill, onions and picking spices. These I did in modified mason jars fitted with fermentation locks.
I prefer not to cook my sauerkraut as heat destroys the probiotics created in fermenting.
My husband ferments many different kinds of beer. My favourite one is one he enhances with organic coffee and licorice root. Very mocha chocolately in flavour. He also makes wine.
Ahhhhhh, life is good!
JonilynAugust 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm #24611
I make kefir at home although it tends to take over the kitchen. I prefer the store bought strawberry but I know the other is better for me. I have my grains with me, dehydrated, but with my limited kitchen, I just buy the stuff here.
I also make my own wine. Much cheaper and usually better than the cheapest I can buy. I have also done beer and liquers and vodka etc. But since I mostly drink wine that is all I do these days.
@Jonilyn. I made my first pickles in years last fall, but didn’t know you could ferment them. Or maybe I did know at one time and forgot. BTW how is the pressure canner working out.August 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm #24615
I received my Instant Pot about a month ago. I saved the lid and insert from my old one. So it cost me $60 CDN. Pretty lucky I would say!
On to fermenting, my pickles turned out well. Cucumbers take special care when fermenting. They can be tricky.
I have a small booklet that sells on Amazon on fermenting sauerkraut. The authors are Klaus Kaufmann and Annelies Shoneck. It sells for around $10. It also covers other vegetables as well including cucumbers. I have learned so much from this book. ISBN #0-920470-66-1
I used to make yoghurt but stopped after I stopped using dairy foods. Hope to try coconut Keifer and yoghurt in the Fall. I have keifer water grains but haven’t tried to make any yet.
I would love to ferment Kimchee but I can’t find Korean chili powder. I’ve tried everywhere.
Hope you are enjoying Summer. We finally have summer weather on the East Coast.
JonilynAugust 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm #24616
Helen, I haven’t used my Fagor canner yet. Hope to soon!
I love Laura’s canning info. Wish she would publish it in book form.
LynAugust 17, 2015 at 11:14 pm #24617s275hvParticipant
I love fermenting! I try to keep up with my sourdough start, but it gets neglected in the summer.
I always have kombucha and kefir (water and milk alternating between the two) going
Yogurt is a staple, and was the selling point for me on the instant pot.
I just got into vegetable ferments in the last year and I have been ferementing everything I can get my hands on. Dilly beans and beets are in the cupboard right now with garlic, saurkraut and jalepeno’s done in the fridge.August 18, 2015 at 7:02 pm #24668
Back to the fermenting of pickles. I did do dill pickles once in a gallon jar. IIRC they were okay but not special. My grandparents used to have big crocks of pickles. Maybe I will try it again one of these days. Recently I have learned you can sous vide pickles.
@Jonilyn You can buy Korean chili flakes online. Pretty sure I could get it in Vancouver. I’ll look when I get back as I go to a Korean supermarket occasionally.August 18, 2015 at 11:38 pm #24670
OK I have my first ever batch of sauerkraut brewing. A tiny amount in comparison to some recipes I found online. 30 large cabbages. Sheesh! I just used one small head of cabbage – about 1 pound. Two and a bit teaspoons of salt (based on the kitchn’s use of 1.5 tbs for a 3 lb head) and a teaspoon of caraway seed. Time will tell. It must be one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. If it works that is.
I also have my first ever batch of kefir brewing. From a commercial powder. It says 24 – 36 hours at room temperature. It’s had that but doesn’t seem to be ready yet. But then I think my room is colder than their room. Currently about 10ºC. I have been in touch with Dom at that South Australian site Laura mentioned. They are happy to send me a batch of milk and water kefir grains. I’ll take them up on it, but not for a few days yet. I’ll try what I already have first.
@Jonilyn, It’s funny how things are different for different places. I struggle to find “fresh” sauerkraut, but have absolutely no trouble getting Korean chilli. Or kimchi for that matter. I had some kimchi with my bimbimbap for lunch yesterday, and the little grocery shop next door to the restaurant had about six different brands of Korean chili which they sold by the kilo. And a fridge full of various kimchi products.August 19, 2015 at 1:40 am #24673
Greg, if you’re not vegan forget the water kefir. What are you going to drink, fermented water?!?
Helen, you mean sous-vide to infuse the vinegar inside the cucumbers that turns them into pickles? Please explain!
s275hv, I know what you mean. It’s hard to bake in the summer! I’m thinking I should just try to start my own starter,again. Last time I did this was in Austria and it was kind of tasteless. But I noticed Cultures for Health are selling two “fancy” Italian starters (one from Naples and one from Ischia) which are not far from me..
..so the local wild yeast might be pretty good.
Jonilyn, shrink your photos and try uploading them again. I want to see!
LAugust 19, 2015 at 1:50 am #24674
BTW, anyone in the U.S. looking to get a GREAT sourdough starter for the cost of an envelope and postage (back to you) – this was the source of my beloved Carlo Sourdough:
LAugust 19, 2015 at 3:01 am #24676
You also need water kefir if you are going strict paleo (e.g. Whole30)- no dairy. That or give away the idea of kefir altogether.
I came across a sourdough blogger who insisted it is not the yeast in the air that mattered, but the wild yeast in the flour. He tried the experiment of sterilising (by baking IIRC) half a batch of flour and leaving the other half as is. He then tried starting a sourdough mother from each half. He had success with the untouched half, but was unable to get the sterilised half to work. That said I got my starter going by adding some rhubarb to my initial starter (A tip from River Cottage). I gave it away after about 5 years as we just weren’t eating enough bread. For quite a while I was making crepes, crumpets and the like every day just to avoid wasting the discard half. Sourdough pancakes are wonderful.August 19, 2015 at 3:09 am #24677
The only Korean Chili flakes I can find are $66 for a pound bag!!! On Amazon.
We have Korean students at our local university who opened up 2 small Korean grocery stores. In both shops, they thought I was nuts to make my own Kim-chee. They only know of it from a bottle.
How sad is that? I am usually very good at hunting down ingredients etc but Korean Chili flakes are giving me a run for my money.
Thank you for offering to find it for me. truly appreciated.
Cheers ……..JonilynAugust 19, 2015 at 8:09 am #24680
I can’t find a way to shrink my photographs. I only seem to have that option for emails. Any suggestions?
On a different note, I buy a locally made organic coconut milk keifer at our local health food store. She apparently makes it from canned coconut milk and water keifer grains. It is expensive at $15 a pint but it is creamy and so good. I hope to make some soon but wonder if the stabilizer guar guar gum in the canned coconut milk would ruin it.
Cheers……..JonilynAugust 19, 2015 at 8:23 am #24681
What software do you use for your photographs?
Most have a SaveAs option that allows you to set a size. I use Lightroom and have defined a preset for HIP that sets a maximum for file size and photo dimensions. PhotoShop (both elements and CS has a SaveForWeb feature that lets you do the same thing. Aperture had an Export Feature. I don’t use iPhoto or its newer sibling. I just have to convince my Mac I don’t want it.August 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm #24683
Here’s an option for your Korean Chili flakes:
Not sure how much you need, but this seems reasonably priced.August 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm #24684
That’s the problem with sourdough starters. They’re like pets. You don’t get to take a break from enjoying/maintaining them. I eventually settled on a compromise where you use just a touch of bakers yeast and let the dough sit in a cool place something upward of 12 hours. I started with this:
and modified the recipe to be mostly whole wheat and work in breadpans, where you could get even slices for sandwiches. It gets some sourdough action from the yeast native to the flour and the cool, prolonged rise, so it’s got some of the complexity of a true sourdough bread. And no finding a babysitter for your starter when you go on vacation!August 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm #24686
Amazon.ca has a 1 lb container fairly cheap but out of stock and Amazon.com has lots of large sizes at $10-$12. I often order items from Amazon.com if they will ship to Canada. Mostly for availability but often for price. Look for gochugaru.
I have made coconut kefir using my milk kefir grains. I have made it from several kinds of coconut and almond milk including the big 2 litre cartons found commonly in grocery stores. Also canned organic and Thai kitchen canned. Seemed much the same and the guar gum did not slow it down. I made 4 or 5 batches with coconut or almond milk then put them back in milk for a few days. I also bought coconut water but haven’t tried it yet and some grated coconut.
Did not have any bad effects on the kefir grains that I could see. They seemed to thrive.
My link at the top is not showing up but it is Silk Road Spice MerchantAugust 20, 2015 at 12:54 am #24688
Helen, I learned from “Dom the Kefir Don” that the grains looove FAT and coconut milk has tons of that- about 30% if I remember correctly.
Suzanne, that’s how I lost my starter. It wasn’t in the BEST shape but then I went on vacation. I spread what I could on parchment to dry and freeze and left the rest in the fridge. The fridge one didn’t make it (it was 100% hooch) and the dried one was in such poor shape that I couldn’t bring it back.
When I do this over again, I’ll make sure to freeze some healthy dough and keep feeding the fridge one.
Before my starter failed I was really busy and couldn’t wait for the long rise, so I would add a cup of the starter to any bread recipe, in addition to a cube/envelope of rapid yeast just for the flavor. It was OK.. never as good as the real stuff.
I’ve been buying some pre-made bread mixes here (they’re just bags of flour with different mixes of flour farro, whole wheat, semolina) and although I’m supposed to add my own yeast on some of them I read the equivalent “dessicated sourdough starter” as an ingredient. So, now I wonder if I should just make that myself and use that to flavor my dough and perfected focaccia recipe.
LAugust 20, 2015 at 3:31 am #24689
Odds and ends:
Sous Vide pickles
Laura, I believe I mean infuse the vinegar/spices (OT as not really fermenting).
I am interested because it seems a good way to use/preserve smallish amounts of veg and fruit that are sitting there. Also it is a very fast process,45 minutes, and could be done in the IPS. I haven’t tried this yet, but definitely will.
In the 80’s when I got my first bread machine I made sourdough in it. I cannot remember where I got the starter, but IIRC I made my own somehow. The bread was very good.
I was getting mighty tired of milk kefir last spring so I decided to try the coconut. It is a bit less tangy. The easiest was from the cartons. The fat in the canned clumped around the grains making them harder to separate.
My biggest problem with the milk kefir was how fast it fermented. I had jars and bottles everywhere, counters, freezer, fridge. I was unable to convince anyone else to try the stuff. Before I left town I dehydrated all of my grains so hopefully they will rehydrate successfully when I get back.
Switching to coconut or almond was as easy as dumping the grains in the coconut or almond milk.
Like Greg with the starter, I am inclined to think of the kefir grains as pets and feel bad if I leave them to long and they run out of food.August 21, 2015 at 9:40 am #24700Erna RaeParticipant
Hi, I enjoy fermenting things! Vegs, sourdough, milk kefir and kombucha. I particularly like some single vegetable ferments such as sliced onions with chilli, garlic and mustardseeds. Sliced fennel is excellent too. Fermented garlic is really useful. My daughter is at uni about 300 miles away and kept some sourdough starter from home going for about a year. They mostly used it for sourdough waffles.
I’m happy to dry some of mine to put in the post for you to try Laura. I have a white and a wholemeal wheat one, and a rye starter. My daughter has successfully revived some dried starter that i provided. Just let me know.
There are some really helpful videos on youtube with a simple method of growing your own sourdough starter which I have tried and it worked just as shown.
Her name is Carolyn Robinson and it’s part of a Back to Basics series for a group called diet easy. But all these posts are on fermenting!August 22, 2015 at 5:37 pm #24708
I don’t use any app or program for my photographs. I tried to download from my photos on my IPad. Never had a problem before. I also have an iMac but haven’t tried doing anything with my photos. Guess I should. Any suggestions?
JonilynAugust 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm #24709
thanks to Helen and Suzanne. I have ordered chili flakes for my Kim-chee. Can’t wait!
I enjoy fermenting as much as using my pressure cookers!
I ordered a Finnish sourdough starter from Upaya Naturals today.(Canada) Hope to make it as soon as the weather cools off a bit.
I also found an interesting article on Sourdough making in an older edition of “Fine Cooking”. No. 2, April/May 1994. It is by Phil Van Kirk. It may be available online. If not, I can scan it and email it should someone want it.
Cheers……..Jonilyn.August 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm #24914
You are welcome, Jonilyn.
Laura, I hadn’t heard of drying and freezing a sourdough starter. Seems to me I tried just freezing one of my starters, and that was the end of it. I’d read that using the the same unwashed dough bowl every week can enrich your starter, so clearly some yeast survive being dried out in an ordinary kitchen. I wonder if anyone reading this thread has successfully stored their starter this way. If it works and the starter is still vigorous and complex, could turn me into a baker again.
My preference would be to bake once a month or every couple of months. Preheating the oven to screaming hot with a baking stone — minimum 45 minutes to get good oven spring in my world — and working with an infernal oven is not something I want in my routine too often. Traditional cultures where the women all baked on the same day, baked many loaves at a time, and shared a super-stoked oven had the right idea in my book. Like some of the pueblo Indians in the American Southwest.August 29, 2015 at 4:47 pm #24918
Freezing the starter is a two-step process. First you spread it in a thin layer on parchment and let it dry. Then you crumble it into pieces and freeze. To reconstitute you just soak the dried starter crumbs in water and flour.
However, the starter has to be in good condition and completely dry before freezing. My Carolo hadn’t been fed in a while and he didn’t fully dry before freezing.
So yea, next-time I’ll make sure to have several back-ups and not try to do one right before living on an international 1 1/2 month-long vacation.
LAugust 30, 2015 at 6:26 pm #24953
Laura, many thanks for the link! This could get me baking again, at least occasionally, if I can park my starter in the freezer on a regular basis. What a treat that would be: my own sourdough toast with a schmear of fresh goat cheese and orange marmalade for breakfast. With tea. :-)
Here’s a recipe for a soup using your ferment de jour — CHEDDER — that I make at least once a winter.
This link is for restaurant volume, so you’d have to cut it down. I use lightly toasted white quinoa instead of red quinoa. I also use chicken stock instead of water and add some chicken. I don’t use the Garden Veg Seasoning, either — I just add a few veg, which I’ll have to check on in my recipe book at home and repost. Sooo nice and warming on a chilly day. I have to be feeling like a good soldier to eat quinoa normally, but it’s a treat in this soup.September 2, 2015 at 2:14 am #24999
I am on my second attempt at kefir. Using store bought powder. The first proved a little disastrous. Through no fault of my own it ended up sitting out on the bench for a little over two weeks. I wasn’t game to try it after that.
For this second batch, I used the Anova to maintain a constant 21ºC environment as only a sous vide device can. It was clearly ready in just under 24 hours. Had some on my breakfast cereal this morning in lieu of milk. I am still alive. ;) I don’t normally eat cereal but my scrambled eggs, bacon & green salad are taking a back seat for the moment.
Now I just need to find out what’s happened to the sauerkraut I started on the same day as the first kefir. It has been sitting in the cupboard all that time. Again, I am not sure I want to find out.September 2, 2015 at 7:09 pm #25015
This is an interesting article on sauerkraut fermentation. It says that sauerkraut should be left on the counter for 30 days. Gives troubleshooting tips to tell if it is unsafe.
I have never tried the powdered kefir. I made it from the grains and in 3 months it was starting to take over my fridge and counters. I brought dried grains with me but am drinking the store kefir (which tastes like a smoothie). Small fridge and a milk crate kitchen. I will rehydrate my kefir grains when I go home but try to keep production down.
I have read that with the powder you can use a bit of fermented kefir for a starter for 3-5 batches more. Adding fruit scraps, syrup, citrus peels to kefir and storing in the fridge usually gives you a smoother better tasting kefir.September 2, 2015 at 7:22 pm #25016September 2, 2015 at 7:46 pm #25017September 3, 2015 at 3:10 am #25024
Not a site I visit often. Just that I had read these things about sauerkraut elsewhere and it seemed reasonably written and concise.
I have never made sauerkraut but might one of these days (If Greg’s turns out:)) if for no other reason than I often have leftover cabbage and I have the airlocks etc..September 6, 2015 at 7:18 pm #25070
Laura, it’s a non sequitur at this point, but in my book anyone who uses someone else’s work without giving credit deserves a resounding dope smack, at the very least.September 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm #25071
Those of you fermenting sour kraut and other veg, are you using anything other than hygienic practices to make sure you are getting only the bacteria you want? I’ve been looking at one of these set ups, which they claim will keep unwelcome guests from drifting into your fermenting veg. (Keep scrolling down to the third picture to see how it works.) http://www.perfectpickler.com/how-to/
At my food co-op, I spoke about it with a vendor giving out samples of her fermented veg, and she said no gadgetry is needed to keep these concoctions safe to eat. I’ve been dithering about it ever since.
In the recipes I’ve looked at, some will say something like, “if you see such-and-such colored/textured scrum, skim it off” or even “if you see this scum, your ferment has gone bad, throw it out.” I don’t want to be guessing whether my pickled veg have turned out good or bad. I’m just curious what equipment, if any, others are using.September 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm #25074
This unique airlock looks like a fairly common airlock to me. The little cup under appears to be a condiment server sold by restaurant suppliers and Dollar stores.
It should keep a fairly anaerobic environment but I doubt it can be guaranteed foolproof as the chances for someone being made seriously ill are probably less than one in a million and I doubt that many people have used it.
Kind of like the canning thing. I am a bit sceptical as to the level of danger, but do not advise flouting the advice. I strongly advise throwing out anything cloudy that is not supposed to look cloudy and anything with unexpected scum including commercially prepared foods.
Growing up trailer park trash poor I have eaten a lot of really unsafe food in days gone by but am now in the camp of in doubt throw it out and generally the container it was in. Glass is my one exception and mostly I just toss that too because I would have to use rubber gloves to clean it with and just throw out the gloves.
It is not the gross out factor, but you have to toss the gloves, bleach the counter if you make a mess, then scrub yourself before having a shower maybe. I would rather just buy new jars. Plus their is the gross out factor as well, not that I am that susceptible.
Well on the perfect pickler, it is not that expensive but you can buy mason jar lids with airlock grommets and the airlocks far cheaper if you are planning to do it in any quantity.September 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm #25090
I’m not planning to do it in quantity. Just some sour kraut to make good bugs to throw into my green smoothie. I’ve not seen the mason jar lids with grommets. From reading Amazon reviews, I see a number of folks recommend constructing the product with a drill and hardware store stuff. I’m not that girl. Don’t own a drill.
Speaking of bad food, I discovered two easy sauces for steamed veg that I really liked this summer. I took them over to a friend’s house with some veg to steam as my contribution to dinner. She lightly grilled scallop skewers from Whole Foods. I was up all night and weak in bed for three days. Probably fish poisoning. I tried making one of those veg sauces yesterday, and I couldn’t stand the taste. I don’t think it was implicated in the food poisoning (ground sesame seeds, miso, garlic, lemon juice) but it was guilty by association, as far as my body is concerned. What a shame. I remember when I ate bad shrimp it took a least a couple of years before the smell stopped grossing me out.September 7, 2015 at 2:42 pm #25091Erna RaeParticipant
I believe in ” wash your hands, wash your vegetables, and wash your bottles”. I’m not aiming to sterilise anything and I haven’t come across any problems. I could add -so far- but as Sandor Katz says the USDA have had NO documented cases of food poisoning from fermented vegs.September 7, 2015 at 6:35 pm #25098
Most cases, IIRC, of food poisoning come from unwashed hands. I sterilise my bottles in the dishwasher or with bleach in the case of wine making. Bleach dissipates completely I believe and is cheap and effective and I don’t want to have to pour 30 litres of wine down the sink.
The FDA is far from perfect and not the only official source of information. And influenced heavily by private interests I believe. Big food and Big Med and any senators brother in law. Europeans have been preserving/fermenting/drying/curing etc. for at least a 1000 years longer than North Americans if you don’t count pemmican etc. but many seem to declare the FDA as God even when they make patently unprovable claims and publish ridiculously edited plagiarized warnings. Pretty sure North Americans are not more intelligent or more careful than anyone else.
I have had food poisoning twice, both from restaurant seafood that was fresh caught back when restaurants served fresh caught. Wasn’t fun but I survived. Like Suzanne I couldn’t stomach clams or lobsters for a decade at least. But I don’t want to go through it again.
As to the FDA having no documented cases of food fermented properly, that stands to reason. Although I believe they do have documented cases of food fermented improperly which you neglected to mention.
Many foods that are fermented are just recently becoming popular in non Asian/European cultures. Pickles being one of the few exceptions. Only recently has kefir been commercially manufactured and kimchee is still relative scarce in big retail grocers. So few if any manufacturers exerting influence.
Overall I agree with you but if an extra step makes it safer why not.September 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm #25102
I have installed readily available grommets in mason jar lids that are designed to take drinking straws. Both plastic and metal lids. I have also just stuck an airlock in and used silicone sealer to seal it although it probably would be just fine with out sealing in the plastic lids. And the lid does not actually touch the food.
But at around $20 I see no real reason to not buy the lid if it gives you confidence. Always fun to have a package arrive.
BTW I have coupon for $20 for Whole foods. Guessing I won’t buy scallops:)September 7, 2015 at 9:01 pm #25106
Maybe not this week, anyway, but who are you fool’in? You’re a risk taker. ;-)
I like Whole Foods. Who knows. Could be more cooking would have headed off the problem. The scallops did look a bit undercooked to me, but I was too polite to say anything. Fresh seafood tends to be older here in the Midwest, so I usually just buy frozen. Remarkable how good our bodies are at stopping us from eating food that once made us sick.
I read the article you linked to. Excellent. When it comes to food safety, “traditional” is not a magic word for me. When I was a medical writer, in some contemporary doctor’s book, I read about the author’s experience with “pig bil,” which is short for “pig belly.” Pig bil is a form of sometimes fatal enteritis. This doctor ran into it when working with a traditional culture in Greg’s part of the globe. This cultural group had a tradition of an annual — religious, I believe — feast that included pig roasted in a covered firepit. Some years, children would get sick and die after the feast from Pig bil enteritis from eating undercooked pork. Those years, bacteria would go crazy in the warm but not hot enough pit and the kids’ bodies were too small to deal with that much toxin. This was still happening during the author’s career, so not so long ago. Traditional food practices are not always to be trusted.
Reading this story took the shine off some traditional foodways for me. As did the 8 folks in my town getting E. coli from raw milk several years ago (which I used to drink many years ago, when I had a good secret source — lovely stuff!!). I trust what microbiologists tell us more than tradition. That said, I do love raw aged cheeses, make my own yogurt, and will probably start some sour kraut with the help of some simple technology. We all have our level of risk tolerance. You’ve helped me think through mine regarding sour kraut.September 8, 2015 at 8:52 pm #25148
Suzanne I replied to your post and got logged out and no amount of shift refresh would log me back n: oddly I am logged in on any other thread. Will try again when patience permits. This is like a test message.September 10, 2015 at 10:49 am #25234
I am a risk taker if it is worth it to me. I grew up in the Maritimes where we would eat raw oysters right off the beach. This was in an area where certain elements would through dead animals in the water just to stink it up. Probably very dangerous but we didn’t know it as children. Now I would not unless I was sure the water was safe but I still eat raw oysters despite the warnings that all raw oysters are unsafe.
When I was 16 I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work and heard a report of a woman who got run over by a semi while watching the afternoon soaps on her living room couch. I thought at the time that if you that could happen, well anything can. So I do what I think best and have never backed down from a confrontation if I thought it was necessary.
But I don’t take food risks anymore when I can take simple steps to make it safer.
I do think intentionally fermented foods are inherently safe and have read articles attributing the surge in food intolerance attributed to antibacterial sprays and soaps. Peanuts for example are poisonous unless you have a certain bacteria present to combat the poison. I do know that kefir helps my digestion problems that I have had from birth noticeably but too much seems to make them worse.
And while a fair percentage of botulism cases are caused by traditional native food in both Alaska and Canada’s northern territories, when I have been attending a party or feast or potlatch or am a dinner guest, which I often am, I eat and enjoy it. I doubt I would if it smelt bad etc. but these people make some seriously wonderful dishes.September 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm #25240
You are more intrepid than I. I think I would say yes to well-cooked game, and no to the aged underground fish eggs. I recall eating a village tamale from San Ildefonso pueblo, New Mexico, that was fabulous (as fabulous as my grandfather’s tamales) and wondering as I wolfed it down what conditions it had been prepared in, as many of the homes at that time were crumbling adobe structures. It’s just as well I am an urban girl, albeit with some native genetic heritage (Mexican).
Bleck! Raw oysters! (Suzanne makes the sign of the cross) However, not many non-Japanese manage to eat natto (Bleck again!) most days as do I.
Speaking of genetic heritage, I just figured out that if I make bread using half whole wheat, half barley flour, and use a sourdough culture, the resulting bread will be LOW glycemic. My mother’s siblings have been quite hurt by diabetes, so I gradually gave up bread and bread baking to help keep my diet from pushing me toward diabetes. So I may be begging a jar of sourdough culture and experimenting with baking half barley bread this winter.
Maybe people in countries with anti-bacterial sprays and soaps suffer more from having an impoverished micro biome than they do from the bacteria they are trying to avoid. I spent a year eating somewhat afield of my preferences to nourish my inner citizens. I’ve backslid somewhat since that year, but do persist with yogurt and prebiotic foods with fiber beloved by the gut bugs. I’m exposed to a lot of kids, and count on gut bugs and hand-washing to keep me healthy.
What an odd thing with your login issue. I can’t log on to this web site at home, so my participation is inevitably sporadic anyway. Glad you are back on the thread!September 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm #25242
Never heard of natto. I will have to get some when I get back to the real world. I like fermented black beans (made from soybeans). Sounds a bit dreadful, but nothing ventured nothing gained.
Interesting about the bread. Only one diabetic person in my close relatives (around 100 aunts uncles and first cousins) but I have a close friend who monitors her blood sugar every 4 hours approximately. She is also gluten intolerant so double whammy food wise.
She has me beat in the intrepid line though. at 53 she moved from Toronto to the Yukon to be with her sweetie. They, and a large doggie, live in a tiny (smaller than mine) cabin of the grid with only solar power and not much of that. No fridge, wood stove, outhouse etc. Never a whine or a whimper from her unless her expensive gluten free bread gets moldy. She considers herself very lucky. Gotta admire that.
As to the well cooked game, the Inuit in Inuvik cook the caribou for several days over an open fire. A bit on the chewy side for me.September 14, 2015 at 9:33 am #25366
Re: Sauerkraut 30 days on a kitchen counter would not be a good thing unless it was in a very cold kitchen. Warm temperature for up to a week and then cooler so the ferment slows down and matures whether in a basement where it is cool or a fridge. Leave 6 weeks for it to reach its full potential.
It amazes me how making sauerkraut is being perceived as so difficult in many of the posts. It isn’t. It has been done for centuries.
I have been teaching bread baking for over 30 years and run into the same thing. If you believe it’s difficult, it will be.
Please be careful on the Internet, unless it is a well accredited site be cautious.
There is a small book on the market by Klaus Kaufmann and Annelies Schonek that is around $12. It is concise and thorough. It goes by two different titles, “Making Sauerkraut” or “The Cultured Cabbage”. Though it pinpoints Sauerkraut, it also teaches many other fermented vegetables including dill pickles. I give a copy to all my friends When I give them samples of everything I have made from this book. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It educates and walks you through the whole process is an absolutely straight forward manner.
I wish I could invite all of you into my kitchen, for a glass of wine, some rustic bread, a meal from my pressure cooker and walk you through just how easy making sauerkraut, and many other vegetable ferments really is.
As soon as I figure out how to downsize my pictures from an Apple device, I will post some pictures of my sauerkraut making.
Cheers……..JonilynSeptember 14, 2015 at 1:37 pm #25367
The article link was posted for Greg who is a pretty smart careful guy IMO.
The originator (not the one Laura emailed about) uses a microscope to check for bacteria, contamination, spoilage and then has it double checked by an independent lab and posts pics of the slides and a lot of testing information both scientific and subjective. Probably you have read all of it before posting the dire warning but just in case.
I am still trying to wade through it all as there is a lot of links and a lot of information and I have yet to make sauerkraut. Probably was a lot easier for you.
I don’t think there is such a thing as 100% reliable information on food safety/nutrition. Even the FDA seems to change their mind frequently and don’t always update everywhere or list/show test results and they have never, to my knowledge ever said they might have been wrong the first time or explain the changes. I am more inclined to trust sites that list test results, other sources/footnotes etc. as I think it shows some diligence.
And sad to say I see an increase of huge proportions in food intolerances and possibly fatal allergies every year. Some stories I have read attribute these to antiseptic sprays as well as antibiotics (unproven as yet about the sprays I think) killing beneficial organisms. (I work in a restaurant/resort on the Alaska Highway in the summer and serve 3-800 a day, mostly Americans).
Fermented foods have been made for much longer than refrigerators but that doesn’t mean that one should not refrigerate them. Why not when you can. I grew up in PEI/NB and the local Charlottetown Co-op used to have big vat of dill pickles which they would just keep putting more in till they had to clean it and then just replace the dill pickles. And the corner stores used to keep a bottle of pickled eggs on the counter which never seemed to get emptier so I assume they did the same. Quite horrific when you think about it but food poisoning was possibly much rarer then than today. Most cases of food poisoning I have encountered were from grilled cheese sandwiches in different places bizarrely enough.
The easiest way for me to post pictures is to upload them to a photo site and then right click on the picture, click properties and copy and paste the URL. Would love to see pictures of your kitchen/bread etc. although it would fill me with envy. If you are ever in Vancouver I could probably put you up and we could talk food for hours:)September 14, 2015 at 10:31 pm #25376
Ferments should always be kept in a refrigerated environment once ferment has taken place. My ferments stay 6 days at 65 degrees F, and then about 5 weeks at 50 degrees F. Then they are taken from my crock, bottled in mason jars and are kept cold at around 42 F. Or a little less. Dill pickles are the exception. 6 days at 68 degrees and the in the fridge for 5 weeks to slow ferment. I’ve never had a problem.
We have a large Eastern European community who settled here in the early 1900’s and fermenting is a way of life here. So many wonderful cultures settled in this area of Cape Breton when a steel plant was built around 1900. So there are many fabulous foods to learn to cook from the many cultures.
So many interesting ways of looking at fermenting for sure. I couldn’t imagine keeping food out like you mentioned. Thank heavens for Health regulations today.
My Father-in-law was from PEI, small world isn’t it?
Thanks for the invite!
Regards”………Jonilyn.September 15, 2015 at 1:51 pm #25380
Well you are the voice of experience not me as I have never made sauerkraut.
I do like to look things up and get as much information as I can. I looked up your book and might buy it if it was in ebook format although it seems pretty pricey for a 60 page book that does not have much in the way of favourable reviews where they are selling it, especially as I might only make a couple of jars.
Most places that seem fairly informative lean towards 14 – 21 days before refrigeration,v including the only site I have found so far that adapted the recipe from Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home by Klaus Kaufmann and Annelies Schoneck) . I have found a far smaller number for 3-7 days. Still there are more than enough. It seems like more than enough for any number of days and which seems to be dependent on personal tastes as in how sour do you like it.
The fermentation times they use: (from the book?)
Put the pot in a warm place for a few days. The temperature should be between 68 and 72 degrees F. After fermentation has started, put the pot in a cool place for two to three weeks. In order for a slow fermentation to take place the temperature should be around 59 degrees F.
So I am confused. Maybe you could look in your book tell me if the timing is drastically different when time permits.
Possibly your father-in-law remembers the eggs. Corner store at Water street and Prince. Or my fondest childhood memory the candy store on Prince Street with lost of home made candy.
I have never been to Cape Breton although I have friends from there.
ThanksSeptember 22, 2015 at 10:45 pm #25445
Finally back in the real world, complete with hot and cold running water.
Rehydrating some of my kefir grains which I dehydrated (for the first time) in April.
They plumped up nicely in two days and appear to be fermenting the milk already. I am pleased. Took longer when I bought the dehydrated grains from Cultures for Health.October 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm #25749swtgranParticipant
I guess I am a little late to this conversation.
Jonilyn, they still make the crocks and sell them on Amazon. Lehman’s Hardware, sells an almost identical crock made by Schmitt, in various sizes.
I have kraut on my counter “blurping” away in a Schmitt crock. I have sourdough starter that I have been maintaining and sharing, for the last 30+ years. I also make a French chef starter that I use for Pain De Campagne Rustique bread. I use it a until we can’t use up all the bread I need, to keep it going. Later, I start it again.
I make my own yogurt, from dried non-instant milk. I also like to make my own Mozzarella cheese at times. Than is not exactly fermenting, but fun.
The picture is of sour dough bread baked on a small charcoal grill.
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