Monday, April 4, 2011

fermenting (and other ramblings)

I have gotten really bad about updating my blog. So here's another nutshell, but all on one topic. Well, all on one topic except for a tiny little intro with something that makes me very happy. I got to use my clothesline for the first time this past weekend. It's just so pretty to see clothes/blankets flapping in the wind. They dried during the first 2 hour session of conference.

I have a lot more room on the lines than I thought I would. I was so sure it was going to be cramped...but then I've only ever had a single line, or 2 at times so I underestimated just how much I can fit on there! I was pleasantly surprised. That's a queen sized quilt and two loads of laundry. I don't think I'll ever run out of room.

And one more note. This weekend, I was able to watch General Conference. While I was watching, I was able to feel His spirit and that allowed me to forget, for a time, the heartache that has come with a stressful time for my family. He loves me. I know He does because he allows me, an unworthy, imperfect being, to feel His love for me and to recognize the numerous small things that He has given me to bring me joy, like watching a bird peck the ground for food, clothes flapping on the line that my loving husband built for me, a pantry full of food and too many other things to list but also, He has placed me in a family that is amazing. I often don't feel like I belong because there is nothing too special about me as there is about everyone else. They are such good examples to me about unconditional love and being there to support each other through life's trials. I am unworthy of all I have but He blesses me continually anyway and I am truly grateful!

So, back to the purpose of this post. Fermenting. The book I started following to change my eating talks a lot about fermenting fruits and vegetables (though mostly veggies since fruit turns to alcohol after just a couple months whereas veggies last anywhere from several months to a couple years.

Why would anyone want to ferment food, you wonder? I'm glad you asked. Fermented foods are loaded with lactobacilli, the same probitotic found in yogurt. Also, the veggies go through enzymatic changes that makes the food easier to digest. Strangely though, when eaten with meat, it actually helps to digest some of the vitamins in meat that would otherwise be unavailable to the body. Easier digestion means the whole digestive tract works much more efficiently. I wouldn't have believed that one except for that I know first hand how wonderfully that actually works!

There is that reason, but also, fermenting food is an ancient form of preserving foods for the winter when there would be no fresh produce. Sure, there's canning nowadays that wasn't available back then. But the high heat kills a lot of the vitamins that would be available in the fresh veggies, or fermented veggies. Anyone who knows me, knows I like to learn the "old ways". It truly makes me happy to learn these things.

Of course, these kinds of foods aren't without a downfall. The taste is not the same as the fresh/canned varities we're used to. I don't mind tastes I'm not used to but there are people who fight anything different and they are a hard sell! But I'm continuing to try to break through that barrier.

One thing to note: you lose the probiotic effect of these foods if they're that traditional dish of boiled sauerkraut and hot dogs, if the store bought stuff was even fermented to begin with, which is unlikely, wouldn't offer any probiotics unless some unheated sauerkraut was put on top of the dish. Anyway, you only need a small amount to get the effects so that would work.

Some of these experiments have been SO tasty and some have been downright disgusting but most are somewhere in the middle. So without getting into recipes on this post, I will show you what I've made and what I thought of will come in another post, another time.

Asian veggie medley. This is the last one I made and I haven't actually tried this one yet but I like the dark color.

Orange marmalade. It's very liquidy (which the book warns you about). I could have handled that but the taste was so disgusting that I couldn't handle it at all! I read on someone's blog that it was too sour. I made one jar with peels and one without. I figured the peel is what made it sour. They were both equally disgusting...and bitter, not sour. I won't be sharing the recipe on this one ever.

Corn relish. I liked this one well enough.

This is called's a spicy, Latin American version of sauerkraut. I prefer sauerkraut but this works well with Mexican food.

Sauerkraut. Adam likes it well enough when it's completely fermented but when it's under-fermented, he says it tastes too much like cabbage for him. I really like sauerkraut. The sauerkraut needs about 5 months to really mature so I really need to do a whole crock full to actually keep it around long enough to reach 5 months.

Salsa. I made this one without onions for Adam. He hasn't tried it yet but I like it...not too spicy.

Pickles. Not a fan of this recipe but I've eaten them a couple times.

Ketchup. I like this! I pretty much stopped using ketchup (except for fries) because of the high fructose corn syrup. I don't like how sweet storebought can be anyway. This one has a little sweetner in it but you don't notice it really. It's more of a robust flavor...I like it.

Mango chutney. I commented on this in one other post. This is, by far, my favorite ferment so far...except for the bubbles (which is normal for chutneys and many other ferments). I just love it! It's sweet, spicy, salty, tangy...everything except bitter.

Now, here's the problem with fermenting...everything is supposed to stay beneath the liquid or it can mold. Her's those weird pickles a few weeks later. Only the portions above the liquid are affected but I haven't been able to bring myself to try the portions below the surface just yet. So far, this is the only one I've had problems with.


Heather and Thomas Mann said...

I think it is great that you teach yourself to do things that you enjoy and help your health! And i am sorry you feel like you don't belong :( I think you do... and you are just as supportive as the rest of us. we love you!

Heather and Thomas Mann said...

And every bit as talented... if not more so. thanks for sharing your beautiful testimony! I loved reading it!

Valerie said...

You have been so busy! We made yogurt in microbiology lab yesterday and it's in the incubator waiting for me to go check it out after my class. But we can't even eat it since it's in the incubator with E. coli and lots of GROSS stuff. I wouldn't want to eat anything in that lab!

I know you have different hobbies than the rest of us in the family, but of course you belong just as much as any of the rest of us strangies. :) None of us is alike.

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