Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to start a new fermented food this week.
Fermented foods add probiotics to your diet, assist digestion of the other foods you’re eating, and usually unlock vitamins or nutrients within the fermented foods that would be otherwise unavailable to you. Many say we should start each meal with a spoonful or two of fermented food.
But I don’t. *cringe*
This will be a rare mission when I’m doing it right with you.
Now don’t get me wrong: our family does consume some fermented foods. There’s homemade yogurt incubating in the cooler right now, and I need to mix up another batch of water kefir. I lacto-ferment my homemade mayo and Caesar dressing… and that’s where it ends.
I’m a pretty big fermentation failure in the real food world!
I don’t make kombucha (although I had a mushroom staring me in the face for 6 months before I finally threw it out).
I don’t make sauerkraut (even though I’m literally 50% Polish; the stuff should be coursing through my veins!).
I’ve never even tried ginger carrots.
And the one time I made lacto-fermented pickles and salsa, we hated it.
This week I’m making a plan to try something new: 5-spice apple chutney from Traditional Cooking School. (photo above courtesy of Wardee Harmon at TCS)
I’m not exactly sure what chutney is – sort of like a jam, maybe? It’s got nuts, fruit, and spices in it, and I have all the ingredients. I’ve been eyeing this recipe up for about a year now, wondering when I’ll get up the guts to make it.
Thanks for pushing me, KS community.
The gentle nudge of peer pressure can be a great thing.
UPDATE: It was good! I liked it a lot on top of oatmeal. My family was mixed on it, but we’ll keep trying!
My Recipe Goal
This is definitely a Back to Basics “Advanced” Monday Mission, as I explained at the beginning of January. Basics of real food for some, leaps for others.
I have all the ingredients – there are still fall apples in our garage, and I picked up lemon juice and walnuts just an hour ago. (Mental note: I should ask Wardeh if ferments are still safe with funky apples, the kind really only good for applesauce!)
I’m thinking we can add this to our yogurt, in our oatmeal, or maybe even next to a slice of Butternut Squash Bars that I’m planning to make for dessert. (The recipe is in Smart Sweets – gotta keep some secrets!)
Here’s what I’ll have to do to make this happen:
- drain yogurt cheese to get whey – already in the calendar for Wednesday after guests leave
- mix up Chinese 5-spice blend
- make sure I have two very clean quart jars (or maybe one…I might just try half the recipe out of prudence)
- JUST DO IT!
So…what are you going to ferment?
If you’ve never grown bacteria in your own home intended for consumption, the joy is indescribable. You really must try it.
If you’re a total rookie, I recommend starting with yogurt. My recipe is incredibly simple, makes no dishes, and yogurt is pretty recognizable by the fam.
Feel free to leave a link to your favorite ferment in the comments, or if you’re looking for more ideas, you can order starters for things like water kefir from Cultures for Health and learn via video (plus TONS of recipes) from the fabulous GNOWFGLINS eCourse on fermentation. (By the way, sourdough bread counts, too! It’s just no longer a living ferment when you eat it…)
No Way, No Fermenting For Me!
Aw, really? I’m sure we’ve got a couple nervous Nellies out there, and that’s okay. Growing bacteria ain’t no joke.
How about this as an alternate mission: grow something anyway. Sprout something. Then at least you’ll have some living food in the dead of winter. Sprouting is SO easy, and also really cool. Be sure to show your kids if you have them. (Kids, that is, not sprouts.)
Do you make fermented foods regularly? What’s your favorite?
Disclosure: I partner with the eCourses and will receive a percentage – but I also teach with them and LOVE all the work they do! I am also an affiliate with Cultures for Health. See my full disclosure statement here.