Monday, September 10, 2012


Hats off to Sally Fallon for really getting people interested in lacto-fermentation.  I love it, it's so easy, tastes great and is awesomely good for you too.  One of my favorite recipes from her book Nourishing Traditions is a really simple shredded carrot.  In the book Sally recommends adding fresh ginger, but to be honest, I think it tastes better without.  So, after harvesting the carrots out of our garden before we move to the new digs, I made a batch and thought I'd show you how I did it.  
adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions

4 cups grated organic carrots
1 Tbsp sea salt
4 Tbsp organic whey

Method:  Add the salt and whey to grated carrots.  Bash with a pestle until the juices start to ooze, then pack it into a glass jar.  Cover and let sit at room temperature for three days to ferment, then refrigerate. Keeps for at least 3 months.

Saturday, September 1, 2012



 Garden harvesting is in full swing, and each day finds me out in the garden and then into the kitchen to preserve the bounty.  To make things a little extra challenging this year, I must find ways to preserve the harvest that do not rely on freezer space.  We are moving in a few weeks and will be downsizing to one refrigerator.  In other words, we are going from a house with a deep freeze and two upright refrigerators/freezer units down to just one!  Day by day I am using up whatever we've had stored in these freezers, but I am starting to wonder how I am going to work with less freezer storage.  

     Our garden produces so much kale each summer that I usually blanch and then freeze it in Mason jars.  I did some of that this year, but I am also trying out a couple of new techniques.  The first idea I got from my sister who really loves kale.  I was over at her house one day and noticed she was juicing a lot of kale and then pouring the juice into an ice cube tray and freezing it so that she could use cubes of kale juice in her smoothies in the winter.  It's a great way to use up lots of kale and very little freezer space, which is perfect for me.
     I've also been giving my dehydrator a work out drying kale.  This way I can powder it and add it to whatever I like in the winter - popcorn, soups, smoothies, baby food - really the possibilities are endless.     
     I am also back into the lacto-fermentation groove.  The beets from the garden are now delicious lacto-fermented Pickled Beets.  The cabbages that barely survived a full out attack from some sort of caterpillar army managed to produce a nice large jar of Cortido once I cut off all the nasty bits and removed the critters still living in and on them.  The onions and fatty carrots Scott planted also made their way into the cortido, which was really exciting because pickling is so much more gratifying when you use vegetables from your very own garden.
     It was also high time I dug up the rest of the potatoes and figure out what to do with them until we are ready to eat them.  I had no idea you need to be very careful when you harvest potatoes.  Any little blemish or scratch on the surface of the potato could cause it to spoil and ruin the bunch when they are in cold storage.  Next year I will be extra careful not to stab them with the pitch fork when I dig them up, nor will I carelessly toss them into the basket.
     I had big plans to spend the afternoon packing, but when I got home from the market all I wanted to do was pickle and make immune boosting herbal remedies for the winter.  No one was home, so I went with it.  Besides, something had to be done with all the cucumbers growing in the garden.  Last week I made a batch of my favorite Cucumber Relish, and really wanted to use the rest to make my ultimate sweet sliced dill pickles that taste amazing on sandwiches.  
Makes about 5-500ml jars

4 lb organic pickling cucumbers
6 medium sized organic onions
3 cups local honey
4 cups organic apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sea salt
5 cloves organic garlic
5 heads fresh organic dill

Method:  Slice cucumbers into 1/4" slices, and the onion into thin onion rings.  Set aside.  Combine honey, vinegar, water and salt in a large stainless steel saucepan, bring to a boil.  Add the onion and cucumbers to the liquid and return the mixture to a full boil.  
     Place 1 clove of garlic and 1 head of dill  in a hot jar.  Pack cucumber and onion slices to within 3/4" of top rim.  Add pickling liquid to cover cucumbers to within 1/2" of top rim.  Remove air bubbles, readjust head space and wipe jar rim.  Screw on lidd and place jar in canner.  Repeat.  Return water to boil and process for 10 minutes.
     My oldest son is starting Kindergarten this year, and so I've been getting him prepared for school - getting him a knapsack and clothes, organizing his lunch kit.  I am now starting to think about winter colds and him being exposed to so many children on a daily basis.  The whole family has started taking fermented cod liver oil to bump up our vitamin A & D, not to mention all that essential fatty acid goodness.  While at the health food store I was about to pick up a bottle of elderberry syrup when I suddenly remembered this post by a friend of mine over at Sparrow Tree who shared a simple homemade version.  Now I must admit to having fantasies of finding a spot nearby where wild elderberries grow so I could wildcraft and then make healing syrups, but I have yet to locate this special place.  So, until then I will use dried berries from the store.  This stuff is so delicious, I am pretty sure I won't have any trouble getting my son to take a spoonful of it every day to keep him healthy.  I think I am almost ready to send my little boy off into the world.  Sigh.