Your best new years resolution

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greendoc's picture
greendoc
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Joined: Sep 23 2008
Posts: 155
Your best new years resolution

About 15 years ago my NYs resolution was to eat at least one thing I had grown every day. Here in Sonoma County you can garden year round, so not that hard really. So that resolution has expanded and is a practice I still follow with even more substantial fraction of my food coming from our backyard. But last year at this time I was casting about for a new resolution and decided it would be very general: spend 15 minutes a day in the garden, every day, all year. 

It has turned out to be one of the best resolutions!  I am lazy about succession planting, and this 15 minutes helped solved that.  Every 3 or 4th day in the appropriate seasonal window I would spend my time sowing one seed variety: radish, turnip, beet, cilantro, sunflower, etc.  I got so much pruning done, re-established grass and clover in a bald patch, divided and transplanted perenials, edited my fruit trees, got my hugelkulture mounds more fine tuned., harvested food that would have gone to waste, etc. etc.  The 15 minutes often turned into 30 or more.  I got more fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and peace of mind every day, instead of big chunks on the weekend only (although I still do spend alot of time then too!)  

There are some days I have to drag myself out there....and I have given myself permission to just sit in the veggie patch if that is all I can muster, but inevitably I started weeding, or berry picking, or asparagus harvesting. When the wildfire smoke was really bad, or if really heavy rain, or I blew it during the daylight hours, I instead perused seed catalogs or watched permacuture gardening videos on youtube for my 15 minutes.  I also really like the Grow Organic Peaceful Valley Channel.

But I am interested in other folks resolutions....something flexible and general that increases skills or knowledge as opposed to something specific like "Stop eating chocolate".  What are you resolving to do in the New Year?

Grover's picture
Grover
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Posts: 894
Fermenting Veggies

greendoc,

I don't have any new year's resolutions to share; however, it sounds like you may be fishing for a new project. Here's something a friend turned me onto this summer - fermenting vegetables. I used to make sauerkraut in a 20 gallon crock many years ago. With 20 gallons, it pretty much is batch operation. I saved a few quarts for fresh eating, but the rest got pressure cooked and stored. It still tasted good, but all of the bacterial goodness was killed during the cooking.

The solution, according to my friend, was to ferment small batches. Each batch can be different. Each batch can be fermented to different degrees. He gave me some half-sour lemon dill kraut and I was hooked. It had the sourness that kraut should, but it also was crisp and crunchy. The lemon and dill added a great nuance. I was hooked.

I immediately started looking for small fermenting equipment because my garden was in full production mode. I went to a homebrewer and bought 4 - 1 gallon jars, air locks, and bung grommets. The metal lids needed to be bored for the air lock system. That was a little more difficult than I imagined. My drill bit kept tearing the lid so the hole wouldn't seal properly. (It still worked, but I got some mold on the top of the kraut.)

I did 2 of the gallon jars with cabbage and salt only. The other 2 got what was available in the garden - carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, and some beans along with 30-40% cabbage. The recipe is really simple: 5 pounds of goodies and 3 Tbs of salt. Then, mix well and pack in the vessel. The salt will cause the veggies to lose some moisture. This forms the brine that promotes the anaerobic lactobacteria. The kraut should remain submerged in the brine. My buddy used a slitted silicon sheet and a couple inches of glass marbles on top. That keeps the kraut submerged and allows it to exhale carbon dioxide. The air locks (when properly installed) keep out oxygen and hence the mold I encountered. I just tossed the part near the top that was darkened ~ 1 inch.

Here are some links to explore:

These are cheap and easy options to make high quality traditional sauerkraut or any garden kraut you'd like. Because I had the problem with the leaky lids, I bought a fermentation crock similar to this:

European-Style Fermenting Crock - 5-Liter

Mine is 5 litres (nearly 1 1/2 gallon) has ceramic weights and a built in moat to keep the oxygen out. It is a simple system, but these things aren't cheap when new. I found one used on craigslist. That kept my frugal side happy. Search for "fermentation crock" and you'll find several options available.

Grover

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 25 2014
Posts: 969
Hole die

Grover, I don't know about your particular sauerkraut, but korean sauerkraut is especially subject to aspergillis niger in its super toxic form.

A little mold, even juice from the same batch, can kill you.

I would like to suggest reworking the hole in your lid. I would suggest a hole die. I'm putting a link to an example of what I mean.

https://www.amazon.com/Yescom-Hydraulic-Knockout-Driver-Carrying/dp/B013...

you drill a little rough hole,put the die through the little hole, and then hydraulically shear the hole into the metal cap.

robshepler's picture
robshepler
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Joined: Apr 16 2010
Posts: 117
What a crock!

There are a few potters out there making fermentation crocks, my wife is one of them. We grow for market, fun to sell a crock and the stuff to go in it.

https://www.facebook.com/241999489144780/photos/a.1601366429874739/18034...

Grover's picture
Grover
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Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 894
Good Point

Michael,

Thanks for the advice. I was planning to replace those lids before I use them next year. I found the plastic mayonnaise jar lids fit my gallon jars. I'll see if they work. They should be easier to drill. I'm also going to get a set of nipples for wide mouth quart jars. That way, I can experiment with different recipes on smaller batches.

I used to use an old style, straight sided, open crock with a wooden lid and rocks to weight it down in the old days. It got plenty of oxygen across the top and always had black mold on the top. Of course, the recipe was just cabbage and salt. The Koreans sometimes put fish/meat in their kimchi. That may be the food source for the aspergillis niger - just guessing.

Sauerkraut is one of those wonder foods (for me, at least.) It is an excellent way to preserve and enhance garden produce in a low energy environment. Some people abhor the smell/flavor. Others crave it.

Robie,

Does your wife make fermentation crocks (with a moat) similar to the picture I posted?

Grover

greendoc's picture
greendoc
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 23 2008
Posts: 155
I'm a permie and and a fermie

HI Grover, 

 

I have been fermenting food longer than I have been growing it.  I do own some large crocks, but more for ambience and storing the dog toys in: as you are so correct, who needs 10 gallons of sauerkraut all at once?  Maybe a big farm family of 14...but not our little tribe. I used to make kombucha, kefir water too, but these day just make a batch of sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, curry cauliflower and carrots or cortido in a one or two quart wide mouthed glass mason jar each week.  I have a small espresso saucer that fits perfectly inside the mason jar and weigh in down with a clean rock. Nothing fancy, it works for me and have not killed anyone yet.  My refrigerator full of all sorts of food experiments: perserved lemons and kumquats, brined olives, guava chutney, various pickles and ferments.  I try to eat something fermented daily, and it is making my mouth water just thinking about it.  

 

I did decide my NY resolution is "just do it".  As in: embrace things I am avoiding.  So for ten minutes (more or less) every day do something I have been dragging my feet over. Today my husband and I did a small fence repair that has needed attention for months. Tomorrow I am going to schedule my long over due dental cleaning. That kind of thing. Something flexible and not too painful.  I find the older I get the more I seek comfort (hence more avoidance of unpleasant tasks), but it really is just a mental construct that I think it will be unpleasant. The postponing and avoidance is way more unpleasant than actually doing the thing I am dodging. So in the long run, it will help produce more satisfaction.  

 

Happy 2019 PPs! here is to your own "just do it" list, may you get alot accomplished this year.

Claire

 

 

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 25 2014
Posts: 969
I'd like to note one unique fermented food

I have a son who appears to have High IGE as a genetic condition. It makes him have allergies, skin infections, bones more brittle than usual, and teeth that don't push themselves out properly.

Anyhow, one thing about bones: Vitamin K2 is really good for bone maintenance and repair of broken bones; and the best source of K2 is Japanese Natto (Gouda comes in second).

Most people think it's horrid first time they taste it. But amazingly, my son with HIES just loved it. I think his body recognized something in Natto, it needed.

The problem with natto is that it comes from Fukushima (of nuclear devestation fame). So learning how to grow and ferment soybeans might be a good idea. But that said, it might be a good breakfast in general, too.

debu's picture
debu
Status: Silver Member (Online)
Joined: Aug 17 2009
Posts: 241
Natto

Natto comes from wherever in Japan or S. Korea it is made.  There is no particular association with Fukushima.

Can't stand the stuff myself but it is supposed to be a fantastically healthful fermented food.

greendoc's picture
greendoc
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 23 2008
Posts: 155
source for organic nonGMO natto

Michael,

We have a local manufacturer of natto in Sebastopol, they sell to alot of markets nationwide. 

http://www.meguminatto.com/storelocator.html. If you do not live near one of them, I bet you could arrange to have some shipped to you . 

Meanwhile making it sounds like a fun project if you can get the natto spores.  I tried making tempeh once using Sandor Katz's "wild Fermentation" recipe, but it was a failure, but that likely my inexperience or bad spores and should try, try again. I like this website for inspiration: http://phickle.com/nattorecipe/. Keeping food traditions alive so important, even if it not your own food tradition. Nourishing food is universal and does not belong to any one culture IMO. 

All the best to you and your son.

Claire

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