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  • Blog Post: How We Like our Fermented Vegetables

    Fermented vegetables have a frequent place at our table. We eat them in a host of different ways – from a topping to whatever it happens to be that we’re eating to incorporated in a host of tasty dishes. Given the variety of flavors you can create with fermented vegetables, they can be one of the most versatile items in your kitchen. But they need to taste good in order to work well as an ingredient or standalone food item. Over the years I’ve found that our family has a preference for certain aspects of fermented vegetables and when these are lacking, we’re not nearly as excited about them. Read More
  • Blog Post: Using a Seedling Mat for Tempeh and Natto

    Temperature is important for any ferment. Soy ferments are no different. Tempeh needs to be kept warm, but common fermenting appliances available in the US don’t work well. Yogurt makers are far too hot. A cube dehydrator or folding proofer work very well. However, beginners may not want to invest in a new piece of equipment. Read More
  • Blog Post: The Nixtamalization of Corn: A Historic Practice

    I find it interesting that our society has taken what has been a nourishing food eaten at most meals for generations and turned it into one of the most toxic ingredients in our food chain. Now corn is in everything and in many strange forms. As a sweetener it is prevalent, as a filler it is everywhere, and as a GMO grain it fills our grocery stores. But it wasn’t always like this. Heirloom corn was eaten in South America for generations with good results, but this corn was nixtamalized. The nixtamalization of corn isn’t exactly a culturing process. It is, however, a historic means by which a society improved the quality of their raw ingredients, making them more digestible and unlocking certain nutrients for better health. Read More
  • Blog Post: That Time I Figured Out What Calcium Chloride Could Do For My Cheesemaking

    I’ve been making cheese now for a few months. These aren’t complicated, hard cheeses of which I’m still slightly frightened of. No, my go-to options are a soft chevre and a flavorful feta. I have been making both of these exclusively with fresh goat milk and so far it’s been fun to take on another DIY kitchen project. It all started when I received the Goat Milk Cheese Kit. I love kits like this that take the fear out of DIYing it for the first time by assembling everything that you need. Everything in that kit was familiar and got me off to a great start. Well, everything, that is, except the calcium chloride. I had heard some vague thing about this stuff long ago and kind of figured it was like putting together a bookshelf and having one extra screw when all is said and done. It’s working, right, so I’m probably not missing out on much. Read More
  • Blog Post: Making Easy, Homemade, Naturally-Scented Soaps

    I admit it, I am a bit of a DIY junkie. Truth be told, I think most of us home-fermenters are. While there are tons of reasons to make homemade breads, cultured veggies, and myriad other foods and personal care products, there are some things I would still make just for the fulfillment it brings. And sometimes these little activities not only ground us, but are just great fun. Recently I had the opportunity to develop some recipes for homemade soaps that are both fun and so, so easy to make. No mixing lye and fat while donning goggles and gloves, no weeks of curing before use. Instead there is melting and coloring and mixing in essential oils. And then there is the simple enjoyment of these soaps – fragrant and completely personalized. Read More
  • Blog Post: Bottling my Homemade Cider

    Of all the steps involved in home brewing beer or cider, bottling is often the most intimidating part. I certainly experienced a little pre-bottling anxiety myself. However, I have good news! After all was said and done, and my fridge overfloweth with fine cider, bottling really didn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Sure, it’s going to be a little messy and it takes some time, but my advice is to try to enjoy the process and focus on the imminent rewards. So put on some music or a podcast, roll up your sleeves, and get to it. Read More
  • Blog Post: Kimchi French Fries

    To be totally honest, for over two years I always scarfed down entire jars of kimchi in one sitting without ever trying kimchi in a recipe. Raw kimchi straight out of the jar is still my go-to when it comes to kimchi, but I’ve been trying to expand my horizons and try it in some recipes as well. Here’s a recipe I’ve been playing around with. It includes the following: Read More
  • Blog Post: Easy, Lovely, Affordable: Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

    In our super busy, hyper-consumerist culture it is often hard to discern what we should spend a little more time and money on. And sometimes it’s hard to imagine that something can be inexpensive, good for people and environment, and easy to make. But not all DIY projects have to be super time or cash-consuming. Some are inherently more hands on while others, like this simple Foaming Hand Soap, are easy enough to allow you to get all of those other DIY projects done. As if that isn’t enough, the final product is infinitely safer than anything you can buy in the store as well as more affordable. Let’s take a look at the cost breakdown and just how simple it is to throw together this family-friendly personal care product. Read More
  • Blog Post: SCOBY Snacks

    If you have been brewing kombucha for a while now, you probably have an excess of baby scobys. I do a continuous brew kombucha and brew each batch for a very long time. This results in some huge, and I mean HUGE, scobys. This one measures about 10”-11” in diameter and is about 2”+ thick. When it’s time to put the scoby in fresh sweetened tea, I tear off a chunk of scoby to toss in with the next batch. Yes, just a piece is plenty! I then take the giant scoby and put it into my dehydrator at about 100ºF and dehydrate until it’s thin and leathery. (Warning! Your entire house will smell like kombucha.) Once dried, I cut it into bite size pieces and store in a ziplock bag in my refrigerator. My dog loves her scoby snacks. Read More
  • Blog Post: Gluten-Free Sourdough Brownies Recipe Testing

    I finally did it. Not only did I venture down the brown rice sourdough path, but I decided to make brownies too! Wouldn’t my kids love that? Absolutely!

    It took a bit of time to get the hang of feeding my new pet, especially since a brown rice starter must be fed more often than a traditional gluten starter.

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    I had to make sure it was nice and toasty in warmth, so up into my son’s bedroom it went, the warmest room in the house. I am sure I can attribute its success to the mass army of Transformers and other mechanical creatures that surrounded the jar of starter.

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    After feeding it the three times necessary to wake it up from its slumber in the fridge, I was ready to attack a recipe. Good thing I knew a great recipe source.

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    My biggest challenge was attempting to create a double boiler system so I could boil the chocolate. As you can see, it was actually easy to do…a small pot inside of another slightly larger pot. The chocolate melted just fine, but I couldn’t get it to boil as the recipe indicated, so I didn’t fret about it. I assembled the ingredients, poured it into the coconut oil greased pan, and ever so lovingly placed it into the oven. The batter tasted divine, so fingers were crossed!

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    The results? Well, it looked fabulous. So fabulous we dug in immediately. We cut the pieces and put them on our plates…only to have them crumble. But, we’re no strangers to gluten-free-baked-good-crumbles. We didn’t cry. We didn’t bemoan or whimper. We simply grabbed some spoons!

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    The flavor was amazing. How can you go wrong with chocolate? And how can you go wrong with sourdough? Great recipe…I encourage you to try it, as you won’t be sorry (and it’s ok if you use a sourdough with gluten).

    Read More
  • Blog Post: Cleaning my Grolsch Bottles

    Time is precious. Neglect of my beloved Grolsch bottles is commonplace. Many moons ago I learned from another CSR about adding an abrasive to your soap and water to clean the gunk off the inside of your bottle. I thought there was no way it would work with what I had…honestly, I haven’t cleaned them since I began fermenting…it’s been over 2 years with my water kefir. Read More
  • Blog Post: A Closer Look at Water Kefir Grains

    I have found that one of the easiest cultured foods to get people started on is water kefir. It tastes like a version of soda that has had the sugar turned down, so I’m not sure why anyone would stick their nose up at it. Still, water kefir comes as a surprise to some and I find it often sits in the shadow of the more commercially-known kombucha. But these are very different beverages – both in flavor and nutritional makeup – and our family needs no convincing to drink both. So today I thought we could take a look at what creates that bubbly, delicious beverage known as water kefir – the water kefir grains themselves. Read More
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