Have you tried fermenting your own foods yet? Last summer when Kelli and I had just gotten back to the States from our round the world trip, we had the chance to listen to Donna Gates speak. She’s the complete know-it-all in regards to anything about digestive health. This lecture was what opened up our eyes to the value of fermented foods and eating probiotics rather than taking pills for them.
So with the knowledge we gained from her talk that night and from her Body Ecology book, we’ve become pretty good at making our own kimchi and coconut water kefir. That’s not to say we haven’t messed up a few batches that could make you drunk just by sniffing them!
We were lucky to stumble upon the Nourished Kitchen blog which is an incredible resource for recipes for fermented foods. I mean, sauerkrauts’s great and all, but it sure is nice to break out of a cabbage habit every once in a while. Here’s a fun example of what’s possible with fermenting foods. Tastes great, and incredibly good for your overall health in more ways than imaginable.
This relish is rich in beneficial, lactic-acid-producing bacteria which naturally preserve the dish, ensuring that it will keep for approximately six weeks or longer when refrigerated.
3 large apples (about 1 ½ pounds), cored but not peeled
3 large beets (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled
2 star anise pods
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt
fermented vegetable starter culture, if desired (see sources)
Shred apples and beets by hand, or in a food processor.
Toss the shredded apples and beets together until well-combined and mixed together.
Add the star anise and whole cloves to the apples and beetroot, and continue to toss until the spices are evenly distributed among the shredded fruit and vegetables.
In a mason jar or, preferably, a vegetable fermenter, layer the apple and beetroot.
Periodically sprinkle unrefined sea salt or vegetable starter culture over the layers of apple and beetroot and mash with a wooden spoon or mallet to encourage the fruit and vegetables to release their juices, creating a luscious brine to encourage the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.
Ferment in a mason jar or vegetable fermenter for a minimum of three to four days, or longer, depending on the level of warmth in your kitchen.
After your apple and beetroot relish has sufficiently cultured, remove it from the vegetable fermenter and gently pick out the star anise pods and whole cloves.
Place the apple and beetroot relish into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
NOTE: If, after mashing the apples and beets with a mallet or wooden spoon, the brine created by the salt and juice fails to completely submerge the vegetables, prepare a separate brine by dissolving 1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt in 1 quart filtered water and pour this salty mixture over the apples, beets and spices until they are completely covered. Doing so minimizes the risk of contamination by undesirable bacteria, mold and fungi.
Check out Nourished Kitchen