From the Editor: Please welcome Rosalyn, CFH Content Development Manager and Cultured Kitchen-Keeper.
I was invited to participate in a Holiday Craft Fair this month. What a fun way to show off my fermenting projects! My first problem was: what to choose? Fortunately, fermentation is something you can do year-round, with just the simplest of ingredients. And, it’s so simple… the most time-consuming part is done by the bacteria!
This was also a great opportunity for me to try out some of the fun recipes I’ve come across recently.
I started with some Christmas Kraut: cabbage, red bell pepper, green beans, and a handful of cranberries for extra color and because they are seasonal. I added some daikon radish for a little extra zing as well. How do they look?
Next, because I really like purple things, I made some Purple Kraut, using red cabbage and carrot coins, with daikon radish for the flavor and because it added a little brightness to the mix. Here is my Purple Kraut:
Then I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe for pink pickles that I picked up last month at the Portland Fermentation Festival . I call them my Party Pickles. They’re not really pickled, because they use brine instead of vinegar, but doesn’t the name sound cute? I used all white vegetables, and cut them into different shapes: daikon radish (triangles), turnip (matchsticks), parsnip (discs), jicama (cubes). I also used small florets of cauliflower, and some white onion cut into strips. Then I used a vegetable peeler to make beet curls, and layered everthing into jars. Everything turns bright pink and festive!
For all these ferments I used a light brine: 4 tablespoons of sea salt in one gallon of filtered water. Then, because I only had two weeks’ notice for the Craft Fair, I added a packet of Caldwell’s Vegetable Starter Culture to give the fermentation a little boost.
I am also a big fan of tonics. I love the Fermented Turmeric Tonic from our website, and I make about a gallon of it a month. I put it in little bottles and hand it out to friends. Everyone is always surprised by how tasty it is!
Another favorite is Supertonic. It was developed years ago by Dr. Schulze, who shares the recipe. You might know it as master tonic or fire cider as well. To make this spicy brew you use equal quantities of garlic, onion, horseradish, and ginger (about 3 tablespoons, pureed), and about one tablespoon of cayenne, also pureed. Steep all the stuff in a quart of raw apple cider vinegar for a few days, then strain out the pulp, which you can save and use as a delicious condiment with any kind of meat or fowl. The liquid makes a good tonic to support the immune system, and you can also mix it with mayonnaise or cultured milk to make an exciting salad dressing!
And then, just for fun and because it is full of healthy nutrients and probiotics, I made some fermented honey with lemon and garlic. Some with just lemon, some with just garlic, and some with both. This is really easy to make: Use cut up lemons, or peeled garlic cloves, or both. Cover with raw honey, and let it sit for a few weeks. The moisture in the lemon or garlic starts the fermentation in the honey. The sugar is consumed, and the honey becomes less sweet but still retains the rich flavor and the wonderful nutrients. This is amazing in a cup of hot tea or warm milk on a winter night!
Cultured food is so warming in this cold weather, so I was glad for the opportunity to make all these fun things. Anything I sell at the Craft Fair will go toward charitable donations, and anything I don’t sell will come back to my pantry for delicious winter snacking (and maybe some holiday gifts) so it’s win-win!