Monday, September 29, 2014
Are you on the fermenting bandwagon yet? I'm trying to hitch a ride myself, but still very much in the early learning stages. I figure that it can't hurt, and within safe reason I love anytime I can present and prepare food for friends and family that has been minimally handled/processed. So I am dipping my toe into the world of making my own fermented foods. So far my two attempts have been kombucha and lacto fermented salsa.
A year or so ago I started buying those bottled kombucha drinks at the local natural food coop, and I was quickly hooked. Those babies are expensive though and so I began researching how to make my own. About that time I connected with a friend of a friend who had recently started experimenting with making her own kombucha and was willing to share some scoby and teach me the basics. So after an afternoon spent sampling her variations and gleaning as much as I could from her experience I took home a couple scobys and set out to ferment my own kombucha. I love this tutorial on brewing your own. Once the tea was ready, I am finding that 7-10 days is a good amount of time for fermentation in our home (though with cooler temps settling in that may begin to stretch longer), it's time to flavor your tea. Over the summer we used seasonal fruits, mostly berries, along with lemon and ginger to flavor our tea but now that fall is kicking in I'm thinking a pear/ginger combo sounds really great. Have you tried making kombucha? If so what are your favorite flavor add in's?
My second foray into the world of fermenting has been lacto fermented salsa. We love salsa in this house and during the summer months when tomatoes are at their best we make and consume a lot of it. That and my obsession with buying produce by the box led me to my first attempt at fermented salsa. I had an abundance of tomatoes both from the garden and supplemental purchases and was looking for something new to try in the way of food preservation. I stumbled on this blog post about fermented salsa and made quick work of transforming the remains of my tomatoes into several quarts of the best salsa I've ever tasted. Not only is it super tasty, it is really fairly quick and easy to make. A few rough chops, some blitzing in the food processor and a few days on the counter and you are good to go. And no cooking folks! No standing over a hot stove water bath canning salsa in 100 degree temps. From what I've read you can hold fermented salsa in the fridge for fairly lengthy periods, likely longer than you will need because if you like salsa you will eat your way through your jars very fast. The inner hoarder in me wants to make enough to last us well into and hopefully through winter so I dug a bit deeper and found that you can freeze this salsa with decent results. I've got a tester quart in the freezer and another gallon plus working it's magic on my counter at this very moment. Once we crack open the frozen jar I will report back but I do have high hopes. I took a jar of this along on a weekend trip with friends and it got a raving thumbs up, even by my onion and pepper hating friend. I was even able to successfully use it as a bribe for a teen friend of ours, its really that good. I hope you try for yourself, I'd love to hear what you think.