Tag: fermentation

Going down the natural path

I realized something. In my quest for culinary adventure one thing has stood out among all. Using natural ingredients to create really tasty stuff. 

For example – I tend to use exclusively unbleached all purpose flour now. It’s pretty easy to come by, even the local Price Rite carries Gold Medal Unbleached. 

I’ve always loved baking and roasting anyhow. I’ve done Ciabatta bread, banana bread, cranberry orange bread, cheddar biscuits, corn bread, cookies, etc. I’ve also done Strawberry Cake, Peach Upside Down Cake, and my favorite, the Blueberry Crumble. 

Plus I’ve gotten into pickling. First try was with pickled cucumber aka pickles. All natural, just a brine, garlic and dill. Next into the fray was pickled peppers – this one saw 1/3 cup white vinegar added to the brine. And now that I’ve done the pepper I was thinking, maybe I should throw in some garlic and red pepper flakes just for a kick. 

It’s fun using new and different techniques for pickling, bringing, etc. I want to naturally ferment some broccoli and cauliflower too. Maybe some carrots in there too. It’s easy to do too – just make a brine of 2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. Boil it up. Then sterilize jars and lids – pack jars with veggie of your choice and then pour brine in. Let nature ferment it, turn it a little sour and delicious. 

Some more pickling

Made some dirty rice and needed red and green bell pepper. But the peppers were a buck a pound so I got three of the green ones, six of the red ones. Only used two green and two red for the rice.

That left me one green and four red bell peppers. What to do?

Chucked two quarts of water into a pot to which I added four tablespoons of kosher salt and a cup of white vinegar.

Now to appreciate this you sort of have to be a Rhode Islander. I say this because a habit we have is to put vinegar on french fries, usually cider vinegar and along with salt. Even the potato chips – salt and vinegar is available here.

But anyhow back to it, the brine was fantastic by itself! The salt and vinegar really came out.

So I sterilized the jars and lids. Easy to do wash and rinse jars and lids, then heat an oven to 350F and put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Once everything is at temp lids go into the pot, jars on a baking sheet and into the oven. Both stay in their respective environments for 10 minutes.

While the jars were sterilizing I cut up the peppers into 1″ wide strips. When the jars came out of the oven I packed the peppers into them – five peppers yielded two and a half jars. Then I poured the brine over them, placed the lids on and sealed them. No need to can these. They’ll be gone with a week or two. I love pickled peppers.

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Gut bacteria key to weight loss

This article is very interesting. As they identify the things that help – I’ve already integrated a lot of it into our diet without even reading the article first.

They posit that our gut bacteria aren’t happy. They also state that people in the developing world have a lower prevalence of allergies, asthma, diabetes, etc.

I’m going to hazard a theory here. I think our over-use of antibiotics is to blame. Anti-biotics aren’t very selective; they’re rather a shotgun approach. What I mean is in addition to killing the disease, it also ravages the bacteria in our gut. It’s why you sort of get the shits when you’re on antibiotics.

And I’ve had more courses of treatment with antibiotics than I can count. Started when I was a kid and right up to a few years back when the inner ear thing happened.

The article does say cruciferous, legumes, garlic, onions, etc. are all great for gut bacteria. So too banana, asparagus, apples, etc. But the biggie is fermented foods – like the pickles I recently made au natural – no preservatives and fermented. I do want to try fermented sauerkraut too. Another thing I eat a lot of is pro-biotic yogurt. Try to restore the balance.

More on the fermented stuff – the book that turned me on to it was Michael Pollan’s “Cooked”. That got me watching Sandor Katz on YouTube. And my first crack – pickles. They’re a little soft as I need better tea to counter the softening. But they taste awesome. All it is is a two tablespoons of salt to one quart of water, then 3 or 4 lightly crushed garlic cloves, a chunk of dill. I cut off the flower end of the cucumber and then cut them into spears. Sterilized the jars and lids, then dropped the garlic and dill at the bottom and then packed the cut up cucumber in, poured the brine on and then sealed the jars. They were left to ferment for anywhere from 5 to 10 days. I sampled during the process. I prefer them to go longer – they get slightly more sour.