Fermented Foods

All posts in the Fermented Foods category

The 12 Days of Yule – Day 12 – New Year Cheese

Published December 31, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

After all that festive merriment (admit it, you had a sherry, didn’t you?) we all need some probiotics.

Here’s what I do with mine:

New Year Cheese

Ingredients:

2 cups cashew or macadamia nuts, soaked

1 cup finely shredded celery

water to blend

a generous handful of nutritional yeast

4 probiotic capsules (just open them up and drop the powder in.)

lemon juice.

Method

Blend everything together. Use as much water as you need, but try not to get the mixture too runny.

Pour or spoon the mixture into moulds (I use cookie cutters which gives me a selection of fun festive shapes) placed onto a non-stick dehydrator sheet.

Dehydrate until the mixture is firm enough to remove the mould.

Dehydrate some more, until you can remove the non-stick sheet and place the cheese on the mesh.

Dehydrate until you have the consistency you want.

Use like regular cheese. Only this is much better for you.

Happy New Year!

salt and seasoning to taste

The 12 Days of Yule – Day 5 – Apfelwein and Cranberry Stuffing

Published December 24, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

Apfelwein and Cranberry Stuffing.

These two dishes are made together. Well, Apfelwein is not really a dish; it’s a drink, but here goes:

Ingredients:

6 medium Carrots

6 Apples

2 cups Cranberries

Fresh Apple Juice

Method:

Grate the apple and carrot and mix in a bowl with the cranberries.

Transfer the mixture to airtight jars (Kilner or Mason or similar) and cover with apple juice.

Close the lids tightly and keep the jars in a safe cool place for a few days.

Strain the solids out of the liquid.

Drink the liquid – Apfelwein! This can be spiced and warmed or drunk cold.

Eat the fruit – Stuffing! (Mix in some oats if you want to, but it’s personal taste.)

I Just Can’t Get Enough (of that raw fermented stuff…)

Published January 27, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

So, I’ve done Kimchi, Sauerkraut and Water Kefir. I’ve bought live probiotic powder and turned my hand to raw cheese; what’s next?

Yogurt, of course! This is something I will find very useful in my raw dishes. (Especially at breakfast, where I’m trying out things-that-are-not-smoothies!)

I’ve been doing my research and decided that first I will try Oat Yogurt. I’ve not done this before, so it will be a 24 hour experiment. I will let you know how it turns out!

Here’s what I’ve done:

In a ceramic bowl, I mixed:

2 cups wholegrain oats (I only had rolled oats but whole oats would be preferable as they’ve not been processed.)

3 cups water

the contents of 2 probiotic capsules

I’ve stirred the mixture together and covered it. Now I need to leave it  to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Tomorrow night I will take a look and see whether the mixture needs blending to make it smooth and creamy, or whether it is fine as it is.

I’ll blog my results of this experiment tomorrow!

UPDATE: 24 Hours later.

I uncovered my oat mixture and to be honest it just looked like uncooked porridge. I tasted it and there was none of the sourness I have been led to expect.

I decided to blend the whole mixture and add a couple more probiotic capsules (the powder from the inside) and leave it in the bowl for another 24 hours.

So, a bit disappointing really, but tomorrow might yield better results. Patience Poli, patience…

UPDATE 2: Another 24 hours later.

The yogurt looks a lot more like yogurt now and is rather sour to taste – more like I was hoping for.

I gave it a good stir and it looked right, so I added some frozen strawberries, soaked cashews and dried cranberries.

I now have a lovely yogurty breakfast, which I will have in the morning.

UPDATE 3: The following morning.

Yum! This is delicious!

Now I know how to do it, here’s the recipe:

Fruity Breakfast Yogurt.

Equipment:

bowl, blender

Ingredients:

2 cups Oats

3 cups Water

4 Probiotic capsules

Strawberries

Cranberries

Cashew nuts

Agave Nectar

Method:

Soak the oats in the water. Add the contents of the probiotic capsules.

Cover the oats and leave for 24 – 48 hours at room temperature. This depends on the temperature of your home. It will take longer in Winter.

Soak the cashew nuts for several hours or overnight.

Blend the oat/water mixture and pour into a bowl.

Add the cashew nuts, strawberries and cranberries (these are to taste so no precise amounts are given.)

Add a little agave nectar to sweeten if required.

Serves 4 – 6.

How To Make Water Kefir

Published January 26, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve been asked about water kefir, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

A lot of people have heard of milk kefir, but I confess I had never heard of either until a few months ago.

So what is kefir and what do you do with it?

Water kefir crystals (also known as Tibicos). ...

Image via Wikipedia

Water Kefir, also known as Tibicos, Tibi, Japanese water crystals or California Bees is a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Actually, it doesn’t taste of anything much on its own and looks like a load of little white granules, but by making a Water Kefir drink, it becomes a delicious sweet, sometimes fizzy, probiotic drink, packed with nutrients. Sounds yummier now, eh?

If you want to know more about the substance itself, have a look here.

If you want to know what to do with it, keep reading:

To make Water Kefir:

Take a Mason or Kilner jar and clean it thoroughly (I like to sterilize mine too, just to be on the safe side)

Spoon 2 teaspoons of Kefir grains into the jar and fill with clean water (filtered or spring if you can get it.)

Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, or a substitute*

Mix it up and close the jar. Leave for a few days, “feeding” the kefir some more sugar each day.

The more you “feed” the grains (don’t overdo it – a teaspoonful a day is enough!) the stronger it gets. After several days it can become fizzy, which is a nice alternative to carbonated drinks. It will even become very mildly alcoholic, eventually, but don’t get too excited, 2% is about as strong as you’ll manage!

This is not an exact science. Taste the water to determine whether you want to drink it. It should not be overly sweet. It can take time to make it just how you like it, but you can enjoy drinking all the experiments.

To drink, simply drain all the water out into a sieve or muslin and use the grains again.

They will multiply and before you know it, you’ll have several jars on the go and you’ll be begging friends to take them off you! You can eat excess grains if you prefer!

*Sugar. Obviously, not everyone wants to use refined sugar, even though it is the kefir “eating” it and not you, but some alternatives are:

fruit (just throw some dried fruit it – they love it!)

maple syrup (more expensive, but definitely worth it!)

less refined brown sugar (turns the grains brown, but doesn’t harm them)

I have heard that you can also culture the kefir in fruit juice.

Raw Cashew “Cheese”

Published January 26, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I haven’t eaten actual cheese for decades and don’t miss it at all, but as a vegan I have sometimes enjoyed a dairy-free alternative to cheese. It’s certainly a useful thing to have in the fridge, turning a simple salad into something a bit more interesting and nutritious and providing a great filling for a raw (or even almost-raw) sandwich.

I have adapted a recipe originally shared by Russell James (the Raw Food Chef) here.

Russell’s recipe uses macadamia nuts, which I absolutely adore, but they are a little expensive so, finances being how they are, I used cashews instead.

Here is my version, but I urge you to check out Russell’s (and his other recipes too – they are superb and always work out perfectly!)

Cashew Cheese

Equipment:

Blender/Liquidizer, Sieve, Bowl, Muslin (or Nut Milk Bag), Dehydrator (or fan oven – use fan only,) Ring Mould

Ingredients:

2 cups cashew nuts

1 cup water

2 probiotic capsules

pinch salt

2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (or 1 teaspoon Marmite (yeast extract) if you don’t mind a non-raw condiment!)

Squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

Blend the nuts and water together until you have a smooth paste.

Add the powder from the probiotic capsules and mix in thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag or a piece of muslin and place in a sieve, over a bowl. Place a plate on the top and a weight to squeeze the excess liquid out. I used a fairly full jar of coconut oil which seemed heavy enough.

Leave at room temperature for 24-48 hours. It’s a good idea to place a cloth over the whole thing so that no dust or unwelcome flying insects get in.

After 24-48 hours, unwrap the mixture and place it into a clean bowl. Add the salt, yeast and lemon juice and stir everything in.

Now pour the mixture into a ring mould. I put mine on top of a non-stick dehydrator sheet (on a DH tray) and placed it in the dehydrator for 24 hours to dry out a little and get a crust. Then I placed it in the fridge, where it lives whilst it is being eaten.

You can just put it straight into the fridge without dehydrating if you are in a hurry or don’t want a crust.

It’s delicious and can be customised with herbs, onion, garlic… the list is limitless!

I think this should last about a week, but ours won’t. Nom nom… =)

Bacteria Are My Friends

Published August 5, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

I have recently been learning a lot about the beneficial bacteria in cultured and fermented foods and have been introducing these foods into our diet.
One of the biggest benefits I have noticed is the improvement in my digestion.
I no longer have gas, whereas I used to – a lot! I notice now that if I don’t eat these foods for a couple of days; my digestion plays up.
I used to feel sick whenever I ate anything. Since switching to raw food, I do not feel sick anywhere near as often. Beneficial bacteria help this situation dramatically.
Another improvement is in my skin, hair and nails. My skin is smoother and softer – on my body, as well as my face; my hair and nails are growing faster and are stronger. Additionally, my hair, which used to be quite dry, now rarely needs conditioning. (I have changed some of the products I use, but this is not the only reason I believe my hair has improved.)

Here are some of the fermented foods I’ve been making:
Sauerkraut and Kimchi
In addition to the sauerkraut I discussed in an earlier post, I have also been making Kimchi. This Korean dish uses miso instead of salt-water. It’s just as easy to make and I have been using a variety of vegetables, layering them in the jar. It is just as delicious as sauerkraut and a perfect way to make some of those hard greens more palatable.
Some people can manage  crunchy, crispy foods, but I have never ben able to get on with it; I like my food quite soft. Culturing it helps me enormously!

Cultured Water

When I have eaten all the kimchi/sauerkraut from a jar, I bottle the leftover water and use it in savoury recipes, instead of regular water. It adds nutrition and flavour.

Kefir
Water kefir grains are amazing. I bought a small packet on ebay and started making my own Kefir.
Just add a couple of spoonfuls (1 packet) of kefir grain to a glass Kilner jar of filtered water.
Add a couple of spoons of sugar (you could use any sugar, maple syrup, fruit sugar etc.) and leave it for a couple of days. It is ready to drink then, either on its own or added to fruit juice or a smoothie.
The grains grow and multiply. I was amazed at how big some of them got.
In no tome at all, I had enough grains for two jars, then three, then four and now I have five jars on the go, spaced a day apart, so there is always some ready. I even gave my mum some grains when she visited.
I’m not sure I entirely understand exactly what kefir grains are; some sort of bacteria, but I’m no scientist and even though I live with one, I haven’t yet figured it out! What I do know is that kefir tastes good and does me good – all I ask from my food.

Miso
Although miso is not a raw food, it is a living food; at least, if you buy an  un-pasteurised variety.
I use it quite a bit in kimchi, sauces and sometimes just as a drink. I have been a fan of miso for many years.
One of my cousins once asked my what my secret to eternal youth was (he hadn’t seen me for 10 years and asserted that I hadn’t aged!) I told him it was miso, and promptly made a cup to drink!

There are other fermented foods I want to try and I will let you know how I get on when I do.

 

 

Originally published on www.pollyskitchen.blogspot.com

Getting a Bit of Culture

Published July 28, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about Cultured Vegetables.
Now, to be honest, I had no idea what these were, but when the universe keeps banging on about something, I have to sit up and listen.
About a month ago I read a Sauerkraut recipe in one of Shazzie‘s books: Detox Your World (it’s a great book, by the way – I highly recommend it)
My first thought on reading the recipe was “Eeuw! No way! I’m not eating rotting vegetables, thank you very much! I’ll have something else.”
And that was that. I left it, until I saw this interesting article on Cultured Vegetables, which explained it all to me. I had one of those “Aha” moments (and no, not a flashback to the 80s pop group!) suddenly it made sense, but I still felt a bit anxious about making my own.
What if I did it wrong? Could I accidentally introduce a pathogenic bacteria and give it room to grow?
However, a quick look at the price of Cultured Vegetables convinced me that I had to make my own.
I found this useful tutorial and had a go.
I used cabbage and cucumber (keep it simple to start with,) and a couple of lettuce leaves to keep the vegetables under the water. Here is my Sauerkraut in a Kilner jar. I ‘pop’ the gas 2 or 3 times a day and it should be ready to eat on Monday!

 

 

Originally published on www.pollyskitchen.blogspot.com

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