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mermaidcamp

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#NaPoWriMo Beet Poetry

April 24, 2017 1 Comment

 

beets

beets

If I had to depend on just one vegetable for my entire diet
I would choose one that has both greens and root
The versatile, flavorful, colorful beetroot family is quiet
While deeply reaching down into the earth for loot
The nutrients to produce a truly magical ingredient
For borscht, kvaas, and pickled eggs they are expedient

You can’t beat the beets!

beets

beets

Join other poets, beet and otherwise, for the National Poetry Writing Month. Join the #VeggiePoetry set on twitter, or visit the #NaPoWriMo site to find new poets. The celebration lasts all month in April.

Healthy Homemade Fermented Drinks

March 15, 2016 2 Comments

beet kvass

beet kvass

secondary fermentation

secondary fermentation

ginger bug

ginger bug

I had a sourdough starter for about ten years. I enjoyed using it and finding new ways to put my homegrown yeast to work. After a while I was kind of done with it, but my dog was crazy about it. She fixated on the bread, and the more sour the better for her taste. Eventually I baked for her but we ate little bread in the house. When she died last year I gave up the sourdough start. Recently I have become interested in raw fermented food for both health and mad science. I do still like to grow cultures and experiment in my kitchen.  My fermentation lab is simple and requires no special equipment.

I have made some decent sauerkraut, but my big thrill is drinking the juice from the kraut. This brought be to study the other fermented beverages I could make. I have not yet purchased kefir grans because it sounds like a big deal keeping up with the growth of them once they start to multiply. I probably will try it at some point because it is possible to make flavored fizzy drinks with water and fruit juice that sound pretty delicious. I bought a couple of books for my kindle to study the options and learn more about the various ways foods are fermented around the world. I can heartily recommend Delicious Probiotic Drinks by Julia Mueller.

Delicious Probiotic Drinks

Delicious Probiotic Drinks

My favorite drink I am making these days is ginger beer.  I started a ginger bug, a starter which lives on ginger, water, and sugar.  The care and feeding of the ginger bug is much like the sourdough starter.  It catches the yeast in the air and stays alive by eating sugar.  The dosage is important because it is possible to kill the yeast by adding too much sugar at a time.  Mine sits on the kitchen counter with a cork cover.  It is really easy to keep it happy and growing stirring it with a wooden spoon daily.  When I make my ginger beer I simply add some of the starter to a larger container of water and add ginger and sugar to that batch.  After a week or so of growing I start a secondary fermentation in a tightly covered bottle (I use a beer growler).  This is the same way champagne is made, with a secondary fermentation in a corked bottle.

I also love my beet kvass.  This is easy to ferment as well, just by adding salt to water and beets in a container for a week or so.  It is tasty and very health promoting.  Beets themselves are great for the liver and other organs.  The fermentation adds probiotic cultures that conquer less than desirable cultures we may have in out digestive systems.  Now that the happy healthy probiotics have taken over in my intestines I actually crave the fermented drinks.  I have sauerkraut juice first thing in the morning when I take my vitamins and all through the day.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  This simple, amazingly cheap habit I have started is probably the best practice I have added for my general health in decades.  If you wonder if you will like the taste I recommend that you start with the ginger beer production.  It is universally enjoyed, and takes little skill to produce.

There are some other traditional fermented drinks I plan to try, all with the same basic procedure.  I have yet to use the culture I bought just because it works without adding any culture.  Have you ever made any fermented beverages, gentle reader?  It is a fun hobby with fabulous health benefits.

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