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Fermentools Blog

  • Sauerkraut, not Sourcrout!

    Foreign to some, a taste of home and childhood to another, the popular ferment called sauerkraut, not to be confused with the misspelled sourcrout, is a great place to start if you’re new to fermenting. It is also the place where you can experiment with flavors and textures creating the most unique blends and the best crowd pleasers. It's the gateway ferment that exposes one to a new level of health and well being.

    What is  sauerkraut?

    Sauerkraut (again, not sourcrout) is basically cabbage that is cut up into fine slices and has been mixed with salt and allowed to ferment for a period of time by lactic acid bacteria. The lactic acid bacteria that is naturally found on the cabbage feeds on the sugar in the cabbage making it softer and more sour in taste. This fermentation process increases the nutrient levels of the cabbage and makes it more shelf stable to a certain degree all while giving it the most delicious and addicting flavor. I am salivating just thinking about fermenting sauerkraut.

    Why should you make your own sauerkraut?

    Well, let me tell you the top three reasons why I make sauerkraut!

    1. Probiotics are Expensive… and less diverse and less effective then store bought. I have 7 children and a husband. To have my entire family on probiotics would cost me a fortune! Not to mention, the store bought probiotics have only 10-20 different types of bacteria in them where naturally fermented Sauerkraut has hundreds if not thousands! Naturally fermented foods are already hardwired to transport delicious bacteria directly into your digestive system.
    2. Taste is the Deal Breaker! Being able to control the level of sourness, the salt preference, the herbs and other vegetables to accompany the cabbage greatly enhances your pleasure in consuming sauerkraut. Believe me!
    3. Cost Effective. A whole cabbage and a few tablespoons of salt costs what? A dollar or two!? Why wouldn’t you spend that dollar toward your health and your palate?!

    How Do I Start?

    Here are some of the sauerkraut recipes we have written about. You will find they are all relatively simple as most good ferments are. Give your go to this one first if you are a newbie:

    Basic Sauerkraut Recipe

     

    Below is a list of other flavored sauerkraut recipes you can try out:

    A Sauerkraut Variation--Taco Kraut

    Citrus Hint Sauerkraut--An Easy Sauerkraut Recipe

    Apple Onion Sauerkraut in a Jar Recipe

    Beet and Cabbage Sauerkraut in a Jar Recipe

    Christmas Kraut--An Easy Sauerkraut Recipe

    Over the next several weeks I would like to share with you my families favorite Sauerkraut (not sourcrout) recipes with you! They include the Simple, Spicy Sauerkraut, the Pad Thai Sauerkraut and the Ginger Miso Sauerkraut.

    Keep an eye out for what's to come!

    . . .
  • Fermented Garlic Cloves

    Garlic is bursting with flavor! It adds warmth and depth to any and every dish. Garlic has been used for centuries not only for it's exquisite taste, but actually for it's medicinal properties! By fermenting garlic, you enhance these properties. Why not try adding fermented garlic into your daily routine and take a hold of some of it's benefits to your health?

    3 of Garlic's Medicinal Benefits

     

    What an amazing super food! Imagine what fermenting this power house of an herb could do for your health and your culinary dishes!

     

    Basic Fermented Garlic

    About as easy as any ferment gets, let's take a look at how to ferment garlic cloves!

    Ingredients:

    Garlic Cloves (as many as you desire to ferment

    Fermentools Himalayan Powdered Salt

    Filtered Water

    Directions:

    (1) Peel your garlic and place them into your desired size jar leaving at least an inch from the top.

    (2) Measure out the proper amount of salt according to the Fermentools Himalayan Powdered Salt package and place into the jar with the garlic. Cover the garlic with non-chlorinated water. I usually place a lid on the jar and give it a good shake to dissolve the salt.

    (3) Place your Fermentools Airlock system on top of your jar and allow your garlic to ferment for 3-4 week before transferring them into the fridge.

    That's Really It!

    Depending on how much garlic you're fermenting, you may want to consider adding a 6-pack or 12-pack of Fermentool's Fermenting Kits to your tool belt.

     

    How To Use Your Fermented Garlic

    • Include some garlic and herb butter to spread on sourdough bread or to fry up your morning eggs
    • Take a clove or two as a daily supplement
    • Add some to your home crafted salad dressings, sauces, or dips
    • Diced up fermented garlic is a fantastic garnish for soups or stir fries
    • After your garlic is fermented, place some cloves with some herbs in oil and set it aside for a few weeks and enjoy some infused dipping oil

    . . .
  • Soaking Whole Grains and Legumes

    Imagine a world where gas and bloating were never an issue after eating bean dip! Or where rice and bread didn't sit so heavy in your stomach. Where these foods supposed to cause such adverse reactions we have all grown accustomed to? Or could the answer to pain-free eating be found in something as simple as fermenting?

    Throughout all of human history, fermented foods and fermenting practices have been the staples of people groups and cultures. There isn't a single people group that can be thought up that does not share this similarity.

    One of the most commonly shared traditions includes fermenting grains and legumes before consuming. This practice encompasses soaking, sprouting, or sour leavening in an acidic environment to "liven up" the dormant food.

    Today we are going to talk about the soaking process.

    This practice has many benefits that may have been unknown to our ancestors, but thanks to modern studies, we can witness the very power of fermentation! It's also EXTREMELY EASY TO DO!

    Benefits of Fermenting Grains and Legumes:

    (1) Breaks down phytates which is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is found in the outer later or the bran of a grain, as well as in legumes, nuts and seeds. Phytates combine themselves with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in our intentional track  and actually block our body's absorption of these crucial minerals.

    (2) Increases the amounts of many vitamins in the grains and legumes, especially vitamin B.

    (3) Works as a "pre-stomach", if you will,  that partially digests the gluten, sugars, and anti-nutrients in our food making them much easier for our bodies to digest.

    How It's Done

    All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead and a good routine to establish a system to fermenting all your grains and legumes before you consume them. Wether you're into rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, black beans, pinto beans or chickpeas, the process is pretty much the same and really, very simple.

    8-12 hours before you're going to cook up a fabulous meal simply rinse your grains or legumes and place them in a mason jar with 1-2 Tablespoons of an acid. An example would be lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, whey, kiefer or kombucha.

    If I am using a quart sized jar I use 1 TBSP, but I typically ferment my grains and legumes in half-gallon mason jars adding 2 TBPS to each jar. This creates a nice acidic environment to assist in the break down of the phytates.

    Cover your grains or legumes with non-chlorinated water, then top that jar with your handy Fermentools airlock system and let nature take it's course!

    When your 8-12 (or sometimes 20 hours if you didn't get around to them) hours are up and you are ready to cook, rinse the grains and legumes well discarding the water they have been sitting in. Add some gelatin-rich bone stock and some filtered water for cooking.

    You can also choose to move to the sprouting stage at this point, which we will discuss in another post.

    Tips to Keep In Mind

    • Don't over pack your jars. Your grains and legumes will likely grow to just about double their size in the soaking process.
    • Mix your legumes around in the jar evenly distributing the water throughout so they don't get all stuck together on the bottom of the jar
    • It's best to cook grains and legumes in bone broth and add plenty of healthy fats such as butter, ghee,  or coconut oil before consuming. This not only aids the digestive process, but the fat soluble vitamins will help you absorb more of the now readily available minerals that have been woken up by the soaking process!
    • Cooking time can be shaved down a bit since you soaked your grains and legumes already softening them up! BONUS!

    Efficiency Tips From a Mom of 7

    Make it a nightly routine to soak some oats for the morning pot of oatmeal, rice for the evening stir fry, as well as the twice-weekly batch of pinto beans for tacos or kidney beans for chili.

    Always keep a batch of fresh, gelatin-rich stock on hand to cook your grains and legumes in. This way if you are ever in a pinch, you at least added some nutrient dense broth to assist in the digestion process.

    Having a weekend day for soaking, sprouting, fermenting and then refrigerating makes the week a breeze!

    So go ahead!

    Enjoy that bean dip, gas-free!

    Eat that slice of bread and know that your body will rejoice and not grieve over the digestive process!

    . . .
  • Fermented Cranberries

     

    Bring a new flare to the typical cranberry recipes by creating the simple and delicious Fermented Cranberries!

    Ingredients:

    (1) A Package of  fresh Cranberries

    (2) 2 Tablespoons of chopped Ginger Root

    (3) 1 Orange or Lemon (zest and juice)

    (4) 1 Cinnamon Stick or 1tsp Ground Cinnamon

    (5) 4Tablespoons of Granulated Sugar

    (6) 1/2 Tablespoon of Fermentool's Himalayan Salt

    (7) Fermentools Stainless Steel Mason Jar Lid and Airlock System

    How to Make Fermented Cranberries

    (1) Mash or Chop your cranberries by hand or in a blender or food processor to release their delicious juices.

    (2) In a large bowl add your chopped ginger root, orange (or lemon) zest and jucie, sugar, and salt and mix well.

    (3) Place a Cinnamon stick (or desired amount of ground cinnamon - suggested 1tsp) to bottom of mason jar. Add Cranberry mixture to the jar. Leave 1 inch of head space.

    (4) Fill the jar with filtered water until the liquid rises about an inch over your cranberry mixture. Then apply your Fermentools Lid and Airlock System and let sit on the counter or other warm location for 3-10 days depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the desired taste of your cranberries.

    • Variations: Ferments are a great place to express your individual tastes and flavors! Feeling like adding some apple juice, cloves, or walnuts? Go for it! Make this basic recipe your own masterpiece! At Fermentools.com, we provide The Tools You Need to Ferment With Success!

    How To Use Fermented Cranberries

    • Mix with cream cheese and a sweet and tangy spread for crackers, toast, cookies, or cheese cake
    • Eat as a side dish or garnish for meat dishes such as turkey, chicken or fish
    • Mix into oatmeal or with yogurt and granola
    • Blend into beverages (such as kefir or carbonated water) to add probiotics and a cranberry twist
    • Top Pancakes or Muffins with butter and this cranberry garnish
    • Take straight up as a daily supplement

    Let us know in the comments below if you made this and how you used it!!

    . . .
  • DIY Fermented Ginger Soda Pop!

    Last week we talked about how to make your very own Ginger Bug. If you are unsure of what a "Ginger Bug" is, or you missed this post go ahead and check out our article about How to Make a Ginger Bug - Fermenting Foundation for Soda Pop.

    Our Ginger Bug is bubbling actively now! It's been about 5-7 days and we have fed our little Bug every day fresh ginger, fresh water, and some sugar on a regular basis. Now it's time to make our first batch of Fermented Ginger Soda Pop!

    Here's what you need:

    Active Ginger Bug

    2-5 Tablespoons of grated Ginger Root

    1-2 Lemons

    1/2-1cup Sugar

    2 quarts Water

    4-5 Flip Top Bottles (or jars with lids that seal tight)

    Let's Get Started!

    (1) Heat Up your water (preferably non chlorinated) in a pot on the stove. You want to bring it to a hard boil.

    (2) Meanwhile, shred your ginger and zest the peels of those lemons. Once that's done, go ahead and throw them into the boiling water.

    (3) Allow your water ginger and lemon zest to boil for 10-20 minutes depending on the strength of flavor you desire. Then turn heat off.

    (4) Add your sugar to taste; transfer to a bowl for cooling.

    ** Remember, as your soda pop ferments, the sweetness of the beverage will become less as the yeasts and bacteria in your ginger bug will eat the sugar and release gasses that make our drink carbonated! **

    (5) Allow your mixture to cool COMPLETELY to room temperature. While you wait, juice those skinless lemons and set their juices aside.

    (6) Once cool, add the lemon juice and 1/2c of your Ginger Bug mixing well. That's it! Now get that sweet and tangy fermented soda pop mixture into your bottles or jars with airtight lids.

    ** Don't forget to feed your Ginger Bug! You can place him in the refrigerator where he will only need weekly feedings, or you can place him back up in your pantry or on the fridge to be fed tomorrow. **

    (7) Place your bottles in a moderately warm area where they will sit for 2-7 days. Open the lids ever day or two and check the carbonation level. Don't forget to taste them as they sit and ferment. Place them in the fridge once they are sweetness and bubbly ratio are both your liking. They can sit in there for months waiting patiently to be popped open and enjoyed!

    ** If you do not "burp" (let the gasses out) of your bottles they could explode! This has happened to me once and let me tell you, it's quite the mess! Don't make my mistake. **

    Variations:

    Try different sugars, ratios of flavors, fruit juices, herbs, or even some savory mixes! Keep an eye on our website for more recipes to make with your Ginger Bug.

    Happy Fermenting!!

    ~ Cassie Deputie

    . . .
  • How to Make a Ginger Bug

    There is nothing as tempting as a carbonated soda! When you pop open the top of the bottle or can, the sound of fizzing, the sight of carbon dioxide escaping in vapor form, the feel of bubbles on your tongue... there is just nothing like it. Soda has a reputation of being bad for your health; but does it have to be? Fermenting beverages add a tasty energizing and probiotic treat that both kids and adults can enjoy guilt free!

    Let's talk about how to create a Ginger Bug today!

    What is a Ginger Bug?

    It's really simple and extremely easy to make!

    A Ginger Bug is a mixture of shredded ginger root, sugar, and water that has cultivated wild yeast and bacteria cultures where fermenting occurs resulting in carbon dioxide yumminess! One difference between a Ginger Bug and kombucha or kiefer is that a ginger bug does not require a special culture, scoby or grain to start!

    Starting a Ginger Bug is similar to starting a sourdough culture.

    How to Start a Ginger Bug!

    All you need is:

    ~ A Mason Jar

    ~ Ginger Root

    ~ Sugar

    ~ Water

    ~ Fermentools Airlock System

    Step by Step:

    Step One: Grate 2-3 TBSP of ginger root.

    Step Two: Place ginger root, and 2-3 TBSP of sugar into a mason jar and cover with water. Mix until sugar dissolves.

    Step Three: Place Fermentools Airlock System on top of the jar to ensure that carbon dioxide can escape and bad bacteria or house pests (or pets) don't get into your culture. Place your ferment in a warm place in your kitchen so it can commence on it's fermenting endeavors!

    Step Four: Every 24 hours, drain off a few tablespoon of liquid right off the top of your soon to be Ginger Bug. Add 2TBSP of ginger and 2TBSP of sugar. Repeat this for 3-5 days until plenty of bubbles have formed.

    * It may take more then 5 days of fermenting for a good bubbly culture to form depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

    Warmer kitchen = faster ferment, more alcohol taste.

    Cooler Kitchen = slower ferment, more acidic taste.

    YOU'RE DONE!!!!

    What do you do with your new Ginger Bug??

    Look out for next week's post on making a basic Ginger Brew Soda Pop!

    . . .
  • Preserving the Harvest for Winter

    Cooler weather has settled in. Lost under inches of snow is our once vibrant and flourishing gardens. The plentiful harvest of crisp carrots and juicy tomatoes is behind you... or is it?!? Have you ever considered preserving as a long-storage option for the winter months?

    Fermenting used to be the only means of preserving the harvest for the winter months. This art of food preservation not only protects the integrity of the literal "fruits of your labor", but actually increases their nutritional content and bestows a life-extending elixir to your produce so you can enjoy your garden all-year 'round!

    Fermented produce can often last for several months if stored in a refrigerator. My family invested in a second fridge so we can store our dozens of half gallon mason jars full of fermented goodies from kraut and kimchi to salsa and carrots, preserving them for recurring enjoyment.

    Ferments have also traditionally been stored without refrigeration in a properly ventilated root cellar! No refrigeration required! Preserving options are truly endless.

    How many months can ferments be preserved?

    Depending on who you ask, you will get a variety of answers! Here is a time-tested, scientific way to measure if your preserving methods have succeeded in long-term storage of those pickles and carrots that have your mouth watering: look, smell and taste.

    If your produce and brine still looks white and foggy with no visible layers of mold, smells sour and sweet, and tastes tangy and delicious... then enjoy!

    My family has forgotten about a ferment in the back of our fridge for almost an entire year! We cracked it open and finished it off! Delicious!

    Read this article for more on How long ferments last:

    https://www.fermentools.com/blog/long-sauerkraut-last/

    Our favorite ferments we've been preserving to munch on through the winter months:

    • Cabbage Kraut : So easy to grow, even easier to ferment and tastes better the longer it is stored, kraut is an absolute staple in our home and favored by everyone of all ages
    • Carrots: Carrots all seem to mature and need picking at the same time, don't they? A quick scrub and brine results in crunchy sweetness that brings an overwhelming memory of the hot summer days during the frigid, long winter nights.
    • Pickles: Really, when are pickles NOT appropriate??
    • Beets: There's just something about this deep red vegetable that breaths depth and richness in the fall and winter months. Even though it may come out of cold storage, it brings a whole lot of tangy warmth to any winter soup or stew.

     

    Inspired? Start planning next year's garden with winter in mind and Preserve the Harvest for Farm Fresh Produce ALL YEAR LONG!

     

    Here are some other preserving ideas to get those wheels turning!

    Fermented Pumpkin

    Beet and Cabbage Sauerkraut

    Fermented Cranberries

    ~ Cassie Deputie

    . . .
  • A Healthy Probiotic Mayonnaise Recipe

    If your family balks at fermented foods, try fermenting things that can be hidden in recipes—like lacto-fermented mayonnaise. This recipe will boost dishes like potato salad, coleslaw, and sandwiches for your summer picnics.
    . . .
  • Healthy, Fermented Lunchbox Treats

    Fermentools is serious about feeding families healthy food. Whether at home or away, you have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones have something they like, and is good for them, at every meal—especially when at school. Take a look at these ideas and see if your kids won't just love them.
    . . .
  • How to Make Milk Kefir, Simply

    If you are looking for ways to include more cultured foods in your diet, you may want to try milk kefir. Kefir is yogurt’s runnier, drinkable cousin, and is one of the simplest forms of cultured dairy to make at home.
    . . .

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