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  • Eating Seasonal Produce

    Nothing tempts my taste buds more than a salad from freshly-picked greens and cucumbers straight from the vine. Or, a butternut squash loaded with butter, fresh from the oven. Reasons abound for eating seasonal produce. Read on for not just the why's, but also how to give it an extra punch with fermentation.
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  • How to Make Harissa Chili Sauce

    Are you a connoisseur of hot sauce? If so, this is the recipe for you to try. Ashley has done an amazing job of not only re-creating a traditional recipe, but making it healthier, too.
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  • Making Miso Paste

    We live in a culture that wants to rush the microwave. Everything needs to be immediate and satisfying. This recipe laughs in the face of fast food. But as Ashley says, "It's well worth the wait." How long? You need to keep reading to find out.
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  • Fermented Pineapple Chutney

    Do you like to put honey mustard on your ham? What about sweet relish on your hot dog? Well, this chutney recipe will remind you of those practices. In fact, you will probably want to add it as a go-to sauce to serve with your next meal
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  • 16 Fermented Foods for Back to School

    Do you have kids going back to school right about now? This post is chock full of ideas for foods you can add to that lunchbox that will bring variety and added nutrition to your child's day.
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  • How to Make Lox

     

    Lox is something I never imagined myself eating, that is until I read this post. Now, I want to run to the nearest bagel shop and see if they have lox on their menu. Read on and see if you feel the same way.

    Posted by Chris

     

    Have you ever had lox and bagels?  In the 1980s, I worked as an editor at TV Guide Magazine in Vancouver, BC.  The office was a short walk from Granville Island Market.  Now the market is an icon, but at that time Granville Island was brand new and the market wasn’t as busy as it is today.  It was possible to walk to the indoor farmer’s market, order a wood-fired bagel, topped with cream cheese and thinly sliced lox, and eat it as you walked back to the office, all in a lunch hour.  The bagel place is still there, in the same spot inside the market, almost 40 years later.

    How to Make Lox | Fermentools

    When I moved away I fully expected to see bagels with lox and cream cheese on every restaurant breakfast and lunch menu.  Yes, restaurants had things called bagels. But what passed for a bagel outside of Vancouver was a roll, rather than the chewy boiled and baked bagels of memory.  Cream cheese was plentiful, but l didn’t see lox on a menu again for 30 years.

    Today there are actually four different items that might claim a place on top of a bagel with cream cheese:  Hot-smoked salmon, cold-smoked salmon, gravlax and lox.

    Hot smoked salmon is smoked over a wood fire.  It is cooked and has the dry, flaky texture of poached fish.  The color is dark red, almost brown.

    Cold smoked salmon has the pink, fleshy texture of raw fish, similar to gravlax and lox, but with a salty, smoked flavor.  The salt and the smoking preserve it.

    On the other hand, gravlax and lox are made in a very similar way, with a salt cure, weighted to press out the juices, and without smoking.  Gravlax is a Scandinavian salt-preserved salmon conserved with a dry mixture of salt, sugar and dill, plus other spices.  Lox may be dry cured with salt and sugar like gravlax, or preserved in brine and spices without the sugar.  Both the sugar and the salt draw the juices out of the salmon, and increase the flavor.  While some of the salt can be rinsed out, some remains in the flesh to preserve it.

    Lox is always made from Salmon.  Salmon is thick fleshed and particularly rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. The salt cure removes some of the moisture in the flesh, while the pressure from the weight firms up the flesh, shrinking it.

    Wild salmon is the best choice to make lox.  Farm raised salmon is likely to be fed genetically modified food and may even be genetically modified fish.  Avoid GMO salmon. Purchase the thickest fillet that you can afford for this recipe.  It will give you a more substantial final product.

    Raw salmon may have parasites.  Freezing the fish for 7 days at or below -4°F will kill any parasites present.  If your home freezer doesn’t reach this temperature, you can purchase commercially frozen fish.

    The herbs in this recipe take advantage of the fresh herbs that are abundant in the garden at this time of year.  If you don’t have fresh herbs, dried herbs can be used instead at one tablespoon for each bunch of herbs in the recipe.

    DIY Lox

    Make this on Wednesday and enjoy it for Sunday brunch.  Don’t forget the bagels and cream cheese.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ to 2 lb. wild sockeye salmon filet

    • 1 cup of organic sugar

    • ½ cup of Celtic sea salt

    • A few grindings of fresh pepper

    • 1 bunch of fresh dill

    1 bunch of fresh parsley

    • 1 bunch of fresh chives

    • 3 sprigs of fresh lemon balm

    • 1 fermented lime or lemon chopped finely

    Method:

    Rinse the salmon.  Pat it dry with paper towels.  If there are any pin bones, you will feel them if you run your hand along the flesh side.  Remove them with a clean pair of pliers, if necessary.

    Cut the salmon filet in half.  Place the salmon on a piece of parchment paper with the flesh side up.

    Combine the sugar and salt in a bowl.  Add pepper.  Chop the herbs, finely, including stems.  Add about two cups of fresh herbs to the sugar-salt mixture.

    Spread the sugar-salt-herb mixture on the flesh side of the salmon, ensuring that the flesh is fully covered.  Place one side of the salmon on top of the other side of the salmon so that the flesh is together, and the salmon skin is on the outside.  Spread any leftover sugar-salt-herb mixture over the skin, too.

    Wrap it up tightly in the parchment paper.  Slip the salmon packet into a zip shut bag.  Place this bag in a glass dish.  Weight the salmon down with a plate.  Place a rock or a glass jar or another heavy weight on top of the plate.  This is important.  Refrigerate.

    Refrigerate for three to five days.  Once a day, open the zip shut bag, drain the juices from the salmon, flip it over, reseal the bag and replace the weight.  After three days you can taste the salmon.  Once the salmon has the desired flavor and texture, remove the salmon from the fridge.  Remove the zip shut bag and parchment paper wrappings and discard.  Rinse the salmon with cold water to remove excess salt.  Pat dry.

    Place the salmon on a rack in the fridge, skin side down. Refrigerate for two hours until the salmon is barely tacky, and the surface is mostly dry.  Wrap tightly in fresh parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Store in a fresh zip shut bag.  It will keep in the fridge for one month or in the freezer for six months.

    To serve: Slice thinly with a very sharp knife, crosswise.  It will be salty.  Use sparingly.

    Serving Suggestions:

    Bagels with lox and cream cheese

    Poached egg with hollandaise sauce and lox thinly sliced on top, served with English muffins

    Latkes with sour cream and lox thinly sliced on top

     

    References:

    Bruce Holberg, “How Lox Became Jewish

    Elisheva Margulies, “How to Make Your Own Lox

    The Nosher, “How to Make Gravlax

    Heather Smith, “A Fish and Bread Journey: The natural and social history of bagels and lox

     

     Most folks never get past sauerkraut in their fermenting endeavors. While sauerkraut is great, there is so much more to fermented foods than that.  For a couple more how-to's on fermenting meat, check out the following posts:

     

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    Fermentation and traditional ways of food preservation fascinate Chris. She has been experimenting with microbes since she bought her first San Francisco Sourdough kit in the 1970s. Her repertoire of ferments expanded to include fruit wine and herbal wine making, kombucha and kefir, cheese and dairy ferments, sauerkraut and kimchi, as well as lesser known fermented fruits and vegetables. To feed her fascination, Chris recently took a university course on the Human Microbiome, and gained a new appreciation for the role that lactobacillus plays in human wellness. Chris shares her knowledge with her readers on her blog at JoybileeFarm.com.

     

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  • The Art of Making Fermented Sausages

    Fermentools' main objective is to see you succeed in your fermenting endeavors. That is why we regularly review the best books on the topic. The Art of Making Fermented Sausages by Stanley and Adam Marianski is just such a book. Continue reading for Ashley's insights into this wonderful fermenting resource.
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  • Kombucha-fermented Beef Jerky

     

    Posted by Sarah

     

    After making kombucha for a while, everyone has that one jar that ferments just a bit too long and makes vinegar. Kombucha vinegar has many of the same properties that apple cider vinegar has. It is slightly sweet, raw and full of helpful probiotics. One of my new favorite uses of kombucha vinegar is in the making of fermented beef jerky.

    Fermented Beef Jerky | Fermentools.com

    Vinegar is used as a meat tenderizer in the standard jerky recipe. However, when using kombucha vinegar you get the added benefit of the probiotics being able to ferment the meat while it is in the marinade. Jerky is a raw meat product, which is preserved by a combination of the spices, probiotics and thorough drying. All three preservation aspects combine to give an amazingly tasty and enzyme-rich jerky.

    How to Make Fermented Beef Jerky

    Ingredients:

    • Beef or other lean and inexpensive meat: You will need to trim off all fat, so try to get fairly lean meat when you plan to turn it into jerky. Beef is not the only meat option; turkey, goat, lamb, or whatever lean meat you have on hand, can be substituted in.

    • Kombucha Marinade:

    • 1/2 cup wine
    • 1 1/2 cup kombucha vinegar
    • 2 tsp. sea salt, or other fine grind salt
    • 1 head minced garlic
    • 1/4 cup organic sugar
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
    • 1 tsp. whole mustard seed, lightly cracked
    • 1 tbsp. liquid smoke
    • 1 tsp. oregano and 1 tsp. basil. You can substitute these 2 tsp. spices for whatever you have on hand, or whatever flavors you prefer.

     

    Method:

    If you are starting with a fresh roast, put it in the freezer to chill while you prepare the marinade. If you are working with a frozen roast, pull it out to thaw about three hours before you start preparing the marinade.

    Mix all marinade ingredients together in a glass dish. Add the sugar to the kombucha and wine, before beginning to add the spices, to make sure that it fully dissolves. Spices can be added in any order. Stir everything together to make sure it is well blended.

    Take your beef roast out of the freezer. Using a sharp knife, slice off all visible fat and, if there is any nerve sheathing, as much of that as you can. Fat and nerve sheathing will retard drying, and the fat will go rancid with exposure to air which will lessen the storage life of your jerky.

    Once the meat is trimmed, slice it into thin, 1/4-inch slices with the grain of the meat. After slicing, place the meat slices in your marinade. They should be fully covered with marinade.

    Cover your marinating meat slices, and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. This gives time for the marinade to fully permeate the meat, and for the kombucha bacteria to help get rid of any unwanted bacteria in the meat.

    After 12 hours, place the marinated meat on dehydrator trays and dry at 155F until fully dry and crisp. This can take up to 16 hours for thicker slices. Flip the slices, and turn your dehydrator trays (if your dehydrator design requires it) at least once every four hours during the dry time to insure even drying.

    If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry in your oven on the lowest setting. Dry the meat on metal racks, over a baking tray, and turn frequently. If your oven won’t go down to 155F, then prop the oven door open with a wooden handled spoon to insure that it doesn’t cook the meat instead of drying it.

    Once the jerky is fully dry, let it cool and store it in glass jars or other relatively air-tight glass containers. It is not recommended to store jerky in plastic bags, except for short-term, will-be-eaten soon storage.

    Jerky is a handy trail food, and an easy way to preserve meat for later consumption. Beef jerky is an excellent addition in homemade dry soup mixes for a protein boosted convenience food, or eaten simply as-is as a raw protein and probiotic boost.

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    Sarah Dalziel is passionate about DiY skills, knowledge, and self-sufficiency. She was homeschooled K-BSc, and enjoys questioning, researching, and writing about hands on skills and preparedness. Ethnobotany, natural dyes, and self-sufficiency fascinate her. If she isn't writing about them, you'll find her dipping yarn into a steaming dye pot, or stirring up a batch of woad pigmented soap. Sarah blogs at wearingwoad.com, a natural dye and fiber skills blog, and also at sarahdalzielmedia.com, an interdisciplinary skills and writing blog.
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  • Fermented Spring Radishes

    My son has a farm and sells his produce at the local farmers market. This past week was the first day of market and radishes and a few greens were about all anyone had. If you have radishes coming on, here's a great idea of what to do with them.
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  • Probiotic Fig Butter

    I weary of reading the labels on jams and jellies. High fructose corn syrup is rampant in all our pre-made foods. So, I am grateful that making my own jams at home is not a difficult task. This fig butter is now on my list to try. I'm sure you will like it, too.
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The information on this website is not intended to replace professional medical diagnosis, treatment or advice. Health claims on this website do not warranty, guarantee, or predict the outcome for others. Fermentools strongly recommends readers consult a trusted healthcare professional for any medical condition. All information and links to other resources are posted in good faith. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of any information shared from other publications. Fermentools accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for the use or misuse of the information contained on this website.