Saturday, 1 April 2017

April ... and some thoughts past and present.


The month of March seemed to disappear in a flash and here we are in April.



The last few days of March seemed like summer in this corner of the Fens with the temperature reaching an unseasonal 20c on one of the days.
Mr digandweed and I took a trip down to the allotment.
This month marks 6 years of having our allotment and 5 years writing this little blog!
How time flies!
One of the jobs on the lottie  to-do-list was the re-painting of the shed.
It is 6 years since lovely younger daughter first painted it for us and wind and rain had taken its toll.

It seems that at Easter in 2011 when the photo below was originally taken we were also enjoying beautiful weather.


A lot has happened in the intervening years. 
Lovely older daughter got married and now is a mama herself.
Dear younger daughter gained a Masters in occupational therapy and now works with mental health patients.
Last year, of course, was a very worrying time for us with younger daughter's illness but she is recovering extremely well. 
She is back at work full time.  Her beautiful auburn hair is starting to re-grow and it turns out that a short pixie haircut really suits her!

With health and diet still very upper most in my mind and with encouragement from older daughter, I have been experimenting with fermented vegetables.

Why the recent interest in fermented foods?
Well, fermenting as a way of preserving is not new and the process is probably thousands of years old.
But as well as preserving food, lacto-fermentation produces beneficial bacteria or probiotics, which are good for the digestive system and enhance the immune system ... plus fermented foods taste good!
They often have that elusive sour/salty flavour, the so-called fifth flavour - umami.

For more information, I found this article straightforward and informative.


The recipe I followed for Pink Chilli Kraut is from HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY and provides, I think, a simple introduction to the art of fermentation.


Pink Chilli Kraut

recipe from Hemsley and Hemsley

Makes a 1itre jar

1.5 kg red cabbage, finely shredded
3 cloves garlic, sliced
30g root ginger,grated
1 tablespoon sea salt

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and retain for later.
Shred the remaining leaves fairly finely.
Put the cabbage plus the other ingredients into a large mixing bowl and wearing rubber gloves give everything a good squeeze for several minutes.
Leave for a minute or two and then squeeze everything again.
The aim is to produce a good amount of cabbage juice which with the salt should create a good brine.
Pack the mixture into a sterilised jar, pushing it well down until the cabbage is submerged in the brine by at least 2 cm.
If there is not enough brine, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and give the jar a little shake.
Roll up the reserved cabbage leaves and place on top of the cabbage to ensure it remains submerged. This is very important as any exposed cabbage could start to encourage bad bacteria.
Seal the jar with its sterilised lid and leave at room temperature.
After a few days ( mine took about 3 days in a warm kitchen) fermentation should be complete.
Transfer to the fridge and enjoy as a delicious condiment.
Remember to use a clean spoon each time you remove some kraut from the jar so as not to introduce bad bacteria.



I found the kraut quite addictive and a delicious addition to lots of meals, from salads to sandwiches, but one word of warning - if you are not used to eating fermented foods just start with small amounts at a time.
Anymore can result in stomach cramps as I found out to my dismay!

This is just a start on my journey of food fermenting. Has anyone else tried - do tell!

Happy weekend!

annjenny
x



4 comments:

  1. Next on the list- kimchi or milk kefir?! Xx

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    1. Yes ok! Do you still have the kefir grains? xx

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  2. Yes! So excited to find someone else who's having a go at fermenting. I've been doing a little as well, I have 'Fermented Vegetables' by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey which is great for beginners. There was a lady at the wildlife festival a year or so ago who had the most delicious kimchi and other things. That was what started it for me. And the health benefits are really brilliant. I shall look forward to seeing what else you make. I've been surprised that things have worked (so far!), it's a magical process! CJ xx

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    1. It is indeed a magical process. Actually encouraging bacteria in food seems counter-intuitive but the results are amazing. I will check out the book you mention. Thank you :)

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