Drifter, the re-emergence of Fermentation Illustrated, and Community Supported Ferments

Greetings from Northern New Jersey! This month through October 2020 I’ll be running a pop-up called Drifter, even though I’m a little more driftless than usual these days. So until I drift again, join me at Get Juiced Health Bar Cafe every third Thursday from 6 to 9 pm for dinners inspired from as far as Southeast Asia to as close as your [favorite] neighborhood diner. Menus will highlight traditional foods and fermentation techniques. Ingredients will be organic and sourced as locally as possible. I’m emphasizing vegetarian cuisine but will often offer meat options.

The first dinner will showcase Rueben-style sandwiches. We will offer protein options (lamb for $18 or tempeh for $16) with sauerkraut and miso mayonnaise on naturally fermented sourdough bread, served with hand-cut fries, and three dipping sauces — almond-cilantro pesto, malty mustard, and fermented ketchup. Fermented pickle plates of seasonal, local vegetables will also be available as a side for $5. Inner Love Foods will brew up Sassy Soda, a fermented soda made with sassafras for $3.50 a pop. We are in the brainstorming phase of very fancy vegan milkshake, too. Everything, down to the tempeh, will be made in house. The fermented ketchup is made from tomatoes that were grown in my garden last summer! The mustard is made with my favorite malt vinegar, started by my friend Lou Bank of SACRED. It’s a simple yet decadent menu.

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Drifter’s vegetarian option is a coriander-garlic marinted tempeh Reuben with hand-cut sweet potato or regular French fries, almond-cilantro pesto, fermented ketchup, and malty mustard. 

Seats at Drifter are available as first come first serve and reservations are strongly suggested. Contact Tara at tara@fermentationonwheels.com to reserve. We will also have a take-out option available if you pre-order at least a day in advance. Guests with reservations will go home with a complimentary 4-ounce jar of something fermented.

New issues of Fermentation Illustrated, my monthly zine, will come out every third Thursday at Drifter. Fermentation Illustrated shares cultural, historical, and personal stories of fermentation, inspiring and empowering people to do it themselves. It’s also very silly and will hopefully fill you with a little more laughter. This issue will be the first since Tempeh Demystified was released in January 2015. Issues are regularly $10 but you can receive a half-price discount if you dine at Drifter the night of a zines’ release.

And finally, this dinner adjoins the upcoming launch of Community Supported Ferments, my monthly subscription program of fermented foods. Shares will include tasty ferments such as kimchi, tempeh, vinegar, yogurt, and sourdough. Fermentation Illustrated will also be in each share. For more details on Community Supported Ferments, download the brochure here.

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Eastward Bound!

Dear Friends of Fermentation on Wheels,

The year started off strong for the Barb the bus, Franklin, and me. After a successful book tour along the Pacific Coast, we camped for two months in Slab City hustling cultured-oat date shakes and delectable wines, howling at the moon, soaking daily in the nearby hot springs, and connecting with new friends alongside campfires over music. It was a stark contrast from the winter before, in which I was pulling all-nighters perfecting the illustrations for my book, often alone. Writing a book was the hardest, loneliest-feeling thing I’ve ever done, and coming out of those feelings and into renegade boiling mud-pot desert-lands was one of the most glorious gifts of 2018.

The two major themes of my year thus far have been defining boundaries and following my heart. I had two bad habits following me in from 2017: I wasn’t establishing strong boundaries with others and feared change in my professional life.

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Visiting the farmers market Marfa, Texas, March 2018

Our job is to follow our hearts, and my heart-path can be a painstaking labyrinth. I’m full of contradictions. Though I’m well-organized and reach beyond the territories of convention in my professional ambitions with ease, I’ve got itchy feet and am most comfortable living on the edge. I’ve got a piercing clarity of mind but the messiest of hearts. I also have very little separation between my heart and my professional life. This makes both establishing boundaries and following my heart excruciating at times.

I’ve been asking myself, since 2015, What do I want? Where do I want to be? and where do I feel most at home? I want to enjoy the moment, but the moment has become increasingly difficult to enjoy because my heart has been craving something else.

One of the greatest contradictions in my life has been my need for the hustle and bustle of the big city accompanied by my die-hard love for the deep magic of nature and the alchemical sweetness that dwells there. Without the city, though, I start to lose air – I cut my life support.

How do people live without the perspective big cities offer? How do they live without the people from everywhere? The people! They are extraordinary, with so many stories, hopes, and dreams. They breathe life into a place—they bring the art, the food, the culture. I am so grateful to know this urban world so well, to have been shaped by it.

And then there’s the other end of the spectrum – a life in the woods. I left the city because of my obsession with microbes and ecosystems. Where every plant contains intense powers, be it poison or medicine, and gives great service to the earth and humans. There are mycelial networks in the soil, too – communication networks (between plants!) Even more amazing is that we are also connected to them. There is a synergy between all microbial lifeforms, a you-got-what-I-need innate underlying hidden life-force between all of us. Not much excites me more than knowing we are connected to them and their life cycles. We feed them, and they feed us. It is a perfect, beautiful and delicious system, and in some parts of the country it is epic in-your-face. I’m thinking about the Pacific Northwest. the California Coast. UTAH. Magical canyon-mountain-desert-land of the Southwest.

I’ve hit head-on with such contradiction this year. I am at awe with the West and its natural diversity, however, I’ve decided to move back to the East Coast, close to Washington D.C. I miss the human element and cultural/social diversity too much, and I believe educating urban communities is absolutely necessary for making positive impact in the natural world.

In addition to this big move, that my heart is exclaiming, “go, go, go!” to, I’m transitioning into a new space with Fermentation on Wheels. We are between death and rebirth now, and I’m not certain I’ll know exactly what’s going down until I arrive on the East Coast.

It is certain that Barb the bus will become more stationary, to be more of an art space and a tiny home-model for microbial projects and sustainable living. The current plan is to raise money for a smaller vehicle that that will serve as a traveling and teaching space. Those of you who witnessed my first tour through the Northeast and New England with Barb surely know why I want a smaller traveling and teaching space. Barb is enormous!

I head east with my bus tomorrow, September 27th from Montana. I plan to drive through South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Kentucky on my way to Virginia. Though I’ll mostly be working on research and development during these travels, I’m open to some stops along the way. Feel free to reach out. I recommend catching me at Fermentation Fest in Wisconsin, if you can, as it will be my last big bus presentation. Thanks to the Pacific Northwest for six incredible homebase-years. Hello East Coast! I can’t wait to be in you.

Love,

Tara

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Along the eastward journey, I made a stop in the Badlands of South Dakota, which always reminds me that our planet really must be the coolest fucking planet. 

Sauerkraut with Dandelion Greens, Turmeric, and Spice

I’ve been loving sauerkraut made with bitter greens and turmeric this fall and winter. Turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory compounds, increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the body, and helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. With all its benefits, turmeric is such a powerful medicine that I try to get a healthy dose of it, especially during sick season. The bioavailability of its nutrients is increased during fermentation, so I choose to simply add it into my bi-monthly sauerkraut routine.

Bitter or winter greens, such as dandelion, kale, arugula, beet greens, and spinach, act as gentle diuretics, purifying blood and cleansing the system, and are also great for digestion. Integrate bitter greens into sauerkraut to get the health benefits without getting slammed by the bitterness. Dandelion greens are my favorite.

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Yields 1 gallon, 1–4 weeks

Ingredients

7 lbs cabbage (2 medium-size heads)

6 to 8 dandelion leaves

3 inches turmeric root

1 tsp Szechuan pepper

2 scotch bonnet peppers (or other hot pepper available to you)

2–3 tbsp salt

Materials

1-gallon glass jar or crock

Weight and cover

Process

1) Cut cabbage into quarters and finely chop. Place chopped cabbage into a large bowl. If you have outer leaves of cabbage, rather than compost them, place them aside for later.

2) Finely chop dandelion greens and add them to the bowl with the cabbage.

3) Add 2 tbsp of salt and massage the cabbage for 5 to 10 minutes. Your cabbage will release water, which will serve as the sauerkraut’s brine. Taste the cabbage—you may want to add more salt to your liking.

4) Check for a puddle at the bottom of your bowl and squeeze a handful of cabbage above the bowl to check whether it has produced enough brine. Once gently squeezed, brine should drip with ease from the cabbage.

5) Finely chop the turmeric and scotch bonnet peppers and add them with the Szechuan pepper to your bowl of salty cabbage and dandelion greens. Distribute with caution — the heat of the pepper might irritate your hands and the turmeric will stain your hands (temporarily). I recommend tossing with salad servers.

6) Once the ingredients are distributed, pack the cabbage into your gallon jar until it’s submerged below brine. Take the cabbage leaves you set aside from earlier and layer them on top of your kraut, pressing down.

7) Add a weight, such as scrubbed and boiled river rocks or a small jar filled with water, on top of the layer of cabbage leaves. Secure a tea towel to the mouth of your jar with a rubber band to keep dust and bugs out.

8) Wait a week and taste—you may want to keep it going another week, but it’s good practice to try your ferments along their journey. Vegetables will ferment at different speeds depending on their environment—the warmer it is, the faster it will ferment, while the colder it is, the slower it will ferment. Most vegetable ferments thrive best between 68° to 76° F.

9) When the sauerkraut is to your liking, cover it with a lid and store in the fridge. You may also pack it into smaller jars if that’s easier. Keeping your new kraut cool slows fermentation, so you can enjoy the fermented flavor from when you sealed the jar.

 

Beet Kvass

Beet kvass is known for its nourishing qualities, especially as a stomach tonic. Beets are powerhouses packed with vitamins, such as folate, that are enhanced when fermented. There are many ways to culture beet juice and produce this lively beverage – I like to ferment mine with a combination of wild bacteria, of the beet but also from brines of other cultured vegetables.

Traditionally, in 10th century Eastern Europe, kvass was fermented from the yeast of stale black or rye bread. Today it’s common to follow this traditional ingredient with the addition of whey.

I don’t use bread or whey. With this recipe, you get the full flavor profile of the beet, and the bacteria therein. As I always recommend, use quality ingredients: the quality of the ingredient increases the quality of the culture. We rely on the quality of the bacteria that’s carried in our vegetables to bring us tasty flavors.

Yields 1 gallon, 3-4 weeks

Ingredients

3 quarts water

6 large beets

2 tablespoons salt

¼ cup cultured brine (sauerkraut juice)

Materials

Gallon glass jar

Tea towel

Rubberband

1) Dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in 2 quarts of water. This serves as the brine for your kvass – I prefer less salt with my kvass. You can double the salt content if you prefer a saltier version. Save your last quart of water to fill your fermentation vessel.

NOTE: I like to use filtered or spring water, but you can use tap water, too. I like to keep a few gallons of tap water out in the open, allowing the chlorine to evaporate out over the course of a few nights.

2) Cut your 6 large beets into quarters and place in the glass gallon jar. The jar should be close to ¾ full.

3) Pour your recently made brine into the glass gallon jar, covering the beets. Add more water to completely submerge the beets and fill the jar. If filling the jar requires more than one quart of water, add more than one quart.

4) Cover the jar with a clean tea towel and secure with a rubber band. Beets are sweet and can attract unwanted bugs, so secure well.

5) Let the beets and brine sit for 2-3 weeks. I let mine sit for a full 3 weeks, to get the most out of the beets.

6) After 3 weeks, strain the beets from the brine into a clean gallon jar and add your ¼ cup of cultured brine. A cultured brine is any brine saved from a leftover fermented vegetables. This could even be the leftover brine from kimchi. I like to use sauerkraut brine from an especially well received sauerkraut. I find this introduces an especially nice touch to beet kvass, and boosts the fermentation process.

7) One week later: bottle and store in a cool place. The kvass is rich in flavor and best in small amounts — like a tonic. If you prefer an effervescent beverage (as I do), store in a sling top bottle at room temperature for a few days before storing in a cool place.

Grapefruit Sage Vinegar

Last winter I made my first vinegar with Kate Payne, author of Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen, while in Austin TX. I was an experienced winemaker, and luckily never had a wine go acetic on me, which is a common mishap for the novice winemaker.

When I arrived at Kate’s, she brought out an array of homemade vinegars accompanied by sparkling water, and we tasted each. I brought an organic grapefruit from Arizona and smudge sage from Oregon to turn into vinegar. Though Kate was concerned the high acidity of the grapefruit might stunt fermentation, after researching, we decided to double the sugar to assure plenty of edible interest for the microorganisms.

Vinegar is also known as acetic acid, the primary bacterial component. It adds a complex, acidic flavor and has many uses in food, from salad dressings to sauces to deglazing a pan to making canned pickles. In fact, we call canned pickles pickles because vinegar introduces tanginess—a tanginess that originates from fermentation.

Vinegar is simple: the primary ingredients are sugar, water, and air—fermented to alcohol and further fermented with the addition of acetic acid bacteria. The addition of air introduces Acetobacter (acetic acid bacterium), but I recommend inoculating with raw vinegar for more consistent and reliable flavor. You can source raw vinegar from your local grocery store. Brag apple cider vinegar is a brand that contains live, active bacteria and yeast.

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Kate sent the recipe notes for each of our vinegars last month, and I’ve been excited to share. Mine turned to a fine vinegar for cooking and shrubbing. Kate claimed she and her wife downed it as bubbly booze! You are welcome to enjoy yours either way.

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Yields 1 quart, 1-3 months

Ingredients:

1 quart water

1/2 cup sugar (note we doubled because of acidity concerns)

1 grapefruit

1 tbsp crushed sage

1/2 inch ginger

SCOBY or raw vinegar (optional)

Equipment:

one qt glass jar

strainer

tea towel and rubberband

1) Bring 2 cups of water to a boil on the stove top. Add sage and ginger to the water and let steep for 10 minutes.

2) Strain sage and ginger and dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar in the hot tea.

3) Shave 2 tbsp of grapefruit rind, add to sweet tea. Squeeze juice from the grapefruit into tea.

4) Transfer sweet tea to quart jar and 2 tablespoons of shaved grapefruit rind and squeeze all the juice of the grapefruit into the tea. Top off with water and cover with a tea towel and rubber band or a plastic Ball-jar lid.

5) Place a tea towel and rubber band on your brew and let sit for a month or two. It will have a period of being bubbly and boozy before it crosses over to the vinegar side.

6) Let the mixture naturally ferment for a few weeks. Once the ferment shows signs of activity and has a boozy scent and flavor, after 12 weeks, simply let it ferment wildly or add the optional raw vinegar to minimize the possibility of off flavors.

7) The warmer the temperature and larger the surface area exposed to air, the faster it will acetify. The final fermentation for one quart can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months.

8) Once the alcohol is fully converted to vinegar, store it in a sealed container. Oxygen will cause the vinegar to spoil. If you are patient enough, you can age your vinegar for a year or two, which I like to do. The flavor develops deeper, richer flavor notes with age.

My vinegar matured in one month, I used raw vinegar to speed it up and bring consistency. This is mostly because things on the bus get shaky, so an open container for too long can be a little much to look after.

If you would like to enjoy yours on the boozy side, taste regularly during the fermentation process to see when you like the taste best.

E-mail me if you have any questions: tara@fermentationonwheels.com.

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Water Kefir

We take tibicos, more commonly known as water kefir, very seriously on the bus. Tibicos is a starter culture composed of opaque little beads of lovely that produce lactic acid, ethanol (small amounts), and carbon dioxide when reconstituted in sugar water. It is believed to be born on the pads of the Opuntia cactus, native to Mexico. We more lovingly refer to our “grains” as tibi.

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Not only does this culture produce one of the most delicious fermented beverages, but it is also the highest maintenance culture of our collection. We have three water kefir cultures each unique in scent and taste – our first from Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage, an intentional community in Tumacacori, AZ, the second from a woman in New Orleans, and our third from Hex Ferments in Baltimore, which was a culture they received from author Sandor Katz.

This post serves to discuss maintenance and how to keep your tibicos healthy. I’ve found that these feeding guidelines keep kefir bubbling through hot summer heat as well as through the winter. Keep in mind we do not have refrigeration on the bus – these tibicos cultures have weathered temperature extremes and remain happy, so we’re hoping to shed light on the way tibicos responds to the love you give it.

Important note here! Dairy kefir and water kefir are not related. Although results may be interesting, and possibly even delicious, this does not mean you can reversely feed your water kefir dairy and your dairy kefir water to keep them in good health. However, I encourage you to experiment if you’re curious. I don’t, however, recommend experimenting unless you have extra of your culture to play with.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp tibicos

1 quart water (hard water & spring water are best – avoid water with chlorine)

½ cup unrefined organic sugar

5 thin slices of ginger

½ crushed shell of egg

1 tsp of molasses

1) Add sugar as you heat your water and thoroughly dissolve sugar.  At this time you can also add the ginger. I like to slice my ginger thinly to expose as much surface area as possible. Add molasses too and stir.

2) Allow time for the water to cool. You’ll want the temperature to be 100 degrees or less (comfortable to the touch) before adding to your tibicos.

3) Combine tibicos with water mixture.  Add your half crushed egg shell. Cover your container with a cloth and rubberband or use another method to allow air flow.

4) In a day or two, depending on temperature and other conditions, you’ll notice fizz on the top layer of your water mixture. Your tibicos is feasting.

5) OPTIONAL: Secondary Fermentation Add more sugars. My favorite is to add fresh pressed apple juice with Cinnamon and licorice after the grains have been brewing for a day in sugar water. I let the grains get groovy with the apple juice until it’s to my liking, then I bottle my elixir in sling top bottles and refrigerate. Before it ferments further, bring to potlucks and woo the crowd!

6) When you aren’t making delicious elixirs, add other nutrients to your tibicos, especially if it’s stressed. I use water strained from red beans, and add sugar as I would with regular water. The tibicos perks up within a matter of hours. Make sure to store yours in the fridge with a loose lid (I use plastic ball canning lids) when you’re not conducting experiments, and then feed once a week to keep it in good health.

6) Taste and smell your tibicos regularly. Every culture is different. Get to know yours and how quickly it ferments while in storage – in and out of the fridge.

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Practice different combinations with your water kefir. You can simply purchase a natural fruit juice (no additives or preservatives) at the store, add your grains, and then adjust the sweetness with sugars for your grains to eat through.

If you have any questions, you can also send an e-mail: tara@fermentationonwheels.com.

Happy fermenting,

Tara

 

Indo-Thai Sauerkraut

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Yields 1 gallon, 1-4 weeks

INGREDIENTS

6 lb cabbage

2 lb carrots

1 tbsp caraway seed

1 tbsp cumin seed

3 dried thai chilis

3 tbsp unrefined sea salt

MATERIALS

1 gal glass jar or crock

weight (river rocks, yogurt lid or plate & heavy things)

cloth & rubber-band

PROCESS

1. Prep your cabbage and carrots. We thinly slice cabbage and cut our carrots julienne style. Put them in a big bowl. If you have outer leaves of cabbage, rather than compost them, place them aside to use as a top layer between your kraut and your weight (We will explain this in more detail shortly).

2. Add 1 tablespoon each of caraway and cumin to your veggies.

3. Cut open 3 thai chilis and collect the seeds – add them to your ingredients. Chop the skin of the chilis and add these too.

4. Add 2 tbsp of salt and massage into your ingredients for 3-5 minutes. Your cabbage will release water, which will serve as your kraut’s brine. Don’t forget to taste prior to packing – you may want to add more salt to your liking. The addition of salt is important for a multitude of reasons, but how much you add is up to you. Here’s a nifty chart on salinity percentages for your reference.

5. When the ingredients are nice and wet, pack them into your container. The goal is to pack your vegetables until your brine is above your veggies. Note: this can take time and a lot of strength! We have friends who use wooden spoons or even wine bottles to pack their kraut down below the brine. This is important, because any veggies exposed to air can grow mold. You can scrape off the mold (it’s not dangerous), but you will lose a little bit of kraut.

6. Once it’s packed down, take the cabbage leaves we recommended you set aside from the beginning of the recipe and layer them on top of your kraut. This way, the outer leaves will grow mold first, and you can simply toss them into your compost.

7. Your weight: It’s easy to fill a small jar with water and sit it on top of your ferment – if you have other ideas for weights, that still allow your ferment to get some air exposure, give it a try. As you can see, our winning method on the bus is using 3 outer cabbage leaves on the top layer of our kraut followed by several scrubbed & boiled river rocks. Our river rocks were gathered from the Willamette River back home, so we know our ferments carry a little bit of our beloved Oregon with each bite.

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There are a lot of good methods, and many come straight from our creative common sense. Cover your vessel with a cloth and rubber band, to keep random bugs and dust particles out.

8. Wait a week and taste – maybe you’ll want to keep it going another week, but it’s good practice to try your ferments along their journey. Ferments will work at different speeds depending on their environment. Temperature is a huge factor – most ferments thrive best at 68-76 F, just like us.

9. When your ferment is to your liking, cover it with a lid and place in the fridge or other cold storage. Keeping your new kraut cool stalls fermentation process, so you can enjoy the fermented flavor from when you sealed the jar.

Traditional Kimchi (FOW Style)

We’ve received so many requests for our kimchi recipe that we’re finally bringing it to the blog. We hope you’ll enjoy this flavorful delight as much as we enjoy making it.

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Ingredients:

2 1/2 napa cabbage
6 black Spanish radishes
2 bunches of carrots
1 large leek
3/4 cup sea salt
2 medium heads of garlic
1 3” piece of ginger
1 shallot
3 fresh chili or 2 tbsp chili powder (if fresh is not available)
2 tbsp fish sauce

Supplies:

large bowl
plate
blender
Gallon glass jar or crock

1) Chop all vegetables to desired sizes. We like to slice our radishes in thin circular shapes and julienne the carrots. This provides a nice variety of texture. If you have any other root vegetables hanging around, shop them up and throw them in too. Kimchi is a really fun recipe to get creative with.

2) Make a nice ‘n’ salty brine. Dilute 3/4 cup of salt in a gallon of purified or spring water.

3) Put all of your veggies together in a big bowl (or two if needed – we use a 5 gallon food grade bucket). Pour your brine over the vegetables, so they are immersed in the water. Use a plate with a large enough surface to weigh your vegetables below the brine.

4) Allow vegetables to soak for 6-12 hours. In the meanwhile, make the paste for your kimchi, as described below.

5) Peel garlic, ginger, and shallot. Chop into smaller pieces and toss into your blender bowl. Add chili or chili powder – we use whatever chili is our favorite at the time. Also, whatever we have access to. We love chili powders that are dried and blended by master organic farmers – sometimes containing up to three different chili. Add fish sauce (additive & preservative free) if you so desire. Blend the ingredients and marvel at your kimchi paste. Take a taste – it will be intense. Put aside until your vegetables are done soaking.

* We make a lot of kimchi, so we blend a large batch of paste (x3) and keep it in cold storage for future batches.

6) After your soak is done, strain brine from vegetables. They should be nice and salty. Add the paste and to your veggies and distribute it evenly, thoroughly covering your veggies with the spicy goodness.

7) Pack your pre-kimchi into a glass gallon jar or ceramic crock. Make sure to pack until a nice brine comes forth and your veggies are immersed. Use a weight to keep your veggies under the brine.

8) Wait one week and try your kimchi. It should be delicious (seriously, kimchi is delicious even before it’s fermented). We ferment our kimchi for one month, since we’re obsessed with the intense fermented flavor. You can do the same or you can take it off after a week.

9) Keep in cold storage when it’s reached desired flavor and enjoy for up to 6 months, 12 months, a few years? Let yourself be the judge, Send us pictures if you’re so inclined!

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Tara shows off kimchi at the Midweek Market in Starkville, MS

Fermented Turnips & Rutabaga Recipe

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This is for a portion size of 1 quart. We like to make 4x in a gallon container.

Ingredients:

2 lb turnips

1 lb ruatabaga

1 medium sized turmeric root

1 shallot

2 tsp dried poblano pepper

2 tbsp unrefined sea salt

Process:

1) Prep your turnips and rutabaga by cutting them julienne style. I measure each of my cuts at 2-3 bites per pickle. Toss them in a big bowl. Rutabagas have hilarious stray hairs! Go ahead and give ‘em a haircut before you start cutting them.

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2) Peel your shallot and slice it in quarter inch slivers. Add your shallot to the root vegetables.

3) Thinly slice the turmeric and add to your ingredient bowl.

4) Add the pablano pepper. If you like more heat, be more generous in your addition.

3) Toss your vegetables and evenly distribute all your ingredients. After they’re all mixed up, pack them snug in your container.

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4) To make the brine, dissolve 1.5 tablespoons of salt in one quart of the purest water available to you. Pour the brine over your ingredients and seal tightly with lid, so you can give the vessel a few quick, non-violent flips to distribute the spices. Take the lid off.

5) Now you have an open container of pickles and it’s time for one of the most important parts to keep your ferment happy: a weight that will keep your root vegetables underneath the brine. It’s easy to fill a small jar with water and sit it on top of the carrots – if you have other ideas for weights, that still allow your ferment to get exposure to air, give it a try. As you can see with our gallon container below, we’ve inserted a plastic yogurt lid that fits perfectly under the neck of our jar. It allows the water to rise above the lid without offering any possibility for the carrots to float above. There are a lot of good methods, and many come straight from our creative common sense. Cover your vessel with a cloth and rubber band, to keep random bugs and dust particles out.

6) Wait a week and try a turnip – it’s probably going to need another week, but it’s good practice to try your ferments along their journey. Ferments will work at different speeds depending on their environment. Temperature is a huge factor – most ferments thrive best at 68-76 F, just like us.

7) When your ferment is to your liking, cover it with a lid and place in the fridge or other cold storage. Keeping your new pickles cool stalls fermentation process, so you can enjoy the fermented flavor from when you sealed the jar.

If you have any questions on this recipe, email us at info@fermentationonwheels.com.

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Fermented Chipotle Carrots

We made fermented chipotle carrots this week at Skinny Lane Farm, and have been asked by several friends for the recipe. It’s been a very busy last few weeks since arriving in Texas! Praise year-round growing seasons!

Let’s start with a photo of some beautiful, just harvested carrots and organic spices:

This is for a portion size of 1 quart. I like to make 4x in a gallon container.

Ingredients:

1 lb of carrots

1 tsp black peppercorn

1 tsp white peppercorn

1 tsp coriander seed

2 tsp cumin seed

2 tsp caraway seed

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 chipotle pepper (more or less, depending on your heat tolerance)

1.5 tbsp unrefined sea salt

Process:

1) Prep your carrots by cutting them in halves and/or quarters (as pictured above), depending on the size you would like your final fermented treats. I measure each of my cuts at 3-4 bites per pickle.

2) Slightly crush the peppercorns and coriander with a mortar and pestle to intensify the flavor, as well as cut the garlic in halves. For the chipotle pepper, chop into inch long pieces and include the seeds. Put the spices in your fermentation vessel.

3) Fit carrots in your container – pack them in nice and snug.

4) To make the brine, dissolve 1.5 tablespoons of salt in one quart of the purest water available to you. Pour the brine over your pickles and seal tightly with lid, so you can give the vessel a few quick, non-violent flips to distribute the spices. Take the lid off.

5) Now you have an open container of pickles and it’s time for one of the most important parts to keep your ferment happy: a weight that will keep your carrots underneath the brine. It’s easy to fill a small jar with water and sit it on top of the carrots – if you have other ideas for weights, that still allow your ferment to get exposure to air, give it a try. As you can see with our gallon container below, we’ve inserted a plastic yogurt lid that fits perfectly under the neck of our jar. It allows the water to rise above the lid without offering any possibility for the carrots to float above. There are a lot of good methods, and many come straight from our creative common sense. Cover your vessel with a cloth and rubber band, to keep random bugs and dust particles out.

6) Wait a week and try a carrot – it’s probably going to need another week, but it’s good practice to try your ferments along their journey. Ferments will work at different speeds depending on their environment. Temperature is a huge factor – most ferments thrive best at 68-76 F, just like us.

7) When your ferment is to your liking, cover it with a lid and place in the fridge or other cold storage. Keeping your new pickles cool stalls fermentation process, so you can enjoy the fermented flavor from when you sealed the jar.

If you have any questions on this recipe, email the bus crew at info@fermentationonwheels.com.