Fermented foods are something I've been getting into more recently. Aside from eating factory farm uber-processed yogurt growing up (which I'm not sure I really count), fermented food wasn't on my radar. Over the past year I've developed a major kimchi habit, but after tasting fresh delicious sauerkraut I've got a new crush!
Farmhouse Culture, a Santa Cruz, CA based company, changed all that. While shopping at a San Francisco farmer's market, my friend and I stopped by the Farmhouse Culture booth to sample their krauts. We ended up taking home two crocks full of delicious mouth watering krauts. The company is committed to local organic ingredients and uses badass ceramic company branded re-usable crocks (optional with a $2 deposit!). I brought one home with me. Two dollars and some priceless inspiration is a great deal for a souvenir I'll cherish forever.
Since I've been back from California, I've been craving sauerkraut hardcore! The 'ole kimchi just hasn't been cuttin' it for me anymore... *sigh*. Lucky for me last week at the farmer's market what do I score other than a beautiful organic hard kine white cabbage. Just what I needed to make my kraut! Aaand my brothers had just talked my Mom into buying a sweet stoneware crock from a local potter the week before while I was in Cali! Talk about the stars aligning. Fast forward to today and I just put my first batch of sauerkraut into a couple jars an into the fridge! Mahalo ke Akua!
For those of you who are scratching your head making funny faces thinking, "What is she talking about?" just think of fermented foods and beverage as being scrubbed and transformed by tiny little good bacteria or yeasts making them easier to digest and more nutritious!
What to love about ferments:
- When you consume live fermented foods and beverages you feel sparkly and new!
- Digestion is improved
- Foods actually become more nutritious when fermented
- Fermentation is a natural preservative process
- Protect your body from diseases
- Eat some with a meal. A little bit with each meal is better than a whole lot bye itself.
|Perfect timing - wild pua'a sausage! Mahalo Scotty!|
Poi (That's right! For the Polynesians poi was a fermented food. Sour poi was prized above fresh poi and the fermented left overs were mixed in with fresh batches! Talk to any Hawaiian kupuna or oldsters and they'll probably tell you they love sour poi! Bad news for Hanalei Poi -due to their processing method it's the only commercial brand that doesn't sour properly. Pohō!)
Beware of impostors!
Thanks to the regulatory institutions obsessed with food sterility many traditionally fermented products that are available in the "gross"ery stores are heated after fermentation killing any good bacteria or even worse full of additives, artificial preservatives and dyes. So beware of the ingredients and pasteurization. Look for brands that say "live" or "raw" "un-pasteurized" and check the ingredient list. If there are ingredients that you've never heard of or don't keep in your kitchen don't buy the product.
Or you can just make ya own! It's pretty easy. At the minimum you just need cabbage, salt and time. Because we live HI the fermentation process occurs at room temperature it happens fast because it's warm here. I let mine sit out for 8 days but started eating it after 5 days. About a week is just right before you wanna put it in the fridge.
Check out this sauerkraut recipe from the awesome book Wild Fermentation.