Real Fermenting: June 2012

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Beet-Cranberry Sauerkraut

Okay, so this beet sauerkraut recipe really came out of a chance conversation with my friend David Haddox, who happens to be my wife's cousin. He's a big time mountain biker and all-round superfit dude. He wrote, "Just FYI, beet = lots of nitrates, highest of veggies from what I've read. These nitrates help lower blood pressure, act as a vasodilator, and increases stamina somehow, not to mention all the vitamins for recovery." He's using vegetable juices as sports nutrition!

The beet in question

Wine Sauerkraut Update

Woah! This wine sauerkraut is completely amazing. It has the sweetness from the wine, the great sour tang, plus a little extra acidity, I think. I just gave away a couple of half pints to some friends here in Bakersfield, so hopefully we'll get a couple of reviews soon. Highly recommend trying this one, if you are ready to graduate from basic sauerkraut. Couldn't be easier. Recipe here.

A quart for us and two half pints for some buddies

Monday, 25 June 2012

Our Porch Garden

This is a quick note just to show what we have been able to achieve in our little porch garden here in Bakersfield. And to show you guys my little family. I feel very proud of our garden, which has been mostly vision from Madeleine and watering from me. So read on for more on our little apartment oasis.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Fermenting Links - 24th June 2012

These links all point to sources of information that have inspired me and influenced my fermentation philosophy. The latest is a New York Times article which really reinforces the importance of a vital culture of non-human cells within the human biome. Not everything I make is about increasing your health, but real fermentation connects all these factors: politics, health, economics and many others.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Simple Perry

This simple perry, or pear cider, couldn't be any easier. It is made from store-bought juices. This is surely a compromise; I'd rather have an orchard and a cider press. The fact is I live in apartment in suburban Bakersfield, CA. While we do our best with gardening on the porch, we couldn't have a fruit tree right now. So I buy organic fruit juice, with no preservatives, not from concentrate. Here's the easy perry recipe, based on Scott Mansfield's Strong Waters.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Blackberry-Peach Gruit Ale

This recipe is born out of the last attempt at gruit ale, which resulted in a tasty brew, for sure, but which could have had a stronger aroma. This ale is made with blackberries and peaches for their aromatic qualities. It is a hop-free beer, made with unhopped malt syrup as the main sugar source, along with a little honey. I chose to add honey for its aromatic qualities, as well as in anticipation of some astringency from the whole fruit and the bitterness of the herbs. Honey takes a little longer to ferment than the malt syrup, so the fermenting time will be extended to about 2 weeks.

The wonderful organic farmers' market blackberries

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Wine Sauerkraut

Wow, I had a lot of fun times researching recipes for this. There seems to be hardly any straight wine sauerkraut recipes in English online, without juniper, or peppers, or carrots. So I searched German websites and used my limited high school German skills, along with Google Translate ("So you ought already once or twice washed with cold water. This is best you give wnn the herb into the pot and then water to give the water's washed and allowed to proceed wiedr all nochmal" hmm?). I have hashed together a simple recipe to experiment. I really want to see if there is a taste difference between the basic sauerkraut and this new recipe for wine sauerkraut.

The wine in question

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Gruit Ale

I will start with the recipe for a gruit ale, which is very easy to make and quite delicious. The glass of gruit ale in front of me is a great golden color, with a delicate bitterness and citrusy aroma. It is not hoppy, because it has no hops. Gruit ale sounds weird, and it is unusual, but it should not be restricted to the history books. It represents what all beer was a thousand years ago, and what it should be still. After the recipe, we can discuss the different herbs used in beer making and the current orthodoxy of hop-only beers.

Last bottle of gruit ale, bottle-conditioned for seven weeks

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Basic Sauerkraut

Basic sauerkraut is very easy and very delicious. This recipe yielded a little over a quart of wonderful, raw, organic sauerkraut. I started with a nice, large, organic cabbage from the farmers' market and some Pacific Sea Salt from Penzeys Spices. These guys have a really awesome spice store down in Santa Monica CA. And that's it. Cabbage and salt are the ingredients to this (and every other) basic sauerkraut recipe. I basically followed Sandor Katz's guide in the fantastic Wild Fermentation.
Lactobacilli et al. doing their work (pictured but microscopic...)

This is a very basic recipe. Over the next weeks and months, I am going to be working on some sauerkraut varietals (wine sauerkraut, juniper sauerkraut and so on). Come back to read about them and my many other projects. You can't hurry fermentation, no matter how hard you try.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Strawberry Wine

This is how I made Strawberry Wine. This simple and easy recipe comes from Strong Waters (Scott Mansfield) page 70. My view is that it is important to use the foods that are abundant and seasonal around you for your brewing experiments. Why is that?

Thanks to Fried Dough of Flickr for this beautiful shot

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A new beginning

Well, it's been a long time coming, but I have finally resolved to return to the blog! Hurrah! I have been brewing pretty consistently since I started the blog so long ago, but in the last few months, my pace has really picked up and I have been recording everything in a paper log. A plog???