Calling on BSD fermenters

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  • posted by Shanshu
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    Hi – I want to start fermenting this weekend as I have reason to believe that my other half would benefit from taking steps to improve his gut bacteria. I’m already making kefir but I have three jars waiting for me to get going. I was thinking of making kimchi, a less spicy fermented veg and some sauerkraut.

    However I was hoping to enjoy some myself. I’m following a pretty low carb (20g-30g) version of the diet.

    Could anyone point me to some recipes that I might also be able to enjoy?

    Thank you

  • posted by Shanshu
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    All the recipes I’ve found say – add one tap of sugar. Does this get converted during the fermenting process and any idea how I work out the carbs and calories if the food changes its physical properties.

    Thanks – apologies if these are dumb questions.

  • posted by alliecat
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    Hi, Shanshu! I hope things are going well for you. On page 2 of “all recent topics” there is a thread called “kimchi”.
    Have a look!

  • posted by SunnyB
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    I’ve been including kefir almost daily for quite a while now. It’s not easy to workout the carb content, as depending on where you look for info on kefir made with whole milk, car content can be quoted as low as 1g for 100g or as high as 4.5g per 100g. As I only have 100g a day, I record it as 3g carbs and cross my fingers!

  • posted by Shanshu
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    Thank you Alliecat – I’ll look at that.

    SunnyB – I must admit I’ve been going for the smaller carb number on MFP but I’m not producing that much yet so about 50ml every two days

  • posted by Esnecca
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    Shanshu, you can definitely leave out the sugar. I don’t even have any in the house. It is completely non-essential to fermentation as the lacto-bacilli eat the sugars in the veggies. That’s what you want them to do and that’s what makes it possible for people like me to enjoy a bit of beet and carrot again. Only alcoholic fermentation requires high levels of sugar.

    I have a very limited time for the next few days, but as soon as I can, I’ll write up my favorite sauerkraut recipe for you. Joe’s Nonna kimchi recipe in the thread Allie mentioned looks fantastic (just leave the sugar out) too. What other kind of vegetables were you thinking of fermenting? Brussels sprouts are by far my favorite. I could eat them by the pound.

  • posted by Joes Nonna
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    Hi Shansu,

    I made this Kimchi for myself and hubby tried it and said…”yeah it’s ok, but you need it more than me” (I have IBS). He has proceeded to have some every time I do. I am on my second jar full. It is lovely. Esnecca is right. I leave the sugar out. It hasn’t made a difference to the fermentation. I actually have this on a plate on its own when I break my fast. It isn’t too spicy.

    How to Make Cabbage Kimchi
    Makes 1 quart

    What You Need
    Ingredients
    1 medium head (2 pounds) napa cabbage
    1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt (see Recipe Notes)
    Water (see Recipe Notes)
    1 tablespoon grated garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
    1 teaspoon grated ginger
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 to 3 tablepoons seafood flavor or water (optional, see Recipe Notes)
    1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) I use Gochujang from waitrose (it is a paste)
    8 ounces Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks (usually available from Morrisons)
    4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    Equipment
    Cutting board and knife
    Large bowl
    Gloves (optional but highly recommended)
    Plate and something to weigh the kimchi down, like a jar or can of beans
    Colander
    Small bowl
    Clean 1-quart jar with canning lid or plastic lid
    Bowl or plate to place under jar during fermentation
    Instructions
    Slice the cabbage: Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.

    Salt the cabbage: Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.

    Rinse and drain the cabbage: Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.

    Make the paste: Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons).

    Combine the vegetables and paste: Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.

    Mix thoroughly: Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!

    Pack the kimchi into the jar: Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid.

    Let it ferment: Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.

    Check it daily and refrigerate when ready: Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two.

    Recipe Notes
    Salt: Use salt that is free of iodine and anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.
    Water: Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use spring, distilled, or filtered water if you can.
    Seafood flavor and vegetarian alternatives: Seafood gives kimchi an umami flavor. Different regions and families may use fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, oysters, and other seafood. Use about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, or a combination of the two. For vegetarian kimchi, I like using 3/4 teaspoon kelp powder mixed with 3 tablespoons water, or simply 3 tablespoons of water.

    Hope you enjoy.

    Nonna Mary
    xxx

  • posted by Shanshu
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    Esnecca – thank you, I’d love to try the sauerkraut. As for other veg – sprouts sounds interesting and I basically am willing to try anything once so feel free to drop anything my way. I have 3 jars at the moment. I’m going to make a simple white cabbage sauerkraut now and depending how that goes, expand next weekend.

    Nonna Mary – thank you thank you. Definitely will make this – my OH loves kimchi. I may make the first batch extra light on the paste to see if I can cope with the heat but if not that’s something for him to enjoy (I’m super sensitive to heat)

  • posted by Joes Nonna
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    Shansu, I use half a small pot of the paste and I wouldn’t call it hot at all (I am averse to too much tingle). It is just damn tasty!

    Nonna Mary
    xxx

  • posted by Shanshu
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    That’s good to know – thank you.

    My cabbage for sauerkraut is currently sweating as per the recipe in the Clever Guts book (bar the fact I’ve used white rather than red cabbage but plan to use that next time).

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Saw a link to the absolutely gorgeous video from Korea….should be titled Ode to Kimchi. Thought you all might enjoy it……very zen. A new sisterhood you all have become a part of…the fermenters of the world.

  • posted by Shanshu
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    Luvtcook – Wow – what an amazing video. Thank you for sharing it. I’m now hungry. Which is unfortunate as it’s nearly midnight! I shall be dreaming of fermenting veg.

  • posted by alliecat
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    Stunning video, LTC! What I have noticed about the truly talented cooks on these forums is that you all have total
    respect for your ingredients, and seek out the best quality that you can find. I’m actually considered an excellent
    cook, but what I know can fit on the head of a pin, compared to some of the knowledge here. I’ve finally
    started to seriously cook again, and I thank each of you for sharing your sources and enthusiasm for this
    creative form of expression. It feels great to be “back again” ! I feel as though I’ve been asleep for a decade
    and a half. Fully awake now, and open for business 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • posted by Optimist
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    That was a lovely video… Thanks for sharing.

  • posted by KazzUK
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    Ooh what have we here? What a lovely video! Thanks for sharing LTC. I now want one of those pots!

  • posted by Crazyquilter
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    Nonna Mary, you’ve got me interested in trying this! I need to search out ingredients first, or maybe I can find a recipe using things I already have.
    I bought some sauerkraut recently from Asda but I don”t know whether it is ok in terms of added sugar or how this differs from kimchi.
    I will watch the video later.

  • posted by Joes Nonna
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    I have just watched the video whilst taking my blood pressure and feel very calm. Also very interesting to see the different method. Apparently there are as many recipes as there are people in Korea!

    A beautiful and interesting video. Thank you Luvtocook!

    Crazyquilter, I absolutely love my Kimchi. Pleased to invoke an interest in others. xx

    Nonna Mary

  • posted by Esnecca
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    Crazyquilter, unless it says it’s raw and unpasteurized on the label, it’s not the droid you’re looking for. I don’t know what Asda stocks, but in the US, supermarket krauts and pickles are not fermented. They are vinegar-brined which takes a lot less time and produces no probiotic bacteria whatsoever. Sugar is usually added not to aid in fermentation, but to counter the highly acidic vinegar flavor. Then the jars are boiled or flash-heated for long shelf-life which kills any beneficial microorganism that coincidentally found its way in there along with the pathogens.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    So glad you all enjoyed the video….I thought it was stunning and inspirational. And yes, Mary….I think every Korean household probably has their own Grandma’s recipe for kimchi. Endless variations. Plus there are many kimchi recipes that use no cabbage at all but instead you have cucumber kimchi, or squash kimchi, or beansprout kimchi. All ways to introduce variety and preserve vegetables over the harsh winters when nothing fresh is growing. Ditto for sauerkraut…strategy to have vegetables year round. How nice that it is also so good for you re the probiotics.

    Esnecca talked about posting her recipe for sauerkraut….looking forward to that.

    My recipe is very traditional….has only two ingredients, caggage and salt (and leftover liquid from a prior batch if I have any).

    I prep the plain old standard cabbage (discard a few tough exterior leaves, and core it). Thinly slice cabbage …lay down a 3 inch layer of it in a big (10 in diameter crock)….salt with about 1 Tbs of salt. Bash and bruise the cabbage with a tamper (I use the end of a big fat rolling pin) to get the salt to start creating some juice. And repeat. I usually add about 1/2 cup of water at the end to add additional moisture as I think the store bought cabbage is probably not as fresh and juicy as ones from your own garden.

    I finish with filling a large zip lock platic bag with water ….get all the air out. Lay this on top of the mixture to create an more or less airtight seal. I then cover the whole thing with a silicone lid and put it to bed in an undistubed place for 2 months. Then bingo….sauerkraut. Full of healthy probiotics and much crunchier than anything in the store. Just don’t do anything more then gently warm it to eat it our you kill all the microbes in it.

    In the winter I save some of the juice from the first one to start a next batch. It doesn’t really need it but it does give it a bit of a jump start.

  • posted by alliecat
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    So very interesting, Luv. Especially the water filled bag. I’m going to see what I might have in the way of a crock.
    When the other kraut recipes hit the thread (garlic anyone?) I think that I will give it a try! Thank you, as always 🙂
    Superbowl tonight…..Ughh!!! I think that I will be making soup!

    Best,

    Allie

  • posted by Ozruth
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    Thanks for the video, beautiful. My daughter in law is Korean so I’m keen to have a go now too. We grow many vegies ourselves but here in Oz white cabbage butterflies are a problem. Trying to get them growing now under protection while our soils are warm in the summer. Might have to start a few Wong Bok cabbages too. We grow the daikon radish and it has been a great success so need to get a few more in the ground…thanks for your encouragement everyone.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Allie, could not agree with you more on the quality ingredients…..don’t need much more if you are starting with ripe, freshly picked in season produce.

    I love living in DC but one of the things I miss the most is the fabulous produce I used to get from the farmers market in Harrisburg PA when I lived there 20 years ago. Harrisburg, York, Lancaster and Philly have some of the oldest year round (and huge) farmers markets in the country. And an added plus is the Amish who sell their wares at those markets. The freshest best tomatoes (my favorite food in the world….would trade caviar for tomatoes on a desert island any day). And they would have home baked breads, and wonderful meat stalls with true butchers and home made sausages. The farmers markets in my area pale in comparison. Much of the summer veg arrives not yet ripe and trucked in from 100 miles away. Very discouraging. Thank heaven for the ethnic markets…..frankly as good if not better than the poor attempts at summer farmers markets. Hope summer fare is better where you are.

  • posted by alliecat
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    Luv, the Amish region must have been phenomenal. Meat stalls, wow…something to fantasize about! I live in
    the middle of CT now, Connecticut River valley, and there are loads of farmers/farms in very close proximity. There
    is a farmer’s market somewhere every day of the week, and being in the middle of this small state, nothing is farther
    away than 45 minutes. I haven’t yet found a chicken supplier to sell in small enough quantity to be suitable for
    an apartment dweller, but I suspect Essie will be up to that task now that she is back in the area. And I know that
    she WILL share 🙂 What can possibly be better than a perfectly ripe heirloom tomato??? I have to admit though,
    Russian beluga will always make me swoon. Definitely on my list for the “Last Supper” !

  • posted by Shanshu
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    Oooh my post disappeared. Or I didn’t click ‘submit’ or something.

    I’m following the Clever Guts recipe book for the sauerkraut (except using white cabbage). It isn’t very helpful as it didn’t tell me when to add in the seeds (I did it when I transferred it into the jar with the cabbage juice and extra brine). What I’m concerned about is it didn’t indicate whether I cover it with muslin or seal it or what. It only talks about sealing it in a jar and putting it in a fridge once its finished.

    In the end I did seal it because another recipe (the one in the actual book) talks about burping it daily. Did I do the right thing?

  • posted by Shanshu
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    I try to get fresh produce for everything but am limited by going to the supermarket at the moment. I live in North London but time and money means I buy from Sainsburys – which is a shame because there are some very good small food stores catering to the diverse ethnic population near me which I should make more of.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Have set up a batch of sauerkraut (at least, I hope it will be) according to your recipe above Luvtcook, but I have added some kefir whey, which will hopefully give it a boost. Wanted to ask though, where is the best place to store the kraut while it’s fermenting? My kitchen is warm as we have an Aga, so is it okay to keep it in there, or should I move it to somewhere cooler? Also, does it always take a full two months to ferment, or should I be checking it after the first few weeks? Would be grateful for your advice LTC.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    SunnyB, I have been making it for a few years, over two different kitchens. In one, left it by the window so it was always on the cold side (60F/15C). Current kitchen has no windows, so it tends to be on the moderate side (70F/21C). Within that range I see no difference.

    It will be interesting to see what the kefir whey does….I have no idea. Don’t know if it will fight with the natural microbes that are inherent in the cabbage & air….or complement them. I do now that it is very difficult to make new kefir from old and that you need kefir grains to do that. So there may not be all that much umph to the whey and that in the end it will have no effect. Will be anxious to see what you come out with. GOOD LUCK!

  • posted by alliecat
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    This may be a bit off topic, but I’m planning to expand my horizons and start getting kefir, store bought, before
    I experiment with kefir grains. Has anyone tried adding chia seeds to liquid kefir, and in your experience has it turned
    the product into a thickened one, more like greek yogurt? I eat greek yogurt every morning, but I understand
    that kefir is superior for the probiotics. Thanks in advance for any and all opinions 🙂

    Allie

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Shanshu, the method I use does not seal the kraut but does a large crock of it and seals it with a zip lock bag full of water that creates a self burping seal. It keeps harmful bacteria out but allows gasses that build up to “burp” themselves out. As long as you open the seal often enough to keep the thing from exploding on you, I think you should be fine.

    And I don’t think it makes any difference at all when you add the seeds as they only flavor and do not contribute to the fermenting process.

    My only concern is that putting it in the frig will mean its going to take an awfully long time to get much fermentation.
    Refrigeration brings it to a near halt. My kraut at room temp takes 6-8 weeks to ferment. Did your recipe call for leaving at room temp for a while before refrigerating it? And there should be no need to burp it if its in the frig, because it won’t be fermenting, or at least not by much. If in the frig, try burping it once a week and see if you actually are getting any burp sound when you loosen the lid. If not….you know its not doing much. It may taste lovely but without real fermentation you won’t get the probiotic benefit.

    If you made multiple jars, it might be interesting to take one out of the frig leave in a dark cabinet and burp it as frequently as you need to ….meaning that you get a real burp or pop of expelled air when you losen the lid. And you can carefully taste it along the way to see if you like the direction that it is going. Just be sure to only use a really clean fork as you don’t want to introduce bad bacteria to your mix. And seal it up quickly as not to expose it to air (again, harmful bacteria floating around). You can compare that to what’s in the frig and see which you like best.

    Good luck!

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Allie, I have not added chia as the kefir is already so thick and perfect as a beverage to start the day. I usually pour off the tart whey from my yogurt which collects in the well left by my scooping everything from the middle. So I often thin a serving of yogurt with some kefir figuring I get a “two-for” that way.

    The kefir chia pudding sounds kind of interesting though. I have to say it appeals to me much more than the chia coconut milk puddings. I love both of those ingredients, but find the combo very cloying…..I have to add lime juice and tiny pinch of salt etc etc etc to try to cut though the unctious flatness of it. Even with that, I was never satisfied with it.

    If you do it let us know how you liked it. It may be the beginning of the next big rage.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hi LTC – thanks for the advice on temperature. Given what you have said, I think I will leave mine on the counter in the kitchen and see how it goes. Thinking about it, being in a warmer environment must be better for the fermentation process. I make my own kefir with grains – have done for at least a year now. I added the kefir whey as I saw this done on a TV doc a little while ago and thought as I know the provenance of the produce and that it is live, it would be worth putting it in and giving it a try.

    Allie, yes chia will thicken the kefir, in that the seeds will gloop up in the same way as they do when added to anything liquid. I sometimes add chia, some raw cacao powder and mash in a little nut butter for good measure! The consistency of kefir will vary according to the amount of time it’s fermented. Have to say the commercial brands I have tried were no where near as nice as the stuff I make at home. This time when we go out to Turkey, I’m going to take some grains with me, so I can make my own whilst I’m there, as last time I tried a couple of commercial brands and didn’t like them. I have some dehydrated and frozen grains, so I’ll take those with me, rather than try to care for wet grains on the week’s journey out there.

    Anyway, enough burbling from me. I’d definitely recommend making your own kefir, Allie.

  • posted by AnnieW
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    Hi Allie. I have kefir most mornings but on days I run I have it when I get back as as a recovery drink. I started off just with kefir (shop bought Polish brand as I haven’t got around to doing my own yet). Then I started adding Turmeric, supposed health benefits until I read that black pepper was good to have with Turmeric – apparently the piperine in it helps boost the T benefits/absorption, so that goes in too. Now into that mix go chia seeds! I’m a bit fluid, about exact amounts although it’s always 200ml of kefir as that’s where the mark is on the glass I use.

    The chia seeds will thicken the kefir but not too much if you drink it relatively quickly, say within five mins, and it obviously depends how much you put in. So for me it stays drinkable but if you put In a few grams or so in and leave it a while I’m sure it will thicken. I still have my Greek yoghurt at lunchtime with raspberries (which have defrosted nicely by then) or 10g of broken walnuts.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    By the way, if anyone in the UK would like some kefir grains, I usually have some fresh ones spare so if you text me your postal details to 07768 206353 and I’ll pop some in the post for you.

  • posted by alliecat
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    Thanks so very much, LTC, Sunny and Annie for your replies. I like all the ideas for additives, as well as using
    kefir with the yogurt. Sunny, I’m taking your advice about ordering kefir grains, too 🙂 I expect Amazon is the place
    to start.
    You are all great, and I appreciate your thoughts and experience 🙂

    Allie

  • posted by JackieM
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    SubnyB I never thanked you for my kefir seeds that you so kindly sent. I have to confess I found ownership of them very guilt inspiring – I was so scared I’d kill ‘em and then left it all too long and didn’t quite get the hang of it. I feel a bit like you sent me your Cat and I didn’t look after it properly. Though I am a lot better at looking after cats.

    So, a big belated Thankyou and a sorry it’s taken so long, it was a really kind gesture and I fell short.

  • posted by Esnecca
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    Okay, I finally have the time to type up a proper recipe. This is the happiest kraut in the world and its color and bold flavor will warm you up in the gelid winter even when you eat it straight out of the fridge. Which I have done. Repeatedly. No plate. Just the fork and the jar. 😀

    Turmeric Pepper Kraut

    1 small head cabbage (1.5-2 lb)
    2 green onions, thinly chopped
    1-1.5 Tblsp Celtic or unrefined sea salt
    1.5 Tblsp fresh turmeric root, peeled and finely grated
    1 large clove of garlic, grated or minced
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (I use sichuan for this)

    Remove the thick, veiny, coarse outer leaves of the cabbage. Rinse a few of the ones that don’t look spotty or gnawed on. Rinse the cabbage head in cold water then cut it into quarters with a sharp stainless steel blade. Cut the core out of each quarter and thinly slice the cabbage crosswise. Put the cabbage in a large bowl and add the green onion.

    Add 1T of salt and massage into the cabbage mix. Let it sit for 15 minutes until it releases its water. Mix in the turmeric, garlic and pepper. Have a little nibble to test for saltiness. It should be present but not hugely salty. Add more if you need to.

    Put handfuls of the cabbage into a jar or crock. I use a two quart or a gallon wide-mouthed mason jar. Tamp it down every couple of handfuls either with your fist or a tamper or LTC’s big fat rolling pin as you fill the jar. Whenever you press down, you should see the brine rise above the cabbage line. When you’re done, place one or two of the outer leaves you reserved on top. Put a water-filled zip bag or a fermenting weight on top of the leaves.

    Set the jar on a baking sheet out of directly sunlight in a cool place for 7 to 21 days. Make sure to check every day that all of the kraut is submerged under the brine. If it’s looking iffy or has popped up, press down on the bag/weight to get the brine level back up. If you see some white foam stuff develop on top, don’t worry. That scum is a harmless byproduct of fermentation. If it gets to be too thick, you can remove it, but try to avoid that because you are way scummier than the scum and our bacteria can disturb the ferment. Also you lose brine every time you scoop out foam, and brine coverage is key to keeping actual mold out of the kraut. Speaking of which, if something fuzzy and green or orange starts to develop on top, don’t panic. Just spoon it off. As long as the brine level is above the kraut, it is safe. If the brine drops and you do lose the top layer of kraut to slimy fuzzy stuff, you can still save the rest of the jar. Just scoop out the noxious stuff until you reach just below the brine line. Everything underneath that point is fine. Wipe the edges and top of the jar thoroughly when you’re done with this operation to avoid contaminating the clean kraut when you remove it.

    You can start testing the kraut for doneness after a week. Look for the cabbage to have gone from opaque to translucent and have a beautiful bright yellow hue, and then taste it for sourness. That’s a matter of personal preference. I like it quite sour so I usually let it go into the second week.

    Transfer it from the crock or fermenting jar into more manageably-sized glass jars and keep them in the fridge for up to a year. Eat it like a rabid wolf with a sheep carcass. Wait. That might be just my thing. 😀

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hey JackieM – no problem. Really they are quite well tempered and tolerant, but sorry you found it stressful keeping them and had limited success. I’d happily send you more so you can give it another try.

    Thanks for the recipe Esnecca, I love turmeric so will give this a try. At the moment, I’m waiting to see how successful my first batch of kraut is, before setting up any more.

  • posted by Esnecca
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    Good plan, Sunny. That way you won’t be overwhelmed with a bunch of ferments to oversee at one time. The scum/mold issue applies to all krauts and fermented foods in general, btw, so even if your first batch appears to go astray it may well be fixable. Good luck with your billions of probiotic buddies!

  • posted by Shanshu
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    Hi all – I’m loving all these posts and learning a lot.

    Esnecca – I definitely plan to try that sauerkraut next.

    Luv2cook – It’s not in the fridge – it’s on the kitchen top with my kefir. I don’t know how warm it is though as it’s pretty cold here. I’ve just ordered a room thermometer on line so I can actually see what temperature everything is at. (I’m currently freezing in the study).

    I have been ‘burping’ my sauerkraut daily but there’s no air coming out that I notice. I’ll keep an eye and see how it goes. I’m beginning to think the jar isn’t the best thing for the sauerkraut so maybe I need to do it in a crock with the water-filled bag. That will have to wait though as no room in the kitchen for that at the moment!

    Finally – a question about kefir. I’ve been making with whole milk and my grains have grown a lot. I harvest once a day and drink within two days. It’s been quite sour and fizzy of late – is that how it should be?

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hi Shanshu – it depends on taste, as to whether you enjoy the more sour/fizzy product or a gentler end product, both are fine. Assuming you are not fermenting the kefir for longer than usual, I think the sour/fizz is probably just because you have more/larger grains, feeding on the same amount of liquid. The way I deal with this, is to have one working batch and one batch refrigerated and every week or so, I swap them over. Then when I get too many grains again, I either pass on some from the current working batch to others, dry some and freeze in case I need some extra grains later, or eat some grains – it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I quite enjoy them. Hope that helps Shanshu.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Folks, just saw the lovliest recipe on Saveur for daikon kimchi….1 lb of napa cabbage along with 4 lbs kimchi. I googled the daikon to see what the nutrition profile was….very impressive. Lots of vitamin C and beta carotene, which if you have given up oranges and vastly limited carrots, your intatke of those vitamins may be suffering. Looks wonderful

    https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Radish-Kimchi

    RADISH KIMCHI

    Very large, firm daikon radishes are the best for making this classic kimchi.
    Todd Coleman
    Very large, firm daikon radishes are the best for making this classic kimchi.

    MAKES ABOUT 12 CUPS

    Ingredients

    4 lb. daikon radishes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
    1 lb. Napa cabbage (firm inner leaves only), cut into 1″ cubes
    2 tbsp. kosher salt
    1 1⁄2 cups roughly chopped trimmed Korean watercress
    1⁄3 cup sugar
    1⁄4 cup Korean chile powder
    2 tbsp. finely chopped Korean salted shrimp
    2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
    6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    5 scallions, white and light green parts only, cut into 1″ lengths
    (1) 1″ piece ginger, peeled and grated

    Instructions

    Put radishes, cabbages, and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine; let sit for 15 minutes.
    Meanwhile, in another large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the salted radishes and cabbages and any juices from the bowl and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to a clean 1-gallon or 4-qt. glass jar, pressing down on the ingredients to compact them. Cover jar tightly with 2 layers of plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 days.
    Uncover jar to release any carbon dioxide, stir ingredients, re-cover jar, and transfer to refrigerator. Let sit in the refrigerator, shaking the jar to disperse the ingredients from time to time, for at least 5 days. The kimchi will keep, refrigerated, for at least 6 months (its flavor will sharpen over time).

  • posted by alliecat
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    LTC, I don’t know if we all take sufficient time to thank you for the myriad contributions that you make to
    these forums, and the endless contributions that you make to re-awakening those of us with jaded palettes.
    Whether it’s ras el hanout or this recipe, I really appreciate it 🙂 I’ve returned to a place of culinary curiousity
    because of your posts, so I just wanted to issue a heartfelt “Thank You”!

    Allie

    i

  • posted by Theodora
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    I most certainly second Allie’s post, LTC. You are an invaluable resource for us all. Thank you for your generosity in sharing and inspiring us.

    On a note of interest, I’d never heard of Napa cabbage or Daikon radishes (maybe I’m just ignorant😠) so I consulted our good friend, Mr Google, and he tells me that they are what I have always called Chinese Cabbage and Mooli.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Thanks guys. I love finding things that delight my family and friends and this is a labor of love. I appreciate the kind words and so pleased you are enjoying some of them.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Theo…..and when I googled recipes for daikon, it advised me of those/your terms which I had never heard of. I learn a lot on this forum….add that to the pile.

  • posted by alliecat
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    Haha I meant palate, of course. Once an artist, always an artist…

  • posted by Mariet
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    Hi all you experienced fermenters, looking for advice please.
    My kefir grains came on Thursday and I lost no time in getting something started. There is about 1 tablespoon of the grains. I took milk from the fridge and heated it to lukewarm and put it and the grains into a sterilised glass jar, covered it and left it in the kitchen which is pretty warm as it’s summer here. Probably 23-25deg. After a day I checked it and it had gone all gloopy and a taste of it was just like milk that’s gone off. I left it another day and it’s thickened and has the kefir tang but can still taste the ‘offness’, not really like the commercial kefir I buy.
    Now I’m trying to strain it but I don’t know if the weave in my strainer is too small but the whey and some of the curd has gone through but I’m left with way more in the strainer than just the grains, in fact I can’t see them for all the creamy yogurt-like curd that’s left.

    What have I done wrong? Should I discard it and start again? Have I destroyed the grains somehow? Any advice appreciated.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Firstly, don’t panic, you haven’t really done anything wrong. When you ferment as long as you have, you end up with a much thicker end product. I often find my kefir is very thick – in fact I like it this way – and like you, when I tip the contents of the jar into the strainer the whey and some curd goes through instantly and there’s gloop left behind. I usually just discard the whey and then using a small wooden spoon – you could use plastic – stir the content of the strainer and the kefir will slowing pass through, leaving your grains behind.

    Homemade kefir doesn’t taste the same as the commercial product, but shouldn’t taste ‘off’, so if it doesn’t taste right to you, I would discard it. I think it is possible that you were perhaps a little too generous with the amount of milk you used, for the amount of grains you have. This would mean that the milk may have turned, before grains could turn all the milk to kefir. I would suggest the following action:

    Wash your grains with unchlorinated water – bottled mineral water is best. With the grains in your sieve, pour the water over them and mix them around with a wooden/plastic spoon until they are clean. There is no need to warm the milk you are putting your grains into, just put them into a clean jar and for your tablespoon of grains add approx. 200ml whole (full fat) milk, secure a breathable top on the jar and leave in your kitchen for 24hrs. You should have a usable product at the end of it, but if not, just try again but don’t rewash them – this only needs to be done it the product tastes ‘off’. Sometimes it takes the grains a while to settle after being in transit, but it should come right after a few rounds of fermentation.

    Hope the above helps. I have been making my own kefir for well over a year now and grains are amazingly resilient, so I’m sure you haven’t killed yours, they just need a little TLC to get them happily producing for you. Shout if things don’t come right and I’ll get my thinking cap on again.

  • posted by Joes Nonna
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    I second everything SunnyB has written. I would add, that I use two cupfuls of full fat milk to one tablespoon of kefir grains. the result is a slightly sour tasting “thick milk”. I shouldn’t taste off or smell off, but it is slightly sour. I sieve the mixture and save the grains in a little milk in the fridge. I then take a few days to drink the Kefir and make a new batch as required. Shop bought Kefir doesn’t taste of anything and I wonder if they pasteurize it.

    Keep trying and enjoy. Hope this helps.

    Nonna Mary
    xxxx

  • posted by Mariet
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    Thank you both, that’s very helpful. I was able to drain out all but the grains which I’ve just put in milk for the minute but I’ll do as you suggest Sunny and wash them in unchlorinated water. I stirred all the rest together and had another drink and funny, it doesn’t taste off any more. Just pleasantly tangy.

    Feeling more confident, than you very much 🙂

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