Oh, what have the YouFrillMe gals been doing lately? Let’s see, at our house there’s been lots of swimming, sprinkler-playing, watermelon-eating, and fermenting!
Whaaa? Fermenting, you say?!
Yes, my friends. I am positively Frilled by a good FERMENT. This has so far been my summer of fermentation experimentation. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while, just haven’t gotten brave and done it. Except for making kombucha, which I’ve been doing for several years now (store-bought kombucha is spendy, y’all, and I gotta fuel my habit affordably). I wish I had ventured in to the world of fermentation sooner. It’s one of my personal “final frontiers” of food transformation.
You may be wondering: Why, Frannie? Why play around with icky bacteria?
Well, bottom line is: BUGS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! Check out this article, or this TED talk, or my own past articles on probiotics here and here. I have been in bug love for a while now, so growing my own bugs and using them to turn ordinary foods into delicious, tangy, superfoods is a natural progression for me. Fermentation is also a traditional means of food preservation, one of the oldest we know about.
Kombucha, a traditionally fermented tea, was the Gateway Ferment for me. Kefir, or cultured milk, was the next step. Mostly I’ve been fermenting coconut milk and raw goat’s milk. My Littles love their kefir!
And I’ve been fermenting vegetables too: so far banana peppers, sauerkraut (cabbage), and cucumbers — usually anything I get too much of in my CSA farm share that I need to preserve longer than a week. (btw: lacto-fermented banana peppers on salads are amazing!)
Sprouting has also made it into my repertoire, in the form of sprouted beans and buckwheat. Soaking and sprouting increases the bioavailability of nutrients in foods like seeds, beans, and grains, and makes them more digestible. After you soak nuts, it’s easy to throw them in the blender to make healthy nut milks. Homemade walnut milk is creamy-delicious, but be careful to use or drink it promptly; it only keeps a day or two in the fridge.
If you’re interested in getting started with making kombucha, kefir, or cultured vegetables, Cultures For Health is a great resource. You don’t need any fancy gear to get started, just the cultures and some jars. I think it’s a good way to invest in your health, save money, and recycle pasta sauce jars