I love to ferment foods. Any kind of foods & any kind of fermentation process. From sauerkraut to sourdough and from kombucha to water kefir. It is such a pleasure to see life created through microbes by the simple process of fermentation.
Fermentation is the exhalation of a substance through the admixture of a ferment which, by virtue of its spirit, penetrates the mass and transforms it into its own nature. ~ Andreas Libavius
During the "Yoga & conscious cooking retreat" from 1-7August we will spend some time, with this ancient human practice of, changing foods into an even more nutrient rich nourishment for your body & soul.
To already get you started I have shared 3 of my favourite fermentation recipes. I really hope you get as much enjoyment out of them as I do & would love to hear your results, experiences & explorations on this.
1. Sauerkraut with a twist
This sauerkraut recipe is so delicious that I even get my Spanish partner who was not brought up on sauerkraut & doesn't really count it as his favourites... to eat it.
It has a legion of benefits. First of all it is incredibly nutritious with a whole gamma of nutrients from vitamins to minerals. It also is great for your digestion system & overall health as it contains probiotics. Probiotics which are beneficial bacteria that act as the first line of defence against toxins and harmful bacteria. They can also help improve the bacterial balance in your gut after it's been disturbed by the use of antibiotics.
Sauerkraut fermentation is the process of microorganisms on the cabbage digesting its natural sugars and converting them into carbon dioxide and organic acids.
1 (organic) shredded red cabbage
1 big leaf of red cabbage
1 (organic) thinly sliced beetroot
Good chunk of (organic) thinly sliced fresh ginger
10 (organic) thinly sliced red radishes
Two handfuls of dehydrated seaweed (any kind will do all though I prefer to use hijiki)
1 or 2 tablespoon of fine Himalayan salt or any other high quality salt
How to make
- Add the shredded red cabbage to a large bowl together with 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Time to get your hands dirty as now you will start massaging the cabbage with salt until it starts becoming soft and releases it's juice
- Once this has been achieved add all the rest of the ingredients and massage some more. I love this part of the process as it feels as if some of my energy goes into the sauerkraut, so put on some good music and add some positive vibes to it.
- You will then add all the veggies, including released juice to a big glass pot, press them in firmly so that the juice starts reaching over the veggies. On top of this you will add the red cabbage leaf so that all the veggies are covered. On top of the leave you will add a weight, I use a stone that fits right into the pot. The weight will keep the veggies pressed down and the juice covered over them.
- leave the pot outside of the fridge for a minimum of 3 days, I put it on my east window sill that doesn't catch too much sun, but has a warmer temperature and I can keep a good eye on it.
- After a few days you will start seeing bubbles coming up, time to start testing your sauerkraut. Take the stone & leaf off and smell & taste if it has already started to ferment.
- Once it has reached the right smell & taste for you, you can put it in the fridge. This will slow down the fermentation & also keep it for a longer time. The longest I have kept it in the fridge is for a month, it never lasts longer than that, but I have heard people keeping it for years.
2. Red red... Kombucha
I’ve been addicted to kombucha from my very first sip. The fact that it has loads of probiotics and other health promises was definitely the main reason why I tried it, but not why I kept drinking it and started brewing it myself. It was the way it tasted: like tart green apple mixed with sour stone fruits, but with an underlying sweetness that keeps it all together. And fizzy! I couldn’t believe that something this delicious could actually be made from tea, of all things. Or that I could make it at home with a few very basic ingredients.
Kombucha starts out as a sugary tea, which is then fermented with the help of a scoby. “SCOBY” is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” It’s very close cousins to the mother used to make vinegar.
- Kombucha scoby (check if anyone in your community has one or else you can find them online)
- 500 ml kombucha starter liquid (should come with your scoby)
- 1 tablespoon of organic tea (my favourite for the kombucha is fermented pu'ehr)
- 50 grams of organic sugar
- 3 liters mineral water (if using filtered, be sure it contains no chloride or fluoride)
- 4 liter glass pot
- 1 elastic or rope
- paper or fabric towel
- 2 medium (organic) chopped beetroot
- Good chunk of (organic) chopped fresh ginger
How to make
- bring the 3 liters of water to a boil. Around 90 degrees for pu'ehr tea (if you have a green tea it's usually around 75 degrees) and add the pu'ehr leaves.
- Leave this for around 5minutes, after which you will remove the leaves.
- Add the sugar and stir well.
- Let the sugary tea cool down to room temperature.
- Add the scoby and starter liquid to the glass jar and fill it up with the cooled down sugary tea. Place the towel on top of the pot and secure it with the rope or elastic.
- place the pot out of the sun where you can see it.
- After 2 days start tasting your liquid ( never use steel as the scoby doesn't like it), keep tasting each day until it has your required taste.
- Once it has you are ready for the 2nd fermentation.
- Add the chopped beetroot ginger to a different bottle, I use three 75ml bottles.
- Top up the bottles with your fermented kombucha liquid, but keep at least 500ml in the big jar with your kombucha scoby so that you can keep using this for more fermentations.
- leave the 2nd fermentation for around 2-3days, but don't forget to open up the bottle every day to let out some gas. As it will get really fizzy & you don't want the kombucha to explode all over your kitchen. I am talking out of experience....
- After this you can either add it straight from the bottle into a glass filtering out the ginger & beetroot or you can add it to another bottle again filtering out the ginger & beetroot and keep it in the fridge.
3. Delicious sourdough buckwheat bread
Unlike most bread, this loaf contains no yeast and requires no sourdough starter.
Instead, this buckwheat-based bread uses fermentation to create a naturally leavened loaf. Fermentation offers an important gut-healing benefit – it makes it more digestible. In spite of its name, buckwheat does not contain wheat and is, therefore, free of gluten.
It contains a great deal of fiber, magnesium, and manganese.
Fermentation may have been a better "invention" than fire. ~ David Wallace
240 grams raw buckwheat groats (not the toasted variety known as “kasha”)
415 ml mineral water (if using filtered, be sure it contains no chloride or fluoride)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Olive oil for greasing
Food processor or blender
Approximately 22 x 12 x 6 cm baking pan
How to make
- Rinse buckwheat groats under running water.
- Combine the groats and water in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate or lid and let the mixture soak at room temperature for 8 hours.
- Transfer the groat mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse several times until groats and water are well combined but still coarse. Do not overblend them - or the fermentation will happen to quickly.
- Transfer this mixture back to a large bowl (I like to use a glass container so I can see the batter), cover and let it ferment at room temperature ranging for 12 to 24 hours or until the batter becomes bubbly and slightly raises.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Line the baking pan with baking paper and grease with the olive oil.
- Stir the salt into the batter.
- Transfer the batter to the baking pan.
- Bake uncovered for 50 to 55 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the bread before slicing.
I love this bread toasted and topped with (organic, seasonal & sustainably farmed) avocado.
Hope you (and your gut) will enjoy these fermented foods as much as I do. Love to hear how you go!
If you would like to learn more about fermentation, cooking and eating healthy foods topped of with yoga, nature & sunshine the Yoga & Conscious cooking retreat will be from 1-7 August in the Costa Vicentina natural park in Portugal: www.yogaion.com/consciouscookingretreat