gut health

Lemon Preserve

lemonpreserve

Yield: 1 quart                                                                                                                                                     Fermentation vessel: 2 quarts or 1 quart Mason jars with an airlock and ceramic weight or a fermentation crock

8 whole lemons, regular or Meyer                                                                                                                                 ½-1 cup unrefined sea salt, plus 2 tbsp.                                                                                                                   freshly squeezed lemon juice, as needed

Rinse the lemons in cold water. Slice the nubs off the ends of each lemon, then slice the lemon lengthwise as if to quarter it, but leave one end intact. Let the lemon open in the palms of your hand like a flower and sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of salt into its center. Remove the seeds and put the fruit in a large bowl. Rub generous amounts of salt in and around each lemon.

Take a wooden spoon or masher and press the lemons down in a jar or crock and pack them tightly, then continue slicing, salting, layering, and packing lemons until no more remain.  Make sure that they are completely submerged in their brine, weighing them down with a ceramic weight or sterilized stone if necessary.  To fill to the brim and ensure immersion, add freshly squeezed lemon juice as needed. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt over the surface.
 

Close your fermentation with either crock lid, an airlock, or a mason jar metal or plastic lid. Set aside out of direct sunlight and cool for about a month. Check periodically to make sure the lemons stay submerged.

The lemons will be ready after 21 days but can go longer if you like. Properly preserved lemons taste salty and softly sour without the abrupt tartness of fresh lemons, with no residual bitterness in the rind. If the rind is still bitter, reseal the crock and continue fermenting them for another week or two before tasting them again. When fermented to your liking, transfer the lemons to the fridge. They’ll keep for two years.

Unique Add-on's:                                                                                                                                                   Cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, whole cloves, coriander seeds, juniper seeds, and bay leaves. For a South American flavor add garlic, onions, coriander, cilantro and plenty of hot pepper

lemonpreserve

Where to get fermentation supplies: Preserved Goods, Oakland Ca
 Adapted loosely by Jennifer Gruther in the Nourished Kitchen

Beet Kvass

beetkvass

Russians downs two things most: vodka and beet kvass, but probably not together...maybe. beet kvass has been around for almost 1,000 years and was originally lacto-fermented from stale sourdough bread but now commonly made with salt brine.

THE GOODS

  • Zero sugar
  • Abundant flora
  • High in fiber
  • Cleanses the liver
  • Purifies the blood

Tangy. Earthy. Salty. Addictive. You can add fresh mint or ginger during the fermentation process for a different kick. 

Ingredients

2-4 beets
4 tbsp. of sauerkraut juice (optional – speeds up fermentation & adds lots of healthy probes)
1 tablespoon sea salt or himalayan salt
filtered water
half gallon glass jar

Method

Wash your beets and peel (if not organic) or leave skin on (if organic)
Chop them in to small cubes all the same size.
Place the beets in bottom of half gallon jar.
Add sauerkraut juice and salt (If you don't want to use sauerkraut juice, you can double the salt instead)
Fill your jar with filtered water.
Cover your jar with a towel or cheesecloth and leave it on the counter at room temperature for 2-7 days to ferment. You can start tasting it at day 2.
Transfer it to the fridge.
Drink it. I drink about 4 oz. a day

Loosely adapted from the Wellness Mama

Water Kefir

waterkefir_1

This summer it's all about drinking your medicine. I've been brewing water kefir for about 9 months now and it hasn't gotten old. Water kefir is refreshing, bubbly, and really good for you. I began by infusing berries to make a sweet berry flavor but when I began to infuse herbs, that's when the real fun started. Not only do you get the benefits of all the good guys coming into your system but you get the healing properties of unique herbs as well.  

Our bodies function at their ultimate when they are in balance. In order to ward off sickness, minimize allergies, have healthy digestion, energy, clear skin, and maintain a healthy weight, our bodies need to have a healthy gut system that houses both good and bad bacteria. When we consume weak foods with zero to little nutritional value, we can easily tip the scale to bad bacteria outweighing the good bacteria. But by nourishing ourselves daily with probiotic foods and beverages, it’s fairly easy to prevent the bad guys from taking over.

Many people have heard of or have tried kombucha — a fermented tea — but there is hardly any talk of its counterpart, water kefir. Water kefir grains make up various strains of good bacteria and yeast, and together have a very symbiotic relationship. Unlike the grains that we’re used to populating our diet (like wheat, rice and barley), water kefir grains aren’t grains at all. Instead, they are cultures that look a lot like translucent-to-cloudy gelatinous candies, and pack a pretty remarkable punch.

waterkefir2

Each of these cultures embodies billions of probiotic strains, valuable enzymes, pre-digested nutrients, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals (especially Vitamin C). Best of all, water kefir is more accessible than you may think, and lends itself to creating a myriad of unique infusions using herbs, fruit, and spices. Read on for a few of my favorite takes on the gut-friendly drink.

MAKING WATER KEFIR

Step 1. Activate the kefir grains by using sugar water. Typically, you want to start out by adding ¼ cup of Demerara sugar to 1 quart of water, and immersing the grains for 48 hours. Demerara sugar is partially refined, thus holding some mineral integrity. Allow the sugar to dissolve in hot water, and let it cool before adding it to the grains.

Step 2. Place the kefir grains into the sugar water. Cover it with muslin cloth and use a rubber band to secure it down. This will help keep dust or fruit flies from coming in. Allow the mixture to sit for 24-48 hours on your countertop. For a cooler spot, aim for 48 hours. If the temperature in your home tends to be warmer, the fermentation will speed up, so check it closer to 24 hours.

Step 3. Strain the grains with a nylon mesh strainer before drinking.

Step 4. From here you can explore different ways to flavor your kefir. Try adding fruit and blending it for a seasonal fruit drink, or infusing kefir with herbal teas, coconut water or fresh lemon juice for a probiotic lemonade. Be creative and have fun with it.

Step 5. You can reuse the kefir grains by refreshing them in sugar water and continuing the process.

20160527_e-e_kefir_02.jpg

Ginger, Turmeric, Fennel & Lemon Water Kefir
INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp. freshly grated turmeric
1 tbsp. fennel seed
1 tbsp. fresh lemon zest
 
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the fennel seeds (they have strong volatile essential oils that become released when crushed).
2. Strain the water kefir grains from the finished water kefir, and add the liquid to a quart sized jar, followed by the ginger, turmeric, fennel and lemon zest.
3. Use a plastic lid to cover the infusion and let it sit for up to 48 hours.
4. Strain the ingredients using a nylon mesh strainer, and pour the water kefir into a glass to drink.

Water Kefir Lemonade
INGREDIENTS
6 tbsp. of lemon juice
1 quart water kefir
Fresh mint leaves (optional)
 
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Add the lemon juice to the finished water kefir and stir to combine.
2. Muddle a few fresh mint leaves in for a refreshing coolness.
3. Drink now or refrigerate.
Tip: If you’d like to add a slight carbonation to your drink, use a funnel to pour the water kefir into airtight bottles. Leave them out at room temperature for another 48-72 hours before refrigerating. Though be sure to use caution when opening, as the contents may be under pressure from the natural fermentation.

Fermented Asparagus

pickledasparagus

These spears from the Lily family have been known for their medicinal properties for over 2000 years.

Contains glutathione, (more than its other common vegetable friends) the mother of antioxidants that is responsible for detoxification.

Is a diuretic, which helps healthy elimination of toxins and issues in the urinary track.

For those with slow bowels, asparagus gently encourages digestion.

Best shaved raw, lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled. Drizzle some olive oil and sea salt. Or pickle them like above and increase your vitamin B intake (brains + energy). Watch out, they make your pee rank. 

FERMENTED ASPARAGUS
1 bunch asparagus (ends trimmed)
1 tbsp yellow/ brown whole mustard seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp sea salt
2 cups warm water

Dissolve sea salt in warm water for brine. Let cool. Coarsely crack mustard and coriander seeds briefly with a mortar & pestle. Leave asparagus whole or chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Place all ingredients in your fermentation vessel of choice and pour brine to cover completely, leaving about an inch of headspace from the top. (If using whole asparagus our tall, pint & a half Ball jars work great!) Be sure that veggies are completely submerged underneath the brine using a ceramic weight or other creative option. Cover with a loose lid or an airlock lid and let ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, checking for desired flavor and firmness. Then refrigerate and enjoy!
Recipe from Elizabeth Vecchiarelli from Preserved Goods

Spring Tonic Vinegar

springtonicvinegar

SPRING TONIC VINEGAR

Infused with nettle leaf, horsetail, fresh parsley and rosemary, this vinegar will tone your internal organs, cleanse your urinary tract, remedy antibacterial or anti-fungal issues, improve memory and mental clarity. Plus, strengthens bones, hair and nails. This is a win-win situation. 

Spring Tonic Vinegar

Ingredients

¼ cup dry organic nettle leaf

¼ cup dry organic horsetail

½ cup organic parsley

½ cup organic dandelion leaf

½ cup organic rosemary

Apple Cider Vinegar

Quart Jar

Directions

**If you are using all dried, or all fresh herbs, simply use equal parts.

Coarsely chop all herbs and combine in a quart jar.

Cover with Apple Cider Vinegar. Place cap on tightly and shake vigorously. Label your jar with your ingredients and the date. It's really easy to forget what's inside, so labeling is key. Place in a dark, dry place and shake daily. After a month, strain herbs through a muslin cloth into a clean quart jar or over a large bowl, squeeze out the herbs to get every last drop. Also, I recommend using a plastic cap as it will be less reactive with the vinegar than the usual metal caps, which can cause them to rust. 

According to Mountain Rose Herbs, you can either take this Spring Tonic Vinegar straight, a couple of tablespoons a day, or you can toss it with some spring greens to make a really delicious salad. I will try them all. 

Recipe from The Mountain Rose Blog

Homemade Pickled Ginger

pickled ginger

You can use pickled ginger to train the body to secrete stomach acid on its own rather than having to rely on hydrochloric acid (stomach acid)  supplements. Your body can become reliant on HCL supplements if used for too long. Having adequate stomach acid helps to destroy foreign pathogens and parasites and helps to protect the system. In Japanese culture, pickled ginger is served alongside raw fish for the sole purpose of protecting the body from pathogens or parasites the raw fish may carry. Also, because it's delicious. 

I've become a huge pickled ginger enthusiast and new batch weekly.                                                                                                                                 Here's the how-to:   

  • 1 full ginger root peeled or shredded. You can use a vegetable peeler if you want a traditional look or you can use a cheese grater.  
  • Juice of one full organic lemon.
  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt.
  • Mix together and put in a jar or a small bowl with a lid. Let it "pickle" overnight and take 1/2-1 teaspoon before big meals daily for 2-4 weeks. 

More approaches to support stomach acid:

  •  First thing in the AM, drinking 16 oz. of warm or room temperature water with squeezed juice from half of a lemon or with 2 teaspoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar will stimulate digestion.
  • Chew your food! Masticating increases saliva and enzyme flow, which helps breaks down food into smaller particles. Chewing your food also sends out signals to the digestive tract, communicating what is about to happen.
  • Lessen the amount of coffee, tea, tobacco, sugar, alcohol, fried foods and spicy hot peppers and  hot sauce - these guys all deplete stomach acid and thin the gut lining, causing inflammation and pain. 
  • Increase more antioxidant rich food. Brightly colored red, green, orange, and yellow vegetables along with the algae spirulina and chlorella. 
  • Manage your stress by using techniques such as breathing exercises, nourishing yoga flow, or meditation. 
  • Let your body digest. Avoid eating meals within 2 hours of bedtime. Digestion becomes active around 10pom and the livers' prime time for detoxification is 11pm-1am. Try going to bed before 10pm to allow these systems to work optimally.

References: "How to Balance Stomach Acid and Improve Acne and Rosacea," Christa Orecchio from The Whole Journey.  

Carrot & Cabbage Sauerkraut

The bubbles indicate fermentation happening. I put cheesecloth over it to prevent dust and flies from getting in. After a few days, I close the hinge and let it do its thing. 

The bubbles indicate fermentation happening. I put cheesecloth over it to prevent dust and flies from getting in. After a few days, I close the hinge and let it do its thing. 

Timeframe: 1 to 4 weeks (or more)

Special Equipment:  

  • 2 quart (1/2 gallon) glass jar or jar with hinge top
  • Small plate or ceramic weights that fits inside glass jar or crock 
  • Cloth cover (small linen, cheesecloth or coffee filter)

Ingredients (for 2 quarts/ 1/2 gallon):

  • 1 large cabbage, green or red
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • optional* 1 tablespoon each of caraway, celery, and dill seeds - grind them with a mortar and pestle or other grinder

PROCESS:

  1. Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts. I like to alternate my batches from red to green cabbage. Whichever you like. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it. 
  2. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. About 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage. I don't measure the salt, I just shake some after every layer of cabbage that I throw in the bowl. Sandor Katz, who wrote Wild Fermentation, uses more in the summer and less in the winter. He also says that it is possible to make kraut with less salt or with no salt at all. 
  3. You can add other vegetables! Grate carrots for a coleslaw-like kraut. Other vegetables like onions, garlic, seaweed, greens, Brussels sprouts, beets, ginger, and fennel can get thrown in there. You might want to slice them thinly or in chunks. You can also add fruits such as, apples, whole or sliced are classic, and herbs and spices like caraway seeds, dills seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries. Really, you can do whatever you like it, it can take some exploring and experimentation. It becomes real fun. 
  4. Mix ingredients together and pack into glass jar or crock. Pack just a little bit at a time, tamp it down with a fist. This helps force water out of the cabbage.
  5. Cover kraut with a small plate or something else that fits snuggly inside the crock. Place a clean weight, such as a ceramic weight for fermenting or a small glass jar filled with water on top of the kraut. This weight forces water out of the cabbage even more and helps keep it submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep the dust and flies out. 
  6. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and to help force water out. Continue to do this periodically, every few hours or so, until the brine rise above the cover,this can take up to 24 hours.                                                                                             *If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about 1 tbsp. of salt to a 1 cup of water and stir until dissolved. 
  7. Leave the crock to ferment in a cool and shady spot where it's not in the way.
  8. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold occurs, it's not a problem. Just scoop it out. It won't hurt you if you can't get it rid of it all. Skim off as much as you can. This is just a result of air contact. 
  9. Rinse off the plate or ceramic weight. Taste the kraut. Generally, it starts to taste tangy after a few days and gets stronger with time. In cooler climates, kraut can keep improving for months. In warmer climates, it ferments a lot quicker. 
  10. Eat up. Eating a serving at a time or transferring some to a jar is convenient. Make sure the kraut stays packed tight in the jar, the surface is level and the cover and weight are clean. Sometimes the brine evaporates, so if the kraut is not submerged below the brine, just add water as necessary.
  11. You can use some of the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut, this gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.  
This is another way you can start fermenting your kraut. You can use a large glass jug or plastic food-grade bucket and use a quart sized Mason jar filled up with water as the weight to tamp it down to squeeze out water from the cabbage. 

This is another way you can start fermenting your kraut. You can use a large glass jug or plastic food-grade bucket and use a quart sized Mason jar filled up with water as the weight to tamp it down to squeeze out water from the cabbage. 

After 3-4 weeks, I start to chow down on it. The cabbage is soft, tangy but still has a bit of a crunch to it. I add a couple of tablespoons to every meal. Kraut is full of digestive enzymes that help you break down your food and absorb nutrients better. I have noticed a vast improvement on my digestive health and my immune system due to eating kraut everyday. 

Tepache

TEPACHE // This my friends, is a traditional Aztec Mexican fermented pineapple drink. Some call it Mexican beer, a friend of Pulque, the fermented maguey drink. Tepache is made with just purified water and organic sugar. I’m leaving it to sit for a few days before I drink this refreshing brew that is full of those friendly bacteria that I’m so fond of.

What you'll need:

·       A fresh whole organic pineapple

·       1 cup of brown sugar

·       Filtered water

·       A half-gallon jar

What to do:

·       Don't wash the pineapple. You can give it a rinse but the yeast that lives on the pineapple is what makes this drink happen.

·       Cut the rind and hold on to it. Keep the bottom as well.

·       Eat the meat or save if for another dish. Eating pineapple reduces stress, eases digestion, prevents cancer, strengthens bones, and helps treat the common cold. 

·       Add 1 cup of brown sugar to the jar. Boil 1 cup of water and add it to the jar so that the sugar dissolves. Let it cool down.

·       Once the sugar has cooled down, place the rinds the jar, and then fill the rest of the jar with filtered water leaving an inch from the opening.

·       Cover with a handkerchief, old t-shirt or cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band.

·       Leave it out of sunlight for a couple days and start to check for bubbles. This is when you can begin to taste it.

·       At this point, you can strain it at any time but you can also wait a couple more days if you want it fizzy.

                                                           

                                                        At this point add some chili and lime for extra punch!

                                          Don’t like it? Leave it for a week and you get pineapple vinegar!

                                                                  Happy Fermenting & Viva la Raza!