Want to save the world? Learn to cook.
How often I make a particular food does depend on how much we will eat on a weekly basis as well as the quantity that can be made within a reasonable amount of time, of course. For example, if you manage to make enough sauerkraut over the course of a couple of weeks, this supply might last you all year--or all of a month, if you eat it daily. If you've made too much, give it away. (For some unfathomable reason, priests seem to love sauerkraut.)

The marvelous thing is how simple fermenting actually is. You don't need expensive equipment--ordinary mason jars with lids work perfectly, and you can use the 'brine bag' method to release gases and keep air and pathogens out. The recipe for fermenting any vegetable is straightforward: rinse and cut, prepare a brine of salt and distilled water, fill clean mason jars with the mixture, top with the brine bag, and close the jar somewhat loosely. How much salt to use, ideal pickling temperature, and how long to let it go can be determined from this table (page down):


Note that this Web site sells fermentation equipment--they're selling and want you to buy. But you really don't need these things to successfully pickle anything. I'm an average person who does not own a dishwasher (unless you count my husband) and I've rarely had a ferment go bad. (You can always tell by the smell; if the food doesn't smell appetizing, throw it out and start over. Usually, you didn't add enough salt.)

The brine bag that takes the place of an airlock is easily made: partly fill a clean Ziploc sandwich baggie with fresh brine, lay it inside your filled mason jar, and check to ensure it covers the food completely and seals the edge of the jar. As the vegetable ferments, gases will be released; these will bubble up around the brine bag and escape (no exploding jars) but air and pathogens cannot enter.

People always ask about salt content--is this much salt good for you? Fermentation does require a sufficient amount of salt to prevent the growth of bad guys, but here's the wonderful thing: good bacteria, the ones that boost the immune system, actually eat salt. As the sodium level falls, the amount of good bacteria present increases. The optimum level is reached at around six months to one year (active fermentation for about 2 weeks, usually, then an aging period in the refrigerator).

A beautiful thing, isn't it? Other fermented foods (yogurt, sourdough including the 'old dough' method, cheese, pickling meats, etc.) employ other methods, but you're always in awe of how it works. What are you interested in? Start with something small that appeals and see how it goes.

How anyone can make these foods and not believe in God beats me.  :D
Qui me amat, amet et Deum meum.

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RE: Want to save the world? Learn to cook. - by Teresa Agrorum - 01-29-2020, 01:23 PM

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