Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mad Snacks Beyond Thundermicrobiome


Lidsville
There is a lot of jabbering these days about gut bacteria and its possible influence on our lives. Bad gut bacteria has been blamed for rheumatoid arthritis and colon cancer. Good gut bacteria born of a complex diet has been hailed as a cure-all. The truth is in there somewhere, and I'm glad that an increasing amount of research is being done on the subject. I'm also willing to bet that the real culprit will turn out to be decades of over-processed and hyper-sterilized foods. Sure, our microbiomes might be partly responsible for obesity, but those big-gulp sodas and gooey chip fingers aren't helping.

A good start to making sure that your gut environment is full of good guys may be to change your diet and ferment your own foods. It's something all of us here at Chowbacca! not only preach, but practice. Since we started blogging we've had a how-to on making sauerkraut, another on kimchi; we've praised kombucha for its fermented goodness. I'm in the process of making some 'kraut right now, and have just done a successful second fermentation on my continuous-brew kombucha system* I'll be going into more detail about in a later post.

Back to the 'kraut. My first batch didn't work out. I'd thought I'd done everything right, although I'd wished at the time that I'd had a better weight to hold the cabbage under the water it was releasing. I fixed that this time with the lid pictured here. Everything else was just as I'd read. I'd massaged kosher salt into my strips of cabbage. I'd added my personal favorite combination of caraway seeds and juniper berries. I'd checked it daily to make sure that the cabbage was submerged to avoid rot and mold. After five days, however, the bubbles stopped and the 'kraut died. :(

I consulted my go-to on such matters, our own 99% BitterSweet, who told me, (and her own post had already told me but I'd forgotten), that in warmer climates the process only takes about four days and not the 7-10 many recipes claim. It's what I get for not reading my own blog. :(

That said, I have a good system now. The right ringed lid jar that can hold a whole head of cabbage. The right lid to hold down the cabbage. I won't be buying dead cabbage water from the grocery again now that things are in full swing.

So, drop that soda and have a kombucha or a health shake. Knock off the chips and have some kale crisps. Fruit truffles, anyone? Pear with pumpkin pie spice? Pickled ginger? Pickled garlic? Pickled peppers? Making and eating snacks that make your good gut bugs happy can be fun and flavorful. It's also not that hard. I'm not addicted to workahol. If I can make it happen, so can you.


Smashing!

Lids Within Lids

*The System. Just a Jar with a Spout, Citizen.