Friday, November 14, 2014


There is a lot of buzz right now about fermentation. I'm not usually one to jump on the same bus everyone else is hopping on, but this one makes sense to me. I read a good post that blogger Scott Garrett wrote on a fermenting workshop he did. I like workshops for learning, but I'm on my own around here, so I bought a book.  For the past year I have started having digestive problems, and so has Gerry. Apparently it comes with this over 50 business. Our stomachs stop producing enough acid to work with the gut to properly process the foods we eat. I cook healthy meals, but there seems to be something missing. The more I read about fermentation, the more it seems this could be the missing link. Back in the day, our parents and grandparents ate a lot of fermented foods. I did too as a kid, but have gotten away from it. 

The shop I work at has a great library of DIY books and we have a whole section on fermenting supplies. I bought this book and spent yesterday trying out some of the recipes.

Gerry doesn't like the vinegar taste that comes with traditional fermenting, but this book had a lot of recipes that were nothing like the fermenting kraut and pickles I remember. I made a really great chilie sauce that can be used for stirfry and momos, much like the one the monks made when they were here. I also made some kimchi, some tomatillo and mint salsa, a really good combo of green apple, ginger and radish, a layer of fermented veggies, and a pineapple cilantro chutney. I sprouted some chickpeas overnight and today I'm going to try the spinach hummus with fermented chickpea.  

The recipes were really simple and are full of healthy ingredients: garlic, ginger, onion, carrots, cabbage, radish, pineapple, pear, mint, green beans, apple, cauliflower, tomatillos......  It's not just about sauerkraut and dill pickles anymore! 

This is the salsa and the chilie sauce. Looks like perfect Christmas gifts to me..... I made small quantities since I had no idea where this was going and how any of it would be, less waste that way. Both of these were amazing, hot but really flavorful.

The chickens also benefit!

I continue to learn and to enjoy working at Fifth Season. I know what all of the soils are now, I am getting a grasp on the hydroponics systems, learning more about soil amendments, getting better at not screwing up on the computer. I still struggle with the homebrew, so many tiny details....  
I am re-learning house plants from way back when I had a lot of them. And now I'm tryng out the cheese making and fermentation kits we have. Everyone at the store has a specialty, something they are very knowledgeable about. I can see the cheese and fermenting being where I will lean. 

 I have proposed some workshops for the spring. Gift making with kids for Mothers Day and Fathers Day, painting terra cotta pots, making garden stakes, etc. one of the other guys is interested in doing a kids gardening workshop so we might team up. I would also like to do some fermenting taste testing and maybe a workshop when I get this dialed in. So many possibilities to increase sales and customer information. 

I love all of it, but the thing I like most, is that they just say, fix this area, and I get to do whatever I want. Three weeks now, and I have just about re merchandised the whole store, cleaned it, made little displays and made everything flow better for a shopper. It wasn't bad before, but I think like a shopper and now it's just a bit more idea inspiring....

A year ago, when I started thinking about getting a job, I worried about how it would change my life style. I would be tied to a job, not able to do what I wanted anytime, having to work around a schedule. But I think I was ready for a change. "Chasing money" as blogger Sandy Miller (Paine Falls blog)so aptly put it, has just plain wore me out. Shuffling funds to pay for shows and supplies and shipping and dues and all that comes with trying to sell art just tarnished my love for making. Now, I click on my bank app and money is deposited there, and all I had to do was show up and spend a few hours learning something new and talking with some really cool people. Not bad.....


June Perry said...

Your post brought back memories of making chow chow relish with my grandmother. Her basement had a coal burning cook stove and that was her canning and laundry center. My canning job was washing the canning jars because my hands were small enough to fit into all those jars.
I should explore this fermenting since I'm dealing with severe gastritis after something may have gone amiss with the surgery I had this past year. I love sauerkraut and pickles; but Jim will tolerate pickles, hates sauerkraut, but will eat pickled herring, so I need to find some other things he might want to eat as well.

Michèle Hastings said...

Jeff LOVES kimchi. We have been buying it at Super Gmart in Greensboro or Charlotte in big jars (they make their own). There are so many different types to try. I enjoy the taste but can only eat it small amounts or I pay for it the next day or sometime two. He has a recipe from a Korean potter's wife that he wants to try. I can't wait to try homemade.
I agree that your little jars would make really nice Christmas gift. They are so pretty.

Scott Garrett said...

Yum! They look fantastic Tracey. My red cabbage kraut was great when i stirred it though a big old salad the other day. I'm going to be coming to you now for expert advice!
Have you guys tried non pasteurised (you know about the mother!) apple cider vinegar for your ageing digestion ;-)
I put two tablespoons in a pint of water and guzzle away. It really kills off any indigestion/heart burn i may get too.
I love drinking it like that, it's just a refreshing drink now! Yep, i actually choose to drink it!!

Tracey Broome said...

June, my family is less tolerant of vinegar than I am, I used to help my grandmother with her pickles and have a warm spot for "sour pickles" as she called them.
Michele, I made the kimchi in about 15 minutes, very easy, now just waiting for the ferment!
Scott, lots of great recipes to try, I'll post a few when I have some time, maybe. Yes, we have tried the apple cider vinegar cure, but got really tired of choking it down, not an easy thing to swallow! I do tnk it helped though, but ugh, no motivation to mix it up!

Scott Garrett said...

What if it was mixed in a nice Bloody Mary! Or just tomato juice with a Worcestershire sauce dash, I doubt you'd notice it. I need to shop for vodka now!!

Tracey Broome said...

Well, now, Scott! You might have something there! The recipe book I bought has a nice fermented version of a bloody mary, must try that one soon.great idea :-)

Anonymous said...

It seems you are on a terrific roll! & speaking of rolls, love your ideas for those I was on a tangent making fresh rolls a couple of years ago, but they've faded away, time to bring them back.
& ejoy hearing about your new job…making terrariums is another fun idea for kids (& grown-ups).