Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Fermenting (Ideas and Foods)

A lot of people are fermenting foods right now. It is great for your health and (apparently) easy to do, once you get the hang of it.
It started with sauerkraut and kimchi, German and Korean  fermented cabbage dishes. I have made both and, trust me, homemade is VASTLY superior to store bought!
Recently I have seen way more fermented foods than I thought possible. There are whole web sites and books devoted to it. Carrots, fennel, onions, ginger, apples, you name it, somebody out there is fermenting it!
Some people use vinegar.
Some use a salty brine.(Or just salt)
Some use whey from cheesemaking.
Some use honey.

Then there is kefir, kombucha, water kefir and fermentation to make natural fizzy sodas.
There is a whole dictionary of terms used by the fermenting crowd.
Here's a short glossary:

AAB: Acetic acid bacteria
ABV: Alcohol by volume, usually calculated as a percentage
ACV: Apple Cider Vinegar
BABY: When a batch of Kombucha grows a new SCOBY it is called a Baby.
CB: Continuous Brew. A large crock used to ferment kombucha. Fermented kombucha is drawn off in small amounts through a spigot at the bottom. Fresh sweet tea is then added to the top.
GBP: Ginger Beer Plant - a SCOBY that ferments sugary water with ginger.
GRAINS: The SCOBYs for kefir and tibicos are called GRAINS due to their granular appearance.
JUN: A drink similar to Kombucha, but dominated by bacteria. A SCOBY is used to ferment green tea with honey.
KEFIR: A cultured dairy beverage made with kefir grains.
KOMBUCHA: A cultured beverage made by fermenting sweet tea with a SCOBY.
KT: Kombucha (Tea), also "Buch" or "Booch"
LAB(s): Lactobacillus Bacteria
MESOPHILIC: Cultures that work at room temperature, usually in regards to yogurt.
MOTHER: Name for the gelatinous glob that forms in raw vinegar. Also used to describe the SCOBY for Kombucha.
MK: Milk Kefir
MKG: Milk Kefir Grains
MOV: Mother of vinegar, a.k.a. mycoderma aceti. It is acetic acid bacteria suspended in cellulose.
SCOBY: Acronym for "Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast." Kombucha, Kefir, and Tibicos are cultured using a SCOBY. The SCOBY is comprised mainly of cellulose, with live bacteria and yeasts trapped within its structure.
THERMOPHILIC: Cultures that need to be incubated at a warm temperature to function, usually in regards to yogurt.
TIBICOS: A cultured beverage made by fermenting sugar water or juice with tibicos grains, also called "water kefir" or "sugar crystals".
WK: Water Kefir
WKG: Water Kefir Grains
1F or 1st Ferment: When you ferment a sweet liquid with SCOBYs it is your first ferment.
2F or 2nd Ferment: When you strain the fermented liquid into a bottle, add flavoring, and let it sit until bubbly that is a second ferment. 

Now, I have made my own vinegars, so I know the process. I have made pickles. I have had kefir before, and found it delicious. It is kinda like a thinner yogurt that you drink. Never had Kombucha, but, this morning I have some to try! I found it in the organic section of the store I went to yesterday. It was pricey...2.78 for one 16 oz bottle! So, hang on for a minute while I try a sip....

Oh yum! That is pretty good! 

That's the one I bought. They had several other flavors, but hey, I love ginger! . It says a serving size is half a bottle, but I will probably only drink a quarter bottle this first time and see how it sits on my stomach for a few hours before drinking the rest.

Fermented foods are supposed to be super healthy for you because of the probiotics they contain.
Most of us already eat some fermented foods...
Cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, cultured butter...all fermented foods!
Sauerkraut and kimchi, fermented foods.
Here's a list of fermented foods that are pretty darn good and where to buy them, if you don't ferment your own:

I plan on fermenting my own once I get in my own place. This might be something that could be sold at a local farmers market, too.
For those of you reading the story i am writing, please be aware I am continuing it. I add a little just about every day. I hope you are enjoying it!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Okay...Here is the Start of My Book Anyway

As promised...here is the link to my book. I am in the middle of Chapter 4 (and about to get in some technical stuff but not so technical that it can't be easily understood), but I hope it is enough that you can see where I am going.
I hope you enjoy it.

I have noticed that I have lost about 20-25 followers recently. Just out of curiosity, if you are going to leave, leave a comment to let me know why. I won't publish it, and my feelings won't be hurt (unless you insult my wonderful dog!). Just curious.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

And How's the Weather Where You Are?

No snow here. Some of my family lives in Virginia and they got hit pretty hard by Winter Storm Jonas. (When did they start naming Winter storms?) Almost all are dug out now, so all is good.
My son and grandson enjoying some snow fun!

We didn't get any snow here, and though it got chilly, it never got what I consider cold. Of course, cold is a matter of perspective and experience. So, what they consider cold here...I consider "not so bad".
By Friday it will be in the 60s here (or so the weather report says). In the 60s...at the end of January, start of February! Wow. While that may sound pleasant, I think of apple (and other fruit) trees coming into bloom too early and then a later freeze killing the blossoms and therefore the fruit. I have seen it happen before and then seen the corresponding rise in prices in the grocery store. So...keep an eye on that!
I have applied for some jobs locally. I feel fine and strong and am sure I will be able to work with no problems. The doctor says there should be no problems, too. So...time to get some income coming in!
I plan on going back to NH, so I feel it is prudent if I have a little nest egg.

I am also doing more paintings in the hope I can sell some of them as well.
Since I am indulging my creative side while here, I also started writing a book. I have been hesitant to share it with my readers, but I think I may be just about ready to unveil it. I will do so tomorrow and post the link on this blog, so watch for it! It is what is called "PAW fiction" (Post-Apocalyptic World). I hope you guys like my work in progress when you get to see it.
Have been thinking a lot about what kind of farming I am going to do when I get back to NH.
My first consideration is (of course) going to be expense.
I don't think I should shoot too high.
Gardening, of course. And chickens.
Goats may have to wait until I get more established, so, I have been thinking of raising other poultry/fowl.
Geese and ducks.
Right now I am researching the best breeds for the climate, plus the markets that already exist for them and markets that could be developed in the region.
If you haven't had roast duck

Or roast goose

You have REALLY been missing out!

Not many people in the US include duck or goose in their diets, unless they have an avid hunter in the family.
A lot of it is the expense...if you look in the grocery store, either one is wildly expensive!
The expense is due to there being a small market, therefore fewer farmers raise them making the ones that do make it to market a rare and precious item. If more farmers raised them, the cost would come down and people would buy more, making them more affordable for everyone.
Try ordering duck at a restaurant (IF they even have it on the menu). WHOA!!! At most places it makes the lobster look cheap! And the only places I have even read about serving goose is *period* type restaurants at Christmas time. (City Tavern in Philadelphia being an example).
So, maybe, there is a niche there that small farmers can fill.
Ducks and geese are not more expensive than chickens to raise and process for meat. Their eggs are just as delicious and, geese eggs, with their thicker shells, can be used in many art projects.

So...looking at various breeds to see what will suit the climate the best, which are best for meat, which are best for eggs, etc.
The biggest expense will be getting the initial breeding stock or eggs, an incubator and the initial feed to get them started.
So...doing my research, getting all my ducks in a row, so to speak....