Saturday, March 23, 2013

Upcycled dish scrubbie

I'm kind of ashamed that I didn't think of this sooner - instead of buying those plastic dish scrubbies, you can get the same effect by cutting a piece off of an empty orange bag. We've been using the one in the picture below for about a month now, and I'm amazed at how well it works (and how long it lasts!)

Rye/Wheat vs. Rye/White Bread Bake-off

After learning how much more phytase (which of course neutralizes the mineral-binding phytate) rye flour has than wheat, and reading how the healthy remote Swiss studied by Weston Price lived on mainly rye bread and dairy products, I've been trying to use more rye flour in my bread making. Unfortunately, using 100% rye flour makes for a very dense loaf (especially with my sourdough recipe), so I've been mixing rye flour and white all-purpose flour in my bread lately, thinking whole wheat would still be too heavy. On a whim, I decided to try a side-by-side comparison of a half whole wheat/half rye loaf of pumpkin sourdough bread, and another using the same recipe, but with half white flour and half rye. Here were the results:
The loaf on the left is the one with white flour, and as you can see it did rise a little bit more (which caused it to crack around the bottom). I had flattened it a bit more when I put it on the pan, so it's a bit wider, but pretty much as tall, as the whole wheat loaf on the right. All in all, though, the difference is too small to convince me the loss of nutrition is worth it, so I think I'll be using the whole wheat rather than the white flour.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Super Sauerkraut

It's finally done! Isn't it pretty?

I've made sauerkraut once before, using the "Three days on the counter in a mason jar" method, and it was good, but then I read the Sauerkraut Survivor series and realized I might not be getting as much probiotic bacteria as I thought.

So I started looking around for a better system, even going so far as to order a Pickle-Pro lid on Amazon (which I never did use, but I'm thinking it will be great for when I make apple cider vinegar this fall). But before my pickle-pro arrived in the mail, I found these clamp-top jars at my local Farm & Fleet store (which were what I really wanted in the first place), so I grabbed two, ran over to the food co-op and bought a head of organic red cabbage, and giddily drove home to make some kraut!

The actual recipe is so simple - just slice up your kraut, let the salt bring out the juices, and let it sit in the cupboard for a month (that's the hard part!)

Here are the more technical directions:

Super Sauerkraut
Quarter, core, and shred cabbage, discarding outer leaves. Put in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sea salt (or ½ Tbsp sea salt plus ¼ cup leftover kraut juice from previous batch). Cover bowl with a tea towel and set aside. After about a half hour, stir, then recover and set aside for another half hour. Stir again; at this point it should be getting juicy (no pounding required - let the salt do the work for you!) Transfer cabbage to a sterilized fermenting jar. Press down firmly to remove any air gaps and pack cabbage tightly, leaving 1” head space (actually, according to this, you don't have to have the brine covering the cabbage if you use the clamp-top gasket jar). Attach cover according to jar directions and keep in a dark place at room temperature for four weeks. Best eaten 4-8 weeks after initial shredding. Refrigerate after opening.

Of course, you can do this with green cabbage to make a "normal" looking kraut, but I like using the red cabbage because it makes such a bright presentation.

Here's to homemade probiotics!