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fermentation

Crème Fraîche

TIME: 5 MINUTES (plus 3 - 5 days to culture); SERVES: 1 PINT

Crème fraîche is one of the most important staples in my kitchen. This French version of sour cream is an incredible cultured food that costs only a few dollars to make, and has all the probiotic health benefits of high-quality, fermented dairy. The high-fat, low-carbohydrate content is perfect for those following a Keto diet, and making your own allows you to choose organic, grass-fed cream instead of conventional, ultra-pasteurized.

Crème fraîche is particularly useful in cooking because it doesn’t curdle when heated and can be simmered in sauces and soups. Purists may choose to purchase a true crème fraîche culture, but I find using cultured buttermilk to be just as effective & delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1 pint heavy whipping cream, preferably grass-fed & organic. Steer away from ultra-pasteurized for the best nutritional value and flavor. Raw cream is ideal if you have access to it.
2 tbls. cultured buttermilk

METHOD

  1. Stir the buttermilk into the cream.

  2. Cover with a cloth or loose fitting lid.

  3. Set on the counter away from direct sunlight. Fermentation will occur more quickly in a slightly warm place.

  4. Stir every day. After a couple days, you will notice the cream thickening. Once it is thick and slightly tangy, transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

*There’s a certain schedule that I stick to: Every week or so, I purchase a whole, organic chicken, a quart of buttermilk, and a pint of heavy whipping cream. For the chicken, I follow Samin Norat’s recipe for Buttermilk-Marinated Chicken, saving a couple tbls. of buttermilk to make crème fraîche. Once I finish off the roast chicken and the crème fraîche has cultured, I start the process again (and if I have saved enough chicken carcasses, I’'ll simmer a batch of bone broth as well).

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Ginger-Turmeric Sauerkraut

TIME: 20 MINUTES, plus ~1 week fermentation; SERVES: 1 QUART

I add a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut to almost every meal I eat. Purchasing living, small-batch ‘kraut can run you upwards of $8, but making it can cost as little as $1 (and it’s more fun to see it bubbling happily in your kitchen!) I love this recipe primarily for its vibrant color and flavor. However, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and digestive-aid from ginger are definitely a plus. Don’t forget to include a few grinds of fresh black pepper to fully assimilate the benefits of turmeric.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds green cabbage (1 medium head) cored and finely chopped or shaved on a mandolin
1 tbls. + 1 tsp. kosher salt (non-iodized)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes (opt.)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1/2 - 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated (or 1/2 - 1 tsp. ground)

METHOD

  1. Combine cabbage and salt in a bowl. Massage for about 5 minutes until juices are released and the cabbage significantly decreases in volume. *A general salt ratio is about 2 tsp. per pound of cabbage. You want the cabbage to be too salty to eat enjoyably, but not inedible. Add more salt if necessary, and taste often. If you add an excess of salt, the ‘kraut will not ferment because it will inhibit all bacteria growth—good and bad. If you add too little, funky bacteria can infect your batch and turn it soggy or gross.

  2. Once you’re confident with the salt ratio, add the remaining ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. Pack into a quart-sized mason jar. There should be plenty of natural brine to cover the cabbage if you massaged enough.

  4. Weigh down the cabbage so it is fully submerged by the brine. I like to use Masontops glass pickle weights. You can also use a clean rock or a smaller jar.

  5. You can cover with a clean cloth & rubber band (so fruit flies can’t get in), but it’s worth investing in pickle pipes! (Also available at Masontops). These silicone airlocks allow pressure to vent without exposure to oxygen. Make sure to place your jar on a plate to catch the brine that bubbles out.

  6. Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Depending on temperature, you will notice your ‘kraut bubbling in a day or two. Let it do its thing, making sure the cabbage is still submerged in brine for 5 - 7 days. Taste often. Once it is pleasantly sour and no longer too salty, remove the weight and transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. Will keep for months, although I’m sure you’ll be whipping up another batch in no time.

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut