What do grandchildren, dancing on the porch, fermentation, and – ahem – microbe farts have in common? Believe it or not, it’s a combination that adds up to a lot of love, close family life, and good health. Continue reading
What does July sunshine bring in Ohio? Some hot, sticky days to be sure but it also is the season of sunflowers, tomatoes, zucchini and more. After a cool, wet start to the garden season, the heat is making our popcorn and other plants grow almost in front of our eyes. It is now most pleasant to work in the garden in the early morning hours or the cool of the evening till we can’t see the weeds we are trying to pull. Popsicles made from homemade yogurt and fresh fruit are a main stay for getting through the afternoons. Continue reading
Summer holds so much possibility, and while I might be more inclined to winter, I love how inviting the warm season feels. Now on the other side of June and July (and half way through August), it can feel like the height of summer is in the rearview. The days are shortening, and soon enough children will be filling their backpacks for the year ahead. (Or, if they are like ten-year-old me, they already have.) Hopefully you tried your hand at something new, or tackled that project you’d been thinking about all Spring. On our part, we got a heap of carrots and garlic into our big fermentation crock. And, hey, maybe you didn’t get to any of that because you were soaking up the sunshine or eating fresh peaches over the sink. That sounds pretty perfect, too. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: We’re happy to announce our guest blogger today is fermentation expert and author Kirsten K. Shockey. She has a wealth of information to share, and in this post, she tackles a question we hear often at Lehman’s. Enjoy!
What is the difference between fermenting and pickling? It is a common question. In a way, it is just as much a semantics question as it is a process question. Continue reading
From his office on main street, Scott and his 10 co-workers spend their days in the digital world. “I sit at my computer all day, every day, building online advertising campaigns,” said Scott, who lives in Colorado. “I was working on the Lehman’s account and started watching the canning video. It just drew me in and I thought I can [pun intended] do this!” Continue reading
Contrary to popular opinion, it just isn’t possible to make a living selling some honey, maple syrup and candles at a farm stand. I have to do other things — many, many other things — to avoid leaving home and hearth to pay the bills. I do a fair bit of writing and I teach a lot of workshops. Some have to do with my work with children impacted by abuse, neglect and foster care (my other life) and many are focused on teaching traditional skills like soap making, candle dipping, food preservation and making herbal salves and ointments.
I teach classes on how to do these things the traditional way, but I’m definitely not a purist. In fact, I’m a big fan of beginner’s kits. There are all kinds of kits available for all of the skills mentioned and just about any other you can think of. In fact, I got my start in mastering a lot of skills by purchasing said kits. Continue reading
I have always made a lot of pickles. We eat something pickled nearly every day. Pickled beans and beets are our favorites with carrots and cauliflower nearly as popular. We like bread and butter pickles too. Lately, I have been making a lot more lacto-fermented pickles than traditional canned pickles in brine. We can make a ½ gallon of pickles and eat them over the course of a few weeks and then just make up another crispy batch.
The process is really simple too. All you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board and some ½ gallon jars. Almost any vegetable can be fermented although a few things don’t appeal to me. I have tried pickled greens and found them, well; odd is all I can say about them. Continue reading
Alrighty then, it’s that time of year. The garden is starting to really gear up and I have more produce than we can eat before it goes bad. My plan for filling the pantry with wholesome and delicious foods that have less than 5 ingredients, none of which came out of a lab, is working.
Pickling for people disinclined to boil vinegar
So, what is a girl to do with all this bounty?
I know, I’ll lacto-ferment it all. I like lacto-fermented veggies, so does the hubbin, and I really actually find cutting up veggies to be enjoyable. I’m weird that way!
And as a completely unrelated bonus, lacto-fermenting things is so incredibly easy that even I can’t mess it up. Though I thought I had and threw out the first batch I ever made: more on that later.
Lacto-fermenting is what creates sauerkraut, kimchi and cocktail onions, to name some of the more commonly known results of the process.
It is a bacterial process, utilizing critters that are present in any environment that has not been completely sterilized (it will not work in outer space, so those of you reading this from the Mir Space Station, sorry, try it when you get back home), so yes, when I first got into this process I had to get over my germophobia and embrace the little things (metaphorically speaking). It’s similar to the fermentation that creates alcohol, just with different microbes.
Which brings me to examine exactly how one goes about lacto-fermenting, rather than creating carrot booze accidentally.
We want to attract the right kind of microbe, so we have to create the right kind of environment. Think of it as very, very small game trapping, because the microbes are all there, hanging out together. We want to encourage the lactobacilli, while discouraging the yeasts (alcohol) and other things that would spoil our food. Continue reading
Beyond Pickles I have always made a lot of pickles. We eat something pickled nearly every day. Pickled beans and beets are our favorites with carrots and cauliflower nearly as popular. We like bread and butter pickles too but by now, last year’s are are getting a bit soggy and nobody likes a soggy pickle. Lately, I have been making a lot more lacto-fermented pickled than traditional canned pickles in brine. We can make a ½ gallon of pickles and eat them over the course of a few weeks and then just make up another crispy batch. The process is really simple too. All you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board and some ½ gallon jars. Almost any vegetable can be fermented although a few things don’t appeal to me. I have tried pickled greens and found them, well…odd is all I can say about them. Continue reading
There’s something to be said for a quick and easy meal, that can make a hurried, hungry person happy in a matter of minutes. A fried egg, for example, or a peanut butter sandwich, or a handful of cherry tomatoes fresh from the vine.
But there’s something very different and just as beautiful to be said for foods that take a long time to create. Fermentation is a hobby of mine, I have to say—I get more excited about creating vast quantities of sauerkraut than consuming it, as delicious as it may be.
When, the other night, I looked at my counter and saw a total of 5 different cultured foods fermenting away (fyi: sour pickles, red cabbage kraut, kefir, sourdough pizza dough, and apple cider), I decided I had to write about it. Continue reading