Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Month's Worth of Probiotics for the Price of a Cabbage!

Did you know that you can easily make your own probiotics at home in your own kitchen from simple ingredients like salt, water and cabbage?

  Shredded Sauerkraut         Wedge Sauerkraut (cabbaged chopped into wedges)

Lacto-fermented cabbage, aka Sauerkraut, is an ancient cultured vegetable that is loaded with probiotics and enzymes that grow through natural fermentation. 

I like getting my probiotics and enzymes from a food rather than a bottled supplement. I believe these probiotics and enzymes become highly available to the body because they are live right from the food rather than processed in an industrial plant awaiting rehydration in the digestive tract.

People that have taken many courses of antibiotics usually have reduced and out-of-balance intestinal bacteria opening the door for illnesses like candida, IBS, fungal infections, and parasites. 

Eating small amounts of lacto-fermented vegetables (1-2 tablespoons) at lunch and dinner on a regular basis helps to gently repair the intestinal environment. The enzymes help to digest the meal while the probiotics repopulate the intestines with friendly bacteria.

Many vegetables can be successfully fermented including the current bounty of root vegetables available in late fall.

I was able to turn my health around partially by eating fermented vegetables. I tried a few methods and settled on my favorite which is low impact (no pounding of veggies), measured amounts of salt (so you know how much you're eating) and the use of common glass canning jars (no fancy equipment needed).

I share my favorite fermenting technique in my book,
Lacto-Fermentation Through The Seasons.

Special April Discount for paperback version $20.00, includes shipping. (regular price, $25.00) PDF instant download is only $15.00
Order Here!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Marinated Summer Greens

One of the things I love about summer is the many varieties of fresh greens: Swiss Chard, turnip, pea vines, escarole, lettuce, mustard. There is a vendor at my farmer's market that offers ethnic Hmong greens. I don't know the names of them but I try them and like them.

When it's hot and humid, the last thing I want to do is cook but I still need to make sure I have healthy substantial food ready for me. In the morning, I'll cook a large pot of greens, enough for 3-4 days, add a marinade and chill in the fridge. Then the greens are ready for me when I'm hungry.

Pea Vines

These are pea vines and mushrooms. Very tasty and fun. I'll wash and drain whatever greens I have, chop them into bite size pieces and saute them over low to medium heat in olive oil, coconut oil or animal fat. Sometimes I add Walking Onion greens or a few cloves of garlic or chopped mushroom. I'll add the garlic on top of the greens so they don't burn. If I have some fresh herbs like dill, basil, parsley or thyme, I'll snip some of them into the pot.

I try to cook them slowly to avoid scorching but if I do scorch, I'll add a bit of kombucha vinegar as a remedy.

After all the greens are tender but not mushy, I'll take them off the heat and let them sit in the pot and cool for about 20 minutes. Then I put them in a bowl with a cover and squeeze fresh lemon and/or lime juice on top. I'll add a little kombucha vinegar or rice vinegar and a bit of salt. The resulting tastes are sweet, sour and a trifle salty. When they're completely cool, I cover and refrigerate. They last 4-5 days and complement any meal or snack in hot, steamy weather.

A finished batch of Marinated Swiss Chard

Enjoy the bounty that is summer and share beautiful food with a friend!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Horseradish Condiment

                                                  Fresh Horseradish

                                       Finished Horseradish condiment

Every Spring I like to share my horseradish condiment video. I make it for Passover using a fresh hunk of horseradish and my own kombucha vinegar. It's easy to make and is good on meat, beans, fish, and salad.

I use a food processor to grind the horseradish. If you try it, please remember not to open the food processor right away. Wait at least 15 minutes before opening as the pungent fragrance from the fresh ground horseradish causes eyes to water and sinuses to burn. Eating the condiment in small amounts is a good (and safe) way to clear the sinuses.

Click here for Horseradish Video

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sinus Congestion Buster

Grapefruit Peel Tea for Sinus Congestion Buster

Every August I do battle with allergies and subsequent sinus infections, which are the remaining health challenges I have after finally recovering from 2 decades of ill health.

These days, I have so many less allergies and sinus days than I used to. However, this summer really seems to be a whopper. After all the rains and many cool nights we've had, the flowers are really magnificent; oversized and intoxicatingly aromatic. The ragweed is as robust as I've ever seen it. Consequently, the pollen is way up there.

I used to have many bad allergy/sinus days in a season but now that I'm healthier I may have 5-10 days in an entire summer. That said, I've been feeling really challenged the last 2 weeks, so much so, that I made a pot of the summer! Also, I usually buy organic lemons for kombucha or water kefir congestion busters but alas, there were none, so I bought organic grapefruit.

I actually consumed an entire enormous grapefruit in one sitting, something I rarely do. I was happy to feel my head begin to clear. When I peeled the grapefruit I admired the thick fragrant peel and the soft, cushy pith within. I didn't have the heart to toss the peels in the compost without knowing they couldn't be used for something. I hopped on the internet and found that boiling the peels into tea was excellent for sinus congestion! They said it might be very bitter but I happen to like bitter.

I sliced up some peel and made some grapefruit peel tea right away!
I drank it and felt even more clearing happen. It was bitter but very palatable. Certainly, honey could be added to balance the bitter.

The next morning I felt a lot better and had more energy. I drank some of the leftover tea in the pot and found it to be even more potent without any extra bitterness.

The Recipe:
slice up pieces of organic grapefruit peel (what you don't use right away can be stored in the freezer for future tea)
3 cups of water in a saucepan
1 large handful of chopped peel

Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Note: I froze a bunch of chopped peels for the future when grapefruits are not in season.

Don't you love finding a new remedy that is safe, effective, economical and sustainable?

Remember, many foods and food prep techniques can be used as medicine. Check out my Intestinal Recovery Book and Video Club for lots of great Food As Medicine recipes.

Here's a comment from one of my readers:
Hi Sharon
I just wanted to send you a quick but large THANK U :)  When I received your last newsletter I was suffering with a sinus and chest infection, and was avoiding taking any pharmaceuticals.  Having been a Systemic Candida person my gut bacteria is far too precious to me for that!

I did exactly as you advised.  I sent my husband down the garden to retrieve some grapefruits and "set-too" making my concoction.  BRILLIANT!  It eased both my sinus and my chest and probably gave my immune system some much needed vitamin C.

I'd also like to say "Congratulations" on creating such a successful business that helps and encourages so many individuals. 

Kindest Regards and Big Hugs
J.T., N.Z. 9/30/2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lacto-Fermentation Class

Photo Essay from my Lacto-Fermentation Class

Lacto-Fermentation is an ancient fermenting technique that helps repair a stressed digestion and helps maintain a healthy one! It's easy and economical. Now is an excellent time to make sauerkraut from newly harvested cabbages.

Laura Davis, from Long Life Farm & CSA in Hopkinton, Mass, asked me if I would be willing to offer a fermentation class to her CSA shareholders. I happily accepted for many reasons, one being that I wanted to see how my commercial kitchen would transform into a teaching kitchen.

It transformed beautifully, holding 11 participants! We made sauerkraut and kim chi. Check out the photos:

Here's Laura!

Here's the kitchen transformed:

Here are the students diligently pressing cabbage into jars:

Here's the Low Salt Sauerkraut I made a few weeks before class:

And the kim chi I made...too hot for me!!!

Now, about a month later, people are opening and enjoying the fruits of our labors.
Learn this easy and ancient technique in my book:

   Lacto-Fermentation Through The Seasons
A  60-page book about fermenting vegetables starting in spring right through to fall.
Purchase in PDF or Hard Copy

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anyone heard of Fuzzy Melon?

The Ashland Farmers Market has many fine vendors. This season I have bought way too much handcrafted jewelry (at affordable prices, I might add) and pounds and pounds of gorgeous produce. One vendor from Flats Mentor Farm, features Asian produce. Flats Mentor Farm has created a wonderful situation to support small farmers of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Check out their website to read about this wonderful organization.

I always ask Nua, who runs the booth, for directions on how to use these vegetables I've never seen before. She has been very helpful. She is also happy that I am so willing to try new veggies. I've tried Pea Vines and loved them, and Bitter Melon which is really bitter! And most recently I've tried Fuzzy Melon. It runs from about 8 inches to 16 inches long and has a layer of fuzz on the outside of it. When the melon is young the fuzz rubs off with your finger but when it is more mature the skin needs to be peeled. I've only bought young ones so far.

Nua told me it is used in soup, even in summer! Sometimes it is peeled but I decided not to peel it since the peel was fairly thin.

I chopped it up and simmered it in some tomato water leftover from making ketchup. I tried to make ketchup and used whatever second quality tomatoes I could find at the farmers market. Problem was that we had huge rains just a few days before and the tomatoes were extra juicy. They were also Heirloom tomatoes rather than paste or sauce tomatoes. I learned my lesson as I only got 3 cups of ketchup from 15 pounds of tomatoes.

What I did get, however, was a gallon of watery tomato juice. I used this flavorful juice to simmer the fuzzy melon, which worked very well. Fuzzy melon, without much of its own taste, takes on the taste of whatever it is cooked with.

Here is the finished Fuzzy Melon in Tomato Juice. I read online that it is better to cook the whole thing rather than leave it uncut for very long. I used the whole melon and froze lots of it in portions in the juice. I believe it would be excellent in a crock pot stew, or in a bean pot. It is really delicious and I highly recommend trying it if you can find it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saving Veggie Trimmings, Boosting Nutrition & Wasting Nothing!

    Remember, now is the time to freeze your veggie trimmings for fall and winter soupstocks. As you harvest from your garden or bring home your CSA share or bring home fresh produce from the market, save all those peelings, tops, ends, seeds, outer leaves, tough leaves and overgrown beans. If it is not spoiled, it's good for soup! Use as much of the veggies as possible and waste as little as possible.

    The gelatin in those slow cooked meat/bone soups is excellent for rebuilding digestion, healing joints and strengthening the immune system. Adding the frozen veggie trimmings to the soups boosts the nutritive value of your soup stocks. Also, those oversized squashes that hide under the leaves are excellent grated and frozen and then added to winter bean pots.

Check out the frozen veggie photos:

Carrot Greens

Grated Summer Squash

Radish Greens

Garlic Scapes