Fermented by L A B

Ferments

A List of Ways to Enjoy and Eat Kraut + Kimchi

FermentsAlana Holloway

I think “how do you eat it” is one of the most commonly asked questions we get asked at FBL.  I’ve been eating both Kraut and Kimchi for a while now and have tried some weird and wonderful ways of eating them, some more successful than others.  In this super short blog post, I’m going to share with you a list of ways to enjoy Kraut + Kimchi.  If you’d like more detailed recipes, then head over to the recipes page for inspiration galore!

 
gut loving lunch
 

 

RAW AND AS IT IS, WITH…

Avocado on toast

Curries

Fajitas/Tacos

Hummus on crackers

Mushrooms on toast

Smashed avo on crackers

Scrambled eggs on toast

Stews and casseroles

Salads

 

IN… 

Cheese on toast

Croque Madame/Monsieur

Welsh rarebit

Guacamole

Hummus

Sandwiches/Wrap

Mayonnaise

 
kimchi snack
 

 

USED AS PART OF A DISH, IN…

(Just make sure you add it at the very end of the cooking process to keep some of the microbes alive!)

Soup

Stir-fries

Stews and casseroles

Curries

Spag-bol/Lasagne

Chilli con carne

Mashed potato

Omelette

Ramen/Pho

Bone broth


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5 [Anti] Food Waste Ferments

Sustainability, FermentsAlana Holloway
 
grapefruit peels
 

It’s no secret that I’ve got an aversion to food waste.  It’s likely the influence from my Gran’s “waste not, want not” attitude and my Mum’s obsession with making sure she gets every last scrap from the whatever bowl/pan she’s been cooking from… when she discovered silicon spatulas it’s as if all her prayers had been answered!   

When I started FBL and began fermenting on a larger scale, it hit me quite hard to see just how much food waste is produced in commercial kitchens by way of peels, rinds and knob-ends (why…what do you call them?!)  Although we have always composted our food waste at FBL (you can read about that and how else we identify as a low-impact business here), I knew there was more that could be done with our scraps, after having followed the closed-circuit food production practices of the hugely inspirational Silo.  

Fermentation lends itself so well to utilising the bits of food you might otherwise throw away and if you’ve been following me for a while, you may have seen some of my experiments on Instagram.  Today I’m sharing with you 5 of the anti-food-waste ferments that I think you’ll get most use out of.

 

Beetroot + Ginger Kvass

Fresh beetroot are beautiful things.  Rather than chucking the rough tops and stringy roots, pop them in a clean glass jar along with some ginger peels and knob-ends then fill with a 2% salt brine solution.  Leave to ferment at room temp until it’s a salty sour drink (usually around 7-10 days) before straining and decanting into a glass bottle.  A slice of orange or lemon would also work beautifully in this recipe. Take it as a shot in the morning for a great kick start to your day.

Optional: Once bottled, leave at room temp to carbonate for a further day or two before popping in your fridge.  


Preserved Citrus Peels

 
preserved lemon peels
 

Next time you cook a recipe that calls for lemon/lime/orange juice, don’t throw the peels away!  Cut them into quarters or eighths and pack them tightly into a jar, salting liberally as you go.  Pop a few whole lemons/limes/oranges in along the way and maybe even add some spices for a lime-esque pickle.  Top the jar up with water, making sure the peels are completely submerged.  These will take a couple of months at room temperature to mature. Here is a more in depth recipe.

 

Tepache

 
tepache
 

This recipe does require an organic pineapple (organic is always advised when fermenting) which are quite tricky to get your hands on and a bit expensive.  But if you’ve gone to all that trouble, best use the whole thing, eh!  Tepache is a pineapple-y, ginger beer-y drink which utilises the peel and core and relies on the microbes present on the skin for fermentation.  Pop the peel and core in a clean Kilner jar and top up with an 8-10% strength sugar water solution (raw cane sugar preferably).  You can also add some ginger, a cinnamon stick, a couple of slices of chilli, cloves, etc.  You get the idea.  Allow to ferment at room temp for 4-5 days before straining, bottling and popping in the fridge.  Remember to burp throughout fermentation to avoid any explosions!

 

Apple/Pear Core Cider Vinegar 

 
apple cider vinegar
 

Next time you make apple crumble/pie/anything with a few apples in it, use the cores and peels to make ACV or PCV!  Pop the cores and peels of 3-4 apples in a 1L Kilner Jar.  Top up with water and 10g sugar.  Cover with a muslin cloth and elastic band to secure and leave to ferment at room temp for 8-10 days, shaking or stirring every day to prevent mould growth.  Strain and bottle.  A more detailed recipe can be found here.

  

Ginger Peel + Knob-End Bug

Instead of making your ginger bug with the good parts of the ginger root, try using all the gnarly ends that aren’t really good enough to eat but are too good to waste.  This is a good ginger bug recipe to follow.


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Why I Choose House-Pressed, Cold-Extracted Juices to Flavour FBL Water Kefir

FermentsAlana Holloway
 
Cold-pressed rhubarb juice

Cold-pressed rhubarb juice

 

Happy Friday folks! How are you?  

I was uploading an Instagram story the other day about why I choose to cold-press apples in house in order to make apple juice, over buying in ready-made organic cold-pressed apple juice. The reason being: because most, if not all, pre-pressed apple juice contains ascorbic acid.  Ascorbic acid is a concentrated derivative of Vitamin C, which really isn’t that bad, I know.  It’s often used as a preservative to extend shelf life, prevent spoilage, and to retain colour… ever noticed how your home pressed apple juice turns brown pretty quickly? The reason it does all those things is because the pH of ascorbic acid sits somewhere between 1.0-2.5, meaning it prevents microbial growth. Which is precisely the reason I’d rather leave it out of FBL Kefir!  Kefir is built on microbial growth (of the beneficial kind).  Adding something that prevents that would also stop any further beneficial microbial growth from taking place.  You see, because FBL Kefir is alive and kicking with microbes, those microbes produce even more microbes once it’s flavoured with (cold pressed) juice, which acts as microbe fodder; it’s known as the second ferment.  Call me crazy but adding something that prevents microbial growth just doesn’t make sense!   

It got me to thinking about all the other reasons I choose to only use organic, house pressed, cold extracted fruit and vegetable juice in FBL Kefir… 

-      It’s additive free.

-      It’s fresh as can be.

-      It retains far more nutrients than juice that isn’t cold-extracted.  Cold-extraction uses a masticating action, rather than centrifugal. It effectively chews the whole fruit/vegetable to extract the juice.  Centrifugal juicing is very fast action spin and chop motion and produces a fair bit of heat in the process, which begins to kill off heat sensitive nutrients in the juice… I’m all for maximum nutrients!

-      I have control over choosing fruits and vegetable varieties which yield the tastiest juice and therefore, the tastiest Kefir.

-      The pH of Kefir (between 3.0 - 4.2) offers all the ‘preservatives’ I need.

-      It gives me more freedom to choose to work with a wide range of organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables… carrot, rhubarb, grapefruit, beetroot, the list goes on!

Producing the highest quality ferments is of utmost importance to me and using fresh, organic and seasonal cold-pressed juices is just one way of ensuring that.  

Just a short one for today. Have a lovely weekend,

Alana x


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Introducing the Spring 2019 Collection!

FermentsAlana Holloway

I have to say, I’m so excited to welcome in the Spring this year.  Working with the seasons has me even more aware of the changes that happen and every day, a big smile is put on my face by the blooming of flowers, morning song bird and longer days.  The welcoming of Spring means the welcoming of the Spring Collection here at FBL and I’d like to introduce you to each of the new flavours.

 
 

THE VEGGIES

LEMON + SAFFRON KRAUT

Last Spring, I was addicted to the lemony tang in the Fennel + Lemon Kraut but wanted to try something different this year.  Krauts are famous for pairing well with rich meaty dishes but Spring calls for something a little lighter.  Saffron, lemon and fish are a match made in heaven and I can’t wait to create some recipes… I just know the colours will be beautiful! 

CHILLI + CORIANDER KIMCHI

OK, this one isn’t exactly new but I think I might have a mob on my hands if it wasn’t brought back.  It’s been a firm favourite since day one; its sweet and tangy with a spicy kick and works well in so many dishes.  I’ve got a Kimchi and Kale loaf in the making… trust me, it’s delicious.

CARROT + NIGELLA KRAUT

This one was born out of my love for roasted carrots sprinkled with nigella seeds.  It’s great for anyone following a low FODMAP diet as there’s a hint of onion brought by the Nigella seeds, without actually containing onion!  I’ll be tossing this one into salads and slaws, for sure.

THE KEFIR

RED GRAPEFRUIT + BASIL

I had such pleasure using red grapefruit last Spring.  Every batch of grapefruit showcased a rainbow of pinks, peaches and reds, displaying what it truly means to work with nature’s bounty.  I love this combination; the back note of basil somewhat calms the pallet smack that grapefruit is so famous for!

RHUBARB + ROSE

Another front runner from last year… I just wasn’t ready to let it go!  This one’s the perfect cocktail (alcoholic or not) mixer.  The rose is definitely present but by no means overpowering. It pairs so perfectly with the rhubarb, which changes from shocking pink to a deeper red as the season progresses.  Plus, it’s pretty pink hue makes for the perfect Instagram shot!!

CARROT, APPLE + GINGER

I start to get really into smoothies and vegetable juices in Spring.  Autumn and winter are all about the warm and the well-cooked but as the temperature rises, I crave the fresh flavours of a cold pressed juice.   I always add Kefir to my smoothies at home and wanted to give you something similar, ready-made.  Carrot, apple and ginger is a classic combination.  The ginger eases you in whilst the weather is still a bit temperamental, providing a little heat for those not-so-warm days.

A full list of the ingredients can be found here. The Spring Collection will run from March - May, with the last orders being taken on May 13th (delivery on May 15th). I can’t wait to hear what you make of the new collection!

Over and out,

Alana x

What We Get Asked Most About Fermented Food and Drink...

FermentsAlana Holloway
kimchi-pickle-sauerkraut.jpg

Dipping your toe in the water of fermented food and drink can be a little daunting; our whole lives we've been conditioned to believe that all bacteria is bad, we're not used to dealing with 'live' foods and with so many RDA's out there, we've forgotten how to let our bodies lead the way.  We get asked a lot of questions about the how's, why's and when's, but these are most definitely the ones we get asked the most, so we'd thought we'd share them for all to see!

How much am I supposed to eat/drink?
I really recommend listening to your body when considering how much to eat and drink per day.  If you are very new to fermented foods, then start with a small amount such as a forkful or a sip, and build from there.  You will soon discover your individual tolerance as you might experience some temporary gas and bloating if you exceed it!  This is completely natural and is just a sign that your internal microbial balance is shifting and once it settles, you can begin increasing your intake.

How and when am I supposed to eat/drink the ferments?
However you like!  At LAB, we believe that you should enjoy eating your probiotics; it should not be a chore!  This means adding them to your favourite meals, using them in your cooking (although they should only be added at the very end so that you don’t cook away all the living bacteria!) or just eating them straight from the jar.  We’ve got some great recipes here.  The same goes for the sodas; drink them at whatever time feels best for you.  They’re great post-workout energisers, morning/afternoon pick-me-up’s and thirst quenchers.

My ferment has a very strong smell; is it OK to eat?
Each ferment has its own personality; some smell stronger than others; some fizz more than others and some are tangier than others.  All these are great signs that the ferment is LIVE and perfectly OK to eat.

How much sugar does the Kefir contain?
Our 250ml, 1 serve bottle of kefir starts life with 15g added sugar, of which approximately 80% is consumed by the bacteria during fermentation.  By the time it arrives with you, that same 250ml contains approximately 3g sugar, which is under 1tsp.

There is some sediment floating at the top of my Kefir; is it safe to drink?
Absolutely!  Kefir contains naturally occurring carbon dioxide, which pushes any sediment in the kefir to the top, especially when particularly pulpy foods such as citrus and berries are used!  Just give is a gentle shake to re-distribute and drink away!

What are the health benefits associated with eating fermented foods?
Fermented foods are alive and kicking with good bacteria, or probiotics.  They help to balance your gut bacteria and stomach acids; releasing enzymes to help ease and improve digestion, making it easier for your body to extract and absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat.  Not only that, but when you introduce good bacteria into your diet via fermented foods, you enable your gut to support your immune system in fighting disease and contribute to the reduction of systemic inflammation, which is said to be at the root of many modern-day, chronic illnesses.  Read more about the health benefits here.

Struggling to Eat Fermented Foods Every Day? Read This...

FermentsAlana Holloway

Incorporating something new into your diet can be a challenge.  Many of us are creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to what we eat, which can mean eating the same meals week after week.  Whilst this is convenient, it’s not the best thing we can do for our gut.  Meal planning can help with budgeting, time management and shopping lists, but how often do we think about our health when we’re deciding what to eat for the week?  More specifically, do we think about our gut health?

New to fermented foods and drinks?

FermentsAlana Holloway

Ferments are foods and drinks that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation, in which naturally present bacteria, or bacteria introduced in the form of a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.