Shoyu Pickled Garlic

I love this recipe because many of the nutrients in garlic are held in the skin! This is a great recipe to start in the Fall to prepare your Winter immunity "medicine chest." 

ingredients -

  • 4-6 whole heads of organic garlic

  • 2 bottles of rice vinegar

  • 2 bottles of shoyu or tamari (soy sauce)

  • large glass jar with lid

  • optional: small scoop of "live" miso paste

directions -

  1. Cut off top stalks/stems of garlic.

  2. Leaving whole heads intact, peel the outer skin off until about one layer remains.

  3. Position into large, glass jar so all heads will be completely emerged in liquid.

  4. Cover completely with rice vinegar. Screw on lid + let sit for approx. 3 weeks. I like to write the date on a piece of masking tape and attach it to the jar in case I forget.

  5. Pour out (and save!) 2/3 of the garlic-infused vinegar so approx. 1/3 liquid remains in the jar. Then add enough shoyu or tamari to completely cover the heads of garlic (and optional small spoonful of miso paste), and let sit for another 2-3 weeks. For the first week, I checked frequently on the jar, unsealing + sealing the lid to let out any pressure.

  6. After 2-3 weeks, test a clove and if you're satisfied, move to the fridge and consume at your leisure

ideas -

Homemade Apple {Cider} Vinegar

ingredients:

  • whole organic* apples (or apple cores), in large cubes OR uv/un-pasteurized apple cider 
  • filtered water (if using cider, don't add water)

Place cubed apples (cores, stems, seeds & all) in a large glass jar. Cover with filtered water & gently cap (don't seal too tightly, perhaps use a dishcloth & rubber band; see below). Let sit in a cool, dark place until the "mother" forms--an opaque-white, gel-like disc floating on the surface of the liquid. When you think the vinegar is ready, smell & taste check it. If it smells good** & tastes like vinegar, strain into a dark glass jar. Save the mother (covered completely in the vinegar you just made) for future vinegar making, or start your next batch right away. 

notes: I used about 2 apples and a 1/2 gallon mason jar. I lightly screwed on a plastic cap, and put it on the top shelf of my cool, dark pantry for about a year. I imagine I could have strained it sooner as the vinegar "mother" formed about 5 months in. 

*Using organic apples is important as pesticide residue could potentially interfere with proper fermentation. 

**Many people--especially in our modern Western culture of expiration dates, refrigerators and antibacterial everything--are hesitant to try making fermented/cultured foods at home. The advice I follow in my kitchen is that our noses & tastebuds know the difference between productively fermented and rotten/moldy. If you open up your jar of kraut or vinegar and are repulsed by what you smell, that's a good indicator that it's not meant to be consumed. 

Simple Mead

This mead is fermenting productively + actively.

This mead is fermenting productively + actively.

ingredients -

  • 1 part raw, ideally local honey (the raw part is necessary since no starter or yeast is used)

  • 4-6 parts filtered water

  • jar large enough to hold the amount of water

{I generally use 1 C honey to 6 C water}

directions -

  1. Combine room-temperature water and honey. Shake or stir vigorously until well combined.

  2. Leave uncovered on countertop for approx. 1 week, stirring vigorously (until frothy) several times a day. I usually stir mine every time I walk by.

  3. After about a week, the mead wants to either be refrigerated or transferred to a bottle with an airlock & fermented for another week or so. Mead can be enjoyed at any point of its fermenting process, depending on how long you want to wait. After the week with an airlock, you can seal it and let it ferment in the bottle on the shelf for years. Before I owned an airlock, I would transfer the mead to the fridge after a week & drink. I often still do this if I don't want to wait!

upgrades -

  • add fresh herbs or spices to the first stage of fermentation; so far, I’ve made delicious strawberry-elderflower mead, dandelion flower mead, lilac mead, and elderberry mead