Fermenting on Snow Days [Kombucha, Sourdough, Kimchi]

                                                                                                    Written by Paul Wartman

So with the snow day upon us in Southern Ontario (getting close to 3 feet now (woof!), I’ve decided to stay inside and ferment! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been outside in the beauty snow to shovel and help my sister almost get up the court in the van. Love it.

But now I’m inside and reigniting a passion of live food! Check it out…

Snowy window reminds me of kombucha mother forming a new layer on the top of the liquid.
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I started this batch of kombucha 2 1/2 weeks ago with a black tea that has a very strong scent of wood fire smoke. It’s not my favourite batch, so I might dilute it and feed it to the plants. We’ll see how that goes. Anyone have experience with house plants not enjoying that?
IMG_0036You can see the Kombucha here at 1 week from start. It has visually begun to ferment and you can see the intricate networks formed between the older mother (at the bottom) and the new baby Mother (forming at the surface). Pretty cool, eh?

I am beginning a new batch as I write this with organic white tea and white sugar. It is my favourite kind to make. After ~2 weeks I put in mason jars with slices of ginger and put them in the fridge. Drink a little (1/2 cup) each day. If you are interested in making your own check out my online tutorial here.

Next on the list was making a sourdough starter. I am super excited about this as it is the first time I’ve tried sourdough. My night time reading has inspired me to finally try it out…IMG_0056Great book. Almost had me up all night with excitement. So after watching a couple of YouTube clips and reading the section on sourdough, it seemed simple enough. The materials you need to begin include: organic flour, water (de-chlorinated by letting it stand) and a bowl with something to cover it. So far so good. I added 1/2 cup of Oak Manor organic spelt all purpose flour + 1/4 cup tap water, which I left out over night to let the chlorine volatilize off. The municipal tap water here in Mississauga has both chlorine and fluoride in it for the purposes of water treatment. People are working towards having the fluoride removed, but as of now I enjoy the taste and smell of my tap water, and it seems to make good kombucha. Worries are that the Fl and Cl in the water, which are there to prevent bacterial growth, will hamper the growth of our good living foods. We’ll see… I mixed up the small amount of flour with water to add my own bacteria :). Then I scraped down the walls of the bowl and covered it with a tea towel. My Grandma gave me these cute white and colour-striped tea towels for my ferments. She loves me! haha
IMG_0060I will check this so-do starter tomorrow in the morning and then ‘feed’ it around 3pm (approx. 24 hours after starting it). I will continue to ‘feed’ it everyday until I notice it start to bubble up with goodness. Practitioners recommend ‘feeding’ it 3 or so times before using it to make bread. This is to create a stable culture in your starter. ‘Feed’ your so-do-starter by removing 50%-75% and then adding the same amount back in of fresh ingredients. Sound interesting? I’m still learning, too. This video was a good help for me and this websiteThe starter that I remove when feeding I think I will cook into soups as a thickener. I’ll let you know how that goes. Then I will begin baking my own bread! I’ve recently been experiencing a pretty harsh intolerance to gluten (ie. eat a heavy gluten meal and get bad BM). So I am trying to eat more cultured bread with broken down gluten (fermenting helps that) and see if that helps. Any tips?

Next up on the list is one of my favourite things! One day I will go to Korea to try out the pros’. KIMCHI!

I love the stuff and have had some fermenting/laying dormant in my cold cellar for 2 1/2 months or so. Time to check on them. Dun dun dun.IMG_0067There’s a lot, haha. Time to start enjoying again!

Do you ferment? Share it here 🙂 Thanks for reading!