Wild Fermented Soda

What you need:

  • 2 cups of sweetener-sugar, molasses, syrup
  • 1/2-2 cups of freshly picked fruit or flowers
  • A pint jar
  • Tea (I use the term tea as an umbrella for heated water flavored with botanicals and sweetened with sugar)
  • A large pot
  • Flip top bottles

 

You start by making what is called a bug. Fill the pint jar with some plant material. I’ve used many things—a stalk of rhubarb, rose hips, lawn daisies, green figs, blueberries—anything that seems like it would have a good bloom of bacteria and yeast and that you don’t feel too squicked out to not wash. Put it, uncleaned, into the pint jar. Add one cup of sugar or a big dollop of molasses or both if you feel like it. Fill the jar with water and stir. Loosely cover the jar and set it aside for four days, being sure to tighten the lid and shake it at least once a day. You’ll notice bubbles starting to form in the liquid. This is your starter bug. You might see some white film forming on the liquid. This is a certain kind of yeast and you can skim it off or leave it. If you see mold or if it smells bad, chuck it and start over. Ferments smell funky, but they don’t smell spoiled.

A nice bubbly bug from yard daisies.
Green fig and green rose hip bug.

After your bug is nice and bubbly, make a big pot of tea. I use a six quart pot and it makes about eight 16 oz flip tops worth. You can use anything to make the tea. My favorite is berry tea. In this recipe I added about a cup of black currants from my garden, some dehydrated carrots, a bunch of lemon balm from my garden, and a cup of dry elderberries. Add the second cup of sugar to this tea (one cup per six quarts of water, reduce sugar for less water). Let the tea cool completely. Your finished drink will taste like this tea, but carbonated and less sweet.

Carrot, lemon balm, and black currant tea.

Add three tablespoons of your bubbly bug to each flip top. Pour the cooled tea in and cap it up. Leave it to sit for 1-3 days. You may need to release the pressure, depending on how strong your bug is.

Voila! Wild fermented soda! You can keep your bug alive by adding water and feeding it some sugar (1/4-1/2 cup) once a week. I use molasses and brown sugar to feed my bug as well. Keep it in the fridge between uses and let it get to room temperature each time you use it.


Be careful when you open these! Make sure they are cold and be ready to pour it right away to avoid losing 3/4th on the floor. It gets bubbly!!
I took a picture of the yeasts under a microscope! This is what’s making that soda bubble.

Papaya Seed Cream Sauce

What you need:

  • a nice ripe papaya
  • 1/4 c cider vinegar, wine vinegar, or berry vinegar
  • 1 t mustard powder
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c Avellana easy soy yogurt

How to make it:

Papaya!
Papaya seeds! Packed with health and flavor.

Cut the papaya in half and scoop out 1-3 tablespoons of seeds. I like to use a lot because they have SO many health benefits! Plus they are slippery and fun to crunch. Add the seeds and the rest of the ingredients except the yogurt to your food processor/blender/mortar and pestle. I used this cool little rip cord chopper that I LOVE. I originally got it for my camper, but I use it all the time because it’s easier to clean than the food processor or blender. Plus it’s fun to pull that cord a million times like a crazy person.

Grind up all the ingredient to your preferred level of chunky-ness. I like some texture, so I only ground it a little bit. Then add in the yogurt and stir in up. Voila! You’ve got a delicious and healthy dressing and/or marinade! Its a little sweet and a little savory and a little tart. Delicious.

Serving suggestion: I made a batch of cream sauce with yogurt and a batch without yogurt. I used the non yogurt batch to marinate a block of torn up tofu. I let it marinate for 30-45 minutes.

I baked the marinated tofu at 425 for about twenty minutes, stirring often to keep it from sticking. I roasted some butternut squash and yellow squash at the same time. I put it all over a bed of saffron infused rice (add a pinch of saffron, 1/2 t of turmeric, a splash of roasted sesame oil, and one t salt to the rice before you bring it to a boil), drizzled on the cream sauce, and sprinkled some smoked paprika on top for a flavorful fall meal.

Falafel pita with cultured tzatziki, cultured turnips and beets, and spinach

What you’ll need:

For the tzatziki

  • 1 1/2 c easy soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 T dill (dry)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 cloves smooshed garlic
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 2 T olive oil

For the cultures beets and turnips

For the sandwich

  • Falafel (you can make your own, I used this recipe, or buy pre made)
  • Spinach
  • Pita bread (I used B Free gluten free pitas-they’re quite good!)

The fermented turnips and beets will need to be made a day in advance. Peel and slice your turnip and beet and add to a quart jar. Mix up two cups of water with one tablespoon water and one blue scoop of Avellana cultures. Pour over the beets and turnips and place in your fermentation station at around 100 degrees for 24 hours. Weight the veggies down so they stay submerged. Remove after 24 hours.

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The tzatziki is easy! Whisk the yogurt in a bowl until smooth.

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Peel and grate the cucumber (no need to deseed the cucumber) and squeeze it really hard to get the excess water out. Add it to the yogurt along with the rest of the ingredients and stir it up!

Cook up your falafel, slice up your spinach, and throw them all together! So delicious.

Cultured cauliflower Alfredo with gnocchi, arugula, and acorn squash

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What you need:

  • 1/2 of one small cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 c raw onion
  • 1.5 c easy soy yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb spice
  • salt to taste

For the gnocchi:

  • one package gnocchi (I used Trader Joe cauliflower gnocchi, soft and chewy!)
  • one small acorn squash
  • one bag arugula greens

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and spread them on a baking sheet. I pre-scored the squash to make it easier to scoop after baking. Also, I’m not too picky about cleaning the stingy stuff off the seeds, I think it adds flavor.

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Cut up the cauliflower and put it on a sheet (you can put it all on one if you want. Easy cleaning!)

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Roast the veggies until they are done. You’ll have to stir the seeds at least once and remove them after about ten minutes. Flip the squash after about fifteen minutes. Stir the cauliflower to keep from burning.

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Once every thing is cooked, put the Alfredo ingredients into the blender and blend until warm.

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Cook your gnocchi as instructed. I pan fried the cauliflower gnocchi in oil until browned. Wilt the arugula (add to warm pot and cook just long enough to wilt it.) You can drain the arugula in a colander if you want to. I usually don’t because I don’t like to waste the nutrients in the water that cook out, unless it’s really going to mess up my plating.

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Stir the gnocchi and squash cubes into the arugula.

Top with Alfredo sauce and garnish with the baked squash seeds. Yum!

Cultured cashew cream

What you need-

Blend the cashews until smooth, adding just enough water to blend easily. You can make it thicker but you may need to scrape the cashew butter down from the sides. Stir in salt and cultures, cover to avoid developing a skin, and place in your fermentation station for 8 hours.

You can add in any number of seasonings. I make it plain so that I can utilize it for multiple applications.

Roasted romanesco broccoli with cultured cashew and persimmon sauce

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What you need-

  • 1 head Romanesco broccoli
  • 4 tablespoons cultured cashew cream
  • 1-2 persimmons
  • 2 apples
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • seasoning

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop the apples, potato and shallots, drizzle with olive oil. I sprinkled on a little Italian herb spice and salt. Roast until soft.

Lightly core and cover the Romanesco broccoli with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and roast for another five for a little browning. Check from time to time to ensure it doesn’t burn.

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Place cultured cashew cream in the blender along with the flesh of the persimmon, 1/2 shallot, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of chipotle (optional). You can add other seasoning as desired.

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When everything is done roasting, drizzle the cream sauce on and serve! The light sweetness of the persimmon cashew sauce perfectly matches the sweetness in the roasted apples. It makes for a great sweet and savory dinner.