food preservation

Follow Up [Fermented Soda]

I told y’all I would write a follow up post if/when I got a batch of fermented soda to go successfully.

fermentedsoda

Well look at that. Fermented soda.

Fermented soda has a lot going for it-you can adjust the fruit flavors, there’s less sugar…and it’s kind of a cool project to watch.

This is a multiple step project-

First you have to make a root bug. This is a simple though time consuming step.

  1. Grate ginger or turmeric root for about a tablespoon’s worth root.
  2. Add about a tablespoon sugar [white is fine. It’s feeding the ferment so it doesn’t matter.]
  3. Add about 3/4-1 cup filtered water [you can let tap water sit for a few hours and it’ll work]. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  4. Add sugar and grated root once a day for about five days [and really do wait the five days, unless it’s really warm]
  5. After five days feed it every other or every three days, adding water as necessary
  6. It’ll be really foamy and yeasty when it’s done

To ferment soda:

  1. Add about half a cup’s worth root bug to a jar. [Make sure you stir it]
  2. Add about a quarter pint’s worth syrup [or you can use several cups juice, but use 100% juice or steam/boil your own with plenty of sugar]
  3. Add water to make up volume in the jar
  4. Cover semi tightly, and let sit. It will eventually get fizzy and the sweetness will start to fall. Stir once a day to check-this batch took about two days in a fairly warm kitchen
  5. Add to a demijohn or a soda bottle, and ferment several days [or less] to increase fizz [soda bottles will be hard when they’re ready]
  6. Refrigerate, keeping in mind it’s going to get less sweet the longer it sits. -Open over a bowl or sink-

Jalapeno Mash

It actually is that shade of green

It actually is that shade of green

It’s not exactly any sort of secret that I love hot food, and I am the type of person that thinks that if 10 bottles of hot sauce are good, 25 will certainly ensure that I will never have to be without both variety and heat.

I’ve been slowly getting back into fermentation again. This is a simple enough project, that can be scaled to fit the amount of peppers you have-which means it’s a good project to have in your box for summer harvests.

This can be done with any peppers, but I used jalapeños because I found organic at a decent price.

Notes:

Doing a fermentation in this style requires the produce to stay under the water level at all times. The easiest way I’ve found to do this, for the amount of peppers I ferment at any given time, is to weigh the peppers under with a small (quarter or half pint) canning jar. Clean a wide mouth jar, at least pint size, place the peppers into the jar, cover with brine. I like to skim off as many seeds as I can but I’m not actually sure that it’s necessary. I then place the [cleaned] smaller jar, which will fit into the mouth of the larger, into the larger jar. It will push the peppers to the bottom of the jar and brine will displace around the jar and make sure they stay submerged. Do this in a sink in case it floods. If you pack loosely enough you can cover it with a lid.

jalepenos

Fermentation:

Make a brine-I used warm water and salt, at a ratio of 4 cups water to 3 tablespoons salt. Sea salt is best.

Cut the tops off the peppers and if fermenting whole cut a slit in each pepper. You can also chop or slice.

Cover with brine, and cover with a lid. See the notes regarding weights [you can see the smaller jar in the above photo]

Ferment for at least a week, or to your normal time frame for peppers

Mash:

Drain the peppers but don’t rinse

In a blender add 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, dried turmeric (about a tablespoon), 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, and the peppers. Blend until pureed. Place in the refrigerator.

 

Experiments [Fermenting Soda]

photo from pixabay

photo from pixabay

I’ve been driving my list on Facebook up a wall. I’ve been trying to ferment soda all week.

It’s become something of an ego challenge at this point-I can ferment stuff like pickles, hot sauces I can do in my sleep, and I have a fairly active turmeric bug that I started last week that’s foaming away.

But soda is just outside of my grasp.

Fermenting soda in theory isn’t hard-it’s water (maybe), juice or other fruit/sugar material, and a starter. You put the starter, the juice (what the starter is feeding off of and is flavoring the soda), and water to make up volume in a container, let it sit for a few days, and then bottle it which forces the CO2 into the fluid and makes it fizz.

Except my soda just sat there. I’ve come to realize that it’s the syrup that I used for the first few batches. I ended up dumping out of my first batch outright. It sort of fermented, but tasted foul and never fizzed.

The second batch just got another boost of turmeric bug, thinking my bug was too young to have a full bacterial load yet.

But then came the second phase of the experiment…

You can make mead with yeast. Normally wine yeast but you can do with bread yeast in a pinch-and bread yeast I have. So I added some runny grapefruit jam to a jar, added water, and added a teaspoon of yeast. It sat overnight and is actually bottled and in the freezer already. [The longer it sits the fizzier and drier it’ll get, so definitely use bottles designed for soda/carbonation with yeast. I’m actually using old soda bottles since they’re built for the pressure, and I have them.]

The jam batch was foamy before I went to sleep last night, about an hour after I set it up.

The syrup batch is barely foaming hours later. I think that the syrup just doesn’t have enough sugar to do much of anything.

So this is my basic structure for quasi-fermented [yeasted] soda:

about 1/4 to 1/2 pint jam, heavily sweet fruit syrup, or other canned product*

-or-

Several cups 100% fruit juice*

Roughly 1 tsp yeast

dried or fresh herbs, if desired, to taste**

mason jar with a ring and a coffee filter

Some sort of flip top jar or well cleaned soda/gatorade bottle with lid

*This is a project where you actually want a lot of sugar. The fermentation runs off of it, so the process actually eats the sugar and you don’t drink as much as it feels like you’re putting in the jar. Make your syrup sweeter than what you would if you were eating it straight. While this will never be a ‘true’ health drink like kombucha or jun may be, you can still make a soda with much, much less sugar than what’s on the market-and you can use raw or low processed sugar.

Because of the need for sugar this is actually a good project for jams that didn’t set/ended up as syrups. That’s what I’m using right now to reclaim jars without dumping out my work.

**Place into the 2f/second step jar, not in the first round of fermentation

 

Add syrup/juice and yeast to the jar. Add filtered water to make up about a quart of volume if necessary. Stir. Secure coffee filter to jar with lid. Let sit overnight or 2-3 days. The longer it sits the more sugar the yeast will eat, so taste to see if you like the sweetness. Try to pull it sweeter than you normally drink it.

Add herbs if using to the 2f bottle, add the soda to the bottle and cap it.

REMEMBER TO BURP YOUR BOTTLES REGULARLY.

The longer it sits the more carbonated it will get and the pressure will build up. Open the bottles regularly to release pressure.

After a day or so (or less time if it’s really active), put your bottles into the fridge. The cold will help hold the carbonation and slow down fermentation.

Open over a sink or bowl in case it explodes.

 

***You can upsize this accordingly, I make about 20 oz at a time.

You can play around with flavors as you like.

 

If I can get a ‘true’ fermented soda to work, I’ll post that process as well.

[This is basically the first steps in wine making. If you let this sit long enough and added an airlock you would end up with a raw wine. What I’m getting at is that if this sits long enough you will develop an alcohol content. If you’re storing for an extended period of time, test before giving to children.]

 

Canning Month-Vanilla Spiced Peaches

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These peaches are still near the top of my favorite canning projects. Half pint jars seem small but they’re about the right size to pack for lunch.

Vanilla Spiced Peaches

Frozen sliced peaches (either from the store or fresh peaches peeled and sliced)

Cinnamon-I used 1 tablespoon to a batch of 1 quarter
Real (not imitation) vanilla extract-2-3 tablespoons for a quart

Light to medium weight simple syrup

Take your peaches out of the freezer at least 1 hour before canning. They don’t have to be fully defrosted, but they shouldn’t be frozen solid either.

Bring your simple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla to a boil. Let boil at least 5 minutes, then add your peaches (all of them). Bring back to a boil and boil at least five minutes.

Hot pack into prepped jars and process in a water bath for 20 minutes for pints and half pints.

Canning Month-Firestarter Jam [Peach/Superhots]

Pixabay

Pixabay

I post this recipe every few years. It’s still a fan favorite, and honestly, it really is that good. You can adjust the heat on this one-if you really want to up the heat, overload it with superhot peppers and freeze it.

Firestarter Jam (Peach-Scotch Bonnet Jam)

3 cups sliced peaches

1 seeded, diced scotch bonnet pepper- I really would seed it. The heat level on this isn’t unbearable for me, but I don’t think I would leave the seeds in there either. If you can’t get a scotch bonnet, try a couple bird’s eye peppers or a habanero.

scant 1 1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 table bottled lemon juice

Prep 3 quarter pint jars for boiling water bath canning.

In a large saucepan, bring fruit, sugar, pepper, and lemon to a hard boil. After 10 minutes of boiling check for gel by placing a plate in the freezer. Place a small amount of jam on the plate and freeze for 30 seconds. When you can run your finger through the jam and it holds it shape without running together, it’s gelled.

Fill jars and process for 10 minutes using a boiling water canner. Or, you can freeze the jam for up to one year.

I did BWB process these jars. If you are not familiar with how to boiling water bath process food for canning, please make sure to read over a source like the Ball Blue Book or the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Canning is not particularly difficult, but it’s also not a process that you should take lightly. This recipe assumes you know the basics of boiling water bath canning. If you are not comfortable with canning, this recipe can be stored in the freezer for 1 year.

2016 Canning List

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I am giving March the theme of Canning Month; 2016 is a year that requires themes for me to post consistently.

I want to start canning early this year-a lot of this list I can make with frozen produce or other supplies I can get at Target with cards from S.w.agbu.cks. So March will be covering a lot of older recipes or trying new ideas (I want to try Firestarter with dried peppers).

I didn’t get through a lot of last year’s list so this may be a repeat to older readers.

-Carrot Cake Jam

Firestarter

–different fruits as well as peaches

—-pineapple has been requested

apple pear jam

-apple sauce

-cyser style apples

-banana fridge jam

-dilly beans

-whole and crushed tomatoes

-dill pickles

-spiked oranges

-plum sauce

-pickled hot peppers

-bbq sauce

-apple butter

-peach butter

-peach pie jam

-cherry jam

-mint syrup

-preserved mint

-salsa

-cider molasses

-pickled beets

-…lemons?

-sweet pickles

-blackstrap strawberry jam

-relish

-strawberry mint syrup and jam

-fruit syrups

-hot sauce

-whole peaches and nectarines

 

Honeyed Cranberries

honeyed

Second memory-I’ve been thinking about starting another batch of these berries all day. And a batch of fermented garlic honey. Not the same batch.

Fermented foods are getting their time in the sun.
Again.
This happens every so often.
What I may say may just change your mind on fermented food if your only exposure is half sour pickles and kimchi: fermentation can be sweet.
And insanely, incredibly simple.

I love honey ferments. They’re fast, adjustable, and tasty. I use them in place of jam, in tea…straight off a spoon. ..

*There’s no photo because I used buckwheat honey and well…the jar is effectively black. Not exactly photo quality.

Honeyed Cranberries
1 bag fresh, whole cranberries
1-2 jars honey, raw, larger jars need less jars
1 pint jar with lid, or equivalent glass jar with lid

Fill your clean jar with whole, healthy looking berries
Slowly cover with honey until all berries are covered. Let it sit and check, adding more honey as necessary.
Flip over to recoat the top berries with honey every other day or so. There shouldn’t be any issues with gas building up, but burp your jar every so often anyway to be safe.

*I sometimes put my berries in the fridge. It’s not necessary though, I do it more because I’m paranoid and forget to flip them.

The berries may start macerating and releasing juice, making the honey runny. That’s fine.