Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I'm here

Still here, still posting. I have a kickin' batch of maple wine fermenting right now. Contact me for a sample.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The old trickster - peach wine

I'm up to my old tricks again - making peach wine! I had a hankering to put something in a vessel and watch it bubble, especially since I haven't started any new projects since we moved to this little one bedroom apartment in Silver Spring. My equipment, such as it is, is all in place, but I haven't set aside time and mental energy to do something fun, fermentation-wise.

This is a small (half-gallon) batch, with the base coming from one of those cheap cartons of peach nectar you can get at the grocery store.

Following my traditional method, I mixed the juice with some sugar and water and put it in a bowl to sit by a window. This, I assume, is when the yeast flies in and starts devouring the sugars in the highly saturated solution. Luckily our windows open here on the 4th floor.

As is typical, nothing had really happened after 2-3 days of stirring and checking, except that a crowd of fruit flies was attracted to the dishcloth covering the bowl.

Then things got weird.

The peach nectar has some kind of solids in it, so this was already a cloudy mixture. On about the 4th day, there was a grayish sheen on the surface of the liquid in the bowl.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's been a while....

Haven't posted in a while - haven't made anything worth posting about. Several batches of extremely acidic cabbage and carrot kraut that I was not proud of. Here's one - it's positively gray:

Anyways, lots to be excited about, especially getting the big crock back in action and making some of that sweet garlic kraut. I will return.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I've been busy!

No posts lately due to my impending graduation! Promise to be back strong in the summer. In the meantime here's a cool word cloud graphic that reflects the word choice in the blog to this point. Fun stuff from wordle.net

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Garlic Cumin Sauerkraut Recipe, at last!

I have finally committed my recipe to paper/digital ink for your DIY pleasure. This is a first attempt, and I would welcome feedback on process, ingredients, or terminology. When I made this, I took it out of the crock pretty early for a light, sweeter kraut. The garlic at the level in the recipe will pack a serious punch, so adjust for your preference.

Allan’s Garlic-Cumin Sauerkraut

  • 3-4 medium heads green cabbage
  • Up to 1/4 cup salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 12 cloves garlic

Optional ingredients:
  • beets
  • carrots
  • ginger
  • red pepper flakes

  1. Shred cabbage thinly with a sharp kitchen knife or cabbage shredder (some have also had good results with a food processor)
  2. Cut additional vegetables and garlic to desired size, adjusting for crunch
  3. Place shredded cabbage and vegetables in a large bowl, salting moderately as you go
  4. Sprinkle cumin seeds over cabbage and vegetables
  5. Press or pound cabbage using any implement at hand, such as a potato masher or wooden spoon. Ideally you want to bruise it; this helps get more liquid out
  6. Leave salted, pressed cabbage to sit 1-2 hours
  7. Pack cabbage tightly into a fermentation vessel such as a jar or crock, pouring in any leftover liquid from the bowl
  8. Place a weight on top of packed cabbage (Options include a plate, another jar, or even a ziplock bag full of water; something you can press down on is ideal)
  9. The liquid level should eventually rise until it is above the cabbage. To prevent molding, it is important that the cabbage is submerged. If the liquid level has not risen high enough after 2 days, add some water with a small amount of salt dissolved in it.
  10. Let kraut rest 4-6 days (it should be bubbling at this point), then begin tasting regularly
  11. Once the kraut tastes the way you like it, refrigerate it to slow the fermentation process (otherwise it will keep getting more and more sour)
  12. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sauerkraut Pictures!

Apologies for the absence and intermittent posting. Here are some pictures from a recent run of sauerkraut:

Raw cabbage - juicing up
The good stuff
 Shredded cabbage, beets, and carrots in this batch, maybe a turnip as well. Trying to keep it simple, but there are so many good vegetables to use out there!

Same batch in a Mason jar being tamped down
 As you can see from the photo I got myself a tamping tool. The one I got is actually meant for tamping down the middle of a delicate little pastry tart, but I think my employment of it is better. This is good not only when you're packing a jar but also when you have your initial pile of freshly shredded cabbage. Give it a full salting in a bowl and then set to work with the tamper. It's easier than just punching your knuckles down into the cabbage and it will get more juice coming out faster.

Finished product from an earlier batch - spicy ginger-carrot kraut
This ginger-carrot was really good. Crunchy, spicy, sweet, and sour at once. It makes me want to get back to making simple, small batches.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Goodies - a book and a crock

For Christmas, my mom gave me the latest book by Sandor Katz (!) and a 3 gallon crock (!!!). One can only imagine how much this will enable my fermentation hobby/habit. The book is long and packed with new techniques, advice, and illustrations. The crock arrived last night, and in combination with the book should lead to some real fun and some audacious experiments that go horribly awry! At the very least it quadruples my kraut making capacity. It will probably come into use for wild yeast wine ferments as well. Thank you mother, and I promise to share the results.


-Over the weekend I racked the beet wine and sauerkraut cider to clean jugs. The sauerkraut cider has really mellowed and is coming into its own. It should soon be stable enough to bottle and age. This one is unique folks, and very exciting, even if I'm the only one willing to drink it.

-I also filled several bottles from the carboy of maple wine, which may be under a gallon in volume by now. I'm a little excited and a little worried because this means that equipment will be free for a 2-5 gallon batch of something. Any ideas?

-Using a bit of my original sourdough starter that went up to Massachusetts to my mom's house in November and came back to Maryland in January, I'm making real sourdough bread this week. I'm also coming off a successful baking of rustic Italian bread which had an excellent crust and moist crumb, so I may be overconfident about my bread skills.

-Last night I started a small batch of peach nectar, cider, and cranberries as an alcoholic ferment. It's on the counter to catch wild yeast as we speak.