Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Fermented Holiday Season starts now

It's that time of year again, time to start thinking about Holiday presents.  This year I've decided that all the adults are getting homemade gifts, mostly food.

It all started with the most recent batch of chickpea miso - best batch so far! - and I thought, this is the type of miso I would be proud to serve my friends (as opposed to my learning batches of miso which were a little taste like practice).  If the miso tastes this good, I wonder what other yummy treats I can make.

So here's a list (because these particular friends don't read this blog) of some of the delicious fermented foods I hope to have ready in time for Christmas.

Sweet Miso takes about one month to ferment, but it can be as fast as 3 weeks if I increase the ratio of koji rice to other ingredients.  I have one batch of Chunky Chickpea Miso ready, and plan to put up a batch of Black Turtle and Adzuke Bean with Barley Miso later today.

Kimchi!  Kimchi is awesome in so many ways.  For starters, it is by far the best way to clean out the crisper drawer in the fridge.  You can put (almost) anything in kimchi.  In this case, I used half a daikon, two su choi cabbages, chilis, excessive amounts of ginger sliced thin, Cauliflower, carrots, and anything else vegi related that needed eating up.  Kimchi takes about one week to ferment.

Cultured Butter is easy to make in advance and keeps for ages.  I'll probably start making this a week or two before the Holiday dinner.  Takes one day to culture the cream and the next day to churn it = two days.

With the leftover buttermilk from churning butter, I will bake some bread.  Sourdough Bread loves buttermilk.  With the added dairy sugars the bread will often rise to be lofty and soft, as opposed to the more dense country loaf I make for every-day purposes.  Takes two days to make a great loaf of sourdough, but can be done in one.

Speaking about dairy. my dream is to eventually make my own hard cheese.  Wouldn't it be lovely to give the gift of Cheese?  Even a soft farmhouse style cheese mixed with dry herbs dressed in a beautiful jar or clay pot would be a good addition to a gift basket.  Soft cheese takes a couple of hours, a hard cheese on the other hand can take years.

Of course, you could always spice up your relationship with some hot sauce.  Fermented hot sauce takes about one week, or this one which is ready in two days.

Last but not least, my personal all time holiday favourite:

Cranberry Mead!

The biggest advantages of fermented vs the baked gift, are that fermented gifts last longer, are generally more affordable to make and are a refreshing change from over-indulgence.  They are also an excellent way to use up the last of the harvest.

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