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Quote of the Day: Melissa Coleman

September 1st, 2013

Fall arrived with its honey light and cool evenings, and the maple leaves brightened to match the reds and yellow of ripe apples. It was time to put away the bounty of the warm months for fortitude during the cold ones, as humans had done for centuries.

Melissa Coleman (This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone)

I don’t do a lot of canning, but I do love to ferment things. Over the coming weeks I’ll be making batches of fermented cucumber pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented goodies.
Cucumber harvest (1)
These will help augment the root vegetables in the cellar and the bitter winter greens from under the hoop house in the garden throughout the winter. The full-sour dill pickles are probably my favorite fermented food, we gobble them up quickly, eating them at every meal if we have them.

What’s your favorite kind of pickled food?

Round Two

November 8th, 2012

Last year I purchased a box of black mission olives from Chaffin Family Orchard to cure. I tried a few different curing methods and found that the Kalamata style fermented olives were my favorite. No surprise there since Kalamatas are my favorite kind of olive. At first I was skeptical that they’d turn out, curing olives seems like it should be harder than it is. When I tasted my first one I knew I’d be curing my own olives for the rest of my life.

This year I decided to add green olives to my curing routine. A large box was ordered from Chaffin Family Orchard and it arrived last Saturday. These are much larger than the mission olives so they don’t take as long to cut for curing. Last year I felt like I was cutting for ages, but these only took about an hour to get all the olives in their respective soaking liquids.

If you don’t like olives, make sure you try traditionally cured ones before your write them off completely. I never liked olives when my only experience was with those little black rounds that come from a can. Then I tasted my first Kalamata and was hooked. Don’t even let me near one of those olive bars at the fancy grocery stores!

I saved a few olives out hoping to make a how-to video. Curing olives is one of those things that is intimidating but is actually really simple. Hopefully I can encourage more people to try it at home. Not only are they delicious and healthy, you can save some serious money curing your own olives! I’ll happily spend a few hours curing 20 pounds of olives so I can eat organic olives all year long. I also know a few people who would love to receive olives as gifts.

Olives – love them or leave them? Which is your favorite kind/color?

How to Tell if Your Sauerkraut is Finished

December 18th, 2009

I blogged over at Not Dabbling yesterday about how to tell if that sauerkraut you started a while ago is finished. There were a few questions from readers about how to know. I thought perhaps some of you would have the same question, so I figured I’d share the information here as well.
not_dabbling_blog
After 2-4 weeks, depending on the temp, you should notice that your kraut is no longer bubbling, or is bubbling much less than it was. I usually notice that the brine starts going down instead of spilling over after 3-4 weeks. The warmer it is, the quicker your sauerkraut will finish fermenting (at 70-80 it will take 2-3 weeks at 60 it will take 4-6 weeks). Mine was finished a week or two ago, and I started mine on October 28, it took about 4 weeks to finish fermenting. You will also notice that your sauerkraut become kind of clear, or loses it’s whiteness.
finished_sauekraut
Another way to decide if your sauerkraut is finished is by smell. If you don’t have a good sense of what sauerkraut smells like, buy some and smell it. Warm it a bit on the stove and the smell will become more pronounced. It smells pleasantly sour almost vinegary. You don’t want it to smell “off” or moldy.
mold_on_sauerkraut
Don’t be alarmed if some mold or scum forms on top of your kraut while it’s fermenting. Just skim it off and add some more brine. If your brine level gets low and some of the top layer of cabbage gets moldy, simply skim off that cabbage and add more brine (1 or 1.5 T. of salt for 1 quart of water for extra brine).
pouring_brine_over_sauerkraut
When your sauerkraut is finished, simply take out the jar/bag that you’re using to weigh it down, top off with brine, throw a lid on it and put it in the fridge or in your cool root cellar. Use 1 or 1.5 T. of salt for 1 quart of water for extra brine (if using kosher use more, if fine salt use less).
Storing_sauerkraut
You can can it if you’re worried about the coolness of your root cellar or don’t have room in the fridge (to can process in a waterbath canner for 15 minutes). If you can it you kill all the good bacteria though, so it won’t be a good source of probiotics. I like my sauerkraut cooked, so I occasionally can it. Sometimes, however I just lid the jar and put it in the basement.

Do you have any great tips to know when you’re fermented products are finished?

A Little Fun

August 13th, 2009

Who said canning wasn’t fun? Last year I introduced a friend of mine the joy of pickled beets. He now loves them and always helps us pollish off jar after jar of them. I decided while canning some this year I’d make some just for him. Since he’s a fan of the The Office, I figured I’m make his with a special label.
Schrute_farms_beets

Do you share your harvests with friends & family?

Time for Pickles

July 11th, 2009

When Mr Chiots went to the library yesterday, The Joy of Pickling, Revised Edition: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Marketwas in for me.
the_Joy_of_Pickling_Cookbook
It came in just in time, because when I was out looking around the garden yesterday evening I spotted these.
Boston_Pickling_Cucumbers
I’m planning on making refrigerator pickles because I like them really crispy. I’ll probably be making them on Sunday or early next week when I have some time.

Are you already preserving from your garden harvest?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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