Category Archives: Ferments

Sauerkraut in Fido Jar with Probiotic Jar Lid

Making Homemade Sauerkraut, Just Do It

Kimchi, Ruby and Plain Sauerkraut
The way I used to make sauerkraut, using recycled pickle jars.

Making sauerkraut used to be so simple.

I'd slice cabbage thinly, throw in some salt and mix, place in a jar, wait a few days and voila! Sauerkraut!

But then it got really complicated. Everyone has an opinion on sauerkraut.

  • You had better make your own because store bought isn't good enough.
  • There are certain kinds of salt you should, or shouldn't use.
  • You have to use exactly the right ratio of salt to cabbage.
  • One source recommends hand slicing your cabbage, while another advises using an expensive mandolin.
  • Don't use a regular canning jar, you need to invest in an anaerobic jar.
  • The temperature needs to be just so, which means you might even need to build someplace cool enough to ferment your sauerkraut. Or maybe modify a small refrigerator to stay at the right temperature.
  • Oh, and guess what? Sauerkraut isn't done in a few days, rather it needs to ferment for weeks or months.

Are you overwhelmed yet?

At times like these, I dislike the Internet, because I definitely get overloaded from all the information.

With so many options, warnings and information, who knows what is the right thing is to do?

Unfortunately, when I'm overwhelmed, I tend to disconnect.

For awhile I bought Bubbies sauerkraut, but it's so expensive! And it's flash heated, not pasteurized, which allows some of the bacteria  to remain live. My understanding is they need to flash heat to prevent the jars from leaking all over in the grocery store (due to the activity of the live bacteria).

But it's not as bacteria-laden as homemade. Eventually I just stopped eating sauerkraut. That's bad.

I've been telling myself I'm going to get back to eating full GAPS, and one step in that direction is to make sauerkraut.

I have tried to do the right thing when it comes to making sauerkraut. I've bought several products that are said to be best… I bought a super nice mandolin, and the protective gloves to go with it.

While I like the idea of using the mandolin, it didn't work real well for me. For one thing, it's really messy. Cabbage ends up all over the counter. It's harder than it needs to be, and takes energy and muscle power to keep pressing the cabbage over the slicer. And it is time consuming. I would say it takes at least an hour or two. And lastly, I would cut the cabbage in fourths and shred on the mandolin, but when it got down to the outer three or four leaves of the cabbage, those couldn't be sliced. So then I'd end up with my knife after all, slicing the big leaves into tiny thin strips.

I had one quart-sized anaerobic jar, sent to me for review and one quart of sauerkraut doesn't last very long.

And buying more jars… they are just so expensive. I do believe the anaerobic version of sauerkraut is best, so I needed more and bigger jars. A friend of mine suggested that I buy the top part of the lid from The Probiotic Jar, and then invest in large Fido jars.

I am pretty sure that was last year around this time.

I did make sauerkraut one time in the spring, but it was already getting too warm here and my sauerkraut ended up going bad. That was really frustrating!

Just Do It!

So on Friday night, I bought nine heads of cabbage. Thankfully they are on the “clean” vegetables list… and yesterday, I actually put up one batch of sauerkraut!

Before Black Friday, I invested in a new food processor. It was a Deal of the Day sale, and $70 less than the regular price.

I've had a chance to use it in the last couple of weeks, and it is pretty amazing. It dices! I made soup one day and diced a bunch of carrots and it was so fast!

Carrots Diced in Food Processor

Sometimes we just have to use the tools available to us, you know?

While I love the process of using the mandolin and cutting everything by hand, my time is limited (I know this is true for most people who work and have children) and I'm realizing I need to take shortcuts. Yay Instant Pot!

Yesterday, I decided I was going to get the sauerkraut started. By some miracle, I found the big Fido jar I'd purchased last year. I knew right where the Probiotic jar lids were – AND BONUS – the super fine grind pink salt was with the lids! Whoohoo!

I am now the proud owner of 8 pounds of salted cabbage. 🙂

I think I will make sauerkraut more often, since it is so much easier! In fact, today I will put together a jar of cortido.

Here's how I made my sauerkraut. You'll need one of these Fido 5 liter jar. 5 liters is about 169 ounces, or 5 quarts. This is the lid I'm using: Probiotic Jar lids.

  • 5 liter glass Fido jar
  • 8 pounds cabbage (4 heads cabbage – starting weight 10 pounds)
  • 45 grams super fine pink Himalayan salt [affiliate link] (5-6 grams of salt per pound of cabbage)

I recommend starting with at least 10 pounds of cabbage.

Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove core and stem, and one outer leaf.

Since I do adhere to the salt to cabbage ratio, I recommend at this point to weigh each quarter. This way, you'll know exactly how much the cabbage weighs. When you have 8 pounds of cabbage quarters, start shredding!

That's the amount I was able to fit into the 5 liter jar leaving 2″ head space.

The recommendation from The Probiotic Jar is 5-6 grams of super fine grind salt per 1 pound of cabbage.

The food processor was wondrous for slicing the cabbage. The processor has an adjustable blade, so I put it at setting “2”. This made very thin shreds. The bowl holds 14 cups, so I was able to shred one whole cabbage at a time. And there was very little waste. Every quarter shredded down to just one little piece of a leaf, as you can see in the next image.

Head of cabbage sliced in food processor

Since I had already weighed the quarters, and knew I had eight pounds of cabbage, I just dumped each full bowl of shredded cabbage into my biggest stock pot, and added some of the salt I'd already measured.

When I got all the cabbage shredded (which took less than 10 minutes! WHOOT!) and in the big pot, I mixed and mixed, to make sure the salt was all over the cabbage.

I let it set for awhile, and word has it that we really don't need to pound the cabbage, so after half an hour or so I mixed the cabbage a bit more with my hand, and also squeezed and pressed to help it wilt a little faster.

Finally, I put it into the big Fido jar. That's EIGHT pounds of cabbage, on its way to being sauerkraut!

Sauerkraut in Fido Jar with Probiotic Jar Lid

It is recommended to allow sauerkraut to ferment for 12 weeks! So, I guess this batch won't be ready until early March! But at least I've got it started.

Have you been hesitating to make sauerkraut? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Faux Sour Cream

Faux Sour Cream or Cream Cheese (Dairy-Free)

Faux Sour Cream

Two years ago… two years ago?! Time sure flies nowadays! Back to my thought before a reality check slammed me… two years ago I shared a recipe for cashew nut yogurt at my friend Jessica's blog. While I loved the yogurt I shared in that recipe, I couldn't help but experiment with the batches I've made in the last couple of years.

This version is a great substitute for sour cream and if you double the gelatin [affiliate link], it's even thicker and behaves like cream cheese!

Oh – and the other big difference is now I have a Vitamix (Amazon affiliate link)! The blending time is greatly reduced with a Vitamix. Now it takes just 2-3 minutes, instead of 10 or more.

I'm still using the same yogurt starter GI ProStart™ non-dairy yogurt starter (Amazon affiliate link) which I bought in February 2011 with an expiration date of February 2012. According to the official website you can freeze it for up to one year. I'm assuming some of the bacteria has died off since my product is long expired; however, what I have left is still working and makes a nice sour product. One of the frequently asked questions is in regards to refrigeration:

11. Does GI ProStart™ need to be refrigerated? Yes, GI ProStart™ does have to stay refrigerated to keep the bacteria alive,   GI ProStart™ can be left out of the refrigerator for up to a 10 days with only a 5% loss of active bacteria, after 10 days the bacteria will die off at a very rapid rate if left out of the refrigerator. GI ProStart™ should always be refrigerated to ensure maximum potency.

If the bacteria will die off quickly unrefrigerated, I'm making an assumption that freezing it will greatly reduce the die off rate so that's why I continue to use it. Plus, I just can't see tossing a bottle of product for which I paid $34.95 plus $15 shipping which seems to still be working. I don't think it can go rotten, the expiration date I believe is more geared to the bacteria dying.

I think it has been quite a good investment! GI ProStart™ is a combination of three bacteria: L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus and L. Casei and one bottle makes 80 quarts of animal milk yogurt – 1/8 of a teaspoon will culture 2 quarts of milk and non-dairy milks will need a bit more starter. It's one more way to get some good bacteria into our gut especially if you can't tolerate dairy.

Be sure to use fresh good high quality organic raw cashews. Whole are best. I've bought pieces from Azure (not organic) and the flavor is different and there's just something not right. I have to consider that a positive because to tell you the truth that's what led me to begin mixing the nogurt with other foods to mask that off flavor. I've found a few ways to use it that I totally love and want to make again and again. My favorite is a GAPS legal version of Beef Stroganoff!

PLEASE NOTE: When I make this same recipe using my food coop leader's favorite raw cashews (she prefers Wilderness Family Naturals organic, raw, whole cashews) it tastes creamy and delicious and you almost can't tell it is made from cashews.

This recipe is so simple and easy. I love having sour cream again! Bonus – if you double the gelatin, the resulting product is more like cream cheese!

Faux Sour Cream

Makes about 3 cups

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt [affiliate link]
  • filtered water
  • 3 small dates
  • 1-1/2 cups water – divided use
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 1/8 teaspoon yogurt starter (you may use less if yours is fresher)
  1. Soak raw cashews in filtered water with teaspoon of salt for 7 hours.
  2. Drain and then rinse the cashews.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup water just until it boils. Stir in gelatin to dissolve.
  4. Add cashews, dates, dissolved gelatin and 1-1/4 cups water to your blender or Vitamix.
  5. Blend until completely smooth (2-3 minutes in the Vitamix, longer in a regular blender).
  6. Remove 1 tablespoon of creamed cashew mixture and thoroughly mix in the 1/8 teaspoon yogurt starter.
  7. Pour creamed cashews into yogurt maker, and mix yogurt starter into cashews.
  8. Allow to ferment 18 hours.

You could taste the yogurt at 12 hours to see if it is sour enough, but I find at that point it is barely sour. For the recipes I've been using it in, I like it to be quite tart so I let it go for at least 18 hours. This longer amount of time may also be due to the fact that my starter is expired.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and don't forget to try these other recipes made using this delicious Faux Sour Cream.

Beefy Stroganoff

Beefy Stroganoff

Faux Ranch Dressing Dairy-Free

Faux Ranch Dressing

Faux Sour Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting on Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

If you find any other inventive ways to use this sour cream, please let me know in the comments!!

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If you love recipes like this, I have two cookbooks you really need to check out ASAP! Beyond Grain and Dairy for gluten-free recipes and Winter Soups.

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GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

Coconut Yogurt – How to Make it Thick, Creamy and Delicious

Coconut Milk Yogurt
Coconut Milk [affiliate link] Yogurt sprinkled with freeze-dried mango, banana, pineapple and strawberries

Before I started on GAPS I ate yogurt but not because I loved or craved it. I ate it more out of convenience – something relatively healthy plus quick to eat – and my favorite was FAGE (pronounced “fa-yeh”). It is thick and delicious. Of course now I probably wouldn't eat it since I would want to avoid pasteurized milk.

Yogurt is allowed on GAPS, but I do not tolerate dairy products well. Respiratory symptoms return when I have attempted to reintroduce. Since we no longer have our dairy goats and getting raw milk would be a challenge, I have just decided to stay off dairy for the time being. Dr. Datis Kharrazian also suggests that dairy should be avoided for those who have the autoimmune disease Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:

Many clinicians find removing casein, the protein molecule in all forms of dairy, is also integral to thyroid health. There is not as much research on casein intolerance as there is on gluten intolerance, however anecdotal evidence strongly suggests a diet that is not only gluten-free but also dairy-free promises the best results in managing Hashimoto’s. (p. 32). Morgan James Publishing. Kindle Edition.

And Dr. Ben Lynch also suggests a dairy-free diet if you have the MTHFR genetic mutation, although in my interview with Dr. Lynch he did suggest “… that raw milk should come from cows that are A2, or raw goat milk, and camel milk is also A2.”

Since I have both the genetic mutation and Hashimoto's antibodies, it is probably best that I stay off dairy products.

I've been missing yogurt though, and I have been slacking on getting plenty of probiotic foods in my diet. I bought a bottle of non-dairy yogurt starter in April 2011 and have not used very much of it. The site says you can freeze the product for up to one year, but I have had mine refrigerated and then frozen for two years. The good news is it is still making great yogurt for me!

It has been such a treat to have yogurt again!

I have made several batches and as is common with yogurt the longer it cultures the more sour. I cultured one batch 15 hours and it still had a sweet taste to it, while the 24 hour batch is much more sour and hardly sweet at all. It is delicious and I have been limiting myself to one cup a day.

I recently got a new yogurt maker through a Groupon deal and I happened to have $20 in Groupon credits, so I was able to get my new yogurt maker for only $5. I have another yogurt maker that makes one quart at a time, but I wanted to try the little jars method to see how that would work out for me.

I searched for a recipe that I could use, and found that Cultures for Health has a coconut milk yogurt recipe on their site.They have some suggested variations and this is how I made my coconut milk yogurt:

  1. Place coconut milk in a pan and heat until warm enough that the milk is smooth. Natural Value has no guar gum or preservatives and it is pretty clumpy straight from the can. This one that I linked to is also organic, and in a BPA-free can. I link to Amazon so you can see what kind I use, but I order from Azure Standard for a better price.
  2. In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of the warm coconut milk and 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of powdered gelatin [affiliate link]. I linked to the brand I use, but it in capsule form. My bottle is powder, no capsules.
  3. Mix well.
  4. In a small bowl place 1/8 teaspoon yogurt starter and a teaspoon of coconut milk.
  5. Mix well. I use the back of the spoon to mash and mix as the starter clumps.
  6. Mix gelatin, yogurt starter and coconut milk together in a bowl.
  7. Separate into individual jars, or place in your quart yogurt maker.
  8. Once the mixture is heated after a few hours, I stir to make sure everything is mixed together well.
  9. Let the yogurt culture from 15 to 24 hours.
  10. Remove from the yogurt maker and stir before placing in the refrigerator. It will separate with thicker yogurt at the top and water at the bottom. Mix while it is still warm and it will hold together once refrigerated.
  11. For the super thick yogurt I blended it with my hand mixer so that it would have a creamy texture.

If you use 2 teaspoons, it will be fairly thin, while with two tablespoons it will be super thick.

For the photo, I garnished the super thick yogurt with Whole Foods brand 365 Everyday Value Freeze Dried Tropical Fruit Blend which contains mango, banana, strawberry and pineapple.

Yogurt makers I have used:

I use a yogurt maker that I bought at least two decades ago and looks similar to this one (clicking on the image takes you to the product; this is my Amazon affiliate link). I like making one quart in the same container.

This is the yogurt maker I got through Groupon, the brand name is Dash(clicking on the image takes you to the product; this is my Amazon affiliate link). Sometimes I'll use this product but I tend to lose either jars or lids so I like the quart container better.

I would love to hear from you in the comments on whether you have tried coconut milk yogurt, or if you are planning to try it.

 

 

 

 

Coconut Yogurt - How to Make it Thick, Creamy and Delicious
Author: 
 
Coconut milk yogurt, rich and creamy.
Ingredients
  • 2 cans Natural Value Organic Coconut Milk, 13.5-Ounce Cans
  • 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of Bernard Jensen Gelatin
  • ⅛ teaspoon GI ProStart
Instructions
  1. cans Natural Value Organic Coconut Milk, 13.5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) (this is an Amazon associates link*)
  2. teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of Bernard Jensen Gelatin (this is an Amazon associates link*)
  3. /8 teaspoon GI ProStart(this is an Amazon associates link*)
  4. Place coconut milk in a pan and heat until warm enough that the milk is smooth. Natural Value has no guar gum or preservatives and it is pretty clumpy straight from the can. This one that I linked to is also organic, and in a BPA-free can. I link to Amazon so you can see what kind I use, but I order from Azure Standard for a better price.
  5. In a small bowl add ½ cup of the warm coconut milk and 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of powdered gelatin. I linked to the brand I use, but it in capsule form. My bottle is powder, no capsules.
  6. Mix well.
  7. In a small bowl place ⅛ teaspoon yogurt starter and a teaspoon of coconut milk.
  8. Mix well. I use the back of the spoon to mash and mix as the starter clumps.
  9. Mix gelatin, yogurt starter and coconut milk together in a bowl.
  10. Separate into individual jars, or place in your quart yogurt maker.
  11. Once the mixture is heated after a few hours, I stir to make sure everything is mixed together well.
  12. Let the yogurt culture from 15 to 24 hours.
  13. Remove from the yogurt maker and stir before placing in the refrigerator. It will separate with thicker yogurt at the top and water at the bottom. Mix while it is still warm and it will hold together once refrigerated.
  14. For the super thick yogurt I blended it with my hand mixer so that it would have a creamy texture.
  15. If you use 2 teaspoons, it will be fairly thin, while with two tablespoons it will be super thick.
  16. For the photo, I garnished the super thick yogurt with Whole Foods brand 365 Everyday Value Freeze Dried Tropical Fruit Blend which contains mango, banana, strawberry and pineapple.
GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Super List of Ferments Recipes: Vegetables and Other Products

Of all the foods we eat on GAPS, I daresay the ferments are up there as the most important. The ones that come to mind immediately are yogurt and sauerkraut, but there are many other ferments you can get to help the good bacteria replenished in your gut. I wanted to compile a list and once I got started I was amazed at how many recipes out there to try. I have only tried a handful of these recipes: sauerkraut, cortido, radishes, pickles, carrots, yogurt, water kefir, dairy kefir, kombucha and beet kvass.

VEGETABLES

CONDIMENTS

BEVERAGES

DAIRY PRODUCTS

Have I forgotten anything? I'm sure I have, please let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the list.

Also, I am offering a free handy list of all the foods recommended on GAPS in categorized order. Have you ever found yourself looking the list to see what foods are recommended only to find it's difficult to spot the meats, the veggies, etc.? With the categorized list I've put together, you can see at a glance which vegetables are allowed, meat, fats and ferments, fruit, etc., all on one letter sized piece of paper, perfect to print out and tape onto your fridge. Click here to sign up for my newsletter and receive this food list in categorized order. Also, included as a special bonus – all the ferments listed on this post, with links to the sites. My newsletter will be low volume, with 2-3 newsletters per month. Thanks for signing up! 🙂

Handy GAPS Recommended Foods List

 

 

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Pickles From My Garden

White Scum “Bloom” When Making Pickles – Fermenting Cucumbers

Back in June 2009… on June 20th to be exact… I started some pickles, using cucumbers grown fresh from my garden. I ate the first jar rather quickly, but the second jar has been slowly savored. It has been sitting in my fridge the last couple of years… every once in awhile I eat a couple slices for the probiotics. When I pull the jar out today, which had been completely undisturbed for several months, there was a white layer floating on the top. This white layer is sometimes referred to as being mold, white scum or “bloom”. This post on making sauerkraut at Wild Fermentation mentions this phenomenon.

A few weeks after beginning these pickles, I noticed that each one was coated with a white layer. I noted it, but didn't pay much attention to it, and around 90 days in the fridge, the white layer had disappeared. These pickle slices are still crunchy. I followed the basic recipe from Nourishing Traditions which is:

Wash the cucumbers and tightly pack into a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar.

Place these ingredients together and mix and pour over the cukes:

1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fresh dill, snipped
1 tablespoon sea salt [affiliate link]
4 tablespoons whey
1 cup filtered water

If you don't use whey, use 2 tablespoons sea salt. The top of the liquid should be one inch below the top of the lid for fermentation and expansion. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for three days, then refrigerate.

When I made mine, I didn't use mustard seeds or dill, only the 2 tablespoons salt!

Here is a video of what the white scum at top looks like, and I will show the white substance at the bottom, in the video you can see how the white substance at the bottom swirls around in the pickle juice when I move the jar.

I have taken some photos to illustrate what this “bloom” looks like, but I also wanted to share that I've seen it look much whiter. What it reminds me of, when I see it and it is very white, it looks like someone sprinkled a very fine layer of talcum (baby) powder on top. It may look as if it has ripples or cracks.

White scum "bloom" floating on top of pickles

Homemade pickles, white layer floating on top

Fermented cucumbers - pickles

Do It Yourself Pickles - White Mold

In addition to the top layer, there will sometimes be white substance settled at the bottom of the jar.

White sediment on bottom of homemade pickles

Pickles From My Garden

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.