Garlic-y Sauerkraut

Crocks are a delight

Crocks are a delight

 

Another recipe to address eating in-season. Cabbage, carrots, garlic and some spices are all you need to start playing with fermentation! Luckily if you’re North of the 49th, these ingredients are available to you at any time.

You may NOT have a crock but do not fear, if you have some glass vessels you can start out fermenting in smaller batches to see how much you enjoy it and how much you will be consuming before you put out the cash for a crock.

Please do not use metal or plastic – ever.

My suggestion is to check second hand shops and online bargains like Kijiji or Craigslist instead of buying new. This way you can up-cycle and save cash.

This is a larger batch recipe, halve or quarter depending on your brewing vessel. Note: your cabbage volume will decrease by about half by the time you’re ready to ferment.

Ingredients: 

3 heads cabbage

5 large carrots

6 large cloves garlic

2 tbsp celery seed

1/4 cup vinegar (if needed)

1/4 cup water (if needed)

1/4 cup salt (or to taste)

 

Method: 

Slice up veggies thinly as shown below.

In-season goodness

In-season goodness

Next, start massaging your salt (slowly) into the veggies to pull the water out of the cabbage and carrots. This will take some time if you do not have some sort of a tamper to do this for you. Squeeze and squeeze and squeeze until you start to see a lot of water appearing.

Taste a little bit of the mixture to see how salty it is while you are adding salt slowly. Remember, your fermentation process will not remove all salt SO if you over salt, add more veggies.

Wet & ready

Wet & ready

You should start to notice that when you push down on the veggies your water starts to come up over the top of them. This is great. You will need to keep the ferment covered in water for the duration of its souring.

You will need to add some water/vinegar mixture to add more water if you cannot draw enough from your vegetables.

Secret ingredient

Secret ingredient

My secret ingredient is celery seed. I add this at the very end and stir throughout the mixture.

Once your mix is covered with liquid, place a loose towel over the opening of your vessel to allow air to access your new batch of ferment. I like to secure this with an elastic band.

You will need to check on this daily to ensure mold does not appear. Unlike Kombucha, you can scrape mold off of the top of a kraut ferment. Like Kombucha, the length of fermentation is all up to your own personal taste AND the time of year.

The warmer your kitchen the quicker your ferment. Taste in about 2-3 days to see your progress. Allow the ferment to continue until you have the desired level of sourness you like. After this, place a lid on your kraut and refrigerate to stop the fermentation process. Hit up my Kombucha post for fermenting tips.

Remember, you can start to make ferments your own. Add nettle for food medicine, hot peppers for spicy kraut, use purple cabbage for more colour or just stay straight up plain with green cabbage.

Your kraut is resting nicely and soon you will be able to use this delicious food to balance your gut, clear your skin and bring shine to your hair!

Sleeping & souring

Sleeping & souring

What to plant this spring? Here are some MUST haves for the budding Herbalist.

 

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An old herb garden looking alive and potent.

 

When I first started learning about herbal medicine, I had NO idea about how much medicine we have at our fingertips. I also had no idea how medicinal our food could be if we ate things that weren’t necessarily found on our grocers shelves. Trying to incorporate a little bit of herbalism into your every day, or even better – into your kitchen, helps your body to stay healed and grow stronger as you age. Eventually, your body will be chock full of vitamins, minerals and virus fighting medicines without much effort at all.

Of course, not all plant types are going to be found or thrive in every environment SO take some time to get to know these easy growing fellows below. If you find them to be easy to care for, spread your wings and try growing your own at home.

It’s only February BUT looking forward to spring and looking into my seed stores gets me excited to start planting and reaping the benefits of home-grown medicine. I look forward to adding nettles to my ferments, drying herbs in my dehydrator and making skin salves to pass out to my friends and family. I certainly miss all of the classes and students I had in Vancouver, I might have time to squeeze some teaching in again this spring in Calgary.

As always, when using any type of medication, make sure that you consult with your GP and do your research before ingesting unconsciously. Your body deserves a little curious research before undertaking a new regime.

 

Aloe Vera

You can purchase this plant at nearly every home garden supply store. Even Home Depot. Because you aren’t going to be ingesting this plant I feel that you are ok to be a little less questioning of it’s origin.

Why do you want to keep Aloe Vera around? Simply, there are so many topical benefits that there isn’t a reason NOT to. Snap a sample of a well-grown leaf off and you are on your way to healing cuts, wounds, burns, eczema and inflammation.

Marsh Mallow

You can find seeds or starters for this plant at select growers. I order my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds or Vesey’s. These are pretty hardy plants – but watch out for wet feet!

There are a number of great uses for marshmallow both inside and out. You can take the root internally to help treat inflammation and UT irritations, gastritis or peptic ulcers. Topically, you can use a poultice, salve or cream to treat bruises, sprains, muscle aches, insect bites, slivers or skin inflammation.

Fun food fact: The leaves of the marshmallow plant are edible! Add to salads, boil or fry.

Pot Marigold

These hardy ladies will grown in almost any soil condition. Use a tea consisting of marigold petals to increase circulation and ease varicose viens. A poultice of marigold stems will aid in removing corns and warts.

Camomile

You probably know this as a great fruity tea! Camomile works well in aiding digestive issues and also has a soothing effect in its aroma. This helps reduce stress and induce sleep.

Echinacea

 If you’re living without it, you probably shouldn’t be. This beautiful flower has amazing antibiotic properties that relieve allergies and help prevent viral and bacterial infections. The roots, beneficial in treating sores, wounds and burns when applied as a poultice, salve or cream. She grows well in well-drained soil with a lot of sunlight.

Lemon Balm

By far, the easiest herb I have ever unintentionally grown. The leaves give off a lovely lemony mint scent that cannot be mistaken. Crushed leaves used as a poultice help relieve pain from herpes, sores, gout and bug bites. The leaves infused with hot water can treat colds, fevers, indigestion, depression, headaches and insomnia.

I grew this herb for years in the wet wet wetness that is Vancouver BC!

Peppermint

Nearly another weed, as easy to grown and impossible to kill as Lemon Balm. peppermint is high in manganese, vitamin A and vitamin C. Leaves ground into a salve or cream help to sooth and relax muscles.

Sage

Another herb that is nearly impossible to kill is Sage. When consumed it can help to ease indigestion, flatulence, anxiety and excessive sweating.

 

Here’s to spring, and happy plantings. Stay tuned for my inevitable posts containing the trials and tribulations of trying to sustain plant life in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Sasha

 

 

 

Vegan Potato Leek soup

 

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Winter is the perfect time to put your local, in season, low carbon footprint eating practices into play. In this recipe I used potatoes from Manitoba, onions and carrots from Alberta, mushrooms and garlic from BC.

Reduce your carbon footprint, support fair trade ethics and keep your consumer-based activities primarily in your own province/state/country.

Ingredients:

2 medium yellow onions diced

6 cloves garlic pressed/diced

4 celery stalks diced

2 medium carrots diced

1.5 cups brown mushrooms sliced

8 red potatoes cubed, skins on (set aside 2 cups)

2.5 cups hot water 3 vegetable bouillon

1 tbsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tbsp tri-coloured peppercorns

 

Method:

Saute onions and garlic in slow cooker until translucent. Add carrots, celery and 6 potatoes and cook for 8 more minutes.

Add remainder of ingredients and cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce to low and cook for 6 hours longer.

Boil remainder of potatoes until tender.

With a hand blender puree contents of slow cooker. Add boiled potatoes and potato water, cook for 30 minutes more.

Tip: add more hot water if soup seems too thick.

I served this with my homemade sourdough bread…nom nom nom.

Serves 8

Recipe for Disappointment – wildcrafting

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This winter I was contacted by a magazine for an interview on wild foraging in the Canadian Rockies. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to put together my thoughts on wildcrafting and put forth some ideas on sustainable foraging for the local mountain curious & cultured to peruse through.

I completed a 1 hour interview where ideas on how to, where to and what to forage for in this micro-climate of Alberta were discussed. I shared a great recipe (which is here for you in the photo) and knew that my web info, picture and 500 word or less article would appear in the summer issue of this mountain culture magazine.

I searched and search and subscribed to the magazine to ensure that I would get a copy to keep for myself. To no avail. When I finally attended a concert in Banff this past weekend, I managed to scoop one up at a local outdoors store.

I plucked up the magazine and lined up for breakfast, frantically thumbing the pages to reach “my” article. What I saw made my heart sink. I was SO excited to see my face and words on the page. Instead, I saw what you’re looking at. A full page for my recipe and a small tag with virtually nothing about me inserted in it.

I wont go overboard and say I was devastated, but I was kind of beside myself with confusion on how the article seemed to have gotten cut…and why I wasn’t advised. Hmpf.

Most publications I have been featured in would have handled this differently, I felt……embarrassed that I had be so stoked and felt like I amounted to NOTHING. Later on in the weekend Jeff went on to say that he was proud of me that I got into a magazine at all, and that I should be happy.

I have to agree with him. I do. Sometimes the old performer in me just wants that moment in the sun. When the lights aren’t as bright as I’d hoped, they might as well be off!

Not very grateful, not very positive. Time to work on that, right?

Enjoy the recipe. Get out and be wild -even if no one is looking.

xo
S