Bugs in my Food: part 1

Tonight was a good night. The kind to make my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder sound her “barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.” I’ve got awkward pregnant hugs for anyone who gets both those references.

Changes are happening at our house and while I’d rather not get into it with anyone over good or bad, healthy or not (I’ve done my research and this is what my family needs, so there) I do love talking about food and the stuff I’ve read. We are going to be doing the GAPS diet for a little while. If you are curious go read about it as I’m not really going to explain it here (it is done much better other places) but a huge component of the diet is re-introducing healthy bacteria to the digestive tract. Bugs in my food! Everything we made tonight is fermented. No, not booze, although I hear there might be a market for that when the world ends. There is actually a ton of fermentation that goes on in traditional food cultures…think the sauerkraut of Europe and miso and soy sauce from our neighbors in the far east. Also turns out it is super good for you and not just a nifty way to preserve food. So it makes sense that as people start to revisit more traditional means of food prep. they are also re-visiting beneficial bugs.

We have been doing homemade yogurt for a while (and with some new tweaks we now do it awesomely!) , but tonight we branched out.

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Speaking of sauerkraut. We made some! It is super easy, but we will see how it turns out. I love the store bought canned stuff but Neil hates it. Here’s to hoping it’s like bread and butter pickles…he hates store bought but loved the ones we put up ourselves. We didn’t realize it would smash down that much, so next time we will know better. Someday we will have tons of money and I’ll own this. And I’ll use it to put up the hundreds of cabbages we get from our perfect multi-acre garden. Someday.

Homemade Ketchup with whey (from the hard cheese we also made tonight). The whey has lots of the cool bugs that turn the milk into cheese still in it after it is separated from the curds. When you add it to stuff like ketchup the bugs go to work eating the sugars in the ketchup. Then it is slightly ferments and it is both healthy and long lasting.

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Yogurt! I loved it before, but on the advice of the woman who started the GAPS diet we changed how we made it. Instead of incubating the fresh milk at 115 degrees for 10-12 hours in our dehydrator, we did it at 95 degrees for 24 hours. Its magical. The taste is milder, but so much thicker and creamier. Making it the first way, the kids would eat it over fruit, but only if I poured maple syrup on it too. Now they eat it straight or on fruit. The lower temp doesn’t kill any of the probiotic lovelies and the longer time allows all those bugs to completely eat all the sugar in the milk making it even healthier and easier to digest. I [heart] science.

The next picture is of a pot of milk with starter culture sitting, getting happy and waiting to be turned into cheese and the whey that went into the mayo and the ketchup. Those half gallon jars are filled with chicken and goat bone-broth. Just so you know…frozen goat smells fine. Cooked goat smells fine. Raw goat smells really, really weird. But bone-broth (boil bones in some water with a bit of salt) is great for what ails you, and it tastes good. Perfect for these balmy 60 degree days we have been enjoying.

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I’ve always wanted to try making mayonnaise but just never got around to it. Now that homemade mayo is the only way to have this creamy goodness and be GAPS compliant, I figured I owed it to my kids. They are such good sports about food and honestly I think eating this way is going to be fairly easy for them. But ranch dressing/dip makes everything better. As does tarter sauce. And hummus. That’s happening tomorrow.

The mayo and the ketchup now sit on the counter for three days. Sauerkraut will be done tomorrow and the yogurt is tasty right now. I’ll be posting in three days about how everything turns up…or I’ll be dead from food poisoning. There is always that.

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2 Comments

Filed under Animals, Food stuffs

2 responses to “Bugs in my Food: part 1

  1. If you find a recipe for mayo that turns out thick, please share. I’ve tried mayo various times, but can never seem to get it thick enough to my liking. Thanks!

    • did you ever do fermented mayo? the recipe I’m trying uses whey to ferment the mayo slightly. This increases is fridge life and makes it healthier. Plus the oils you use make a huge difference. I’ve heard coconut is excellent to have in the mix because it is great for you and so rock solid when cold. If it is part of your emulsion it would really help. But yes I will keep you posted!

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