Fermentation Friday: How to make cherry wine

Fermentation Friday: How to make cherry wine

I went cherry picking today with my friend Dekalb — not at an orchard, but at a parking lot that’s been home to these trees for the past few decades. The trees actually predate the parking lot, or so we have been told by the parking lot owners, who are happy to have us pick the cherries without remuneration since it … Read more

Recipe: Vegan chocolate-spice muffins … They’ll never guess the secret ingredient is beets!

I wasn’t sure what kind of muffins to make today, so I looked in my fridge for inspiration. The jar of sour beets caught my attention. I texted my sister and told her I was thinking about making beet muffins. She texted back, “That sounds kind of gross. But good luck anyway!” She’s right. It does sound kind of gross. But it’s … Read more

Recipe: Slow cooker vegetarian borscht (beet soup)

Recipe: Slow cooker vegetarian borscht (beet soup)

Many modern recipes rely on tomatoes or lemon juice to give borscht its refreshing, acidic flavor. This recipe gets its tang the old-fashioned way: by using lacto-fermented beets. Served hot, borsht makes a hearty winter meal. But it’s also great in the summer, when I prefer to eat it cold with a little plan yogurt mixed in. This soup is even better … Read more

Fermentation Friday: An illustrated tutorial for making lacto-fermented beets

People seem to fall into two categories: they either love beets, or they hate them. Ever since I was a kid, I have fallen squarely into the “love them” category. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on them. But then I discovered lacto-fermented beets and found that it was. Beets are  back in season here, so it’s time … Read more

Recipe: Making Sauerkraut, an Illustrated Tutorial – Part 2

This post is a continuation from Part 1, where I outlined the first few hours of the sauerkraut-making process. Here, I talk about the first week of fermentation. Within 24 hours of  chopping and salting  the cabbage, it had already expressed enough liquid to nearly cover itself: You can see in the photo above that some of the cabbage pieces … Read more

Recipe: Making Sauerkraut, an Illustrated Tutorial – Part 1

Recipe: Making Sauerkraut, an Illustrated Tutorial – Part 1

I never ate cabbage growing up. Maybe it’s because cabbage in a consummate winter vegetable, and we lived in places where the growing seasons were long and winter was more of a blip than a season. My first real introduction to cabbage happened in my first few hours as an exchange student in Germany. I had barely slept in the … Read more

The simplest way to make vinegar (or hard cider) from scratch

The simplest way to make vinegar (or hard cider) from scratch

In many parts of the U.S., it’s still possible to get fresh apple cider at your local farmer’s market – but it won’t last long. There are two traditional ways to make cider last longer: making hard cider and making vinegar. Making these things can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Here is my simplest apple cider vinegar method, … Read more

Winter’s here. Brew up some warmth.

Winter’s here. Brew up some warmth.

“You can make wine out of anything but a rock!” So says Appalachian winemaker John Bulgin in The Foxfire Book of Wine Making, and my experience says he’s right. Being the frugal person I am, I’ve never been fond of paying beaucoup bucks for beverages. So when I’ve wanted wine, I’ve made it.* In spring, I’ve raced my neighbors’ lawnmowers … Read more

Illustrated guide to making yogurt in a slow cooker

Illustrated guide to making yogurt in a slow cooker

People often seem impressed when they find out I make yogurt at home. While I like to think I’m impressive, it’s certainly not because I make yogurt. Making yogurt is easier than baking muffins from a box. Plus, you can save a lot of money: a gallon of homemade yogurt costs the same as a gallon of milk. Where I live, that’s a 75% … Read more