Tag Archives: Fermentation

Heart Centered Living’s Fall Fermentation Workshop 2016

Taught by Erick Clasen and Bonnie Pecka

The workshop will be held on November 7th 6:00-8:00 PM at the First

Congregational Church, 30 Main Street Binghamton, New York. Class will be held downstairs in the church kitchen.

The focus of this workshop will be on the basics of fermenting foods. Fermented foods are not only healthy (full of probiotics, vitamins and minerals), they are easy to make and also extremely tasty.

Sauerkraut, fermented ginger and carrots and beet kvass, a delicious drink for the fall season, will be the stars of this workshop. Sauerkraut is an old favorite that many people are familiar with and is a good starting point for trying to ferment your own foods. Fermented carrots and ginger are a zesty combination that introduces a bit of experimental flavoring into the fermentation process.

You will have the opportunity to taste these at the workshop. Besides samples of sauerkraut and carrot / ginger ferment, there will be kombucha, water kefir, and a few varieties of beet kvass.

Workshop attendees will participate in making their own sauerkraut and carrot / ginger fermentations to take home.

Beet Kvass

Beet kvass is a fermented tonic and a snap to make. It’s a delicious choice to incorporate into your health and wellness tool belt any time of the year. Because it is packed full of probiotics, vitamins and enzymes, it is not only tasty, but healthy and nourishing. In addition to beets, other things can be added to flavor (and further fortify) the beet kvass, such as ginger, garlic, citrus, etc.

Registration

The workshop cost is $20 per person. Seating is limited. Please register for this workshop by Friday November 4th.

Registration is as simple as responding via email to hclny@oils-of-life.com or call Erick at 607-226-6943 and make a commitment to attend.

Call or email today to join us for this fun and informative workshop.

Homemade Pickles

Pickles are one of foods that appears on plates in summer and sliced up and used on a condiment on a burger. They are good with many meals and ones made the old fashioned way can help you digest the rich food that might be on your plate at that outing or harvest party you might be attending or throwing.

One thing that I learned recently while watching A Chef’s Life Season 3, Episode 4 is that cucumber pickles are a big crop in Eastern North Carolina. They are graded into various sizes and a rule of thumb ( literally in this case ) is that if you can reach around one and touch your index finger to your thumb, it is a good one for pickling whole. Bigger than that and you might want to slice it into quarters or slabs.

Abundance

Recently I was planning a class for the local Lyme disease group in my area,  Southern Tier Lyme Support . I was searching for some seasonal vegetables to bring along for tasting and I came into an abundance of late season pickling cucumbers at the local farm stand near me, Country Wagon Produce.

Old School Pickling and Quick Pickling, there is a difference

When it comes to abundance and preserving it, nothing beats fermentation, old-school pickling as it is also called. Not to be confused with the type of pickling where one uses boiling hot vinegar, also know as quick pickling. This is more or less a type of canning, which creates a sterile environment, preserving the pickles by killing off all the microbes present on the them.

Lactofermention is what we are after

It is lactofermentation that we are after when we want to produce old-fashioned pickles.  This is when lactic acid producing bacteria, which are already present on everything and everywhere, are allowed to take over. Take over in the sense of, they become the ruling bacteria and help stomp out the others that might be hazardous to our health.

All we have to do is provide the environment that will allow them to multiply fast and get ahead of the other bacteria and fungi present on the vegetables that is trying to rot them away to mush.

How Do We Get it Going?

We give the lactic acid producing bacteria the right environment to thrive.

The lactic acid producing bacteria, known as lactobaccilus can live in a salty brine with no problems, other bacteria are less tolerant of salty brines. This allows it to thrive and the others, not so much. Once the lactobaccilus starts growing it produces, you guessed it, lactic acid. This raises the acid level in the brine, gives pickles the tartness that we expect and provides an environment that excludes other bacteria that would be harmful to us.

It goes without saying that the pickles have to be submerged in the brine. The process of lactofermentation is anaerobic, meaning without air. If some cucumbers are not submerged, most likely the ends sticking out will get moldy.

My Recipe for Pickling Cucumbers

A quart jar will hold roughly a pound of pickling cucumbers. In my case, I measured 400 grams, just a bit less than a pound ( 454 grams ).

  1. Take the cucumbers and let them soak at least 30 minutes in some salty water to help loosen up any dirt. The quantity of slat for this step is not critical, use what you would normally for boiling pasta for an example.
  2. Clean them with a sponge or an abrasive vegetable cleaner. Don’t use any soap or chemicals.
  3. Clip off the ends. According the NPR Article of 3 Secrets to Crispy Pickles there is an enzyme present on the blooming end of a cucumber that can make it go soft after a while. If you are not a pro at identifying the blooming end of a cucumber, clip off both ends to be sure. They have a few other suggestions as well, it is worth reading the article. One suggestion is adding leaves such as oak and cherry which have a lot of tannins to your jar, this can keep pickles crisp longer.
  4. Measure the weight of the cucumbers that will fit into the jar, I had 400 grams for a quart jar.
  5. Pack the cucumbers in the jar. Most likely for the second time as you would have had to put them in once and pulled them back out to weigh them.
  6. Add 5% by weight of natural salt. By natural salt, I mean salt that is just salt nothing else added. For me it was 20 grams of salt. A tablespoon is slightly less than 20g of salt, so make it a heaping tablespoon, or go by weight by putting the jar on the scale and pouring in salt until you hit the mark.
  7. Add pickling spice. ( I bought some locally at Country Wagon Produce ) About 2-3 tablespoons is good enough for a pound of cucumbers. I like to bring an ounce or two of water to a boil in a pan and steep the pickling spice in it, allowing the whole thing to cool off and then I add it all in. The steeping process hydrates the spices and creates a tea. The spices quickly infuse into the water and this gives the spicing process a head start over just adding the dry spices.
  8. Top off with water, making sure the cucumbers are submerged and leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of air space and put on the lid.
  9. Place in a cool ( 55-70 deg is best), dark place and wait.
  10. Loosen the lid every few days to relieve the pressure. More often in warmer weather as the process of fermentation moves faster.
  11. After about 3-4 days, pull one out and taste test, if it’s not ready give it a few more days. When it tastes right to you, put them in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process and enjoy.

How Long Will They Stay Crisp?

They will last a while in the fridge, the first month is the best. But eventually the enzymes produced by the microbes will start to soften the pickles. They are basically being cooked, or more like digested slowly at the temperature of the refrigerator. This happens much  slower than at room temperature as the biological and chemical process are slowed down by the cold temperature. It all happens at a very slow rate by the enzymes and acidity present in the solution. It can take months but eventually they will get soft.

Resources

Upcoming Workshop Flyer

November 7th 2016:Fall Fermentation Workshop

NPR Recipe

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/07/12/156619002/three-secrets-to-crispy-pickles-and-a-lost-recipe-found

An outline of fermentation basics from a presentation that I did a few years ago.

http://oils-of-life.com/fermentation/

A few more posts on fermentation…

Sweet Potato Fly Recipe

Kombucha SCOBY Timelapse Video

 

Sauerkraut Timelapse Video

 

Sweet Potato Fly Recipe

A Soft Drink from Guyana

Sweet Potato Fly is a soft drink recipe that originally comes from Guyana, a small country on the northern coast of South America. I read about it in The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. It is the kind of drink sold in the street markets at stalls, bottled in large plastic bottles and dispensed to customers. It is a good example of a local-made substitute for soda that is shipped in from elsewhere.

Elevating the Sweet Potato

The drink itself, elevates the sweet potato to another level. The fermentation process seems to bring out some of the subtle flavors in a raw sweet potato that get lost in the translation of cooking it. According to Sandor Ellix Katz, the best seasonings to accompany the sweet potato in this drink are the so-called “Christmas spices” – cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

Sweet PotatoWhen the fermentation has gone a few days in it’s primary fermentation vessel it is moved into a sealed container where carbonation can develop. The carbonation makes it a soft drink and therefore an alternative to store bought soda. The carbonation also seems to bring out more flavor as well as it imparts a sharp note of acidity that can counterbalance the sweetness. Much in the same way that salt can bring out the flavor in foods, even sweet ones. Carbonation can do the same thing for beverages.

The Recipe

In the Art of Fermentation book it calls for 2 large sweet potatoes per gallon. When I think of large sweet potatoes, I think of those monster ones. So for a half gallon use one monster one or two medium ( think of the size of a regular Russet potato ) sweet potatoes.

Makes one half gallon
  • 1 very large or 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces, shredding them works well. This might be a good job for a food processor if you have one.
  • 1 cup of sugar. You have choices here, brown sugar imparts more flavor and is what I generally go with, white if you want to keep it mild. Don’t use honey as the antimicrobial agents present naturally in honey will retard fermentation.
  • A cinnamon stick, or the equivalent amount of powdered cinnamon. The benefit of the stick is that it stays in one piece and is not a bunch of small particles floating around, in other words, better aesthetics in the final product.
  • Other spices to your liking. Ginger works well either powdered or in it’s raw form. Nutmeg and allspice work well also. Start out with a teaspoon or so of each and then adjust up to taste.
  • A  starter culture. 1-2 ounces. A live culture to start the fermentation. I use water kefir, which I have plenty of if anyone needs some, just reach out to me. Other things that would be worth trying that have a similar biological spectrum of microbes would be whey, which can be obtained from yogurt. It’s the liquid that forms on top of yogurt when it sits around for a while. Yogurt itself, or dairy kefir would be a good choice, but it will make the product cloudy as it introduces milk solids.

The Process

Take the sliced/grated sweet potatoes and put them in a vessel that will hold them, give them several rinsing of water to remove the surface starches that have developed from the cutting process. I stir them and then let them sit and soak for 30 minutes and stir occasionally. Then I repeat this again for a second rinse.

Once the sweet potatoes are rinsed, add sugar, spices, starter culture and add a few ounces less than a half gallon of water, 58-59 ounces would be perfect. Stir well and cover lightly. I used a stainless steel cooking pot, the pot lid keeps it covered but will not allow pressure to build. Always use a vessel that is non-reactive to acids as the fermentation process will acidify the liquid and you don’t want anything to leach into the liquid.

Let the mixture sit for 2-3 days at room temperature. If it is in an opaque container it is fine to sit out on a counter top. If it is clear or translucent, it is best to keep it covered or in a dark place. UV light from the sun and even florescent lighting can interact with the biochemistry that is occurring in the container and cause “off flavors” to develop.

Foam will develop on top which indicates that fermentation is occurring. It is OK to stir it occasionally and taste it to check the progress by using a clean utensil. The flavor of it will also shift with time and it is interesting to see how this develops.

Ready to Bottle
Ready to Bottle

After 2-3 days it should have some small foam bubbles on top and will be ready to bottle. Strain the liquid out of the container and put that into a seal-able container, leaving an inch or two of air space at the top. Just like soda bottles have from the store. I highly recommend plastic, a recycled soda or at least a juice container is a good idea. This drink can carbonate so vigorously that I would not trust a glass container to bottle it in.

Bottle Conditioning

Once bottled in the sealed bottle, let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 days until it gets hard from the pressure that has built up in it. It now can be drank and stored in the refrigerator, which will greatly slow the fermentation down. The one nice thing about a drink like sweet potato fly is that it will ferment slowly in the refrigerator, so it will re carbonate itself after the bottle is opened. This pretty much happens overnight, if you use some one day the next morning it will have built up enough pressure to re-carbonate, at least this is what I have observed.

Bottled Sweet Potato Fly - Half Gallon
Bottled Sweet Potato Fly – Half Gallon

What to do – Leftover Sweet Potato Pieces

Almost 1 Quart of Leftover Sweet Potato Pieces
Almost 1 Quart of Leftover Sweet Potato Pieces

I have used the leftover pieces of sweet potatoes in pancakes. I use a high ratio of sweet potatoes to batter. Basically the batter is just a binder to hold the pieces of sweet potato together.

The sweet potatoes are softer than in their raw state as they have been predigested by the fermentation process. On top of this they have absorbed some of the flavor of the spices from the liquid that they have been sitting in for several days. If you like, you can even fortify the batter with the same spices that were used in the sweet potato fly recipe and make the flavor stand out even more. I have even made them a bit savory with salt, cumin and coriander, giving it a curried type of flavor profile.

 

 

 

 

March 2016 Calendar of Events

Heart Centered Living Calendar of Events for March

All classes are held at 30 Main Street at the First Congregational
Church in Binghamton unless otherwise noted.

Monday March 7th 6:30-8:30 PM

Energy Night with Debbie Matsushima

Join us for our popular first Monday of the month energy night. Whether you are a firs time receiver of energy, or a seasoned practitioner; everyone walks away feeling peaceful, energized and connected to the universal energy. $6 Love offering appreciated.

Tuesday March 8th 6:00-8:30 PM @ SUNY Broome

Embracing the Divine Feminine Class w/ Renee Guidelli

Discover and learn unique meditations and techniques that help you with centeredness and serenity in your home and workplace. Love, protection, gratitude, trust, creativity, courage, community and patience are just some of the bodacious Goddess self aspects that need to be expressed in your life. To register and learn more

Wednesday March 9th 2:00-3:30 PM

Soul Sanctuary

Looking for a place where you can connect with your inner knowing? Your deep inner wisdom and the seed and seat of your soul Every inspirational and fun session brings forth new information from your soul for you to explore and apply to your daily life.  This session: Meeting your soul in the temple of the enlightened ones. We also incorporate coloring, crafting and intentional body and breath work. This is an open series. $12 Each session.  Check out the details here

Wednesday March 9th 6:00-7:30 PM

Music and Meditation Service w/ Rev. Renee Guidelli (The Gospel of Mary Madelene)

We are familiar with the Gospel of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, But what about Mary Magdalene? The devoted disciple and confident that was always seen with Jesus? Witness scenes taken from the book , Anna , Grandmother of Jesus, as well as other findings that sheds light on this mysterious woman who plays a pivotal part of our lives today as women in society.  Soup supper at 6:00 and 6:45 is the service.

Wednesday March 9th 6:00-8:00 PM @ SUNY Broome

Sacred Geometry Workshop with Peter Shell

Understand why patterns & numbers can be seen as predictable elements of nature. Increase your understanding of our world. This course is based upon a simple series of easy to follow diagrams & 3D models that allow you to see the relationships first hand. Have fun & unlock secrets revealing how everything in our world is intertwined. Call SUNY Broome at 778-5012 to register

Monday March 14th 6:00-8:00 PM

Fermentation class Taught by Erick Clasen and Bonnie Pecka

Class will be held downstairs in the church kitchen.

Sourdough bread and beet kvass will be the stars of this workshop. There will be samples of both sourdough bread and beet kvass to taste. Additionally, there will be samples of fermented foods such as kimchi, hot pepper sauce and garlic dill pickles. These samples are all made by traditional fermentation methods. Samples of beverages such as kombucha and water kefir will be available as well.

For more information read the  Fermentation Post

Tuesday March 15th, 22nd & 29th 6:00-8:00 PM

Your Life is all About Numbers Numerology Course with Peter Shell

This is an intensive training on how to apply the  ancient science of numerology to your life & the lives of your family. Understand what is important to you and why you react to situations differently than others. This is a realistic system that helps you make sense of who you are & why you are so unique. We will meet for 3 evenings. Course fee includes a workbook & textbook written by Peter. Please pre-register by March 8th. Class limited to 6 students. $70

Wednesday March 16th 2:00-3:30 PM

Class has been rescheduled to next Wednesday the 23rd.

Soul Sanctuary

Looking for a place where you can connect with your inner knowing? Your deep inner wisdom and the seed and seat of your soul? Every inspirational and fun session brings forth new information from your soul for you to explore and apply to your daily life.  This session: Blending with your soul  We also incorporate coloring, crafting and intentional body and breath work. $12 Each session.  Check out the details here

Monday March 21st  6:00-8:00 PM

Spring Equinox Celebration at the Heart Light Center for Healing and Creativity in Maine, NY

Gather with heart centered friends as we celebrate and welcome Spring together through ritual, ceremony, intention and sacred crafts. Please bring a notebook and something to write with,  a chair or blanket to sit on,  instruments for sound and sacred items for the altar to program with elemental energy. Love offerings appreciated.

Tuesday March 22nd 6:00-8:00 PM

Your Life is all About Numbers Numerology Course with Peter Shell

See information listed above on March 15th.

Wednesday March 23rd 2:00-3:30 PM

 Soul Sanctuary

Looking for a place where you can connect with your inner knowing? Your deep inner wisdom and the seed and seat of your soul? Every inspirational and fun session brings forth new information from your soul for you to explore and apply to your daily life.  This session: Living as your soul. We also incorporate coloring, crafting and intentional body and breath work. $12 Each session.  Check out the details here

Monday March 28th  6:00-8:00 PM

Program to be announced (watch for details)

Tuesday March 29th 6:00-8:00 PM

Your Life is all About Numbers Numerology Course with Peter Shell

See information listed above on March 15th.

 

Rescheduled: Heart Centered Living’s Fall Fermentation Workshop

Taught by Erick Clasen and Bonnie Pecka

The workshop will be held on October 19th from 6:00-8:00 PM at the First  Congregational Church, 30 Main Street Binghamton, New York. Class will be held downstairs in the church kitchen.

The focus of this workshop will be on the basics of fermenting foods. Fermented foods are not only healthy (full of probiotics, vitamins and minerals), they are easy to make and also extremely tasty.

Sauerkraut, fermented ginger and carrots and sweet potato fly, a delicious drink for the fall season, will be the stars of this workshop. Sauerkraut is an old favorite that many people are familiar with and is a good starting point for trying to ferment your own foods. Fermented carrots and ginger are a zesty combination that introduces a bit of experimental flavoring into the fermentation process.

You will have the opportunity to taste these at the workshop. Besides samples of sauerkraut and carrot / ginger ferment, there will be kombucha, water kefir, and four varieties of sweet potato fly.

Workshop attendees will participate in making their own sauerkraut and carrot / ginger fermentations to take home.

Sweet Potato Fly

This is a traditional fermented drink that comes from Guyana, located on the northern coast of South America. After experimenting with a number of batches, we thought it would fit right in with the fall harvest season. All attendees will be given the opportunity to taste 4 versions of this drink and will be provided with written guidelines so they can make it at home.

Registration

The workshop cost is $20 per person. Seating is limited. Please register for this workshop by Friday October 16th.

Registration is as simple as sending an email or calling Erick at 607-226-6943 and make a commitment to attend.

Call or email today to join us for this fun and informative workshop.


Bonnie Pecka lives in Greene,NY and is the author of One Small Pebble, a leading website and inbox magazine for empowering individuals around the world who want to make healthy change happen. You can learn more about her and the magazine by visiting http://onesmallpebble.com/

Erick Clasen lives in Maine,NY and has started collecting food recipes and fermentation information online that can be viewed by going to food-recipes and fermentation.

Health and Wellness Ideas Exchange Night

Hi Friends of HCL,

We would like to reminder you that Heart Centered Living will be
having an idea exchange night on health and wellness, Monday March the 23rd from 6:00 to 8:00PM at First Congregational Church 30 Main Street Binghamton. No cost for this program but donations are appreciated.

Erick and Bonnie Pecka will be there to discuss fermentaion in
regards to health and how it has probiotics, cleansing properties and
promotes intestinal health. Erick was planning on bring some fermented food, such as, carrots and ginger, parsnips and a new batch of sauerkraut with thyme. Plus orange juice and pineapple juice water
kefir soda. Bonnie will print out some recipes to share and will have
a Kombucha SCOBY for all to see up close.

This group is nothing formal, just bring some health topics and ideas
to discuss and be ready to share and learn.

**Works of Heart Spring Craft Fair**

Don’t forget about our Spring Craft Fair on Saturday the 28th of March from 10:00AM to 4:00PM at the First Congregational Church 30 Main Street Binghamton.