Ideas for cooking can have many sources. Our thriving community shares our experiments with growing, cooking and preserving food. Working as a group we can sample many variations on recipes and share extra harvest.

One great way I've been learning about food is through my participation in the Weston A. Price seasonal potluck dinners, many of which we've held in our home in Bergen County, NJ. Through these potlucks, I've had the opportunity to experience numerous types of food including wild-crafted, homegrown produce, pasture & woodland raised meat, raw, cultured and lacto-fermented foods, beverages and more.

Much of this food is similar in style to foods I've experienced in my travels in developing countries with Heifer International. From these experiences I've been inspired to grow more and more new and unusual fruits, vegetable and even nuts so that I can continue to experiment with highly nutritious foods. Mealtime has become so much more interesting since I've moved beyond the grocery store.

To start, here are some of my fermentation and sprouted staple recipes:

Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut
Ingredients: (1) Head of cabbage (green, or red for pretty pink color)
(3) Tbsp. Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup whey
Caraway Seeds (optional, for flavor)
Directions: Find a friend to make this with! Cut cabbage very finely with serrated knife. Put into large crock and repeatedly pound with wooden mallet until juices run. Add salt and whey, press firmly into crock. Cover with a few cabbage leaves and place weights on top (you can use large jugs filled with water). Cover entire pot with a thin sheet or cloth, if deisred. Keep at room temperature for one day, then move into cool basement, or empty refrigerator set on warmest setting. Your sauerkraut should be slightly tangy and ready ready to eat in just a few days, and will develop a stronger flavor over time, so be sure experiment to find your desired perfect flavor.
Notes: You can also find similar recipes from Sally Fallon and Sandor Katz. Some years I get lots of cabbage and make this in my German Crock, trying different variations.

Ingredients: (8) Teaspoons Black Tea
(2) Cups white Cane Sugar
(1) Gallon Water
(1) Kombucha Mushroom (Anyone who makes Kombucha will have a mushroom to give you, just ask around.)
Directions: Bring water to boil, add tea and steep for 15 minutes. Strain to remove tea leaves, then bring back to boil. Add sugar, stir until dissolved.

Place one Kombucha Mushroom in clean, 1 gallon jar, washed with vinegar -- not soap. Pour sugary tea mixture into jar with Kombucha Mushroom. Place on hot plate or heating mat, and cover with tea cloth.

Monitor for 8 days then test each day thereafter. It should be slightly sour and bubbly. Fermentation starts sweet and is slightly alcoholic. As time increases it turns more tart and vinegary - you decide how you like it best!
Notes: Traditionally, Kombucha is made with pure tea from the Yunnan Province of China, but I've also successfully experimented with Orange Pekoe and Green Tea too -- just make sure its organic.

Sprouted Almonds
Ingredients: (4) cups organic almonds
(3) Tablespoons Celtic sea salt
(2) Cups water
Directions: Heat water to boil, then add celtic sea salt and stir to dissolve. Place almonds to separate pan and add just enough water to cover almonds. Soak until almonds swell and begin to sprout, about 24 hours. Drain, and put almonds in dehydrator until crispy, about 36 hours. Test for crispness, and store in covered mason jars.
Notes: This is a Nourishing Traditions Recipe and a staple food of mine. I always keep a bag of almonds in my backpack, my car and on the shelf!

Raw Milk Yogurt and Whey
Ingredients: (1) quart milk (I use raw or lightly pasteurized, but never homogenized)
Directions: Heat milk to 110 degrees. Let cool to "warm" temperature, and place in cooler with hot water bottles or on hot plate or heating mat for 6 - 12 hours. Refrigerate to solidify the yogurt.

Yogurt will have separated, and a clear liquid will sit on top. Pour this off, and strain remaining yogurt with a cheesecloth. Collect liquid whey that passes through (use for Beet Kvass, below), and refrigerate and enjoy the remaining yogurt!
Notes: From Liz Joseph, the executive chef at Heifer International at Overlook Farm. I much prefer raw milk and buy it when I am in Vermont.

Beet Kvass
Ingredients: (5) Medium-sized Beets
(1) Teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/4 Cup Whey (see recipe above)
Directions: Chop beets into large chunks. Place beets into bottom of glass mason jar; add salt and whey, then fill to the top with water and stir. Let sit in jar, covered with a cloth for two days, then cover tightly & refrigerate.
Notes: Adapted from Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions. The longer you let this sit, the thicker and better tasting the kvass will be. I use all the red beets I can and make several quarts at a time.

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