the rainbow connection

IMG_4031 IMG_4039What?  You have never made a smily face with kefir grains and a scoby?  Come on… live a little!!!!

This weekend marked the first meeting of the vermont chapter of the fermentation club!!!  It was pretty much awesome.  For all involved.


getting ready for the snow season

And I now have a counter full of the good bubbly stuff.  It is making me feel like quite the scientist and I so do love it.  Oh oh!  I even made orange and strawberry kombucha popsicles today.  Yes, I went there.  And I assure you it was worth it.


And when a party ends with this you know its been good.  I mean lets be real, a whole bunch of hippies fermenting food under a rainbow?  Its a thing of beauty I tell you.  A thing of real beauty.


one yogurt how to

I often get asked how I make yogurt.  Or even more often I simply insist people give it a go because it is so very satisfyingly easy, cost efficient and quite frankly plain old delicious.  It takes less than 15 minutes of work, none of which is difficult, and once you get it down you can keep your family in yogurt bliss for the rest of your life.  Think of it, one gallon of organic yogurt for six dollars (or whatever you can find for a good price for organic milk).  That is tremendous considering a quart is usually a comparable price.

You must start with raw or pasteurized milk.  Not ultra pasteurized, it doesn’t have the live cultures necessary to complete this science experiment.  Pour you milk into a large enough pot and heat her up until 180 degrees.


Hold it there for a minute, letting it hover between 180F and 185F.  In your sink have a prepared ice bath that will fit your kettle of milk but not be too deep to allow water to spill over into your steamy concoction.  Once you have heated your milk place it in your chilly bath and wait until it cools to 118F.  At this point whisk in one small container of yogurt (or a cup of your past batch… I have found the consistency to be good up to four times then it seems to get to liquidy).

I have gotten really nice results with this starter.


Whisk gently for one minute than quick quick pour into large mason jars, or whatever size you would like.  I usually do a few tiny for quick snacks on the way out the door and one large for home use.  Tighten the lids and place in an oven wrapped in a towel with just the pilot light on.  On really cold days or nights I turn it on for only a minute or so to heat it up and then right away turn it off.  DO NOT FORGET!  I almost did once and singed a towel.  Very scary.  The best results are when the temperature hovers around one hundred for a good 12 hours.  But if time is of the essence, it can be done in as soon as five, it will just be less tangy.


Remember to place in your refrigerator until good and chilled before spooning into bowls, coating with granola, and drizzling good, delicious, local honey.  This is not just for taste purposes, the yogurt separates if scooped to soon.


Enjoying some “yo yo” and “bucha” also known as kombucha… another lovely fermentation project.  

In the crock. Under the rock.

As I mentioned before, I attended an amazing workshop or “fiesta” as they called it, early last month about fermenting vegetables, at The Local Living School.

Well, I gave sauerkraut a whirl.  And guess what?!  It is fantastic.  This poor dish gets a bad reputation I should admit.   Every time I tell people of my latest endeavours I get the suspicious (if not hairy) eyeball.  I promise, this is better than any store-bought imitation you had slapped on some ball park dog when you were nine.  Well, truth is neither of my boys have a taste for it.  They were actually scraping their tounges to rid themselves of the krautiness.

Maybe it was just too much for them to handle…?

Regardless, it is unbelievable that there is no vinegar involved.  I have a hard time grasping the knowledge that this indeed is just vegetables and salt (and a whole bunch of tamping).

Here is how you do it.

1. Chop up your cabbage, carrots, turnips, horseradish, onions, cucumbers, whatever you fits your fancy in a kraut.  For every gallon of vegetables you have layer in one tablespoon of sea salt (not iodized).  I placed mine in a large mason.

2. Tamp. Tamp. Tamp.  Until the water starts to come out.  When it reaches the top of the vegetables you have success.

3. Place a weight of some sort and a somewhat snug cover on top making sure that the vegetables are indeed below the brine that it has created.

4. Wait four days, watch the bubbling goodness that will do wonders for your body and mind, and get ready to enjoy and amaze yourself with how good sauerkraut truly is.

Wallah!  The white thing is a plastic grocery bag I used because I was afraid that the vegetables were raising above the brine.  Clearly, I loaded up on the beta carotene.  You know for my night vision.

So there you have it.  This should last close to a year.  Easier than canning by a landslide and better for you to boot.  

clean but not sterile

A weekend with the girls.  And my boys too of course.  A trip up north to visit old friends and see new sights was perfectly inspiring, enlightening, and exhausting alike.  No matter the circumstances, it seemed that the reoccurring theme remained the same:  Lively conversation.  When it was just us ladies driving about we discussed beautiful thought-provoking subjects.  In the evening over a glass of wine (so what if I was the only one indulging) we reviewed the oh so necessary details of birth with some mama’s to be.  After sleep finally overcame my little ones a veteran mother made light and joy of parenting in such a way that it was nothing short of contagious.  There were discussions directed at our destination for the trip in the first place; fermentation.  And then in turn the discussions I found myself having instead of such a lecture with a couple of mama’s and their children around a giant sand pile filled with treasures of rocks and shells and other interesting artifacts that can be dug with the right construction tools.

We embarked on our trip to Temple Maine specifically to attend a workshop on the magic and beauty of the fermentation transformation for storage of food.  While my girls took care and jotted down many notes, my little man was not quite as content as I anticipated, relaxing on my back for the duration.  So… we wandered.  And we chatted with some others in quite the same boat.  At first I felt a little left out and disappointed that yet another opportunity had been missed.  But then things changed.

With thoughts on homeschooling, child-rearing, home building, and playing alike I realized I wasn’t really missing out after all.  I had grand views of this family’s courage and grace with the world around them.  My littlest boy brought me all over the property in a way I surely would not have experienced otherwise.  He allowed me befriend these two ladies when without a doubt I would have been too busy had he not been ready to explore.  And I would have completely missed the joyful conversation I had with the homesteader’s five-year old son about the current rain conditions, the state of their climbing tree’s (or lack their of) and general knowledge of the earth around him.  This was by far the most fascinating part of my experience at The Living Local School.  First hand I saw the outcome of a boy brought up with out (or with depending on which way you look at it…  I prefer the latter).  He stood atop the mountain of sand with his hard hat firmly in place, barefoot and dirty, deeply invsested in his immediate surroundings.  Not something you view on your average five year old.  I have to admit.

Of course, I did spend some time in the classroom…

The weekend so beautiful, so serene, was yet another reminder to open my eyes.  Just see.  Just be.