Cultured Summer – Delicious BBQ Sides and Drinks
by Stacey Tress
Hello my lovely friends. Summer is almost upon us and with that comes our sometimes short but amazing BBQ season. I thought writing an article with some of my favourite cultured dishes could be fun and inspiring. All of the recipes in this article will have some sort of fermented/cultured food flair. I wish you all a pleasant summer and look forward to connecting again later this summer/early fall.
First Off, What are Cultured Foods?
Cultured foods/fermented foods are simply foods that have had some sort of pre-treatment. Usually that means they have either been soaked, sprouted, or fermented. Cultured foods contribute to our gut health, are more easily digested, absorbed into the body and more easily eliminated—thanks to their bacteria (good ones!), enzymes, B vitamins, and probiotics!
Think about what your great grandparents, or great great grandparents, could have eaten—go pull out those old recipe books and I’m sure you’ll find some amazing recipes. Typically, these would have been foods that required little or no refrigeration (as they only had say a cold cellar/root cellar or no cold storage at all!). Another amazing bonus of cultured foods is the presence of lactic acid which acts as a natural food preservative.
Some examples of cultured (or fermented) foods include sauerkraut, cheese, sourdough bread, wine, salami, miso, kefir, kombucha, villi/yogurt, kimchi, mead, butter, tempeh, chutney. You can make practically anything into a cultured food with the right pre-treatment including examples like Fermented Dandelion Greens, Carrot Ginger Beef Sauerkraut, Basil Garlic Pesto, Homemade Ketchup, Napa Cabbage Salad with Sweet Miso Dressing, Cream Cheese, Muenster, Corned Beef, Venison Sausage, Ginger Soda, Beet/Apple/Ginger Kvass, Amasake, Elderberry Wine, and the list goes on!
Fermented (cultured) foods are returning to the modern kitchen. The art of fermentation precedes history and happens by capturing and controlling the growth of bacteria, molds, and yeasts and falling in love with the presence of lactobacilli found on the surface of all things. Besides tasting delicious, these cultured foods can even act as a vehicle for self-exploration in health and healing.
Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut
1 or 2 medium heads of organic cabbage
2 tablespoons sea salt
- Using a knife or a food processor, shred the cabbage into thin strips. Place in a large bowl.
- Add the salt. The salt will begin to draw the liquid from the cabbage. It’s magic!
- Use a wooden spoon (I prefer to massage with my hands) to smoosh the liquid from the cabbage. This takes about ten minutes. Get it nice and pulverized and juicy.
- Wash and dry a half-gallon glass jar. Then place a bit of the cabbage into the jar. Use the wooden spoon to help press the cabbage tightly into the jar. Add more cabbage, then squish some more. Add more cabbage, then squish some more. You get the idea? After all the squishing, the liquid should reach the top of the cabbage. If it doesn’t, press down some more so that all of the cabbage is submerged in the liquid. The liquid should remain at least one inch below the top of the jar so there is room for some expansion during the fermentation process. Cover the jar with a lid.
- Let the jar sit out on your counter for three days, at which point, it can be moved into the refrigerator. Like most fermented vegetables, the flavour will increase and intensify over time.
My tips on this recipe: I usually use a piece of the cabbage not cut and prefer to use non-wide mouth mason jars. Once the brine is over the cabbage, I use that cabbage piece to tuck under the sides of the jar. Ensuring that everything remains under the brine keeps things safe. I also don’t seal the lids when on the counter and set my ferments on a tray. I don’t cap them tight until they go into the fridge. Typically, I let my ferments rest in the fridge a minimum of three weeks. I just opened a jar of sauerkraut from last year and it is delicious!
Recipe Flavours—Yummy additions to add to plain kraut
In step 2 of the above recipe, try these combinations to add some real kick to your kraut!
- 3 cloves garlic, minced and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 carrot grated, 1/2 white/yellow onion diced fine or shredded, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (a version of Curtido—an El Salvadorian Slaw)
- 2–3 tbsp chopped up fresh/frozen dill (a personal fave!) You can also spice up with cayenne
- 1–2 tbsp dried basil
We LOVE eating these krauts as awesome yummy toppings to grilled meats—especially BBQ pork sausage on a bun. Also works great as topping on regular coleslaw for some added kick and easier digestion of that side dish.
Easy Cultured Marinated Veggies
2 cups of each, roughly chopped
Carrot, Cauliflower, Broccoli
1/2 cup sesame oil or canola oil
1/2 cup kombucha vinegar
Herbs of choice—I like to use grated fresh garlic and an assortment of fresh garden herbs chopped fine, such as thyme, marjoram, oregano, and basil.
Add chopped veggies into a medium/large bowl and make your dressing. Whisk oil, vinegar, and herbs together and pour over veggies. Toss and coat and let marinate at least a day before serving.
You will need:
- A gallon size glass jar (holds 14 cups or so and I say this as the top of the jar is bevelled so the scoby won’t fit at the top—as it wants to grow to the width of whatever container it is in)
- 1 gallon (14 cups or so) of brewed sweetened tea, with a ratio of 1 cup organic sugar to 1 gallon of tea—must be cooled to room temperature! (We use 8 green tea bags)
- 1 kombucha SCOBY + starter liquid
- coffee filter/cloth and a rubber band
[Note: It is very important that all materials and surfaces are very clean and that your hands have been washed before starting this process!]
- Prepare the tea (1 cup organic sugar in 1 gallon of brewed regular tea—decaf is ok, too!) Use 8–10 regular size tea bags. (We use 8 green tea bags to 1 cup of sugar; some recipes call for 10 black tea bags, so experiment to see what you like best). Add sugar when tea is still hot/warm as it will dissolve easier; stir.
- Let the tea cool and remove tea bags. Make sure that tea is completely cool before going on to next step.
- Pour the tea into a gallon size jar (use tulle to trap sediment from tea); leave room for SCOBY and liquid from previous batch; at least 1 cup of previous liquid.
- Gently place the kombucha SCOBY at the top of the liquid. It should float, but don’t worry if it doesn’t; it will eventually. Once you have put it in, don’t stick your hands into the tea to get it to float!
- Cover the jar with a coffee filter or towel and secure with a rubber band.
- Place in a warm location (around 70–75ºF) and let sit from 5 days to 30 days depending on your preference (it will be less sweet and more potent/vinegary the longer you leave it). We store our kombucha on top of the fridge. We think it tastes best on day 6!
- When it is finished brewing, you can store in smaller jars (put in fridge) or in another big jar with a lid and repeat the brewing process with the SCOBY to make more batches.
This is a super versatile vinegar (it’s similar to apple cider vinegar) that gives your salad dressings a probiotic kick and added flavour.
Easy to make if you brew your own kombucha. To make, just let a batch of your kombucha go too long. I like to let it sit at least 6–8 weeks before using…but in the absence of time, using kombucha that’s fermented 8+ days will do the trick in this recipe in a pinch. But the longer it sits the better it is! You can have a bunch of different little batches of vinegar going with flavours like garden herbs, grated ginger, lime, or garlic, or a combo that suits you! This vinegar is also an awesome meat marinate that will render you the most tender of meats; perfect for the BBQ!
Big Daddy’s Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad
(a cultured version of this popular BBQ side dish)
3 pounds baby red potatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup kombucha vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
How to make it:
- Preheat grill to 350°F to 400°F (medium-high) heat. Place potatoes in a single layer in centre of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring up foil sides over potatoes; double fold top and side edges to seal, making 1 large packet.
- Grill potatoes in foil packet, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes on each side. Remove packet from grill. Carefully open packet, using tongs, and let potatoes cool 5 minutes.
- Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add potatoes tossing gently to coat. Stir in onion, blue cheese, and bacon.
Fermenting for Dummies, Marni Wasserman
Welcome to the Farm How-To Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead, Shaye Elliott
Welcome to the Farm How-To Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead, Shaye Elliott
Big Daddy’s Potato Salad
Kombucha, Kombucha Vinegar, and Marinated Veggies by Garden Therapy Yorkton
Where to buy fermentation
Culture Mother, www.culturemother.ca, (Gravelbourg, SK area but shipping Canada wide!)
Garden Therapy Yorkton, www.gardentherapyyorkton.ca (Yorkton, SK) or find my business page on Facebook as, I’ll be honest, my webpage needs an update!
I sell a variety of Active Culture Kits (Kombucha, Sourdough, Water Kefir, Milk Kefir, Villi and Jun). Culture kits for pickup in the Yorkton area are $15–$20 and come with written instructions and follow-up support. Shipping Canada wide. Stay tuned for my fall line-up of Fermentation workshops in the Regina, Canora, and Rhein areas!
Also, for those on Facebook, I extend an invitation to join my group called “The Art of Fermentation.” Great place to connect, share, and inspire others. We have over 500 members now and 90% are from the Prairies!
Stacey Tress, a Holistic Nutritional Therapist (HNT) and Young Living Essential Oil Distributor (#2282633), lives in Yorkton, SK with her husband and two daughters. She is the owner of Garden Therapy Yorkton which offers fermentation workshops, permaculture design work, organically-grown produce, and more! She also offers essential oil support and carries a wide variety of Young Living Essential Oils and products for sale. To learn more, call 306-641-4239, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gardentherapyyorkton.ca, or on Facebook “Garden Therapy Bliss.” Also see the display ad on page 9 of the 23.2 July/August issue of the WHOLifE Journal.