Yeast or Sugar ferments are an easy way to use up the sweet, juicy, abundant fruit of the warmer months! It’s a simple process and requires very little equipment!
Pretty much any fruit can be used. If your fruit is very ripe and sweet, you will need less sugar. If you are doing an under ripe fruit, more sugar! The sugar is the preservative in this ferment. Yeasts will feed on the sugars and convert them to alcohol and over time, vinegar.
I decided to use a bunch of overripe peaches I found at a local farm stand. After rinsing and removing the pits, I smashed them into a jar. I wasn’t worried about keeping the shape, but you can gently place them in a jar if you to ferment them that way.
Add enough sugar to coat all of the fruit. The amount will vary depending on the amount of fruit that you use! Once the sugars are dissolved, it will have the sweetness close to that of jelly.
Close the jar and place in a shady spot in your home. Shake or stir the contents 2-3 times a day to keep the fruit coated in the sugar. The gasses will start to build as the yeast consumes the sugar and ‘farts’ 🙂 It will be very active for a few days, and you will notice the flavor start to change and become a bit more tangy. Leave the jar as long as you like, and enjoy it when the flavor seems right to you! You can also let it go for a very long time and end up with a fruit alcohol and eventually, a vinegar! Once your ferment has reached the desired flavor, place in the fridge for storage and to slow or halt the fermentation process.
I love to use this ferment in cocktails, on desserts, on ice cream, or just straight out of the jar!
We haven’t been to the grocery or market in awhile, and I have very few fresh vegetables in the house. We also do not live close to a grocery and can’t just ‘run out’ to get specific items. Thankfully, I always have a lot of fermented veggies around. It’s a rabbit hole of a hobby, but is actually pretty beneficial!
I wanted vegetables to go with our pizza, and the Family Dollar across the street provides a limited source of canned and frozen veggies. For this ‘salad’ I combined canned corn, frozen mixed vegetables, kidney beans, the one cucumber I had in the house, and a TON of pink kraut. The acidic kraut brine meant I just needed to add salt and pepper to this dish, and it turned into something really tasty! (Also goes really well on TOP of the pizza🤤) Have fun with your food, and always stay creative!
I don’t always have full recipes to post because so many of my meals are made by my husband! However, I still like to give everyone inspiration to create your own fabulous dishes.
We quite frequently have tostadas for dinner as they are easy to prep, fun to build, and so delicious. Most large grocery chains now carry tostadas in the International Food sections, and you can even get a pretty decent can of re-fried black beans there as well (add some onion powder, cumin, and oregano for flavor boost). Whatever else you want to add to build your tostadas is up to you! That’s the fun part! My husband maintains that the absolute best are made with just tomatoes, salt, and maybe some mexican crema. I think every one I put in my mouth is the best. So think about some chopped cabbage, tomato, corn, radishes, tofu cooked with spices, mushrooms, etc. Get creative!
Last night my husband cooked my oyster mushrooms with poblano peppers, asparagus, tomato, onion, garlic, and some herbs and spices (He doesn’t give up his recipes very easily). But the real star was oyster mushroom. They are slightly dense and a bit chewy in a really good way. They are mild and take on any flavors you add to them. So that was my dinner on a tostada and some black beans, of course. Make a lot because the leftovers are even better!
Send me photos of your tostada creations! And let me know of other ways you use oyster mushrooms!
Tepache is a fermented beverage that is made using pineapple rind, sugar, and water. Often spices like Cinnamon and Chili Flakes are added for flavor! “Tepache dates from Pre-Columbian Mexico, as a popular drink among the Nahua people of central Mexico; in the Nahuatl (also known as Aztec) language, the word tepiātl means “drink made from corn”. Originally, corn (maize) was the base of tepache, but the contemporary recipe for tepache uses pineapple rinds as the foodstuff fermented to produce the tart drink that is tepache. Some varieties of tepache, known as tepache de tibicos, are fermented using symbiotic cultures of tibicos.” -Wikipedia
To begin, rinse your whole pineapple under cold water to remove any dirt or bugs. Do not use soap, vinegar or hot water as this will kill the necessary yeast and bacteria! Cut up your pineapple, saving the all of the rind and core. Making Tepache is a GREAT way to minimize food waste! Add the rind and core to a large bowl, crock or jar and cover with filtered water (anything non-chlorinated). The amount of water will be about 3 quarts, but it does not need to be exact.
The next step is adding the sugar. Any sugar can be used, but Piloncillo or a dark brown sugar is the traditional method and gives a very nice flavor. Whichever sugar you choose, you need about 1-2 cups depending on the water amount you have. The water should taste sweet but not syrupy. In 3 quarts of water, you will use about a 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Dissolve the sugar by boiling, cooling, and adding, or by stirring until it is dissolved. At this point you can add a cinnamon stick if you’d like!
When you have everything in your vessel, weight the pineapple rind under the water using a plate, jar, small bowl, or anything non-porous. This will help prevent the growth of kahm yeast, which is not harmful, but changes the flavor of the Tepache. Cover your vessel with a towel, plate, or lid, and place in a dark corner of your kitchen. No sunlight, please! Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, the Tepache will need about 48 hours to get a nice flavor. Continue to taste as it sits! It will get a bit tangy as the sugars are converted, and it will develop lots of bubbles! There should still be a bit of sweetness in the final product.
When the Tepache is finished on the counter, strain out the solids. (They are great for compost!) You can transfer the Tepache to the fridge, pour over ice, and enjoy! Or you can transfer the Tepache to swing-top or Grolsch bottles to create carbonation. Fill the bottle to the shoulder for optimal carbonation. Place filled and capped bottles back in the dark corner of your kitchen for 12-48 hours. ***IMPORTANT*** Depending on the batch, every batch varies, the Tepache can become extremely carbonated! Take great care in opening the bottle! Check the Tepache after 12 hours for bubbles. When you are satisfied, transfer the bottles to the fridge and enjoy!
This sauce or salsa, whatever you name it, is a very tasty way to incorporate fermented veggies into your daily meals! It is smoky, savory, sweet, and tangy. Add it to pastas, hot or cold, drizzle on top of your main dish, serve it as a dip with chips and veggies, mix into hummus or vegan cheese, or dip in some crusty bread and enjoy like Gazpacho! So many possibilities!
In a large jar or crock, add about 10 de-seeded yellow and red bell peppers. The green are great as well, but the sweeter peppers give this sauce more depth. Cover with water (anything but tap) and mix in enough sea salt to create a brine of about 3% salinity.
Weight down the contents of your jar under the brine. This can be a smaller jar, professional weight, sanitized stone, or baggie filled with more brine. Loosely cover your jar. Leave your jar in a dark or shaded place for about 10 days.
The first few days your jar contents will be active and may bubble and turn cloudy. This is all normal! After those first few days the fermentation will be less visibly active, and then the souring will take place. Taste your brine every day until you reach your desired acidity. It should taste pretty acidic, almost like pickles. Make sure to also check every day to be sure your peppers are completely submerged under the brine at all times.
When your peppers are soft and sour, remove them from the fermenting vessel and put in a blender along with: A clove or two of garlic, a quarter of an onion, a couple teaspoons of cumin, a teaspoon of oregano, and a teaspoon of chili flakes if you want a bit of heat. Blend until smooth, adding the fermenting liquid if needed to thin the sauce. Transfer to a jar, put in the fridge, and enjoy it however you like!
This is a very easy recipe for a very versatile sauce. Play around with the ingredients to adjust the flavor to your liking. Add it to macaroni like I did, or add some southwest seasoning and make it a nacho cheese!
One head of cauliflower cut in pieces
1 cup of peeled and diced potato (Red potato gives this a nice texture)*