November 4, 2012

Feeding My Pets - Food Pets!

My Pantry




We've narrowed down our pets! Monte and me are empty nesters. When kids come home, they come home with more people, more family. But we've no longer got dogs to feed, cats to feed, rabbit to feed . . . I did get baby chicks last Spring, so I do now have chickens to feed, again. We built a new coop close to the house and they are my "girls" to visit daily - to get eggs. They don't need food and water nor coop maintenance but maybe twice a week, if need be.

My Chicken Coup




But I've taken on lots of" food pets" that need feeding! I saw this term in a bread book. I'm trying to re-find the exact phrase - it's probably in the Levain chapter. I've been known as the great bread maker. I wrote a book almost 20 years ago that people have been using for years - the bread making part having been very helpful. But I'm rarely making bread that way any more. I'm still trying to master the art of true sourdough bread (Monte and the boys have liked all my experimentation). I've had a successful rye sourdough starter for years and years, but it doesn't work for good bread - makes the best pancakes and great crepes. Sourdough starters are pets that have to be regularly fed. Luckily they can be refrigerated when not needing them.

My Ferments




I'm taking a hiatus from my fruit and veggie ferments. What's not in smaller jars in the fridge, I've put them in the cool cellar. We're still getting used to eating these, serving these. Need to remember to put a jar on the table and serve up little bits as a meal's side dish. Also seeing what we like best. They are great on sandwiches. I'm starting to use them lots in a wrap - whether a lettuce wrap, pita, crepe, or meat roll up. Once I've used up what I've got, I know I'll be making more kimchi this winter. Once cranberries start coming into the store big-time here soon, I'm doing a relish/chutney ferment (whichever you'd want to call it). I'll probably do a pineapple one soon too. And definitely a grated zucchini poblano chili one again very soon . . . LOVE! I'm putting these in my "pet" category, tho I don't have to truly be doing something with them much once they start their ferment, other than regularly checking on them and that they're submerged.

Vacuum sealed ferments ready to put in the cool cellar. I don't vacuum seal anymore (note at end).

My Dehydrator drying soaked nuts




And maybe too, soaking nuts before dehydrating, and soaking flours and concocting and drying cereals and things, are not truly pets. It's just that I'm doing them weekly and they take planning ahead and more messing-with-time. Like am I going to soak to sprout and then dry and grind into flour? Or soak flour and make the recipe? I've done posts on lots of this stuff if you look at my labels and read as to the health benefits.

Soaked and dried 'cold' cereal - still tweaking recipe for chocolate one - Monte wants it more chocolaty!



My Water Kefir with molasses and mineral drops




Every 48-60 hours I'm refeeding my water kefir and dairy kefir. I don't mess with second ferments on the water kefir as others do, like my son Travis. I primarily mix chia seeds and a pinch of stevia in the dairy kefir for eating with my morning fruit, shredded coconut, and soaked and dried cereal, and sometimes my soaked and dried nuts (eat them moreso later in the day as a snack). But I do have extra dairy kefir for salad dressing (I've finally got a favorite - cross between Ranch and Caeser - I'll post recipe sometime). I'll occasionally strain off the whey for use in ferments, using the very strained kefir as a cheese - either mixing with seasonings as a spread or even adding with virgin olive oil as a kind of shelf-storage way of preserving it.


Ginger Ale, Dairy Kefir, and Continual Brew Kombucha on heat mat (only in the Fall Fruit-Fly season does the kombucha need a rubber-banded cloth cover). NOTE:! I no longer brew all these close together - contamination! my kefir suffered the most!



Five days after I've replenished the strong sweetened black tea for my Kombucha, I start tapping off some from my continual brew crock, to taste. When the weather is hot, it's often ready to totally tap off, jar, and re-feed in five days, no matter it sits on a seed starting warming mat. In winter it brews longer - more like every 6-7 days. I taste for the between state of not too sweet and not too vinegary. I'll occasionally buy one at the store to see if I'm still up to par - SO expensive, when I'm making it for peanuts (where'd that phrase come from?). I don't mess much with second ferments of kombucha either - liking the original a lot. I jar up all that'll come out of the crock tap till it stops, then dump on top of the scoby the cooled room temp strong sweetened black tea - 1 1/2 gallons. So that's about what we drink each week of Kombucha.

Besides making wine, I've got a new brew I'm regularly making . . . Ginger Ale. Monte loves it with his meal! It's also good mixed with kombucha or water kefir. I'll do that recipe alone in a post rather than adding it to this one. And occasionally I make Beet Kvass.

Enough on my pets!

Note 10/20/2015: I did the vacuum sealing my first year. But ferments are alive and most of them popped the seal as they aged. I find just capping them well and storing in a fridge or cool cellar, they keep well - just make sure of submerged ingredients! Also, trying to vacuum seal will often pull out some of your brine - you want all your brine!


Linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Simple Lives Thursday, My Cultured Palate, Beyond the Peel, Pickle Me Too, Whole New Mom, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Dandelion House, Farm Girl Farm Fest, Fill Those Jars, Prairie Homestead Barnhop, Monday Mania, Melt In Your Mouth Mondays
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