Sunday, May 3, 2020

Quarantine food diaries, Fermenting Veggies and It All Takes Time

It’s been well over a month now, I’ve lost count, I’ve lost a grip on what the old normal used to feel like as we all have to some extent. Adapting and evolving, but in which direction? There have been twists and turns in this time that have made my head spin told to go inward, don’t connect with others in community. I spent my last 18 mothering years teaching my children of the importance of tribe, of the necessity, as spread out as we are, in friends as family. And now I’m teaching the opposite and I understand why, we all do, but it is a discipline to stay focused on going inward exclusively, and it is not balanced. 
I strive for balance in my life, I spent most of my youth acting on whims of heightened emotion, to some degree it was the age and this is the marker of this age but for some of us the awareness around each of our actions is more acute than for others. I’m aware of trying to keep my balance being more and more difficult with each passing day during this time. My ability to go inward has been profound, that’s good, right? But when I resurface and need to balance with connection, then what? 
I am empathically affected by the deep fear I witness in the averted gaze of most people in the socially distanced grocery store lines, but equally as affected by  the renegade kid who has decided to carelessly meet in groups with their friends. Where should we land ? 
I’ve noticed an increasing use in plastic everything, gone are the days of reusable shopping bags too, so as Mother Earth has put us on a global time out and is reaping the benefits of it in the short term what wave of toxic plastic garbage is coming up behind us ? 
And where should we land in this argument?  It takes time to evolve and adapt, it is not painless and those that were around through the two world wars and the Spanish flu and the Great Depression can teach us a thing or two if we remember how our grandparents behaved. My overwhelming memory of mine was their mindfulness in all things. My grandfather always folded his paper grocery  bags and they had a home in the same cupboard  next to the container for plastic bags and reused them both for various things mindfully. He wasted almost nothing. My grandmother mended everything and made things last, things we wouldn’t dream of mending, like pantyhose. They were not poor when I was young but they were born in 1920 into a generation of parents who had just come out of the Spanish Flu of two years and survived the First World War. 
They composted in the garden no fancy composter. They were practical and not extravagant but they also new how to enjoy small things like they were a big splurge, like indulgently eating a bowl of ice cream after a long day of work. They had travelled to Europe and experienced adventure but not monthly and annually like we do now. Their singular trips to Europe were relived in story and photographic journeys and it never felt like they were missing something by not having been back again or to many other places. They had singular deep appreciation for their past  adventures, not a lust for those they had not yet had. Our grandparents lived well in the present moment. I’m looking backwards to learn from them about how to behave in this time. Slow down, take time, be mindful. 
It seemed only natural to ferment veggies for my next recipe then, it takes time. 

Fermented foods help our gut microbiome, we have heard so much about. A healthy gut means a healthy immune system, a flatter belly, and a youthful glow, in brief. 
Any number of veggies can be fermented like cabbage, onions, beets or carrots. 
I bought a red cabbage for color and crunch on the cauliflower tacos last week and was left with the majority of the cabbage just staring at me out of my vegetable drawer beckoning further use, so off I went mindful not to waste. 

Ginger Fermented  Red Cabbage

1 red cabbage sliced thin into strips
4 carrots julienned
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves  sliced garlic
1 apple grated
2 heaping tbsp salt 

Make sure your hands are super clean and your mason jar has been boiled and sterilized. 
Before slicing the cabbage peel off outer leaves to use later in tact. Conserve the core as well. 
Place thinly sliced cabbage and salt into a bowl and let rest to soften the cabbage for an hour. Return to massage the cabbage, you should be able to squeeze liquid from it by this point. Add in all other ingredients and massage together. 
Begin placing handfuls of cabbage into the mason jar and at each handful tamp down, squeezing juices over the previous layers, use a lot of force. 
Leave a substantial gap at the top of the jar and 
Take your outer leaves and place them covering your packed down cabbage under their own juice. Push the sides down creating an umbrella over the cabbage with the outer leaf. Next place the pieces of core on top and maybe a little weight like a stone, the idea is that the fermentation of then julienned cabbage must be completely submerged at all times. Close the mason jar half way and place a tea towel over it, maybe a rubber band too, keeps dust and potential bugs out. Leave on the counter in a dark place. Twice a day push down the cabbage, removing baby air bubbles forming and keeping it submerged. You can continue its fermentation anywhere from 5-20 days, the key is to keep trying it, when you like the taste it is done and then you can put it in the fridge for up to 2 months! 
Eat often!

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