I’ve generally stayed away from writing up how-to’s for simple things like buttermilk. You can find 100s of article on how to make it by googling “how to make buttermilk”. But, I want to make Pickle Me Too a one stop ferment shop. I want people to come here and find whatever they need about fermentation. That’s a tall order for me because there is so much to learn about fermentation. I’ve only scratched the surface myself.
I’m going to throw in a beginner ferment every so often. Please, if there is something you would like to see on Pickle Me Too, let me know in the comments.
Buttermilk is great to drink (to some) and wonderful to cook with. My favorite use of it is in making buttermilk pancakes. We used some this morning to make these pancakes. http://minimalistbaker.com/gluten-free-pancake-mix/
It’s easy to have a constant supply of buttermilk. When my jar gets down to about only 1/4 to 1/2 cup of buttermilk, I just pour in more milk, give it a shake and leave on the counter for a day. Kind of like a continuous brew buttermilk.
If you plan on making buttermilk this way, I do recommend using heated or pasteurized milk. The bacteria and enzymes in raw milk will begin to make the buttermilk taste funky after a while. You can use raw milk for the first batch but you’ll want to use fresh buttermilk made with pasteurized milk for further batches.
1/4 cup buttermilk (commercial buttermilk that says "live culture")
About 1 quart milk (raw or pasteurized)
If you want to be able to continue to use your buttermilk to make more buttermilk, heat raw milk up to 165F and leave for about 30 secs. Let cool to room temperature. If using pasteurized milk, you can skip heating it.
Place 1/4 cup buttermilk in a quart sized jar and fill with milk to 1/2" from the top.
Cover tightly and gently shake to distribute the buttermilk.
Keep cover on and let set at room temp for at least 12 hours, up to 24. It's done when the milk has thickened. The longer you let it ferment, the more sour it will be (and less lactose in the milk).
Place in fridge. Will keep for about a month.
To make more, just reserve 1/4 cup buttermilk and repeat the process.
Brussels sprouts are basically teeny tiny heads of cabbage. Anything that tastes good with cabbage, tastes good with Brussels sprouts. One of my favorite ways to make sauerkraut is as Curtido, a South American (El Salvado if you want to get uber specific) sauerkraut. Why not try it with my little mini cabbages?
I’ve read that curtido is traditionally made with pineapple vinegar, though some will use apple cider vinegar. I actually do have pineapple vinegar (recipe here: Pineapple Vinegar) but vinegar inhibits lactic acid bacteria, the bacteria we are trying to encourage. So rather than add pineapple vinegar, I added some canned pineapple. Fresh pineapple would probably be better but I didn’t have any. Normally I advise against using canned food in a ferment but there is enough lactic acid bacteria on the cabbage and carrots to get the ferment going.
That being said, curtido is not traditionally fermented. In El Salvador, they make it with vinegar and eat it right away. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ferment it. We can put all the wonderful flavors of curtido together and make an amazing ferment.
This teeny little morsels of yumminess do take more time that other ferments, especially if you leave the brussels sprouts whole. Cutting them in half will speed things up, so feel free to do that if you are impatient.
I normally let my cabbage ferments go for a full 12 weeks. Ferments naturally produce a lot of histamines and cabbage in particular is bad. If you are sensitive to histamines (google histamine sensitivity if you have no idea what I’m talking about), make sure you let it go the full 12 weeks. If histamines don’t bother you, feel free to start enjoying them right away. The sooner you eat them, the more fresh they taste. The longer you wait, the more sour they get. I would suggest waiting at least 3 weeks (one week on the counter, 2 weeks in the fridge) or longer. You can test when they are done by cutting a brussels sprout in half. If it looks fresh in the middle, it’s not done.
And for the record, it is curtido with a u, not cortido with an o. I have a good friend from El Salvador who I asked about this. C-u-rtido [coor-tee-do].
I’ve been experimenting with a new (to me) method of fermenting using honey. I’ve made mead before and used honey in ferments but I’ve never used honey and the main ingredient. My first few honey ferments have been wonderful so I plan on sharing a few of the recipe ideas with you.
Raw honey is a great fermentation medium because it naturally contains good yeast and bacteria and will inhibit the growth of mold and bad bacteria. But since it is a very high sugar ferment, it will produce quite a bit of alcohol. So keep that in mind. A large serving might make you a little loopy and it still contains a lot of sugar.
Honey ferments can also be very active. Be careful not to fill your jar to full or you might have overflow. 75% full seems to leave enough room bubbles. The first honey ferment, I used an airlock but I’ve found a Fido jar (as pictured) works better. You’ll need to give the jar a turn every day to re-coat the fruit that has floated to the top. I burp my jar once or twice a day, depending on how active it is. Be sure to burp your jar before you give it a turn or you might spray yourself with honey. Been there, done that.
These ferments just keep getting better with time. I’ve had mine for a couple months now and so far, it’s true.
You can use fresh or dried elderberries. I used dried for mine, rehydrated with warm water. Raw honey is rich in yeast and bacteria that will get the ferment going. If using dried fruit, you do need to rehydrate it first because the honey needs water to start fermenting, otherwise you’ll just have flavored honey.
How to Use Fermented Elderberry Honey
There are many different ways you can use the honey.
Flavor water kefir and kombucha by adding a small amount to taste.
Add a teaspoon or more to sweeten and flavor yogurt or milk kefir.
Add a teaspoon to a glass of wine to sweeten it up and flavor it. To get just the honey without the fruit, remove honey from the bottom by using a straw.
Make spiced wine by warming up a mug of wine and adding fermented honey to taste.
boiling water (enough to cover dried elderberries, omit if using fresh)
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp nutmeg
If using dried berries, place in a 1L Fido jar with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Pour boiling water over berries until just covered. Cover and let set until cooled to room temperature. If using fresh berries, just place berries in jar with the spices.
Once berries are cooled, pour honey over everything and fill until jar is about 75% full.
Seal jar and place in a warm and dark location.
Burp jar once a day. After burping, give the jar a turn to re-coat the berries (be sure to do this AFTER burping the jar to avoid getting sprayed).
Fruit is ready to start eating in about a week but it does get better with time. I try to wait a month at least.
Store at room temperature in a dark location. Will keep for a long time, at least a year, probably much more.
Pickle Me Tuesday! My new favorite day of the week. This week isn’t exactly a ferment but rather a cure. The amount of salt in this means virtually no microbial action is going on. So the end product of this is not probiotic just super tasty.
I ran across this idea for brine curing eggs here at Christine’s Recipes. Very intriguing! These eggs are cured raw in their shells unlike my Purple Pickled Eggs which are hardboiled and peeled.
I started a batch following her recipe, leaving out the wine because I didn’t have any. I’ll have to try adding wine next time because apparently it’s supposed to cause the yolk to turn a vibrant red/orange. I also just cured mine in the fridge. Raw eggs at room temp for a month freaks me out a little. They cure just fine in the refrigerator.
I was curious if the flavor of the spices would actually get into the egg. Anise has a pretty strong flavor so it would be easy to detect if it did. After waiting a month (waiting is the hardest part), I boiled up an egg and lo and behold, yes! The flavors do permeate the shell into the egg. Not overpowering at all but perfect.
So now of course I have to play with the spices. The first thing that came to mind is Indian spices. If you have white shelled eggs, the turmeric will stain them an awesome orange. I only had brown eggs so they just ended up a little darker. Again, after waiting my month, I boiled up an egg and again, the flavors made their way into the shell and it was amazing.
I was hoping the month long soak would make the eggs easy to peel but it didn’t. Sadly they were awful to peel. The next batch I boiled, I did in my Magic Awesome Pot (I still think they should change the name of the Instant Pot to the Magic Awesome Pot). Better but still annoying.
**Warning** The texture of the eggs is weird. The taste is good but the texture is strange. I would suggest making a small batch at first to see if you like them.
If you can locate all these spices (fenugreek and curry leaves aren’t the most widely available spice here in Middle-of-Nowhere, ND) feel free to leave some out.
When I first started this blog back in 2011, I did a weekly Fermentation Friday. I did it for a full year and then decided to take a break from weekly ferments. Well, I’ve been wanting to start that up again but with a new name. Introducing Pickle Me Tuesdays! I’m going to try my hardest to be good about post a ferment related post every Tuesday. It might be a recipe, it might a how-to, it might just be me rambling about fermentation. Heck, maybe I’ll throw a podcast in here and there. If you have anything you would like learn about fermentation wise, leave a suggestion in the comments!
A friend brought me a present last year. A pound of fresh turmeric root. My first thought when seeing turmeric root was, “Wow, these remind me of ginger. I wonder if I can make a turmeric bug like you would a ginger bug?” Turns out I’m not the only one who thought that. I’ve seen a number of recipes for a Turmeric Bug since then.
I highly recommend searching out fresh turmeric for this. Powdered turmeric may have been heated or old so it may not have enough buggies to get the ferment started.
Side Note: A great way to store fresh turmeric (and fresh ginger) is in the freezer. Just toss in a freezer safe bag or mason jars and freeze. Pull out a knob when you need one. It only needs to thaw for a few minutes before it is sliceable.
Start with a few turds, err I mean, knobs of turmeric. Don’t peel, the peel is rich in buggies and yeast, and chop up finely. Store this chopped turmeric in a sealed container in the fridge, you’ll only use about a tablespoon of it at a time.
Take 2 cups filter water, 2 tbsp turmeric root, and 2 tbsp sugar and place in a jar. I use a regular Fido jar for this. Place in a warm spot, around 72F is ideal.
Every day, add 1 tbsp turmeric and 1 tbsp sugar and mix well. Do this everyday until the Turmeric Bug is nice and bubbly. For me it took about 5 days. Now you are ready to make Turmeric Soda.
To make a soda, combine 1/4 cup Turmeric Bug with 3 and 3/4 cup water plus 1/4 cup sugar. Place in an airtight bottle, like these flip top bottles (affiliate link), and seal. Beer bottles work great as well.
Place bottles in a cardboard box, to contain possible explosions, and place in a warm spot. Check bottles daily for build up fizz. If your house is warm, be sure to check at least once a day to avoid explosions. Once they are fizzy, place in the refrigerator.
You can flavor the Turmeric Soda just like you would flavor water kefir or kombucha. Adding fruit pieces or pureed fruit can help build up fizz faster (and make it taste great). I’ve found strawberries, kiwi, and pineapple are great at building fizz. If you know another fruit that builds up fizz, let me know in the comments!
Optional: You can make a fruity turmeric soda by using diluted juice (1 part juice to 1 part water) in place of the sugar water.
Turmeric Beer: You can also make a slightly alcoholic version by doubling the sugar or using straight juice.
Storing the Bug
Once you bug is fizzy, you can feed less often, every few days or so. You can also place the bug in the refrigerator and feed once a week. Replace the liquid you removed to make your soda (if you used 1/4 cup, add 1/4 cup filtered water). When you are ready to make more Turmeric Soda, take it out of the fridge and feed it for a day or two to “wake up” the buggies and then make your soda.
How Does it Taste???
Turmeric definitely has a distinct flavor. If you make the Turmeric Soda with no flavoring, you’ll taste it. You might like it, you might not. I love it and my kids like it too. If you make it with fruit juice, the turmeric taste is covered up more and is much less noticeable but it is still there. Turmeric is so good for you though that even if you don’t love it, it’s worth making yourself drink it.
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