It’s a funny thing when you have these recipes that require time as an ingredient. Especially these days in a world that is instant. When was the last time you had to wait for something, for more than 5 minutes? Hardly ever? It’s a big deal if I can’t whip up dinner within an hour, I feel like I have other things to be doing. So all of these food experiments I’m planning are partially an exercise in waiting, slowing down, letting things take time to process.
We have had lots to talk about with the yogurt already, but it was the vinegar that started the whole ball rolling. Finally, several weeks later I have some success to share on the vinegar front. The fermented peach vinegar, batch #2 because batch #1 went horribly wrong, worked it’s magic and I now have vinegar waiting to be used. Yay!
It only took five weeks. It should have been four, but honestly, I lost track of time and forgot. I mean all of the fall shows are back on and I got lost in anticipation of Bones and The Black List and the new Muppet Show. I remembered just in time though and now we have some lovely stabilized peach vinegar in the cupboard waiting to be used for salad dressing or a chicken marinade or even, I’m told, mixed with club soda as a drink. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
So without much further ado, lets talk about talking the peach vinegar across the finish line.
Yes I actually did taste it at this point as per the original recipe instructions. It took a bit of courage since I knew that it had been sitting for five weeks fermenting and growing bacteria. Yum/Ew. Sometimes you have to go big or go home so I tasted it, it was just fine and I have lived long enough to write this blog about it so it must be ok. Stabilizing
I had a few bottles that were just the right size laying around so I washed them out and dried them in the oven to evaporate the water before using them.
What’s next? I’m not sure. Maybe some red wine vinegar? The weather is cooling and red wine season is coming around again. I’m wondering if this is a good use for the last bit of red at the bottom of the bottle that gets left behind. I usually freeze it in a ice cube tray to add to spaghetti sauce, but I read somewhere that you can have an ongoing batch that gets topped up when you have extra. The only question to answer will be how much vinegar does one really need?
I was planning on doing keffir next and went so far as to buy some plain keffir to use as a starter. The problem there is that I had a glass and decided I wasn’t a super fan of plain keffir. In it’s defense, it’s excellent in smoothies where you would use milk. I’m still thinking that one over. My second in queue was going to be kombucha, there have been two developments in that area that have also dropped that project down the list.
First of all is the scoby. A scoby is to kombucha what the mother is to vinegar, though as I understand it, it’s bacteria AND yeast. The ultimate 2 in 1, and it does indeed look like bacteria and yeast all in one. I know that I just said something about go big or go home a few paragraphs back, but I need to make peace with this one first.
My second pause is availability of willing partakers. My daughter is my best and bravest of experimental food tasters in our house. It all goes back to when I was pregnant and ate all of the good food the books told me to. Firstborns get the benefit of parents following all of the guidelines, second born children are all about testing the boundaries of those guidelines, third born children are pretty much given a swiss army knife and a Bear Grylls “how to” book at birth and told to fend for themselves.
My sweet girl after being fed spinach and yogurt and whole grains in utero actually likes most of the unusual food I bring home and prepare. She’s the first to try new things and seldom complains. So when I brought home kombucha from the store to try and plan how we were going to make it at home I naturally offered her a glass of the fizzy fermented tea. I myself had been a little skeptical and was hoping it would grow on me, she, feeling no pressure to convince herself of anything, took a swig and told me that it tasted like underwear.
So all that being said, I may or may not be brewing a fermented tea made with bacteria AND yeast that tastes like underwear. The jury is still out.
I am however going to work on the perfect autumn comfort food, sourdough bread made with home grown starter. Give me a week or so to get my ducks in a row.
After that, sauerkraut is on deck once I secure a crock, but most exciting is in early November I am going to whip up some Christmas pudding soaked in sherry, wrapped in cheesecloth, and left to perfect itself for six weeks in advance of Christmas.
Lots to look forward to friends.