Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Fermenting Party...What's That?

So, yesterday I had a great time when some friends came over here for a Fermenting Party. What's a Fermenting Party you ask? Well, according to us, it's when a group of crunchy-granola ladies get together to make sauerkraut, ginger carrots, and ginger beer. Foods served during the party included grassfed beef stew, black cherry kombucha, organic blueberries from the garden, and 70% Lindt chocolate. Talk during the Fermentation Party included words like: probiotics, bacteria, and yeast.

You know, when I go back and re-read the above paragraph it sure makes us sound a little nerdy or wierd or something, but that's ok...I had a great time. Oh, and of course I took pictures specifically for this blog post, so that adds to the nerdy factor too I suppose...oh well.

We started off by dragging in all the supplies that they brought along with them. Here Rachel and Amanda are starting to research the process we're about to start.

Here's our huge box of organic cabbage that we all went in together to purchase. A total of 21 heads of cabbage that travelled all the way from Oregon for us to enjoy.

We decided that it was good organic cabbage when we saw this healthy worm feasting on it. Surely, if it were doused in pesticides this little guy wouldn't be around.

Then we got to work processing the cabbage. Amanda worked nearly all day long with an adorable bundle of extra weight strapped to her back. Ava was so content throughout the whole process.

The food processor that Amanda borrowed from her Mom was a HUGE blessing. I can't imagine how long it would've taken us to do all that work by hand.

My job was to be the "sqoosher." This involved me adding sea salt to the cabbage and squeezing it to break down the fibers. At this point, Rachel went insane and decided that a picture of me had to be on the blog. So, here I am, in all my non-photogenic glory in the process of "sqooshing."

The kids enjoyed the party too.

More processing

More sqooshing

After all the hours (yes, hours!) of processing and sqooshing, getting to the point of filling our jars felt like a huge milestone for me. I thought the green cabbage, purple cabbage, and carrots all combined made it turn out real pretty.

When it was all said and done we had a total of 4 gallons of sauerkraut, 4 batches of ginger beer, and some ginger carrots. I'm really looking forward to the ginger beer. It certainly doesn't sound appealing to me, but the ladies assured me it's not really beer...it's more like ginger ale.

Then we had to take care of the clean up, but I'll spare you pictures of that. Take my word for it though, my kitchen wasn't pretty after the Fermenting Party.

Lessons learned for next time:
1) Start earlier! They arrived at my home around 1pm and we didn't finish until after 10pm. Granted, we did visit while we were working and that added to our time, but it also made it much more enjoyable and I wouldn't change that a bit. Next time though, I think I'll invite everyone over and just make a day of it.

2) Only use wide-mouth canning jars. It was harder to tamp down the sauerkraut in the regular-mouth jars. The wider opening allowed us to use our hands to tamp.

3) Bring more lids. We started getting creative at the end with finding methods of covering the jars for travelling home. We foraged for lids and once those were all gone we had to resort to plastic wrap and rubber bands!

We had such a good time that we're already planning another Fermenting Party for the fall. We'd also like to get together to make soap and process apples (assuming Shawn and I manage to keep everything alive until harvest!). Thank you ladies for coming over. I loved it and cannot wait to do it again!

This post has been linked to Real Food Wednesday. To get more information on preparing healthy foods for your family, click here.


  1. Wow, that's sounds like a blast! I actually made the ginger carrots yesterday! I've done the ginger/cilantro/pineapple chutney, it was OK. I ended up just putting it in smoothies. Can't wait to try the carrots. Did you get your cabbage from Azure?

  2. Marcee,

    Yes, we ordered from Azure. We have to drive several hours away to reach the drop point so we only place an order a couple times a year. Sure do wish there were a closer drop point, but then we might go broke with all the things I'd want to buy!

  3. I know what you mean!! My order every month gets bigger. But that means I'm buying less from the grocery store, but I'm also buying more organic. It makes organic affordable. My order adds up when I have to buy coconut oil and sucanant. I have to drive about 8 miles to our drop off point. We don't live that far (maybe 2 hours) from the Azure farm. So that's definately a bonus!