CSA Newsletter – Week 8
Fermentation for the Soul
This week I’m including a recipe for sauerkraut since you all have a cabbage in your box. In addition to writing these newsletters and coordinating our farmers markets, I also run fermentation here at the farm and am quite passionate about helping people incorporate more fermented foods into their lives. Many people love sauerkraut for its flavor and texture, however eating fermented products is so incredibly beneficial to your body and mind as well. I never ate fermented foods as a kid, and I’ve still been able to develop a taste for them and now even crave them, so it’s never too late!
As many of you know, we have bacteria and other microbes living in our gut that aid in our digestion of specific nutrients and minerals. These little creatures produce dopamine and serotonin, among other compounds, which travel to our brain and alter our moods. We all know that when we drink alcohol, the compounds within it travel to our brain and make us feel inebriated. What we don’t often realize, however, is that everything we consume does this, just often to a much less perceptible extent. So when we eat fermented foods, you might feel a little chiller, a little more upbeat, and maybe like you have more energy in your body.
Incorporating fermented foods into your diet is more important now than ever, as we are consuming many products that contain herbicides and pesticides. Even those of us who eat primarily organic are still absorbing these synthetic chemicals from the environment in other ways. Before they can be released, these chemicals must be classified as being non-toxic to mammals, but what is so important to note is that our bodies are made up of mostly non-mammalian cells. We are more bacteria than we are human, and all of those bacteria are what really keeps us in balance. Because these chemicals enter our body and kill the bacteria that keep us healthy, it has become imperative to foster their growth by eating fermented foods. The easiest way to do that is to experiment with your own ferments, so have fun and try it out!
–Laura Bennett, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Box Contents
- Green Beans—Crockett is hands down the best variety of green beans we have yet to find.
- Fresh Sweet Corn—Our first corn of the season is a bi-color variety called Temptation. Farmer John steamed us all up the first pick for lunch last week, and it was pure summer perfection!
- Leeks—First dig of the season! Leeks can be used to replace any onion in any dish. They have a very mild, buttery onion-like flavor.
- Bunched Carrots—Sweet roots perfect for raw munching or savory roasting; try adding the greens into a stock or bone broth for an amazing flavor.
- Cabbage—At this time of year when most greens are wilting in the heat, it’s nice to have raw cabbage around to fill the need for something sweet, leafy, and crisp.
- Moss Parsley—I love making pesto out of any herb I can lay my hands on. A parsley pesto is especially delicious; try a dollop on top of eggs or potatoes or pasta.
- Superstar Onion—This white onion, also known as a Spanish onion, is low in sugars, high in acidity, and great for soups and roasts.
- Summer Squash
- 5 lbs Potatoes
Summer Pad Thai
Normally I don’t like to repeat recipes, however green beans are SOOOOOO good in pad thai, I just couldn’t resist.
- 1 lb Green Beans (de-stemmed and left long)
- 1 bunch Moss Parsley (roots in sauté, leaves raw as garnish)
- 1 bunch Leeks (1/2 in sauté, 1/2 raw as garnish)
- 1/2 bunch Carrots, sliced long and thin
- 1/2 head Garlic, roughly minced
- 1 Zucchini, sliced long and thin
- 1 Superstar Onion, sliced thin
- Oil (I use coconut)
- Fish Sauce, Tamari, Garlic, or whatever you'd like
Pad Thai Sauce and Noodles
- 2/3 cup Stock (pork, chicken, or veggie)
- 6 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 6-8 tbsp Brown Sugar Sugar (it may sound strange, but you can substitute the sugar with strawberry jam and it’s delicious!)
- 2 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce/Tamari (use 4 tbsp if you don't use fish sauce)
- 1 tbsp Hot Sauce/Chili Oil
- 1 cup Nut Butter (I use peanut or sunflower seed)
- 8 oz Pad Thai Noodles (or if you have a spiralizer, you can make carrot and zucchini noodles!)
Chop all your veggies up beforehand. With Pad Thai, I have found that taking care to slice things thin and long really affects the final product’s taste and beauty! Set aside.
Put all sauce ingredients together in a pot (omit nut butter) and bring up to a simmer. Once it’s hot, add in your nut butter and stir around to dissolve into the sauce. You can control the thickness of the sauce depending on how much you add.
Meanwhile, heat up some oil in a big pan and get your veggie stir fry going. First add in your sweet onion, and after a minute or two add in some tamari or soy sauce and let sauté another few minutes more.
Then add your green beans, carrots, scallion, and zucchini. Let sauté about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a sprinkle of salt, and don’t let the veggies lose their fresh crunch!
Boil some water and cook your noodles, careful not to overcook them. Drain noodles, mix into sauce to coat them.
Plate noodles, put veggies on top, and garnish with raw cilantro and scallions. Enjoy!
A head of cabbage goes a long way, so even if you make a slaw, and add some into your pad thai, you still may have half a head left over. Try making your own fresh summer kraut with whatever you have left! Try using the salt: cabbage ratio in this recipe, and always feel free to add other veggies in, like garlic and chilis.
- 1 head Green Cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1 Clean Quart Jar
- If you need extra brine (our cabbage this time of year should be plenty juicy) use 1 additional tbsp salt and 4 cups non-chlorinated water
Shred up all your cabbage into a large bowl, sprinkle the salt and mix with your hands to incorporate evenly.
Let sit about 15 minutes to let the cabbage start releasing water (making its own brine). Then use your hands to firmly massage the cabbage to get the juices flowing.
Once you’re happy with your mashing dance, start packing the kraut into a jar, packing it down with a spoon to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible.
Leave about 1-2” headspace before closing up the jar, and let sit on your counter out of direct sunlight for at least a week. It’ll leak a bit, so put a tray underneath and burp the jar regularly.
Taste the kraut after a week and if you like the tang level, put it in the fridge and start eating! If you want it tangier, leave it out a while longer.
Jar Method – The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. “A jar filled with any raw food submerged under liquid will ferment… Many ferments, such as sauerkraut or cultured milks, do not require either oxygen or microbes from the air. These may be fermented in sealed jars. However, in many cases, if you seal a jar containing an active ferment, be aware that pressure may build from the production of CO2. You usually need to release pressure, or it can build to the point where jars explode. Leave the jar on the kitchen counter, where you will see it daily, gauge pressure by the bulging top, and release pressure by loosening the lid, as needed. Alternatively, you can place the lid loosely on the jar so that pressure will be released.”