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All About Avocados

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Avocados are one of those foods that healthy people and no so healthy people love to eat. So it’s great for our Eating Healthy for Beginners series.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KlgJr8m5A4]

Here is some of the basic information we talk about in the video.

How to Know When an Avocado is Ripe

An avocado is ripe when it has turned black instead of green. Unripe avocados will be hard. A ripe avocado will give a little when gently pressed. If the skin is cracking or seems like there might be mushy spots then it is likely over-ripe.

Great Ways to Use Avocados

As a Mayonnaise: avocados are creamy and don’t have a very strong taste. If you’d like a substitute for mayo (which generally has horrible canola oil in it), try avocado. You can make it a bit looser by mixing it with olive oil but that’s usually not necessary.

Avocado Spread: Mash avocado and mix it with a tbsp or 2 of olive oil, salt and pepper. Add some lemon juice (try 1/4 of a lemon to start) and mix it all together. You’ve got a great spread!

Use the spread on toast or a cracker. Yum.

Guacamole: for easy guacamole, mash the avocado and add the juice of half a lemon or lime, 2 tbsp of salsa, salt and pepper. Additional spices you can add in are paprika, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper or chili.

Baby food: a great baby food is mashed avocado or moving up a step, mashed banana and avocado. A favourite of many babies and quick to make.

Health Benefits of Avocados

There has been a lot of research on avocados it shows great things! There’s a reason why avocados are considered a superfood. Avocado are high in healthy fats. They are high in vitamin k, folate, a good amount of fiber and vitamin C.

Potassium is something most people don’t get enough of and avocados actually have more potassium than bananas. Avocados and olive oil share the fact that they are high in monounsaturated oleic acid. This is a fatty acid believed to be good for your heart.

When you combine avocado with other veggies (like dipping them into an avocado spread), the avocado increases the amount on antioxidants you can absorb. Some of these antioxidants are very good for your eyes.

Avocados are also great for weight loss. This is because they are high in fiber, low in carbs and a real food.

There are lots of reasons to enjoy an avocado. Hopefully they are in season where you are so you can go out and give one a try!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KlgJr8m5A4]

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Fermented Spicy Ginger Pineapple Chutney

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pineapple-chutney

Often fruit in fermented food tastes a bit … different. During the fermenting process, bacteria eat sugar and can produce alcohol so that has a big effect on fruit. Pineapple however, tends to do well. So here’s our fermented spicy ginger pineapple chutney.

This was definitely a favourite ferment for those who bought from us when we had a stall at the farmer’s market. My favourite way to use it is on fish. You can also use it with something spicy like tacos or even on cheesy toast.

I recently had a look at our Youtube Channel and found this short video of Ricky making this chutney. Here it is:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dagrkmtlBY8]                (Please don’t mind that spelling mistake, these things happen!)

The Recipe: Spicy Ginger Pineapple Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of whey
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 red pepper / capsicum
  • half a thumb of ginger, chopped small or crushed
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1-2 spicy red peppers (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh mint or fresh coriander (or both!)
  • 1 tsp of salt

Note: this recipe is flexible. You can increase or decrease ingredients depending on what you have one hand and the sizes they come in.

Equipment:

Glass jar with non-metallic lid. You can put it in more than one if you don’t have one big enough.

Directions:

  1. Clean out your glass jar(s) with vinegar as your final step of cleaning your jars. (You just don’t want any dish soap residue left in your jars.)
  2. Chop up all the veggies and fruit quite small and combine in a bowl. (Can use a food processor but I don’t recommend it for the pineapple. Too much juice.)
  3. Add the whey and salt. Mix well.
  4. Stuff the mixture into the jar. You want liquid to cover the the mixture. Your mixture should provide enough liquid. Push your mixture down quite firmly. Make sure you keep an inch or more at the top of the jar. If your ferment is active and this one often is, you may need more room than 1 inch.
  5. Ferment for 2 days and then put it in the fridge.

Enjoy!

 

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How To Make A Ginger Bug

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Wondering how to make a ginger bug or even what it is? A ginger bug is a starter culture used to make drinks called a variety of names like ginger beer, gingerade, ginger ale and more!

ginger-166838_1920

A ginger bug is used to make a fermented beverage similar to kombucha or water kefir. You don’t need to know what those things are but if you do, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. What all these drinks have in common is the good bacteria they have. This in turn gives you a happy belly and improves immunity and more.

Here’s video Ricky and a little helper made showing just how to make a ginger bug. It’s actually quite easy.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPUlb–cYps]

As you can see, Ricky didn’t really follow a strict recipe. He did follow these basic guidelines:

  1. Use filtered / unchlorinated water.
  2. Use sugar – about 1/2 cup is a good amount. Must be sugar. No honey or maple syrup.
  3. Use fresh ginger. Fill half a small jar of chopped ginger or use a full ginger root.
  4. Put in your sugar and ginger and fill your jar up with the water.
  5. Cover with a cloth to keep the bugs out.
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Mushroom Vitamin D Surprise

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mushroom-389421_1920

I was amazed to learn something new about mushrooms yesterday and it has to do with vitamin D. Now, mushrooms are grown in the dark and don’t have vitamin D while growing or when you pick them up from the supermarket. But you can create it yourself.

The trick is to put your mushrooms in direct sunlight for 1 hour. Mushrooms have the ability to quickly produce vitamin D, similar to the way we people produce it when going out in the sun. So if you’re looking to add more Vitamin D, there you go. A new way – especially if you like mushrooms (which I do).

If you need more convincing on the mushroom front, there are a few more reasons to enjoy them. Mushrooms contain antioxidants that are just as high as other veggies like tomatoes or green beans. They are also a source of selenium which is a less common mineral found in fruits or veggies. Selenium can also improve immunity. You’ll also find mushrooms to be a source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.

mushrooms-sun

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Changes Coming To Fermaculture

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Hello fellow fermenters and food eaters!

Fermaculture is about to go through a transformation. We’ve moved towns after our travels around Australia and will not be selling food at markets for now. Instead we’re focusing on teaching what we’re learned about good healthy food and how to make and use fermented food as well as lots of other good stuff.

April is taking over control, has been planning her healthy recipes to share and will be making videos and blog posts about it all.

If you’ve been a past customer of ours, thanks for your support and we hope you come by here often to see what we’re making and maybe try it yourself.

See you soon!

Ricky (who will be behind the camera) and April (who is enjoying the idea of being boss-lady)

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How to Make Whey: A Starter Culture

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One of the basics to making fermented food is whey. Whey has good bacteria that will help give your fermented veggies a good start into fermentation. Many recipes require about a 1/4 cup of whey and here’s a way to get that!

This is my personal recipe card from the past but I’ll go into more description below.

easy-whey-pic

Recipe: Whey from Yogurt

Ingredients:

1 liter of yogurt

Tools:

Cheesecloth (or something similar)

A jar with a lid

Directions:

  1. Put the yogurt in the cheesecloth and drain it into a bowl. You may want to leave it for an hour or more to drain. When there’s no more liquid coming out, you’re done!
  2. Set the liquid on the counter overnight. Cover it with a tea towel. (Put the yogurt back in the fridge. You don’t need it anymore.)
  3. Pour the whey into a jar and stick a tight-fitting lid on top.

The whey will keep in fridge a for a few weeks. The sooner you use it, the stronger it is.

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What Are Fermented Foods?

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Wondering just what are fermented foods? For some it’s an age-old practice while for others it’s a brand new thing. So here’s an overview.

Fermentation is one of the best practices you can do easily to improve your health, well-being and introduce culture, simple sophistication and class into your dinning experiences. Cultured food tastes terrific and is packed with probiotics which help restore and maintain your gut. This is where the vast majority of your white blood cells live and is the beginning of all health.

Lately, I’m finding myself aligned with the values of the Western A Price Foundation – a group that is truly dedicated to the health of others. Here’s a description of their perspective on fermented food.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UthGeCBkVHY]

If you are not familiar with fermented or probiotic cultured foods don’t worry. We provide lots of information and video how-to’s here.

Here is a general introduction with probably the most well-known fermenter around – Sandor Katz.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkXT-XgyzkI]

When your gut has a good acid balance and is refreshed with beneficial living cultures daily you can rest assured you are less prone to autoimmune and allergies. The bacteria which make food stable by releasing, acidic lactic acids, and ethanol also begin to digest the food releasing vitamins, minerals, enzymes which make the contents extremely nutrient ready for you.

Then a little fermented food daily with meals can have a big effect on your enjoyment of foods. These foods also compliment foods with  healthy fats extremely well.

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Fermented Choko Recipes

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Fermented Chockos!

Amazingly, the humble chocko can be fermented and taste great! We were recently given a pile of chockos. There were too many to eat all at once so being the fermenters we are, we thought we’d give fermented chockos a try.

The best thing about the chocko is it retains it’s crunchiness after fermenting. A number of vegetables become mushy but the chocko is not one of them. It stays crunchy like a cucumber pickle might.

We fermented the chockos two ways. One was spicy and one was dilly.

Recipe: Spicy Fermented Chocko Slices

To try spicy fermented chockos, do the following:

  1. Make a salt brine. It doesn’t have to be too strong. I used 3 tbsp of himalayan salt to one litre of water. Let it cool.
  2. Thinly slice the chockos using a mandolin or food processor.
  3. Peel 3 cloves of garlic.
  4. Chop up a hot pepper (however many you like) or use some dried hot peppers.
  5. Find a glass jar with a non-metallic lid. Pack everything in. Add the brine to cover the chockos. Put a plate or plastic baggy filled with brine on top to hold the chockos down. (They need to stay under the liquid.)

Ferment for a few days. Taste and when they taste good to you, put them in the fridge.

Recipe: Dilly Chocko Pickles

Almost the same as above, but with dill!

  1. Make a salt brine. It doesn’t have to be too strong. I used 3 tbsp of Himalayan salt to one litre of water. Let it cool.
  2. Thinly slice the chockos using a mandolin or food processor.
  3. Peel 3 cloves of garlic.
  4. Get the sprigs of fresh dill. No need to chop them unless that’s your preference. If you don’t have fresh dill, use dried. I used about 4 large sprigs of dill.
  5. Find a glass jar with a non-metallic lid. Pack everything in. Add the brine to cover the chockos. Put a plate or plastic baggy filled with brine on top to hold the chockos down. (They need to stay under the liquid.)

Ferment for a few days. Taste and when they taste good to you, put them in the fridge.

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Fermenting Vegetables

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A Few Videos on Fermenting Vegetables. More will be coming from April.
Sandor on making sauerkraut, kimchi, and other vegetables – Sandor Ellix Katz

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77hU3zR-fQ]

Good Video on Fermented Veggies by RawPleasureAustralia

Thanks for making the video Fermented Veggies. Uses the recipe from Wild Fermentation.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NAdNxTDJ1k]

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