Monday, July 22, 2013

Salt and Fermenting

My first batch of cultured vegi's
A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Matthew 5:13-16 The Voice
Salt draws out the good flavors subtly hidden in food and preserves what would otherwise spoil, as do those who claim to be children of God. You, beloved, are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes bland and loses its saltiness, can anything make it salty again? No. It is useless. It is tossed out, thrown away, or trampled. And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. ...

I have been in a reading mood today. I've been reading about laco-fermentation because my first batch of fermented vegetables is too salty for my taste. I'll still use them in small quantities.  So I was on the hunt to find out just how much salt was really needed in the fermenting process. So I've made a new batch with whey and much less salt. I am not an expert at this point in fermenting it is still an experiment for me. But it has been a food type that I have wanted to incorporate in how we eat. Some how in the process of fermenting the vegetables much much more of the vitamins become bio available.  This is not a health blog but is a devotional blog. So you are looking for some spiritual nugget to help you on your way. 

I guess I am coming to believe that our lives are not segmented into separate and distinct boxes. My physical health will have an affect on my mental and spiritual health. I am finding that the Lord is present in all the things I am doing. He is not relegated to just when I go to church or just when I am praying. I try to be conscious of the Holy Spirits leading in everything I am doing. So today I have not felt ready to write until just now. What I am thinking about today is Salt. 

Back in biblical times they did not have refrigeration. They were part of much more agricultural society that followed the seasons of planting and harvest. I have to imagine that a lot of time must have been spent preserving food in ways that it would carry them through leaner seasons of the year. 
Salt was used for preserving. In my reading about fermenting, you can ferment vegetables without salt but they are not crisp and turn mushy. I have been adding whey - that I drain of of active culture plain yogurt to add to my vegetable to help introduce more of the good bacteria and to speed up the fermenting process. 

Our verse today says "Salt draws out the good flavors subtly hidden in food and preserves what would otherwise spoil, as do those who claim to be children of God."
So my first attempt at cultured vegetables was too salty. A little salt goes a long way. Honestly a whole bunch of christians can be a bit too salty for our society to deal with. We have to get out of our little or gigantic church huddles and spread out into the world to bring both the good flavor and to preserve our cities, states, nations. One of the notable qualities of salty believers is that they cause people they are around to become thirsty. We make people around us thirsty for living water that comes from Jesus. If you are staying in close contact with the Lord you will have living water flowing through your life that you can ladle out. 

We add spice and flavor to our world. We bring hopefully God's perspective, if we are people of the Book. Well I think I'm going to try making some lacto fermented ketchup, since I won't use the stuff from the grocery store because it is filled with high fructose corn syrup. We've made ketchup before using alternative sweeteners.  I will make this batch with stevia and with the added benefits of lacto fermentation.  

"Though the term "fermented" sounds vaguely distasteful, the results of this ancient preparation and preservation technique -- produced through the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins by microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and molds -- are actually delicious. Even more so, they are so beneficial to overall health that some of these "functional foods" are now considered to be "probiotics," increasing your overall nutrition, promoting the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria, and aiding digestion and supporting immune function, including an increase in B vitamins (even Vitamin B12), omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase and lactic acid, and other immune chemicals that fight off harmful bacteria and even cancer cells." From Incredible Health Benefits article on fermented food. 

"Fermented foods are healthy for everyone, but the high concentration of natural probiotics they contain makes them particularly beneficial for people who have issues with their digestion. Eating cultured foods may also be helpful for balancing blood sugar and for weight loss and, because your digestive system is closely linked to your immune system (around 75% of your immune system’s cells are found in your digestive tract!), consuming copious amounts of cultured foods can make you less prone to illnesses of all kinds. I try to include at least one serving of lacto-fermented foods in my diet each day as part of my healthy lifestyle." From Deliciously Organic

The left is the first batch - the right is todays less salty version
So anyway there you have it - a bit on salt and how we should be like salt and probably more than you wanted to know about laco fermenting. My summer posts are probably a bit relaxed and running the gambit of my wide variety of interests.  

I've included a photo of my vegetable jars. You can see in the first jar on the left. That a lot of fermenting has happened. They have a very salty pickles. I took my two original jars and drained them and put all the vegetables into one jar and refilled it with the same liquid. 
I keep tasting them every few days because the fermenting process changes how they taste. They started out just salty and now they are more pickled salty. I'm hoping for more pickled with less salty at least that is my hope for my second batch. It needs to sit for at lest three days in the dark. My first jar is about 11 days old at this point. When they get to a taste that I like they will go in the refrigerator to slow down the fermenting process.  

Prayer: I pray that the Lord will make you salty and that they people around you will get thirsty. I pray you will be a blessing wherever you go and what ever you are doing that people will see the love of Jesus in your actions and in how you live your life. 

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