Friday, January 8, 2016

Fermenting for the New Year

I did not know how to cook much of anything that didn't come from a box, can, or bag until after Wren was diagnosed with Celiac.  I'm by no means a gourmet chef now, but I've come a long way and am prepared to tackle a new task in the kitchen:  fermenting.  At first I was afraid to attempt anything that did not have exact directions and required the ability to smell to know if it was going poorly (I haven't been able to smell anything in 23 years.).  But I got brave a couple of months ago and fermented some lemonade using this recipe.  The whole experience confirmed my worst fears.  D and I enjoyed a glass after the kids went to bed and discovered the taste was fine.  However, the alcohol content was most definitely off.  D looked at me after half a glass and said, "I can't feel my lips.  Is that what fermented drinks do?"

"I don't think they are supposed to do that, but I am having trouble gripping the handle on the fridge, so I think that's what THIS fermented drink does," I replied.

I reread the directions and confirmed the alcohol content should have been so small it was practically non-existent.  Somewhere along the way, I screwed up.  Since the point was to have the kids drink it as well, especially Wren since correctly fermented items would help her gut, the whole batch was no longer of use.  D and I aren't big drinkers, and anything than can numb half of D's face after half a cup is way too strong.  He doesn't drink much but he still has a high tolerance, so his giggles over nothing as the night went on finally pushed me to pour the whole batch down the sink.  

The reason I'm coming back to fermenting now is twofold:  there really isn't any denying the advantages of fermented food, especially for people with compromised guts.  The other reason, the one I'm most excited about, is to shift our focus from out to in.  For most of our Celiac life, we have been taking food out, sometimes getting rid of entire food groups.  It's been all about what has to go.  That attitude over a long period of time is defeating.  This year we're attempting to shift the focus from the can't haves to the can haves.  We can totally have fermented yogurt.  We can get down with some kombucha.  We can eat some slaw with prebiotics built in.  

To prepare for this adventure, I'm learning about scobies, pulling recipes from Pinterest, and googling "can fermented anything get you too wasted to change a diaper?"  I will let you know when we have success and share any secrets I discover.  I will for sure let you know when I screw it up, and I'll tell you how to avoid it if I can figure that out myself.  

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