Overcome Your Fear of Commitment—to Sourdough and Other Starters

I can’t look after more than four starters. My ginger bug Mary Ann, my kombucha SCOBY Etheldreda, my sourdough starter Eleanor and my buttermilk Betty all need regular feedings or they’ll die. I take care of this little family in addition to fermenting all sorts of other foods that don’t require starters—kimchi, dill pickles, chutney, […]

Drop that Bleach! The Wasteful Side Effects of the War on Bacteria

War cannot be won. I’m not advocating anything dangerous here, just old-fashioned common sense—and practices. We are too clean and so are our homes. And that germaphobia has created a market—or the market has created germaphobia—for all sorts of wasteful products. I’m not advocating you never bathe. However, this MIT chemical engineer hasn’t showered since 2003 […]

Olive and Preserved Lemon Spread

I’m not sure what to call this appetizer… I have been eating my preserved lemons with Indian food—lentil dal and channa masala—and decided I should branch out and perhaps make something more Mediterranean. How delicious would preserved lemons taste in a tapenade-like spread? Very, it turns out. Although tapenade recipes vary—some call for anchovies, others […]

Why and How to Make Sauerkraut and Krautchi

Click here to jump to the recipe Why ferment? People have fermented foods for thousands of years. At first, ferments must have happened by sheer accident—a handful of vegetables forgotten in salty water or a misplaced bowl of porridge, discovered days later and showing signs of life and gentle bubbling. When those first curious cooks tasted these supposed mistakes, they would […]

Garlic-Dill Sauerkraut

I have converted several self-professed haters of sauerkraut with this garlic-dill blend. It tastes just like dill pickles. And almost everyone likes dill pickles, including kids. People who tell me they hate sauerkraut often also say they want to like it because of the many health benefits that lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut offer. Fermented sauerkraut: Is […]