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 […]

Simple Kimchi

How important is kimchi to Korean cuisine? Well, Koreans eat 1.5 million pounds of it every year, the Korean stock market’s “kimchi index” tracks the prices of kimchi ingredients and when Korea sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station, it sent kimchi along with him too—after spending millions researching and developing a recipe suitable […]

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 […]

16 Simple Tips to Clean Your Kitchen, Plastic-Free

When we first went plastic-free, cleaning presented a big challenge. How would we wash our dishes without plastic bottles filled with dish soap (not to mention filled with microbeads)? Sponges, made of plastic, come wrapped in yet more plastic. And how would we dispose of wet, stinky garbage? We found pretty simple solutions for all of […]

Fermenting Versus Canning

Updated 06/11/17 fermentation noun     fer·men·ta·tion     \ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən, –ˌmen-\ “[The] process by which microbes consume sugars and produce acid, alcohol and gases.” — from The Good Gut “The transformative action of microorganisms.” — from The Art of Fermentation Often when I discuss fermentation, people say to me “Cool! I’ve always wanted to try canning.” Before I started fermenting […]

The Secondary Fermentation: Hippie Jargon for “Put Kombucha in a Bottle”

Updated 09/19/17 During my fermentation workshops, I give students samples of my various kombucha flavors before I put them to work. They always ask for the recipes so I thought I better get to it and post a bunch. Before you can flavor kombucha, you must first brew a batch and wait for it to ferment. You can […]

A Great Read: The Good Gut

microbiota noun     mi-cro-bi-o-ta     \-bī-ˈōt-ə\ : a microbial community microbiome noun     mi-cro-bi-ome     \-bī-ˈōm\ : all the microbial genes in a microbiota I first read about the Sonnenburgs—a husband and wife team of Stanford PhDs studying the gut microbiota—in an article Michael Pollan wrote for the New York Times a couple of years ago. […]

Thumb Your Nose at Big Soda: Naturally Carbonated Lemonade

Click here to jump to the recipe This past Monday, summer arrived here in Silicon Valley. I could hear kids splashing in the pool outside. The ice cream truck, which, oddly, plays “Little Brown Jug,” resumed trolling the neighborhood. And with school about to end, parents went into panic mode. But something else tipped me off that summer […]