The book, “Cultured: Make Healthy Fermented Foods at Home” boasts recipes like watermelon kimchi, homemade miso, kombucha, and the healthiest of chocolates, kefirs and MORE. Plus, this stuff seriously tastes great.
But it’s not just about recipes. This is a very user-friendly compilation of history, how-to’s and what-for’s on fermented foods, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
5 cups dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight (traditional soy is used, see side note*)
1 cup sea salt
3 tbsp unpasteurized miso
5 cups koji
1 cup cooking liquid
A one gallon glass jar or a crock of similar size
Plate, lid or wooden disk that fits snugly inside the jar
Heavy weight or clean rock
Thick cotton cloth to cover everything
Cook the beans until soft. Strain and save 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Allow beans to cool and dry in a strainer for an hour or two. Process beans in a food processor for desired texture.
Dissolve 3/4 cup sea salt into 1 cup cooking liquid to make a brine. Mash the 3 tbsp unpasteurized miso into 1 cup brine. Mix brine (containing salt and 3 tbsp miso) with the koji.
In a big bowl, add processed beans to this brine mixture. This is your miso.
Packing for Fermentation: (I often do this part first while the garbanzos are cooling.)
Wet the sides of the jar slightly with hands dipped in water. Place some salt inside the side of jar, put the lid on or cover, and shake it around, coating all sides and bottom of jar or crock with a salt layer. Pack the miso into the crock/jar with clean hands, press down firmly. Spread a generous layer of salt over the top. Place the flat object on top and put the weight on top of that. Cover with cloth and secure well with a tight rubber band, string or tape.
You have the option to continue the fermentation process, and like with fine wine, it only gets better with time. If you decide to continue fermentation for another year it is good to test it out and repack it again with salt.
Miso years are calculated by the number of summers it has aged. So, if you have gone through one summer of fermentation, then you have one year old miso. I like to start my miso projects in the spring time, so they are ripe and ready to experience the warmer temps of summer when they tend to be more active.
*You can make this recipe using soy beans as well. Just be sure to use organic soy, since there is less chance of genetically modified contamination.
What is koji and where can I find it?
Koji is a Japanese rice on which koji mold spores have been cultivated. This process allows for the fermentation of koji rice, which is the primary ingredient in sake. Although koji spores can be bought, they usually have to be bought from specialty importers. However, fermented koji rice that has already been inoculated with the spores can be found at your local Asian grocery.
It is important that your miso is packed tightly, free from oxidation and protected by the salt layer. The cloth will also help to keep out impurities and unwanted bacteria.
Label your crock/jar with the date. Store the jar in a cellar, basement or other cool, dark spot where it will remain undisturbed. Have patience and ferment for one year. (See “miso years” above.) Open, scrap off top layer and celebrate with family and friends… your very first batch of homemade miso!! It should smell rich and savory like tamari. Pack it in clean, glass jars with plastic lids and refrigerate or store in a cool place.
Allow me to introduce you to Spirulina, one of our most favorite super foods! With all of the hype about GMO- Monsanto-Franken-Neuro-Toxic-Mutant food, I wanted you to know that you can still get pure amazing nutritious HEALTHY food. Food that can even negate and detoxify you from the ill-effects of eating the packaged poop stuff.
And prevent further damage.
Spirulina, a form of blue-green algae, boasts 10 times more beta carotene than carrots, is about 65% protein and provides us with essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, probiotics, and antioxidants.
Millions of years ago, before we were even a tear-drop in Mother Nature’s eye – Spirulina flourished. The nutrients contained in the spirulina plant helped our planet evolve. It’s perhaps our earliest ancestor.
To me, it offers one of the simplest ways to end world hunger! You actually need less food when you eat it because it takes care of so many nutritional needs. It grows easily and well in lakes and oceans, and I’m just discovering that it can even be grown in soil. Think of what savvy organic growers could do with this stuff!
At times when Dougie and I were in deep healing from his autism and my candida — we THRIVED on spirulina. Just adding it to our diets made us happier, gave us energy, and REALLY curbed sugar cravings. Plus it helps tremendously with brain-fog.
The first time he ever had the kicked-up spirulina blend from Bio-Age (Bioage.com), he buttoned his shirt for the first time. He lost a tic that he had for a few months, and over a small period of time — he began to speak more clearly. We saw so much developmental BLISS with the BIOAGE Algaes, that we removed most of our other supplements. It’s still a staple.
It reduces brain swelling. It sends nutrients where they need to go without making your body work so hard to digest. This is majorly important in autism and many cases of common illness like allergies and auto-immune dysfunction because digestion is so compromised.
My hubby used it as the main healing tool in helping him recover from a seizure disorder and a 12 year reliance on some pretty harsh prescription seizure meds.
Why wouldn’t we want to use spirulina to feed the hungry? It would open their minds and lift their spirits while nourishing them!
Consuming spirulina (algae) has been linked to recovery from diseases like cancer, ADD, and autism. Research also shows significant progress in its effect against the AIDS virus. In my time working with private clients, I’ve been able to see clarity of mind come back to people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s through the use of spirulina.
Spirulina is a super food –which means it is a complete food. Think — something they’d eat on the Matrix. People use spirulina to enhance energy, detoxify poisons (sugar, alcohol, mercury), control weight and balance mood.
Spirulina for Dinner?
So, the question is how does it taste? I’m sure you don’t want to be making yourself an algae salad three times a day just so that you can tout gorgeous skin and enough energy to keep you awake through the night, right? I gotta be honest — some of it is pretty gross! And, while it can be taken in pill-form, you’ve got to watch that you get the purest kind that is without mercury…because if it comes from a toxic lake its got nothing but chems, metal and junk to share with you.
It must be pure. And, I have my favorites. I’m quite fond of Healthforce Nutritionals TRUGANIC Spirulina Manna. I LOVE Real Food Real Life’s Pro-Daily Otic, which is a fermented blend of algaes (green, grains, seeds and sprouts). Both of these taste so good that I even get my non-health-food-lovin’ friends to crave them. They can easily blend in a smoothie and even be hidden under some raw chocolate as you transition to adding it to your diet. But, once you’re like me and crave this stuff — you’ll find it tastes great in salad dressings and dips too. Courtney Pool wrote a whole book on spirulina recipes!
How Much Spirulina Should You Eat?
Always go slowly and learn about a food’s energy when adding something new to your diet. Spirulina has an expansive energy which means that it pulls your energy up. For some, this can mean headaches. If you’re feeling hyper or light in the head, that can mean you have some stuck energy, and spirulina can exaggerate that. Not to fear. All greens have expansive energy. Balancing this out with the “grounding” nature of good quality sea salt is enough for some people to really benefit from this amazing algae minus the headaches.
My recommendation to my clients is usually to begin new healing foods even more slowly than suggested on the label, and take close note of how you feel. When you reach a point where you feel good, you may have hit your ideal dosage. But, it has to be built-up-to. Traditional Chinese Medicine says it takes 100 days of an herb to start feeling the true benefits.
Most people don’t need to consume lots of spirulina to get great results. It’s potent stuff. The more you consume, the more detoxifying it becomes. Smaller amounts can address nutrient deficiencies from the core up. The way I see it is if you are deficient, like we were, it makes sense to go slowly and really allow the algae to work. Our family shares a spirulina smoothie almost every morning, and we only use about 1 tablespoon of manna or 1-2 capsules of BioSuperfood brand (much less than recommended) in total. In the colder months, we may have a little less, or at least combine it with more warming and heavier foods in our smoothies like avocado, coconut and cinnamon.
I find the fermented algae from Real Food Real Life to be more grounding.
The fun of natural health is that you build it. Your nutritional needs and tolerances are unique. It’s cool because the experimentation makes you so much smarter about your body and what you put in it. GMO food just causes tumors and sterility. No fun!
A Heart of Green
Green foods open your heart chakra. It’s becoming even more popular knowledge that our emotions matter. In fact, they create vibrations that actually heal us. The vibrations that come from your heart chakra are 500+ times stronger than those that come from your brain. So, yes, your thoughts matter. But real brain connections that create change in your life only happen when there is a corresponding emotional experience with your thought. When you open your heart to emotions like love, gratitude and forgiveness — your body heals. Spirulina opens your heart chakra in the same way! Seriously… have a few servings and tell me if you don’t feel grateful and in LOVE with life. Food can be a healer for our physical and emotional health.
Here is My Fave Way to Eat Spirulina… in Chocolate Of Course!
I wasn’t going to let you leave without this. This is a recipe for my fermented chocolates. Raw chocolate or cacao is another heart chakra opener! Some of my clients have a hard time tolerating plain raw chocolate. But the fermentation and addition of these healing herbs and SPIRULINA seems to take care of that.
I like to add spirulina to it to balance out the acidity in the cacao, and add nourishment. Who knew it would taste so good? Most of my friends are pleasantly surprised.
2 ½ cups raw organic cacao powder
1½ cups cacao butter
½ cup – 1 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp Vitamineral Green powder
1 packet Body Ecology kefir starter
1 packet Body Ecology culture starter
Glass jar or bowl with lid
Candy molds of choice
Add-ins: spirulina, vanilla sea salt and mint; sea salt, cacao nibs, and mesquite; cherries, cayenne and sea salt; maca, mesquite and lucuma; , cinnamon,maca, mesquite and lucuma; Gojii berries, bee pollen and anything else you like with your chocolate!
Melt cacao butter at 80 degrees in food dehydrator or in double boiler
Stir in cacao powder
Blend with coconut sugar in blender
Pour into glass jar
Add green powder and culture starters
Let ferment for 36 hours (keep in dehydrator to keep in liquid form)
I was about to post this blog in our “Inspired By” category — since the cacao vibes really got my creative juices flowing this morning. Did you know that your heart vibration is the strongest one your body emits, and that things like LOVE, GRATITUDE and CHOCOLATE raise that vibe?