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I’ve been keen to try preserving food for a while, but I haven’t made my way into water-bath or pressure canning yet. I’m trying to protect myself from sweets, so jams are not particularly helpful. Without a garden, CSA, or car for procuring large quantities of cheap in-season fruit, the impetus just isn’t there yet. If I’m going to buy from the supermarket, I can buy any time of year and much of it still won’t be local. (This is on the list of things to address when I have an income. But not while living on student loans.) Although the Netherlands aren’t really that far away. Not like Argentina.

But I digress.

While I’m not water-bath or pressure canning against the upcoming winter, I have started putting food in jars. This is due largely to the blog Phickle. It’s all her fault, and I’m sure she’ll be delighted to hear it.

early pickles

Yes, the middle jar is weighted with a jar of sesame seeds. It was just the right size.

Probiotic foods are good for you, you know. We all know. Most of us assume this means eating yoghurt, and we either eat yoghurt or don’t and that’s the end of it.

Or, as in the case of the lacto-fermentation community, the beginning. (Lacto-fermentation is the same as the process that makes beer and wine, but for food.) For me, it started a few weeks ago with carrot ginger pickles. After they’d been ageing for a week I wasn’t quite sold on the flavor. After two weeks, though, they were perfect.

My first batch of ginger beer, ageing in whatever large glass vessels were empty at the time. Including, since I drink cold-press coffee most of the year, my French press.

My first batch of ginger beer, ageing in whatever large glass vessels were empty at the time. Including, since I drink cold-press coffee most of the year, my French press.

Currently on my counter are radishes (with cloves), an enormous crock of ginger beer, and the stems from the kale I had for dinner last night (with garlic and juniper berries). Sauerruben will follow as soon as I procure another giant turnip. It’s madness. Madness, I tell you! Delicious, delicious madness. If I can’t have a pet, I’ll at least have my productive, invisible colonies churning out pickles. The output is the GNP of my own tiny nation in my kitchen, measured in preserves.

Looks like the 3 wise men from a Sunday School play.

Looks like the 3 wise men from a Sunday School play. They’ve obviously come bearing tasty gifts.

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