My husband has been looking at our kitchen in wonder. And with just a tiny bit of fear.
“I’m worried that this will be too much work,” he said to me as I stirred the bone broth and checked on the milk solids and whey. Honestly, I was a little worried, too. It’s not that I didn’t think it was important; it was simply, have I gone around the bend and taken this “eating healthy” too far?
It took me a day or two but I finally calmed down and realized it wasn’t that much work after all. It does take planning and I have to admit, I’m still struggling after six months to get the whole veggie order right with the CSA. Do I order more fruit this week and eat up what veggies we have or do I order more veggies because we’re home more?
This week, I boldly ordered cabbage as I made some whey; the goal was and is sauerkraut. Most people who know me know I can’t exactly eat regular kraut – it just doesn’t sit well. However, I tried some lacto-fermented sauerkraut and found it was crunchy, a little weird, but didn’t affect me. How do you make this wondrous thing? You need whey. Where do you get whey? You have to make it, either from raw milk, cultured milk, or yogurt.
Whey is full of the enzymes needed to do fermentation and to help your body digest foods better. It’s a very different kind of thing that we’re used to; yet, if you think about it, nearly every culture has some kind of fermented drink or food that is eaten at a meal – whether it be miso soup, wine, cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, or beer. Think back to your own racial food profile and I’m betting there is something there which was fermented. This was our ancestor’s way of making sure our bodies were able to to digest all that needed to be digested, to make our bodies healthy and strong.
My whey making was on its way. I boldly sat the bottle of milk out on the counter for four days, waiting for the fateful moment of milk solids and whey to separate. When it came, I found a bowl, some cheese cloth, and began straining. After a few more tries with it, I finally have the technique down and, happily, a whole quart of whey. The science experiment has moved to the refrigerator. My poor husband.
The bone broth cooked on the stove for three days, simmering, until it was a dark brown, lovely deep broth. Honestly, I didn’t even have to stir it. Once I found the right temp, I left it alone. It ran perfectly, despite a few fearful thoughts of leaving it alone while we slept (what if the flame blew out and we died from gas poisoning..?) A suggestion from a friend helped me figure out what to do with it. I used three freezer bags, filled them with equal parts of the broth and pushed as much air out as possible. I then laid them flat in the freezer and viola! I have three flat bags of broth ready for the next beef stew.
Why bone broth? Remember how your grandmother’s used to suck on marrow bones or eat organ meats once a week? Think of the chicken soup of old, used to cure the common colds. All that “good stuff” has been taken away from our diets. We eat mainly muscle meats and have very little nutrition from it. Bones and organ meats provide the nutrients our bodies need to both digest better and repair cells. I hate organ meats -I freely admit it. Yet, I love soups. So, I choose to make bone broths with the leg and marrow bones of lamb and beef.
The next food adventures will be to assemble the sauerkraut and put it away. I might try some lacto-fermentation on a few other things as well. It’s not your typical type of fermentation and it does take a little bit of getting used to. The aroma kinda smells like baby burps… but that might not be a bad thing, really. If it means I digest food better and stay healthy, I’m all for it.
I am doing this all in baby steps. My husband has been a trooper but there is more to come. In the end, though, it’s really not so hard. Just gotta open your mouth and swallow it down.