Glorious Apples: dehydrate ’em, brew with ’em, vinegarize ’em

Ahhh apples. The “grapes” of most of Canada. So many uses. Pies. Cider. Cider vinegar. The worst flavour of lollipop. If you get a good sale on apples, find a crab apple tree in the bush or start your own orchard, you’re going to need to preserve those apples so they’ll keep over the winter. […]

Fruit Vinegar

Like most commercial food, companies make vinegars for the most easily offended tastes. Basically, the flavour and character is muted and the ingredients are subpar (i.e. vinegar devoid of probiotic nutrients, added refined sugar for sweetness, excess preservatives and stabilizers). Even if you’re not using the vinegars in recipes, you can always deglaze your pans […]

Asian Style Vinaigrette Made in Canada

When I visited Japan, I was treated to the duo delight of ubiquitous cabbage and sesame dressing at the corner stores. What a wonderful, healthy country Japan. So I wanted to enjoy this combo back home. Here’s a delicious Asian style vinaigrette recipe that I use on my salads: 1 teaspoon of thinly sliced garlic […]

Kombucha for Beginners

This week, I made my first batch of kombucha thanks to a friend who gave me her homegrown SCOBY. SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Basically, it’s a gelatinous mass of bacteria and yeast that produce a palatable sour taste. Essentially, the colony converts ethanol alcohol into acetic acid, the same process and acid we find in natural vinegars. The SCOBY is like the mother of vinegar. Kombucha and other fermented drinks and food are on the rise for a couple of reasons. One, there’s a growth in anecdotal evidence in the new science around gut flora. Considering we have more foreign organisms by weight in our bodies than our own cells, assisting the symbiotic organisms in our own body may help it work better. Studies are ongoing about the benefits of consuming probiotics, but we know that transplants into the gut have helped rodents and people defeat obesity and gut illnesses. We know that people who have an imbalance of brewers yeast in their gut can get drunk just by eating carbs. We know that the gut produces the majority of hormones like seratonin and dopamine that affect mood. We know that there’s some sort of connection between gut health and inflammation. The addition of acid may improve the environment for probiotics to operate in the gut. Of course, I’m no doctor or scientist, so take all of this anecdotal evidence with a large grain of salt. Secondly, fermentation releases a lot of bioavailable nutrients. Yeast are high in vitamin B, for instance. Thirdly, people are looking for flavourful, carbonated drinks that aren’t full of calories and refined sugars that can spike hormones like insulin. I’m very familiar with the smell of kombucha fermenting since I inadvertently made apple cider vinegar once by leaving my cider unsealed for too long, allowing organisms in the environment to convert the alcohol into vinegar. Equipment A pot that holds 3L of water […]

Quick Pickling

Pickling is a preservation method that comes from fermentation (either open air or canned, which require different methods) or the addition of a vinegar brine (which is essentially what you get from fermentation as bacteria produce vinegar). Fermentation as a process is risky since deadly pathogens can develop, primarily the toxin botulism, if the wrong […]

Basil-Mozzarella-Tomato Hors d’Oeuvre

Basil-Mozzarella-Tomato Hors d’Oeuvre I find that the best way to eat healthy is through simplicity. Few snacks combine simplicity and deliciousness like this one. Prep Time: 5 minutes Ingredients: tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar Recipe: Slice the mozzarella and the tomato anywhere from half an inch to an inch thick. If […]