Jun, Kombucha’s Eccentric Sibling

In the universe of vinegar cousins, kombucha is probably the best known. It's become one of America's fad miracle drinks and is widely available in grocery stores and even gas stations here in Atlanta. It's easy to grow too - you can buy a bottle of commercial kombucha and leave it open to the air... Continue Reading →

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Fermentation

Among fermenters, there's a vast diversity of opinion when it comes to a somewhat arcane topic - whether ferments should be aerobic, i.e., open to the outer environment, or anaerobic, i.e., produced in a hermetic environment either through the type of vessel it's in or beneath an airlock. First, it's probably important to understand that... Continue Reading →

Honey Harvest – Crush & Strain

Not strictly fermentation related, but I recently had the pleasure of joining a friend for a sizeable honey harvest from his year-old beehive. Steve and I have been brewing (and drinking) beer together for a number of years, and when he decided to put a hive in his back yard last year, I was between... Continue Reading →

Vinegar Basics

Vinegar is one of those entirely misunderstood but constantly used edibles. It's mixed into salad dressings and marinades, used as an eco-friendly household cleaner, and even applied topically as shampoo. But what is vinegar, and where does it come from? Put as simply as I can, vinegar is a secondary fermentation of sugar. In nature,... Continue Reading →

Make Sauerkraut!

It's not a suggestion! Sauerkraut was my gateway fermentation project many years ago, and I've been hooked ever since. It's super easy, requiring a knife, some salt, a head of cabbage, and a jar. Alternatively, you can use bagged cole slaw mix and brine to create delicious, nutritious sauerkraut. You can embellish as much as... Continue Reading →

Gratuitous Cabbage Shot

Took a walk through the neighborhood today, including the six acre farm tucked back in the middle of our urban neighborhood. A gentleman was watering a big plot of about 200 tomato plants, and we struck up a conversation. Upon learning that I make sauerkraut, he insisted that I take one of his enormous cabbages.... Continue Reading →

Spiced Ginger Ale Two Ways

So now that I have two active ginger bugs - one from fresh, grated ginger and one made from store-bought ground ginger - I want to compare how they do as starters for homemade, lacto-fermented soda. I like a nice, flavorful, spicy beverage, so I came up with this experimental recipe for Spiced Ginger Ale.... Continue Reading →

A Tale of Two Ginger Bugs

One question I've seen asked often is whether one can successfully make ginger bugs from store-bought ground ginger. First, a quick recap about ginger bugs, what they are, and how they're used. Like sourdough starter, a ginger bug is a wild starter cultured from the natural microflora that occurs on the skin of ginger. Traditionally,... Continue Reading →

Making a Ginger Bug

You could also call this post, "Raising a teenager," because that's about how it's been with me and the mysterious ginger bug. They're temperamental, fussy, a joy to be around when they're happy, and anxiety-causing when they're in a mood. Still, pour some of that magic decoction into sweet syrup or juice, and you have... Continue Reading →

What is Alcohol? And How Do I Make Some?

Oh, booze. Sought after by bugs, birds, and elephants, it was only in the hands of early humans that the crafting of intoxicating beverages was elevated to an art form. It's likely that honey, soaked in water, was the first major source of alcohol to early people, who almost certainly considered the bubbly concoction and... Continue Reading →

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