August 2015: Vinegar and Heat

In this Month's Journal...


August, a time of dry grass and lions, solanums and cucurbits swelling on the vine. The solstice was months ago, but somehow this month seems a mid-point, too, a tipping, from the time of growth towards a time of harvest. The days are long and full of light. The roots are anchored fast. Flowers, pollinated by bees, have been fertilized, and the fruits are swelling to ripeness. Wander out with a basket to count your blessings, whether your bounty comes from the farmers' market or your own backyard.

What’s in a Pickle? Fermentation, Pickling and their Common Roots

Featured article by staff expert Jess Tunis...

fermentation, pickling and their common roots - how to make fermented pickles

'Tis the season of disproportionate plenty, too much and not enough. After all, how many cucumbers can a single household eat? Your answer might increase, if you had a taste for preservation. But be warned! Just a taste is rarely enough. There are so many recipes and methods to choose from, when one begins to pick a pickle. It can be a little confusing sometimes, can't it? Is a dill pickle the same as a kosher dill? Is a pickle something that's been made in a water-bath canner, or a fermentation crock, or the refrigerator? See the full article to find out.

FULL ARTICLE: What's in a Pickle? Fermentation, Pickling and Their Common Roots

Two Shrub Recipes from Jess: A Sour, Sparkling Sip

Fermented beverage exploration with staff expert Jess Tunis...

shrub beverage, how to make shrub sparkling drink

Yes, there's more than one way to pickle a cucumber. And more than one way to enjoy vinegar, for that matter! (Sure, it's no good for catching flies. But who wants to do that, anyway?) We are much more interested in relaxing, after the pickles are made, with a cool, refreshing beverage. We have recently begun to explore the fascinating world of shrubs. Like pickles, shrubs were originally a fermented beverage, which over time became common to make with a prepared vinegar infusion rather than a direct ferment. We'll explore a fermented version of the shrub at a later date, perhaps as an adjunct to our vinegar-making class that will be held at the Westside farmer's market on August 29th. For now, though, we're going to pour ourselves a sparkling glassful of Strawberry Lavender Shrub, and relax. Care to join us? Read the full article to get sipping...

FULL ARTICLE: Two Shrub Recipes from Jess: A Sour, Sparkling Sip

Fermented Jalapenos - The Most Delicious Pickled Pepper

Featured fermentation recipe with staff expert Karla Delong...

Surely you're not weary of pickling yet? The summer is just getting started, and there's plenty of preservation of all kinds ahead of us. Cucumbers are not the only thing that can be brine pickled, of course. Many of you have commented on the ever-changing jars of various ferments that adorn the shelves of our homesteading housewares department. Carrots and onions, peppers and cauliflower, all of these can be brined and fermented to delicious effect. Here's a recipe for fermented jalapeño peppers, the perfect combination of salt, acid, and spice, like summer in a crock. Pick a peck and pickle away!

TRY THE RECIPE: Fermented Jalapenos: The Most Delicious Pickled Peppers

From the Road: Summer Festivals and Workshops

Tour notes from the Mountain Feed Roadshow - workshops, fermentation festivals and more...

We're so jazzed about these classes. Our FREE Food Preservation & Nourishing Cooking Class series continues in full swing this month. While it's all well and good, to travel far and wide, in service to the linked causes of fermentation and preservation, it's also incredibly gratifying to be able to present these classes, in partnership with the Santa Cruz Farmers' Markets, for free as an offering to our local community. We've got a great lineup for August, everything ranging from Artisanal Probiotic Beverages, to Homemade Yogurt and Vinegar. There's always enough time for a Q&A after class, so bring your curiosity, your comments and your ideas. Come join us, one of these days, if you're in the neighborhood.

JOIN US AT AN EVENT: See our Workshops and Events Calendar

Recently, the Mountain Feed Roadshow rolled down to Los Angeles to host a booth and demonstrations for the 1st Annual Los Angeles Fermentation Festival. What fun, to meet new people and share a little bit of the excitement we feel about the joys of preservation. It's a strange juxtaposition, the slow and ancient arts of fermentation, alongside the bling and bustle of a modern city. Somehow the two fit together beautifully.

Whenever we arrive in a new town, we make it our business (after taking care of our booth, of course) to search out the most delicious foods. LA did not disappoint; we drank artisanal shrubs and ate charcuterie, gushed over gorgeous antipastos preserved in Weck jars. A delicious merging of old and new traditions.

At the end of this month, we'll be traveling to Santa Rosa for the Farm to Fermentation Festival on August 22nd. And as always, we'll be looking for good places to eat! We have so little time at these events, no way to truly settle into the rhythm of a place. However, these festivals have an energy all their own, which sustains and buoys all involved. The festival days are full of conversation and connection, stories and questions, a mutual give and take of information and inspiration. By the end of the day--phew! Even the most extroverted among us are ready to sit down and be nourished.

That's the magic of the kitchen. Fresh food, prepared with care and attention, can renew and restore those gathered at the table. It doesn't have to be fancy. It's just gotta have soul. And somehow after a full and bustling day, of talking and teaching and listening and learning, the food connects more deeply to the places we visit.

Food is a common thread, that runs between all people and creatures, linking us to place and to people, to the soil and to the spirit of the world all around us. Whatever table you find yourself gathered around, we hope that you can take a moment to savor not just the flavors of the place, but the greater threads of connection that nourish both heart and belly.

Thanks for reading this month's edition of the Mountain Feed Journal, we hope you've enjoyed it. We leave you with a collection of our Favorite Supplies for Making Perfect Pickles!

Our Favorite Supplies for Making Perfect Pickles

A collection of our staff's favorite fermentation crocks, kits, pickling supplies and ingredients - everything you need for the perfect bite...

Kraut Source. Perfect Pickler. Fermentation Crocks. Ingredients. Have fun preserving your summer bounty with these tried and true tools...

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Get Pickled! Resources for Getting Started Today...

how to make pickled asparagus

Whether you’re a first-time pickler, or whether you’ve been water bath canning them for years and want to enter the wild world of fermentation, you’re in the right place...

Thanks for Reading Our August Journal. Over to You...

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.

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