The Healing Powers of Pickling-Ozuké in the Yoga Journal


(click on the image to see full size)

Here’s one from last year. A small story about the magic of fermentation and a Yummy recipe from Mara as well. Thanks Yoga Journal!


Blinking Beets & Cauliflower

Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? It was just a minute ago when Mara led a fermenting workshop. Then I blinked and it was Halloween. I blinked again and it’s almost Thanksgiving!tanner in leaves

As falls hits, the energy at my house begins to burst at the seams in anticipation of the holidays. It starts on Halloween, my boys get excited about running from house to house in costumes and collecting more candy than they will ever consume. Each year they try to finesse their trick or treating strategy by improving their running times. They start out sprinting, and by the end of the night they are dragging. The goal, of course, is to FILL their pillowcase with as much high fructose corn syrup as possible. When they were little, going to a handful of houses was adequate. Now, they can go for longer than an hour or two at full speed. It’s still not quite long enough to fill their pillowcases, but it’s plenty long enough to collect gobs of their favorite treats. They return home to sort, trade, and make plans for how each piece will be eaten and in what order. I wonder what is more fun? Trick or treating, or sorting and planning?Beets Cauliflower picklesWhen the weather is warmer, like during an Indian summer, Halloween is just that much more fun. It’s nice to be outside in the evening smelling and feeling fall. Is it the leaves turning shades of yellow, orange, red and brown that make the air smell like fall? Or is it the cooler night time temperatures? It’s probably both, and shorter daylight hours too. Either way, fall is a welcome respite from the long full days of summer. This pickled recipe of Mara’s feels like fall. She combines beautiful golden beets and creamy white cauliflower for a seasonal probiotic rich side dish.  It is fall!beets3As temperatures drop, heartier plants such as crucifers (cabbage, broccoli & cauliflower) and root vegetables begin to play a larger role in our daily diets.  They take on richer, sweeter flavors because the sugars are more concentrated in the plants. This phenomenon has also been referred to as ‘Frost Kissed’. Plus the nutritional benefit of eating these brassica vegetables is enormous.  As a group, these plants are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and cholineFolate is an essential mineral that supports healthy brain function and is important in the construction of cell membranes. Choline helps to reduce chronic inflammation and protects the liver. Eat your golds, and creamy whites! Here is Mara’s Golden pickled beets recipe.DSC_0067

Golden Pickled Beets, Cauliflower & Peppers:
1/2 Gallon spring/filtered water
2 TBSP sea salt
3 Medium golden beets, slice 1/8″ thin by hand or with mandolin
1 Head cauliflower,  larger than bite size pieces
Peppers, sliced in half (few or many, depending on desired zing)
1 tsp Coriander seed
2 tsp Fennel seed
2 tsp Cumin seed
1/2 tsp TumericRecently Updated2Directions:
Dissolve sea salt in water using a glass jar or fermenting crock.  The brine should be salty, but not overpowering. Be sure to use non-iodized salt. Trim and peel golden beets. Then slice them approximately 1/8″ thick. Break apart or cut cauliflower into florets. Slice peppers down the middle. Pack vegetables into jar or crock alternating among colors. Continue until full. Be sure all of your vegetables are fully immersed in brine. This will ensure an anaerobic environment which is necessary for fermenting.  If needed, add brine to cover vegetable mixture completely. Allow 2-3 weeks to ferment on counter top at approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit.wet handTry these pickled treats with Tandoori chicken or other Indian spiced dishes. Of course, golden pickled beets & cauliflower would be great on a holiday antipasto platter. We hope you find the time to truly enjoy the upcoming holiday season.


Apple & Fennel Kraut

Recently, a group of folks met at Fresh Thymes Eatery (FTE) for a fall fermenting workshop led by our fearless fermento, Mara. FTE is the new Community Supported Restaurant in Boulder that features a variety of naturally fermented dishes and drinks. That’s what made it such an ideal location to hold an ozuké pickled things event. Christine Ruch, chef & owner, does a superb job of preparing real food with whole ingredients. Her menu is completely gluten free, seasonal, and locally-sourced when possible. In addition to being a great restaurant, Fresh Thymes is a community gathering spot. The friendly staff worked with the ozuké team to put together an instructive kraut making & tasting session.

group collageOnce everyone arrived, Mara began teaching us how to channel our inner pickleteer. The group was pretty diverse with kids, teens, men & women attending. The kids were as busy as the adults taking notes on fermenting techniques. For more information on fermenting and some great recipes Mara suggests The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
lucyIt was nice to have young ones amongst us, as we hope they carry on the tradition of making naturally fermented pickled things for a long time. Plus, it’s fun just watching them enjoy delicious food, isn’t it?

In between snacking, we learned how to make a crunchy apple & fennel kraut. There was a lot of slicing, chopping, and pounding involved. Here’s Mara’s recipe:

Cabbage, Fennel & Apple KrautIngredients for Fennel & Apple Kraut:
2 Cabbage heads, medium
2 Apples, tart & firm
1 Fennel bulb, small
1 Parsley bunch, chopped
Salt to taste

Clean and wash all vegetables. Slice cabbage, fennel, & apples into narrow strips (alternatively use a processor or mandolin). Chop parsley. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Salt to taste and mix thoroughly. Use a mallet or meat tenderizer to pound vegetables for approximately 15 minutes. Pounding vegetables releases their natural juices. Pack kraut into jars, being sure to have the vegetable juice cover kraut mixture completely. If temperatures are warm, store approximately 3 days on counter top. If temperatures are cooler, store for as long as a week or until desired taste is reached.poundingkraut in jarThis delicious fall kraut goes well with roasted chicken and pork. It is also excellent tossed with roasted winter squash in a salad. Try this recipe and let us know what how your home ferments go. We welcome your comments and questions always.

Boulder County Home & Garden


Fermented Foods Find a Following

Fermented foods are making a tasty new splash as “good-for-you-foods”–although our grandparents knew it all along. By Mary Lynn Bruny


fermenting-redrice Red Rice Make this recipe once, and I promise you, your family will ask for more. My daughter, Kailee, would never let a beet near her lips in any other way! Ingredients Butter or olive oil, to taste 1 jar Ozuké the best pickled things Beets, Dulse & Kale 3-4 cups rice, cooked 1 teaspoon garlic (or to taste), minced Toasted sesame oil Optional: sprouts, kale, fried eggs Directions Put butter or olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add one full jar Beets, Dulse & Kale. Sizzle for a bit, then add cooked rice. Stir over medium heat until everything mixes together. Add minced garlic and drizzle with toasted sesame oil. We serve this rice with a fried egg on top with sprouts and baby kale on the side. You can always snazz this up with another kind of protein and call it dinner. —Mara King, Esoteric Food Company

FEED Fermentation Evening

FEED Fermentation Evening

Lovely evening with the Catamounts at 63rd Street Farm.

Very cool concept of five course meal punctuated by performances, all on a common theme. Mara was a guest chef for this event and she made some seriously steller fermented goods. Cider sun fermented mustard, juniper pickled mackerel, saffron kombucha with Cava aka the SCOBY crocus, and anchovy pear kim chi roses atop each dinner plate. Such a treat.

For more on upcoming FEED events:

Next dinner theme: Preservation. Yum.


The “other” ESCABECHE

Jalapeno escabeche! Pickled jalapenos, cauliflower, carrots, & onions in escabeche may be a more accurate description. That’s the escabeche my family knows and loves. The more commonly known Escabeche is a typical Mediterranean dish of either fish, chicken or rabbit marinated in an acidic mixture. The acid in the marinade is usually vinegar. For jalapeno escabeche, vinegar is typical as well. However, this recipe is naturally fermented, so there is NO acidic ingredient. Rather, the mildly sour flavor comes from the good bacteria that develop as the natural sugars in the vegetables ferment and are converted into various strains of probiotics. Each time you enjoy the tangy quailty of these pickled treats, your gut gets a boost of beneficial microflora! My family eats this condiment by itself and alongside many dishes. Tonight, we are eating it with burgers.

One of my sons regularly asks for escabeche in his school lunch. Fortunately, some of his classmates eat cultured foods so he doesn’t worry about offending them with the unique aroma of fermented cauliflower (a cruciferae). My older son loves this medley as well, but hasn’t yet agreed to let me pack it in his school lunch, for fear of offending his friends. For the time being, he is content to enjoy them in the privacy of his own home. I look forward to the day when he too is comfortable bringing fermented foods to school.

In our temperate zone, the ingredients for this recipe are available year round, making this a good “go to” vegetable during any season. Keep in mind, the fermentation process is much quicker during the warm summer months, so a more watchful eye is recommended. All the ingredients are readily available and they store well. mix of veggiesIngredients:
1 cauliflower head, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces

1 white onion (red or yellow), peeled & sliced in narrow strips
4 carrots, diagonally sliced
4-6 whole fresh jalapeno chiles (depending on how spicy you choose)
2 cups cool water (more or less)
4 Tablespoons of Celtic sea salt

salt mason jar

I choose to use Celtic Sea Salt. It is unprocessed, and full of the minerals and trace elements so many of us are lacking in our diets. The salt draws out vegetable liquid(s) and acts as a temporary preservative while the fermentation process gets started.

Slice carrots diagonally 1/4-1/2″ thick (thicker=crunchier/thinner=softer)

Slice cauliflower into bite size florets
Slice onion (narrow slices)
Slice jalapeños diagonally (thicker=crunchier/thinner=softer).
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix it together with your hands.
Fill glass mason jar with spring water, and add salt. Mix salt with metal spoon until dissolved. Water solution will appear cloudy. Begin to fill jar with vegetable mixture (When using bare hands, remember jalapenos can leave a lasting sting. Gloves may be used). Compress vegetables with hand or metal kitchen utensil, minimizing empty spaces between and among vegetables. Continue this process until mason jar is filled to approximately 1″ from the top of jar. Be sure salty solution (brine) covers all vegetables. It is should be an anaerobic reaction. I always “top off” the escabeche with a small handful of onions* (read note below). Secure the lid and place in a dark temperature controlled space. Optimum temperature for fermenting is between 68 – 75° F.pushing down finger tipshand w onions*Raw onions are antimicrobial in nature, so I have made a habit of placing a handful of them on the top of my escabeche to prohibit bad bacteria from developing. In the winter time, my very small laundry closet remains a constant 70° F so it doubles as my ‘fermenting closet’. In the summertime, my kitchen counter is just fine, but I do always cover the jars to create a dark environment for the cultures. laundry roomlaundry room coveredAfter a few days (4-7 depending on temp), check your ingredients to see if they are ready to move to refrigeration. Look for cloudy liquid, bubbles, jalapenos becoming a muted green color, and soft translucent onions to determine if fermentation is occurring. after ferment closeup)DSC_0007Once you are happy with the flavor (taste it at any point), and feel adequate fermentation has occurred. Move your savory condiment to the refrigerator for storage, and enjoy it every day as long as it lasts!  You can store your escabeche for up to 9 months.

Let me know how yours turns out, and what food you garnish with jalapeno escabeche.

SHINE and Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad

Guest Blog by Mignon Macias

Have you had Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad? Well, if you have then you’ll know what I mean when I say, YEAH AUNT BARB! And if you haven’t, you should get on into Shine and order yourself some!

Amanda and I took our Barb to try some of the tasty dishes Jessica Emich is creating at her (and her sisters’) restaurant. Of course, I had to order the probiotic slaw sampler by Zuke to start off our birthday bash (It was Barb’s birthday celebration). The raw appetizer included several different zesty pickled things.

Finally, food trends are catching up with Shine, where the Emich sisters strive to foster an atmosphere that nourishes community through food, music, and celebration.  In January, the New York Times named 10 food trends that have ‘legs & merit’. Appropriately, fermented foods were on that list.

For centuries, naturally cultured foods have played a key role in providing sustenance to civilizations across the globe. From Norwegian rakfisk (brine-cured fish) to Peruvian tocosh (fermented potato pulp), fermented foods provide significant health benefits to the human body. Certainly lacto-fermenting evolved as a means to preserve foods, but in modern cultures, the long-standing health advantage is what keeps it contemporary. These foods are rich in probiotics that populate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria which support the immune system. Additionally, the enzymes in fermented foods help our bodies digest meals more efficiently. Since our birthday lunch began with these delectable condiments, we were off to a good start.

For our second course, we ordered Aunt Barb’s Seaweed Salad. This my friends, is ART in a bowl!

Tender micro greens and subtle wakame seaweed rest on a bed of tangy lemon massaged kale. House cultured carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers, and delicate sprouts make for a vibrant and crunchy salad. This dish is great to share before a sandwich, or to eat as a meal on it’s own.  We all shared two servings along with the more simple house salad, and decided to finish with some house beers as our final course.

We had a nice afternoon celebrating our Barb!  Hope this year’s journey around the sun is filled with fun and adventure!

2027 13th St.
Boulder, Co 80302




A drink for Safia… and everyone

This drink is in honor of my cocktail hour-loving BFF and her birthday this week.  She is a vodka Martini girl and did turn my gin Martini rule into more of a preference.  Then I tasted the pickled ume plums from Zuké and knew that they were perfect cocktail garnish.  They would also be great in a salad dressing, but that can wait till after cocktail hour.

Safia Sake-tini

1.5 oz of good local Vodka **
1.5 oz of Sake
2 ume plums pickled by Zuké

If you are a stirrer go ahead and ignore the directions.

1)   Measure the Sake and Vodka into a cocktail shaker.  Add the ice.  Large cubes work better as chipped ice makes a slushee.  Shake them up until the spirits get really cold.

2)   Pour into a Martini glass.  Add the ume plums as garnish.  It may take more than two – they are so good I ate a jar of them while developing the recipe.

** For Vodka, I would choose something local and more mellow like Syntax Vodka from Greeley.  Their nice vibe perfectly compliments the Zuké lusciousness.

Pickled Peaches

These past few days there has been a slight crispness in the air and the fruits are hanging heavy on the trees. We went on a neighborhood walk today and picked plums, peaches, apples and buckeyes (not good for eating but good for putting in slingshots). Even though all the pickles from the Esoteric kitchen are live, raw ferments- at home, I still feel the autumn pull to put a few things up for winter. I have never tried savory peaches before, but these pickled peaches are damn good and made my Polish mother in law proud.

Sweet-and-Sour Peaches
adapted from Epicurious
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 6 1/2 cups cold water
  • 24 firm-ripe small peaches (6 to 7 lb)
  • 1 cup sugar ( and I added about a 1/4 cup honey)
  • 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons pickling spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Special equipment: 6 (1-pt) canning jars with lids and screw bands; a boiling-water canner, or a deep 10- to 12-qt pot plus a flat metal rack; an instant-read thermometer

Prepare peaches:
Dissolve lemon juice in 6 cups water in a large bowl (to acidulate water).

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each peach with a sharp paring knife and blanch in 4 batches in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling water 10 to 15 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel peaches, then halve lengthwise and pit. Add peaches to acidulated water and let stand 10 minutes, then drain well in a colander.

Toss peaches with sugar in a 6-quart wide heavy pot and chill, covered, at least 8 and up to 12 hours.

Sterilize jars and lids: I used Weck jars this year, but Ball jars are an old standby.
Wash jars, lids, and screw bands in hot soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands. Put jars on rack in canner and add enough water to cover jars by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes. Cover lids with water in a small saucepan and heat until thermometer registers 180°F (do not let boil). Keep jars and lids submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.

Cook and can peaches:
Add vinegar, spice, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup water to peaches (sugar will have dissolved and will have drawn out peach juices) and bring to a boil over moderate heat, skimming off foam. Reduce heat and simmer until peaches are barely tender, about 3 minutes.

Remove jars and lids from water, reserving water in canner, and transfer to a clean kitchen towel, then divide peaches among jars using a slotted spoon. Return peach-cooking liquid to a boil, then pour into jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top. Run a thin knife between peaches and sides of jars to eliminate air bubbles.

Seal and process jars:
Wipe off rims of filled jars with a dampened kitchen towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands. Put sealed jars on rack in canner and, if necessary, add enough hot water to cover jars by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered. Boil jars 20 minutes, then transfer with tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Jars will seal as they cool (if you hear a ping, that signals that the vacuum formed at the top of the jar has made the lid concave).

After jars have cooled 12 to 24 hours, press center of each lid to check that it’s concave, then remove screw band and try to lift off lid with your fingertips. If you can’t, the lid has a good seal. Store in a cool dry place up to 6 months. Promptly put any jars that haven’t sealed in the refrigerator and use them first.


Elephant Journal- DIY Fermentation

on May 11, 2012

Create Your Own Culture. ~ Willow King


The Power of Fermented Foods.

About a year ago my partner Mara and I started a company that makes cultured vegetables. No, not beets and carrots that regularly attend the opera, but live, raw, probiotic, naturally fermented veggies.

We started out just making these goodies for our families and friends and nobody could get enough. It turns out that many people crave the zingy buzz of live food and that lacto-fermented foods, that used to be staple in many places in the world, are making a comeback.

Fermenting is an age-old way to preserve food.

It was a way to use all the access produce from the summer and keep eating it all year round. This in itself is a great process to connect to us to seasonality and keep the strength of the food intact.

Fermentation also makes food easier to digest, and creates new nutrients such as B vitamins—folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and biotin.

Some ferments have antioxidants principles and also create omega-3 fatty acids- which we know are key to a healthy immune system.

Basically, fermented foods help supply your digestive tract with cultures that are necessary to break down and assimilate nutrients. These cultures, lactobacilli chief among them, are like little invisible friends that help us stay healthy and happy through the ups and downs of the year.

If you are interested in experimenting we recommend starting with simple sauerkraut and then expand from there.

This is great activity to do with kids (or your dog) as it is a bit of funky food science experiment.

To begin you will need a ball jar, one medium cabbage, sea salt, and a starter like whey, or for a vegan option you can use kombucha.Each starter produces different results and flavors, so you can try a few and find the one you like best.Core and shred the cabbage and then spread on a tray or work surface. Add the sea salt—a good ratio is generally one or two  tablespoons salt to one three lb cabbage. Then pound the cabbage and salt with a wooden hammer (or a rolling pin can work) until the juices start to release and the cabbage softens. You can add a bit of starter at this point, or you can just do the cabbage juice and salt, which usually makes a fine ferment.Place the cabbage shreds into a wide mouth ball jar and press down with a fist (you can use a cabbage leaf as a top and the press on that) until the vegetable is submerged in liquid.

Cover this combination and leave it in a cool but not cold space (ideally 65 to 70 degrees) for about 3 days. You may like it stronger, in which case you could let it go for a few more days.

When you are satisfied with the taste, transfer to cold storage, where it will last for up to 6 months.

Now you can enjoy the benefits of your own homemade culture—monocle and all.