Mindy Goldis AKA The Rawsome Vegan Gal sat us down and got the nitty gritty on what life is really like at Ozuké, the best pickled things. Hop on over to her site to find out what really makes us tick. While your at it, watch her glowing youtube review of our products here:
I keep a bottle of olive oil at work in order to have a quick, easy dressing option for my greens or veggies.
Quick salad dressing substitute = 1/2 cup of your favorite ozuke ( i like them all but kimchi or beets make a killer salad) plus a drizzle of olive oil. Salty sour perfection on your bowl of happy greens for lunch.
No blender, no fuss, no mess, no bottles with crappy ingredients and preservatives. Happy salad and I can keep rolling with the productivity flow when I’m feeling it. 😀
Ozuké played host yesterday to an Indian ladies group. Chani, a member of the group runs an amazing in home Montessori preschool – Radiance Montessori, my three year old Desmond goes to her school. She has been following my pickle factory progress for the last year and asked me to host a fermentation class for her ladies group. Her group, the Ekta Ladies are a broad background of working moms from different age, ethnic backgrounds (Sri Lankan, Indian etc.) and occupational backgrounds. One thing in common, they were a spicy, chatty group with plenty of jolly laughter, jokes and jibes. Most of my classes I teach a basic sauerkraut. Kraut is really the gateway ferment, simple with a high success rate. I went in to this class knowing that a handful of my students came from culinary backgrounds, personal chefs and restaurant owners. And from my own experience I find that most people from a South Asian background have very sound understanding and sophisticated application in the world of spices. Usually I have some seasonal approach to my basic kraut however this class I showed up with just green cabbage and a pantry full of spices and I put the blending of the spices up to the group. They came up with a brown mustard seed, serrano chile and fenugreek kraut. We also put together my first ever lime pickle, inspired by a recipe from my brand new and much coveted _Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition_ by Bill Mollison which has a most impressive collection of South Asian and South East Asian fermentation techniques and recipes as well as a bevy of sound science and fascinating traditional approaches. We topped our class off with a mango juice water kefir and all our ladies went home with three new “friends” to tend on their countertops for the next few weeks. Please sign up for our Newsletter to find out more about classes planned for this season.
Ekta Ladies Kraut Green Cabbage
3 heads Sea Salt to taste Ground Fenugreek
1 tablespoon Serrano Chiles
about 5 diced Brown Mustard Seed
Instructions: cut cabbage into thin slices, mix in large container with salt and spices. Then pound cabbage for about 5 minutes until it starts to release lots of juice. Pack in to jar and push down under its own liquid. Keep in a bright, warm spot in your kitchen. Open every two days to release gas and to push down under its own liquid again. It should be ready in a week or two, wait til it is good and sour and smells delicious. Then refrigerate and enjoy.
My First Lime Pickle adapted from Bill Mollison’s Punjab Stuffed Lime Pickle
2 heads of ginger diced small
5-10 serrano or thai bird chiles diced
12x 8 oz ball jars
1oz chile powder 1oz turmeric
2.5oz fenugreek powder 2.5oz salt
Lots of cold pressed sesame oil (I used far more than the recipe)
Instructions: Put limes whole into just boiled water and let sit for 20 minutes. You will see the limes change color from bright green to olive. Mix the spices, ginger, chiles and salt. Dry the limes and cut each lime into 8 pieces. (chunks). Toss limes, ginger, chile in spices and pack gently into jars. Cover with sesame oil so that when you press the spiced limes down the oil comes up over the top. Stand in the sun for 10 days. Mollison says this will keep for about 6 months under oil. I personally would refrigerate this and it will keep for longer and keep the sesame oil fresh from oxidation. (note to self – i might change this recipe next round and experiment with less oil… Mollison’s recipe only calls for 2.5 oz of oil total… I used a LOT more. However the spiced oil is already DELICIOUS only one day later I ate it for lunch drizzled over leftover samosas, but traditionally there is a lot less oil in this pickle, I went for more oil because I felt this would give us a more reliable result keeping our pickle from oxidizing or molding from exposure to air).
Last night we received one of the most enthusiastic and heart felt endorsements from our Facebook page. Interestingly we receive at least an email a week asking us if our ~fizzy, earthy, so alive they climb out of the jar beets are safe to eat. Something about your food rushing out to greet you has been unnerving for some folk who from experience expect a vacuum sealed lid to pop and show that everything is dead and safe and hermetically sealed. Well our beets are definitely NOT dead. They are the most live and most nutritionally dense of all our products, between the mineral and iron rich beets, the zinc and magnesium rich Maine coast harvested dulse seaweed and the blood bolstering garlic something truly magical happens. Johnny felt the magic. Here is what he said. 🙂
PS. make sure you read to the bottom there is an amazing 3 ingredient raw beet soup recipe that Johnny magicked together.~~~
I am slowly starting to ease into eating more fermented foods. I have a lifelong history of acute eating disorders that have caused some pretty intense damage to my body, especially my distressed digestive tract. I am a firm and faithful believer in the power of healing naturally with whole foods and know how beneficial fermented foods are to the digestive system. I recently discovered Ozuke’s sensational line of raw organic krauts at a local natural market. There were quite a few raw kraut brands to choose from but Ozuke’s really caught my attention so I went with my gut feeling and decided to give it a try. One of the first things I noticed was the amazing aroma that scented my car as I drove home. The krauts are freshly packed in air tight glass jars but the smells still seem to seep through. This made me eagerly enthusiastic to get home and dive in! The bottle will caution you to open carefully as natural explosion can happen. Do not let this scare you. You know the feeling when you pop open a bottle of bubbly on a special occasion and suds soar? Most people find this exciting as they cheerfully celebrate while they pop the top resulting in a fizzy frenzy. My reaction to opening my first jar of Ozuke beet, kale and dulse kraut was exactly this and so much more! To my surprise about 1 inch of shredded beets emerged from the top of the jar almost like it was sprouting up to shout “let’s get this party started!” Too anxious to wait, I quickly wiped up the beautiful beet splatter paint (hey, we all need some color in our lives!) and determinedly dove into deliciousness. I’m blushing to admit but I did not want to put the jar down. I was clinging to it like Winnie the Pooh to his honey pots! Everything became euphoric! The combination of sweet, salty, savory and slightly sour/tart raw-kraut-rocked my world like I was in some kind of sauerkraut sacred space with a note on the door that said, “Please do not disturb. I am in sauerkraut Heaven right now!” I say this with sincere seriousness. Nowadays I prefer to make all my own food, including homemade organic krauts, but Ozuke’s products are my new exception and obsession. I am currently hooked on their beet, dulse & kale kraut which I love using to make a dreamy & creamy fermented raw soup with 3 simple ingredients: Ozuke’s beet kraut, ripe avocado and Thai young coconut water – pureed into pure beet bliss! I am on a mission to try different krauts and start a staple stockpile of their fabulous fermented foods in my fridge! I feel it deep in my heart to share this testimonial because the outstanding owners at Ozuke are not just changing the food industry by promoting real, raw and healing foods but also changing the lives and health of others. I encourage others to embrace, enjoy and experience the nutritional cathartic healing benefits live fermented foods offer. Your health is worth it and you deserve it. Ozuke’s products are the perfect way to get your fermented food fix! You will feel the love, passion and positive energy they hand pack into every blessed jar. I cannot thank you enough Ozuke, God bless! Johnny Righini aka Mr. Sauerkraut Sassypants with his favorite Ozuke beet kraut!
Thank you Johnny for taking the time out to share your story and fizz like your favorite beets with such healthy enthusiasm. xo
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?When 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!As 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 choline. Folate 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.
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 TumericDirections:
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.Try 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.
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.
Once 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.
It 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:
Ingredients 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.This 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.
The pickling revolution takes Boulder
You wouldn’t think things stuffed in jars and steeped in salt, brine, spices or even their own fermented juices could be beautiful. But all lined up, pickles present a range of unique natural colors. There’s something enchanting about tidy jars all in row holding fragrant and shapely combinations of carrots, beets, onions, ginger, cauliflower, cabbage, soybeans and peppers. The result is far from our pickle archetype, but instead presents an artful array of colors, shapes, tastes and textures.
Throughout Boulder County, citizens and businesses alike are lining their shelves and pantries with a similar assortment of carefully pickled goods. A long-standing cross-cultural tradition has found its place in the community, in the form of instructive classes and local products.
Three Leaf Farms and Cure Organic Farm in the Boulder area offer classes in these time-tested techniques, classes that fill up quickly, according William Kelley, chef at Zucca Italian Ristorante and teacher of the pickling class at Three Leaf Farms.
“First day we had sign-up for this class, I mean granted it was only eight people, but it filled up on the first or second day,” Kelley says of the upcoming July 20 class.
Both Kelley and Marilyn Kakudo, pickling instructor at Cure Organic Farm, have noticed a resurgence of interest in the craft of pickling. So why the sudden interest in a process that has been in use for thousands of years?
“I think people are trying to eat closer to home. And here in Colorado since we don’t have produce year-round, the only way you can really eat local in the winter-time would be to preserve in some way,” says Kakudo, who teaches the six-person class at Cure Organic Farm.
Kelley, too, has noticed an increased awareness of pickling, particularly in the broader foodie world.
“Right now what’s trending are means of preservation like curing, smoking and pickling,” says Kelley. “Nationwide, you read a lot of articles from Bon Appétit to Food and Wine to publications in Chicago, New York, L.A.; all across the nation they’re doing pickles and whatnot. In Colorado we do have a little bit more want or even need to do it, because it gives us an extension of the season.”
But the term “pickling” is not limited to one specific technique. Quick pickling, fermentation pickling, relish pickling — all of these methods have received greater interest and recognition.
Kakudo will teach traditional pickling at her class at Cure Organic Farm, and attendees will leave with three jars of traditional cucumber pickles. Kelley, however, plans to cover all three techniques.
“I will be going over every process of pickling, from the quick pickle to the fermentation to the relish,” he says. “But we’re going to be making quick pickles to allow the people from the workshop to have something to take home with them.”
And amateur picklers seem to be open to different techniques, though fermented pickles are of particular interest to health-conscious consumers because of a recent wealth of information on the positive benefits of probiotics.
Boulder-based company Esoteric Foods has broken into the local fermented pickle market with its variety of krauts, and in two years has expanded from its first sale at Lucky’s in North Boulder to selling its products in more than 65 natural grocers. Co-founders Mara King and Willow King will also teach a class in pickling on Sept. 10 at the Lyons Farmette.
“For us fermentation in some ways is sort of a philosophy, if you will,” says Willow King. “It’s like this sort of magical interaction between the world we can see, the vegetables, the salt, the things that we’re touching, and this invisible world, which is all the microbes and the friendly bacteria that come into the process and make the food this super-vital, healthy, raw food that then, when we ingest it, kind of invigorates the whole digestive and immune system.”
Willow King credits the success of their Zuké “pickled things” to the supportive Boulder food and entrepreneurial community as well as the growing awareness of the health benefits of fermented products.
“I think there’s a real renaissance of sort of hands-on, do-it-yourself food processing,” Willow King says. “People are getting a lot more interested in where their food comes from, and once they know where it comes from, and how things are made, which is really how this business was born.”
In keeping with the conventional purpose of pickling, Esoteric Foods is trying to create much of its product at the end of the season, when there is excess crop production.
“We’re trying to buy as much local produce as we can when it’s plentiful, pickle it and then have it to sell throughout the winter until we break back out into spring,” Willow King says.
Pickles are not just practical, either. Many picklers are partial to the aesthetic qualities of pickled varieties. Willow King’s favorite Esoteric Food product is the Zuké beets, dulse and kale recipe, pointing to the deep purple color as part of her attraction to the recipe.
“My kids are huge fans of them,” she says. “You can always tell when they eat them because they have these big purple mustaches.”
King pickles for her young children, as does Kelley, who praises the process for its ease and low cost.
Photo by Camilla Sterne
“I have three children, and a wife and a dog,” he says. “It gets expensive buying vegetables, unless it’s the summertime. The seasonality of it marks up the price. Pickling gives me the opportunity to have that type of ingredient to utilize on my own without having to necessarily pay for it.”
But many people do pay for their pickled goods, which can be found at local vendors for not-so-minimal prices. Lafayette vendor Isabelle Farm Stand carries Esoteric Foods products as well as the canned and pickled creations of Boulder-based MM Local.
The employees at Isabelle Farm Stand are no strangers to the pickled revolution. A big underground food movement is “starting to bubble to the surface and pickle,” says the farm stand’s wholesaler, Tyler Bair.
The place is teeming with farmers, all of whom seem to be extremely familiar with pickling. And most of their farmers do their own pickling, according to employee Annie Beall.
“Everybody gets the leftovers, and the best way to use them is to pickle them,” says Beall. “I bet there are a few of them around, they’d probably give you tips.”
There is one thing all picklers agree on: It’s easy to do. With one caveat: Be wary of the health risks of pickling at home. Kakudo warns about the hazards of air entering canned goods during the brine pickling process.
“There’s a whole science and food safety issue about canning; whenever you can food you have to make sure you’re canning food that has a certain amount of acidity,” says Kakudo.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many home picklers and canners are unaware of the risks of Botulism, a serious illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can find its way into canned goods if pickling methods aren’t executed properly.
Pickling in vinegar also tends to diminish some of the nutritional content of food, according to Kakudo and Kelley.
“The rule of thumb is that any time you take something from a raw state and you cook it or manipulate it, especially when you add intense pH levels on each side, you are going to break it down and it will lose some nutritional value,” says Kelley. “It’s definitely better to eat fresh and raw as far as nutritional value is concerned.”
Most pickles are used to augment a meal, whether through texture, spice or even color on the plate, and according to Willow King, many cultures have used fermented pickles to aid in the digestion of meats.
“It’s also just sort of a side, so you always have a pickle as a palette cleanser or a flavor enhancer with each course,” Willow King says. “There’s lots of fun creative ways to use it.”
Willow King suggests using Esoteric’s krauts on salads, in sandwiches and even in something like a fish taco. Kelley uses pickles at the Zucca Italian restaurant as a subtle palette enhancer.
“It’s a nice accoutrement to our paninis for lunch, our antipastis, our saloumis. We utilize pickles in lots of different ways. I’ve got pepperoncinis on my calamari dish, we have pickled red onions in our pork chop dish.”
And the vinegar brine in non-fermented pickles doesn’t have to go to waste, according to Kakudo, who suggests using the solution in place of vinegar during cooking.
However, the outburst of published books on pickling, pickling classes and pickling companies is still in its relative youth. It has yet to be seen whether the pickling craze will last as long as the preserved goods themselves.
A good homemade salsa will liven up any dish. It’s a quick way to add a ton of flavor in a single spoonful. At home, we like to put salsa on eggs, grilled vegetables, and meats. Although right now our favorite way to eat salsa roja is along with citrus & ginger pickled things on corn chips. Luckily, zuké pickled things travels well!
Here, in Mexico, it’s common to spread a dollop (or several) of salsa roja on a handmade corn tortilla and devour at least 5 with a bowl of caldo (a flavorful broth) or menudo (tripe soup). Perhaps more popular and pervasive, is using it as a condiment on tacos. It’s available at every corner road side stand.
Of course, you can use a blender to make this salsa in just a few minutes, but this morning, my aunt Juana prepared salsa roja for our breakfast using one of the oldest kitchen tools in Mesoamerica, the molcajete. Molcajetes are available at most Mexican mercados (stores) and are made from different materials such as volcanic stone or plastic. They are used to make salsas, moles, guacamole, and more.Salsa Roja Ingredients:
5-6 medium tomatillos, roasted
7-10 chile de arbol (spicy=more chiles/mild=less chiles), roasted
1 clove garlic, roasted
~ 1/2 tsp water
Salt to taste
Roast tomatillos (see note below), chile de arbol (approx. 1 minute each side), and garlic (approx 2 minutes each side) on stove top or grill using flat cooking surface such as a cast iron skillet or griddle. Use aluminum foil to wrap the tomatillos as they roast over the heat. Foil acts as a steamer and receptacle for tomatillo juices, ensuring that all liquid will be reserved for salsa. Roast tomatillos until they become charred and are lighter in color, approximately 10 minutes. Be sure to turn every few minutes for even roasting.
MOLCAJETE: Begin by slowly crushing roasted chile de arbol in the molcajete with salt. Add a bit of water to prevent chile from ‘jumping’ out of the molcajete. Then add the roasted garlic, continue to crush. Add tomatillos, one at a time until all ingredients are blended together well (see photo).
BLENDER: Place all ingredients in blender, puree for approx. 1 minute or until consistency is as desired. Transfer to bowl for serving or jar for storing in refrigerator.
After high school, I took several years and did some exploring. These days, this kind of exploring has a name, ‘the gap year’. Well, my gap was much longer than a year. For a while I spent time working on organic farms. While living on a farm in Virginia, one of my many jobs was to harvest cilantro in the early morning. It was a pretty easy task; gently breaking the base of each stem and neatly bundling the delicate leaves together into small bouquets. During those early morning hours, I did not appreciate all the qualities this herb has to offer. In fact, several years passed before I began enjoying it again.
Cilantro is actually the name given to the leaves of a coriander plant. It looks similar to parsley, but is a little more succulent and very aromatic. Cilantro doesn’t store very well, so either pick it shortly before using or wrap it in a paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag. I leave the top of the bag slightly open. These tricks help extent it’s shelf life. After flowering, it produces the beloved coriander seeds so popular in Indian recipes. This week, my garden is producing gorgeous cilantro.
Cilantro Pesto Ingredients:
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
2 tablespoons or more pecorino sheep cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. To store, put in glass jars leaving space for expansion and freeze. Remember to label the jar.
We’ve had a wonderfully wet spring, and now my garden is beginning to produce. This morning I woke to hazy skies and the first really warm temperatures of the season. It was perfect harvesting weather. Like so many vegetables, lettuces are simply best when harvested from your own garden. Sweet & tender young salad greens are divine. A few weeks ago, I bought seed packets from Botanical Interests (available at many Boulder area grocery stores), and planted to my heart’s content. Thanks to good precipitation, I am preparing a simple salad of spring lettuces & radishes. Perusing through one of my many cooking magazines, I found an anchovy, olive oil, and caper dressing recipe I thought would be nice to try.
1/2 lb Lettuce greens
1 Bunch radishes
2 Anchovy fillets, drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. drained capers
1 cup fresh parsley
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cups white wine vinegar
Celtic sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Wash & prepare greens and radishes.
Slice radishes, and set aside.
Blend in food processor – anchovies, oil, capers and fresh herbs. Transfer to large bowl, mix in 1/4 cup vinegar (or more) and season with salt and pepper. Gently massage into salad greens. Add radishes, toss and serve.