What is Culturing?

In early times, people knew how to preserve foods for long periods of time without the use of freezers of canning machines.  This was done through the process of lacto-fermentation.  Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. 

Fermented, or cultured, foods are created when the starch or carbohydrates in basic foods are broken down and changed by microorganisms like bacteria, yeasts, and molds into smaller, often more digestible components.  Traditionally fermented foods contain beneficial microorganisms (probiotics) and enzymes that promote intestinal health.  These foods enhance health by reestablishing good gut bacteria.

Not only are you getting back to the basics of making and preserving foods, but you are also providing you and your family and excellent source of probiotics and an easy way to help flush toxins from your body.  Try any or all of the (some of our favorite!) recipes below today.  Your gut will thank you for it!
For more information and directions about kombucha, visit Kombucha Kamp. For more information about traditionally prepared foods, visit Weston A Price Foundation.

Not ready to try the recipes yet?  Want to see how cultured food work before you do?  We can help!  Farmhouse Culture & Farmhouse Culture make several sides of krauts to choose from!

Kombucha Bread

  • 3 cups self-rising flour*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 16 ounce bottle of kombucha tea
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Stir everything except the melted butter together in a large bowl, until just combined.  Transfer the dough mixture to the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven, and carefully pour the melted butter over the top of the loaf.  Return the bread to the oven for 10 more minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.  Remove the bread, place it on a cooling rack, and serve while still warm.  Tastes great with a little honey butter!

* You can buy self-rising flour or make your own.  For every cup of all-purpose flour add 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

- Try different flavors of kombucha to see if they give different flavors of bread.
- Add some spice to the dry ingredients, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
- Swap the kombucha for a can or bottle of your favorite pale ale beer.

The best whey will come from finding raw, whole grass fed cow's milk.  Set a gallon on the counter for 3 days and let it curdle - 74º is the ideal temperature in the room.  Then line a colander with cheesecloth and pour the contents in.  The liquid that comes thru is the Whey.  You may look for recipes using the curds so as not to waste.  This whey will keep refrigerated up to 6 months for all your culturing recipes that you will become hooked on.

Another way<

Buy Organic Whole Milk Plain Yogurt.
Line a colander with cheesecloth.
Pour the yogurt in and let it drain overnight.
The Liquid is the Whey ~  and will keep about 30 days only!
The creamy stuff left in the cheesecloth is old fashion CREAM  CHEESE!

Fermented Sauerkraut

  • 1 head cabbage, cored & shredded
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional tablespoon of salt)

In a bowl, mix cabbage with caraway seeds, sea salt, and whey.  Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release the juices.  Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounders until juices come to the top of the cabbage.  The tops of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately but improves with age.

From Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon Morell


  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound Chinese cabbage (napa or bok choi)
  • 1 daikon radish (or a few red radish)
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 1-2 onions (leeks, scallions or shallots)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (or more!)
  • 3-4 hot red chilis (or more, to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger root

Mix brine or about 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons salt.  Stir well to dissolve salt. 

Coarsely chop the cabbage, slice, the radish and carrots, and let the vegetables soak in the brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged, until soft, a few hours or overnight.  Add other vegetables to the brine, like snow peas, seaweeds, or Jerusalem artichokes.

Prepare the spices: grate the ginger, chop the garlic and onion, remove the seeds from the chilis and chop (or throw in whole).  Mix spice into a paste.

Drain brine off vegetables, reserving the brine.  Taste for saltiness.  You want them to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so.  If they are too salty, rinse them.  If you cannot taste the salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons and mix.

Mix the vegetables with the spice paste.  Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart-sized jar.  Pack tightly, pressing down until brine rises.  If necessary, add a little of the reserved brine to submerge the vegetables.  Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar or a baggie filled with brine.  Or, if you can commit to checking it every day, use your fingers to push the vegetables back under the brine.  Either way, cover the jar to keep out dust and flies.

Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place.  Taste the kimchi every day.  After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.  An alternative and more traditional way is to ferment kimchi more slowly and with more salt in a cool spot, such as a hole in the ground, a cellar, etc.

From Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Katz

Pickled Beets

  • 12 medium beets
  • Seeds from 2 cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons whey (if not available use an additional tablespoon of salt)
  • 1 cup filtered water

Prick beets in several places, place on a cookie sheet, and bake at 300 degrees for about 3 hours or until soft.  Peel anc cut into 1/4 inch julienne.  (Do not grate or cut the beets with a food processor - this releases too much juice and the fermentation process will proceed too quickly so that it favors formation of alcohol rather than lactic acid). 

Place beets in a quart jar and press down lightly with a wooden pounder or meat hammer.  Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over beets, adding more water if necessary to cover the beets.  The top of the beets should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

From Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon Morell

Pickled Daikon Radish

  • 3 pounds daikon radish, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons whey (if not available use an additional tablespoon of salt)

Place all ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and pound with wooden pounder or meat hammer to release the juices.  Place radish mixture in a quart jar and press down lightly until juices come to the top of the radish mixture.  The top of the mixture should be 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

From Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon Morell

Beet Kvass

  • 3 medium or 2 large organic beets, peeled and coarsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup whey
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • filtered water

This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid.  Beets are loaded with nutrients.  One 4 ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.  Beet kvass may also be used in plac eof vinegar in salad dressings and as an addition to soups.

Place beets, whey and salt in a 2 quart jar.  Add filtered water to fill the container.  Stir well and cover securely.  Keep at room temperature for two days before transferring to the refrigerator. 

When most of the liquid has been drunk, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature for another two days.  The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first.  After the second brew, discard the beets and start again.  You may reserve some of the liquid to use as your inoculant instead of the whey.

From Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon Morell

Variation: Use 5 ounce box of mixed organic greens instead of beets for a green kvass.

Sweet Potato Fly

  • 1 teaspoon powdered mace
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup whey
  • 2 lemons
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 eggshell

Boil 1 cup water with mace.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Grate sweet potatoes and rinse well through a strainer to remove starch.

In a large bowl, combine the grated sweet potatoes, 1 gallon water, sugar, whey, the juice and grated peel of the lemons, and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Crush the cleaned eggshell into the mixture.  Add the cooled boiled mace.

Stir, cover to keep out flies and dust, and leave in a warm spot to ferment for about three days.

Strain into a jug, bottles, or jars, refrigerate, and enjoy.

From Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Katz.


  • 3 quarts filtered water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tea bags of organic black tea
  • 1/2 cup kombucha from previous batch
  • 1 kombucha scoby

Bring water to bil.  Add sugar and simmer until dissolved.  Remove from heat, add tea bags and allow the tea to steep unti lwater has completely cooled.  Remove tea bags.  Pour cooled liquid into a 4 quart glass bowl and add reserved kombucha tea.  Place scoby on top of the liquid.  Make cross cross over the bowl with masking tape, cover loosely with a cloth or towel and transfer to a warm, dark place awya from contaminants and insects.  In about 7 to 10 days the kombucha will be ready.  It should be rather sour and fizzy with no remaining taste of tea.  Transfer to covered glass containers and store in the refrigerator. 

When the kombucha is ready, your scoby will have grown a second spongy pancake.  This can be used for other batches or given away to friends.  Store fresh scobys in the refrigerator in a glass or stainless steel container, never plastic.  A scoby can be used dozens of times.  If it begins to turn black or the tea isn't souring properly, it's a sign the culture has become contaminated.  When this happens it's best to throw away all your scobys and order a new one.

White sugar rather than honey or another sweetener, and black tea rather than flavored teas, give the highest amounts of glucuronic acid.  Non-organic tea is high in fluoride so always use organic.

From Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon Morell.


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