Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SAUERKRAUT ~ A Tutorial!

We've received many requests for a Sauerkraut tutorial, and figure a post is the best way to get it to everyone. This is a great beginners recipe, and our personal favorite. If you'd like to omit the carrot, feel free. We prefer it for the color and the slight sweetness it adds to the flavor. 
Here's a step-by-step tutorial! *Scroll down for the recipe.

 Gather your ingredients
Whole Organic Cabbage (Green or Purple)
2-3 Organic Carrots, shredded
Sea Salt
Caraway Seed

We use caraway seed from O-Organics, (Safeway) and natural sea salt 
from Real Salt (Fred Meyer, Whole Foods, New Seasons)

Slice or chop cabbage. 
Wash cabbage, remove outer leaves, and set aside. Cut cabbage in half, remove core, Use a shredder or sharp knife to shred. (We prefer the consistency of store-bought cabbage, so we use a knife to slice ours into long 1/8" pieces, then make 2-3 cross cuts against the "grain.".  A food processor may also be used, but will produce a very short, choppy consistency.) 

 Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. 
Allowing the salted cabbage to sit (while shredding the carrots) brings the liquid out of the cabbage to make the brine.  

 Grate the carrots and add to the bowl. 

 Using a wooden spoon or flat-bottomed jar or glass, 
press down firmly until the juice pools at the bottom of the bowl. 

(It will do absolutely no good, but if you think it will, practice a few NUCCA moves) 

Juicing the cabbage takes a little arm power. Allowing the cabbage to sit after
 salting makes this step easier. We will sometimes give the cabbage about 
20 minutes to 'weep', before juicing. 

Transfer layers into a wide-mouth jar, sprinkle each layer with caraway seed, and use the wooden spoon or glass to pack the cabbage mixture into the jar and force the liquids to the top of the vegetables.

The brine must cover the cabbage mixture to ensure proper fermentation and
 prevent the growth of film or molds. If you need to, keep pressing down on the
 cabbage to bring out enough brine to cover.

Place a couple of clean folded cabbage leaves on top of the fermenting 
cabbage mixture to seal the surface from exposure to air.  

For extra protection, add a small heavy item such as a shot glass or clean rock to
 the top of the cabbage leaves to keep the fermenting cabbage covered with brine.

Seal your jar and place on a countertop to allow the fermentation process to begin.

Formation of gas bubbles indicates fermentation is taking place. A room temperature of 68 to 72° is best for fermenting cabbage. Fermentation usually takes 5 days. Refrigerate after fermentation is completed, or the desired taste has been reached.

Whole shredded organic cabbage (green or purple)
2-3 grated organic carrots
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. caraway seed

Remove the outer leaves from washed cabbage. Cut into halves and remove the core. Use a shredder or sharp knife to cut the cabbage into shreds. Grate carrots with a cheese grater or food processor.
In a large bowl, sprinkle 1 tsp. of sea salt and 1tsp. caraway seed on a head of shredded cabbage. (or salt to taste.)  Let the salted cabbage stand for several minutes to wilt slightly; this brings the liquid out of the shreds to make the brine.

Using a wooden spoon or flat-bottomed jar or glass, press down firmly until the juice pools at the bottom of the bowl. Transfer to a wide-mouth quart jar and use the wooden spoon or glass to pack the cabbage mixture into the jar and force the liquids to the top of the vegetables.
Place a couple of folded cabbage leaves on top of the fermenting cabbage mixture to seal the surface from exposure to air, and prevents the growth of film or molds. For extra protection, add a small heavy item such as a shot glass or clean rock to the top of the cabbage leaves to keep the fermenting cabbage covered with brine. Seal jar.
Formation of gas bubbles indicates fermentation is taking place. A room temperature of 68 to 72° is best for fermenting cabbage. Fermentation usually takes 5 days. After fermentation is completed, or the desired taste has been reached, cover the jar and refrigerate.


Do you make your own sauerkraut and enjoy using additional ingredients? Share your tips/favorite additions! And let us know if you tried this recipe and what you thought! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Keep GMO Out Of Your Vegetable Garden

With less than two weeks to go before the official FIRST DAY OF SPRING, many of us have been admiring the vegetable seedlings that are appearing outside of local farm and garden stores, and perusing seed displays and catalogs. 

To keep costs low, many families elect to grow their garden from seed. The problem is that  many seeds are now genetically modified or engineered...meaning they have had genes, specifically DNA molecules from different sources, introduced to their genetic makeup to produce bigger plants, disease resistant plants, pesticide compatible plants, or  plants with some other 'desirable' trait. The problem is, that genetically modified seeds produce genetically modified produce, and a large number of studies and incidents have implicated GM foods in a wide variety of health problems, including accelerated aging, immune dysfunction, insulin disorders, organ damage and reproductive disruption. (Natural News)

At our home, we consider the word 'Monsanto' to be the equivalent of a cuss word. Most likely you have heard of the U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation that is the leader of genetically engineered seed,  and the targeted subject of the must see documentary, 'FOOD, Inc.(Available from Netflix)  Monsanto is the company that brought us Round-Up and Agent Orange, and Round-Up resistant crops such as corn, soy, canola and cotton, and most recently Round-Up resistant alfalfa seed, which may mean the end of organic dairy products. They sell 90% of the US’s GE seeds. (wiki) Seminis, often referred to in correlation with Monsanto, is a seed company bought out by Monsanto in 2005 that is estimated to control 40% of the US vegetable seed market and 20% (or more) of  the world market, and cannot be considered a safe, non-GMO, company. (wiki)

It has recently been reported to me that one of our favorite local seed companies, Territorial Seed, was added to the list of seed companies that sell Monsanto or Seminis products.  I found this statement to be depressing and also surprising, as I was of the understanding that Territorial was a GM free company and I love receiving and ordering from my beautiful Territorial catalog every Spring.  So I began my in-depth research into accurately identifying Monsanto/Seminis owned or supported companies. I found that Territorial did business with Seminis before the Monsanto acquisition in 2005,  and that Seminis supplied a large percentage of their stock before the merger. Territorial decided to phase out of Seminis products instead of dropping all varieties immediately. They now report that as of this year's Spring catalog, they have phased out of all Monsanto/Seminis seed.  

In an effort to educate our patients, I feel it is important that you, as a backyard gardener, are an informed consumer in the area of garden seeds. During my research, I  came across many inaccurate reports of companies that are "owned by Monsanto," but are in fact  independently owned companies that  purchase products for resale from Seminis, a Monsanto owned company.
 In the end, this puts money in Monsanto's pocket. Monsanto is in the very active process of buying up seed companies that sell to the backyard farmer or family gardeners, in an effort to monopolize the seed market, and I believe in doing whatever I can to keep that from happening for the health of present and future generations. The following list names companies that are either owned by Monsanto, or those that are independently owned, but do business with Seminis, (marked with an *) a Monsanto company. The small italicized text has been added by me after further research.  The original list of companies, which has been slightly modified according to my fact-checking, but seems to be the most accurate, was found here,  
This list has been compiled after weeks of research, and while I make every effort to be as factual as possible, it may not reflect very recent changes in a company's stock.  For this reason, it is important to do your research if you decide to purchase from any of these companies. 
If you are aware of any corrections that may need to be made, please contact me so I may research it further, and make any necessary changes. 

Audubon Workshop
Breck’s Bulbs
*Burpee - Admits to supplying Seminis seed, but claims the company does not sell GMO seed. Owner George Ball addresses the Burpee/Monsanto connection here.
Cook’s Garden
Dege Garden Center
*Earl May Seed - A family owned garden center serving Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas which provides a number of Seminis varieties, including Seminis Performance Series Sweet Corn, a Monsanto creation.
E & R Seed Co
*Ferry Morse - owned by Groupe Limagrain of France,  a big GMO seed producer. Also affiliated with Jiffy and Lilly Miller companies, according to their website. I have contacted Ferry Morse, and am waiting for a response. Will update as soon as I receive any information. 
Flower of the Month Club
Gardens Alive
Germania Seed Co
Garden Trends
*Johnny’s Seeds - After inquiring into their current relationship with Seminis, this is the response I received on February 3rd, and the reason they are included in this list:
“ We offer a number of traditionally bred varieties sold by their subsidiary organizations Seminis and De Ruiter. These varieties are important to many of our customers for the unique combination of desirable traits that they possess.
Thank you for sharing your concern. This kind of feedback from our customers has driven discussion at every level of our organization for our entire 40 year history. If you would like a list of the Seminis and De Ruiter varieties that we presently sell, please email us at customerservice@johnnyseeds.com.” 
*Lilly Miller - see 'Ferry Morse' above.
Lindenberg Seeds
McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers
Mountain Valley Seed
Park Bulbs
Park’s Countryside Garden
R.H. Shumway
Roots and Rhizomes
Seeds for the World
Seymour’s Selected Seeds
Snow - It is not clear whether Snow Seed Co is independantly owned, or a Monsanto company, but they do list Seminis as one of their suppliers on their 'Supplier Page.'
Spring Hill Nurseries
*Stokes - Supplies Seminis seed, but addresses whether they supply GMO seeds on their FAQ page with a simple "No." 
T&T Seeds
Tomato Growers Supply
Totally Tomato
Vermont Bean Seed Co.
Wayside Gardens
Willhite Seed Co.

In addition, Seminis has a list of suppliers and distributors of Seminis/Monsanto seed on their website.

Now more importantly, where can you find non-GMO seeds from companies not owned by, or in business with Monsanto? The following is a list of companies that are non-GE and local to the PNW, or non-GE that I am personally familiar with. 

Additionally, check out the Safe Seed Pledge for additional companies that have signed the CRG's (Council for Responsible Genetics) pledge, declaring that they "do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds." Created in 1999, the Safe Seed Pledge helps to connect non-GM seed sellers to the growing market of concerned gardeners and agricultural consumers. Please keep in mind that there are many companies that have NOT signed the pledge, but sell only safe seed. It is best to contact the company directly if you want clarification.


Amishland Seeds - One-woman owned and operated; sells only open-pollinated varieties grown by the owner. 
Abundant Life Seed - A Territorial Seed sister company
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed - Owners Jere and Emilee Gettle share their non-GMO pledge on their website's About Us page. They sell only open pollinated seed and  actually test their seed before selling them to ensure that they have not cross pollinated.
Ed Hume Seeds - A family owned PNW company out of Puyallup WA.
Landreth Seed Co.
Seed Savers Exchange -  a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds since 1975.
Territorial Seed  - Originally did business with Seminis before it was aquired by Monsanto. Have reported to have phased out of ALL Seminis and GE seed as of this year.
Uprising Seed Co - Family owned and locally operated organic company out of Bellingham WA.

Happy and Healthy Gardening!

Post by Dr. and Mrs. Perin
Vancouver Wa Washington Portland Or Oregon