Ferment It : Carrots

I don’t know about you, but I HATE wasting food. I have a long-standing struggle with keeping carrots; I love them, but can’t seem to keep them fresh. When I was a kid, we never refrigerated them, and yet they seemed to last forever. As an adult, I’ve kept them out of refrigeration and they dry out and shrivel up. Refrigerated, they turn soft and limp. I read somewhere to store them in sand. That didn’t work either. And it really kills me when it’s my own garden carrots that go to waste. This year I left them in the ground for as long as possible, then gave them a quick rinse and stored them in an open plastic bag in the fridge. That technique seemed to help, but still, I didn’t want to waste ANY.

The Solution: Fermentation

A co-worker had shared his ginger carrots with me and I was hooked. Different than canning to preserve food, fermentation relies on the naturally occurring, good bacteria that are found in plants and soil to preserve our food. By providing the right environment for these bacteria to survive and thrive, they break down some of what might cause the food to spoil, and extend the shelf life of those foods for up to a year, depending on the food.

So with that information in hand, I grated my carrots, as well as a bit of fresh ginger. Added a pinch of sea salt and a mason jar and I was all set. Success!

Ginger carrots are delicious, both on their own and in other dishes (even added to chili), and there’s no rush to eat them.

The nice thing about fermenting is that your measurements don’t need to be exact. It’s all about creating the right environment for those good bacteria to do their job. Want to make your own ginger carrots? Here’s the recipe:

Ginger Carrots

4 cups shredded carrots, tightly packed
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix the carrots, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.

Pound with a mallet or meat pounder until the carrots begin to release juices.

Pack the carrots into two 1-qt mason jars (wide mouth is easier).

Pack tightly until the juices rise over the top of the carrots. Add some filtered water if necessary to cover the carrots. Leave about 1 inch of headroom in the jars. Cover the jars tightly and let the carrots ferment at room temperature for about 3 days (out of direct sunlight).

Burp the jars (loosen the lid) after 3 days–you should see some bubbles when you loosen the lids.

Tightly covered, carrots will keep up to 1-year in the refrigerator.

By: Linda Davey is the Manager at Independent Fermentations Supply in Plymouth, MA. With more than 30 years’ experience working in the food service industry, Linda still enjoys learning about and experimenting with various methods of food preparation, including fermentation.

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THE DISH ON MEAL KIT COMPANIES: PACKAGING

From our friends at South Shore Organics, by Pam Denholm:

I have been watching the meal kit company space develop with great interest over the last year or two. I’ve overheard people talking about how convenient it is, and how there is no waste, and how it all seems too good to be true. And it is. Not only do meal kits take all the spontaneity out of cooking, but they fly in the face of all ethics we value and cherish.

In this post, we are going to tackle the environmental impact of all the single use, single serve plastic used in portioned meal kit servings. Here is a sample of what one delivery from a popular meal kit company, Blue Apron, will bring in terms of waste: Waste

At a time when we are waking up and realizing the enormous impact of ‘single use’ plastics on our environment, meal kit companies are making the problem far, far worse. Fact: every piece of plastic ever made still exists in the world today.  Biodegradable plastics are still not the answer, they are made by adding metals to the plastic, causing oxidation, which breaks the bags down into pieces. These metals leach into the immediate environment and the pieces of plastic still persist, they are just smaller, harder to clean up, and if anything, more dangerous.

300 Million tons of plastic is produced every year, only 10% of it is recycled, and of that 10%, we, the U.S., are sending container loads (an estimated 6.6 million tons) of it to China to be re-processed. Think about the carbon footprint of that little statistic for a moment. In addition, it’s hard to know exact numbers, but recycling aside our best guess is that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into our seas every year.

When plastic is recycled, it is often down-cycled. Bottles don’t turn back into more bottles, they turn into flip flops, and textiles for clothing and blankets, for example. And what of contaminants found in some plastics? Harmful chemicals we are only now learning can be endocrine disrupters? They too leach into the environment. One way we see this is when bits of plastic are eaten by fish, these endocrine disrupters are absorbed by the fish, and we eat the fish. The endocrine disrupters stay in the environment, like the plastic, they don’t disappear.

Now consider that just ONE meal kit company, the same one featured above, ships more than 8 million meals PER MONTH. That’s tens of thousands of these (and this is just one of six major meal kit companies operating in the US):

By comparison, this is what somebody cooking from a South Shore Organics delivery, a CSA share, or a trip to the farmers market is likely to be left with for waste:

No matter which way you cut the cake, the truth is, we desperately, desperately need to cut back on the amount of plastic we are using. We MOST DEFINITELY need to cut back on how much ‘single use’ plastic we are using. And although some meal kit companies will take the packaging back after a few deliveries, once you have emptied, rinsed, and compacted it, they are not cleaning it for reuse. They are not allowed to. They are discarding and recycling it, allowing it to be turned into something else, and they are buying new plastic bags for their next delivery.

In terms of plastic use, meal kit companies have one of the worst environmental impacts of all food systems. That’s a hard fact to swallow, just ask the fish, seals, and albatross’s to name a few.

Sources:

“THE TRASHY CONSEQUENCES OF MEAL KIT COMPANIES” BY ELLEN CUSHING FOR BUZZFEED, NOVEMBER 2015

“DEAR BLUE APRON, YOU ARE MAKING IT WORSE” BY NATHANIEL JOHNSON, AUGUST 2014

“THE TRUTH ABOUT RECYCLING” THE 5GYRES INSTITUTE

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, “THE NEW PLASTICS ECONOMY, RETHINKING THE FUTURE OF PLASTICS” WEF

BRAD PLUMER, “CHINA DOESN’T EVEN WANT TO BUY OUR GARBAGE ANYMORE” THE WASHINGTON POST

South Shore Organics original post is here.

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Volunteer Bloggers Wanted

Enjoy cooking? Writing? Eating? Join the ranks of eSS contributors. We are seeking volunteer bloggers to write about our local food community. Explore your passion, share with our readers, and build your portfolio.

We are looking for people willing to make a 3-month commitment, with 2 blogs a month, 500 words or less per post.  We do prefer each blogger to have his or her own single theme or focus for all posts. Continue reading

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SWEET INDULGENCES

Local bakers rise to the allergen-free, gluten-free challenge!

A favorite article updated for February 2017!

Sweet indulgences. For those with food allergies or other dietary restrictions, finding a place to purchase those scrumptious cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pastries can be a challenge.

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Cafe Create A Cake treat

We’ve tapped the edible South Shore & South Coast (eSS&SC) community, to help us identify local businesses that are baking up delicious and safe foods for this growing segment of the population. Our goal? To find local bakers and bakeries that not only are making safe products but have created goodies that will leave even the most discriminating cupcake or cookie connoisseur wondering how the treat could possibly be allergen- or gluten-free.

If it seems like more and more people have food allergies, celiac disease, or gluten intolerance … they do. According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), food allergies are on the rise, affecting up to 15 million Americans, including 1 in 13 children, or roughly two kids in every classroom. Sharon Schumack, Director of Education and Programs for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, New England Chapter (AAFA NE), stresses that “since a very tiny amount of an allergen can trigger a serious reaction, avoidance is key.” The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness notes that celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disease, affects 1% of Americans, has no cure, and requires a 100% gluten-free diet … and 83% of those affected have yet to be diagnosed. So, if you don’t yet know someone with these dietary restrictions, chances are, you will.

Read the entire article on the edible South Shore & South Coast website.

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THAR’ SHE BLOWS! • CRAFT BEER COMES TO NEW BEDFORD

When it comes to the future of beer in New Bedford, call us thirsty. Moby Dick Brewing Company is coming to the corners of Union and South Water Streets.

Moby Dick Brewing

A family-friendly brewpub named after the classic Herman Melville novel, Moby Dick Brewing is aiming to open in March of 2017. Nautically themed, the brewery will offer seating for nearly a hundred patrons indoors as well as seasonal outdoor patio seating. Huge windows will overlook the New Bedford Whaling Museum, located just across the intersection. With a design meant to reflect New Bedford’s rich whaling history, the decor will feature authentic artifacts, artwork, and photography.

Moby Dick Brewing plans to offer between five and seven beers from their ten-barrel brewery operation viewable behind the bar. Each beer will be named for themes from the famous novel. They aim to produce 750 barrels the first year. The menu will be traditional pub fare emphasizing locally sourced fresh ingredients. Future expansion plans being considered include a retail area for purchasing memorabilia, and perhaps a growler refill station for those that prefer to chase whales at home.

Powered by a team of local investors, Moby Dick Brewing Company is a $1.3 million project of love. President and operations leader David Slutz, a Drink Localformer CEO of a North Shore manufacturing company, joined efforts with Maureen Sylvia Armstrong (CEO of the Sylvia Group in Dartmouth), Peter Kavanaugh (president of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Dartmouth), Richard Lafrance (CEO of Lafrance Hospitality), and Bob Unger (principal of Unger LeBlanc, Inc. Strategic Communications). Each came to the table wanting to contribute to a project that would add allure to the downtown district. As Slutz put it, “We all wanted to do something that would be interesting and good for the city of New Bedford.”

With such caring stewardship, a prime location, and total focus on food and beer quality, Moby Dick Brewing Company looks to be a whale of an addition to the New Bedford restaurant scene.

Moby Dick Brewing
16 South Water Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 542-1252
www.MobyDickBrewing.com

Adam Centamore is a local wine and cheese educator and author who lives in Quincy. When he’s not scoping out cheese and booze combinations for his next book, Adam enjoys diving deep into the local food scene, wherever that locale might be.

Reprinted with permission from edible South Shore & South Coast 2007 Winter edition.

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GREENING THE FAMILY

 “STOP TRYING TO SAVE THE WORLD!”

(AND OTHER PESKY RESOLUTIONS)
A few years ago I was more than ready for the New Year. In contrast to previous celebrations, I was equipped with an amazing resolution. I could hardly wait for the ball to drop in Times Square. C’mon Dick Clark, I’m ready! Having been too self-absorbed for years to think about the environmental problems we face in our everyday lives, I had recently awakened to the cause. The world needed me! And I was prepared to join the fight for the planet! I felt like a superhero—I couldn’t wait to fight our enemies (I myself being one of them)!

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The Culinary Saga of My Godmother’s Lasagna

I grew up in the days of disco, afros, and puka shells. The 1970s were also the days of casseroles with optimistic names, overcooked vegetables, and an energy crisis that kept families firmly at the kitchen table every night for dinner. My family was no exception: “sunshine” casserole, chicken supreme, hamburger soup, and omolded Jell-O salads were standard fare in our neighborhood. In defense of my mother, she was a thoughtful cook: every meal included bread, a salad, and a home-baked dessert. But it was the early seventies and there wasn’t much new happening in the kitchen. My godmother’s lasagna was a welcome and exotic change from the usual day-to-day meals. Continue reading

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Christmas Eve Tourtiere

The pinnacle of our family’s annual party calendar was the réveillon (literally, “awakening”), the raucous feast that followed midnight mass and ushered in Christmas Day. I remember high excitement at first being allowed to attend the grown-up event, coupled with frustration at my inability to follow rapid-fire, clearly hilarious stories told in clipped colloquial Québécois French. Carol-singing was more manageable to the neophyte, but no less boisterous, and eventually, old Canadian drinking songs crept into the repertoire, and next thing you knew dawn was oozing up into the sky in the east. Continue reading

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SUGARED CRANBERRY AND ROSEMARY TREES

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While searching for a garnish for our Cranberry Steamed Pudding photo shoot last year, I discovered this amazingly simple technique. This is quite easy, with stunning results. Use as a garnish, deliciousSugared Cranberries snack, or gift. Simmering the cranberries in the hot sugar water tames their tangy bite. Sugared Rosemary Sugared Cranberries Sugared Cranberries
-Laurie Hepworth
  • 3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 6 or so branches of fresh rosemary

Combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring Continue reading

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Local Goodies Gift Guide

‘Tis the Season!

Show your appreciation with a little something for those who’ve helped to make the year special. Have a stash of these high-quality, locally-made gifts ready to pass along to teachers, mother’s helpers, neighbors, clients, or co-workers. Tuck in a personalized note and—voila—bring on the holiday season! (The purchase of samples for personal consumption is strongly suggested, or a depleted gift supply may result.)

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