Time to become an official dumpster-diver.
Thrift stores, friends’ and families’ recycling bins, the scary storage closet in the basement. Get into the spirit of things and soon you’ll find your eyes peeled looking for tools everywhere. No actual dumpster diving required.
Start by collecting glass jars. They are simply the best for making and storing ferments. Glass containers of all shapes and sizes are useful. You can re-use canning jars from your Grandma’s jam and pickle jars. If you’re a picky neat-freak, peel off pesky labels by soaking the jars in water and baking soda.
Whether you’re making and storing cheese, yogurt, sourdough starter, kombucha tea, sauerkraut and many other ferments: glass takes the cake during the waiting process of fermentation and for storage afterwards. Before we had refrigerators, ovens and cars they had glass jars and cellars. So keep it old school and traditional, just the way great-grandmother would’ve wanted it.
Other objects you’ll find useful are clean tea towels or cheesecloths, rubber bands, and big spoons. You can track down tea towels and cheesecloth at fabric shops. Big spoons can be found in second-hand stores and rubber bands are usually always just lying around (check your junk drawer)!
Other, more personal tools you’ll learn to use are patience and love. All ferments rely on yeasts and bacteria from the air in your environment to come together. You’ll need patience while you wait for your creations, and you’ll need love to put into your work. In a recipe I have for honey wine, one of the directions states you should “trust that the yeasts from the air will find its way to your wine” while you stir it daily. Now that’s putting some love into your food!
Must have’s easy checklist:
√ Glass jars (all shapes and sizes)
√ Tea towels or cheesecloths
√ A freaky fermenting friend who may have starters to share (kombucha babies, sourdough starter, whey, kefir grains)
√ Big Spoons
√ Rubber Bands
√ Patience & Love
Now try this: Yogurt Cream Cheese Recipe
1. Simply put a few layers of cheesecloth in a strainer and plop the strainer in a bowl. The bowl underneath is going to catch the whey that drips out.
2. Put a cup or so of real yogurt: whole yogurt (Ingredients: non-homogenized whole milk, active bacterial cultures) in the cheesecloth lined strainer.
3. Put in the fridge overnight and by the next morning you will have a fresh lump of curds! Not an attractive phrase, but it will look soft n’ smooth like cream cheese. And it’s delicious.
4. You can spread this on your toast or bagels or use as a super-healthy alternative to cream cheese. Yum!