By Lynnie Stein / August 8, 2022

Root to Stem

You will not believe the taste of waste!

Root-to-stem food prep is essentially the same concept as the nose-to-tail movement.

It is for the plant kingdom rather than meat. It refers to the idea of utilizing parts you might traditionally throw out or compost — broccoli and cauliflower stalks, carrot tops, potato peels, apple cores, pineapple & banana skin, watermelon rind, pumpkin skin, Davidson plum seeds, lemon, and orange rinds.

In the peasant tradition, food waste is never thrown out

It’s re-purposed!

3 jars of fermented vegetables

With the fermentation process – Eureka! You will not believe the taste of waste!

Note: Using skins etc, always choose organic – Why? Ask the monkeys!

Monkeys at Copenhagen Zoo went ape over organic bananas and other fruits, rejecting traditional foods left in their cages.

“If we give them organic and traditional bananas, they systematically choose the organic bananas, which they eat with the skin on. But they peel the traditional bananas”.

Living off the Land

As humans formed into families, or clans, tribes and nations, various social customs, arose and were maintained.

Food, shelter, and clothing were produced by one’s own family, and rarely bought and sold.

• In many places it was still true in the 20th century.

• Most places remember and revere their pioneers.

• The existence of recipe books the pioneers bought with them to new settlements, from these and from later family and friends’ recipes over the years, this book of recipes is compiled or inspired by.

• Living in an environment where every commodity was precious, pioneer women learned to be excellent economists.

This included such measures as keeping the scum on top of corned beef for salting vegetables.

a variety of fermented vegetables - sauerkraut, garlic. preserved citrus, beet kvass, green papya salad

• The early settlers experienced difficult times due to unseasonal weather and crop failure.

• With a shortage of food, they often had to resort to foraging nature’s bounty with thistles, nettles, and gathering watercress and dandelions for salad.

• The eye of the potato would be scooped out for planting, and the remainder prepared for the evening meal.

Nothing was wasted

Proven recipes handed down over the years were used to make soap, cheese, butter, jams, sauces, beverages, sauerkraut, and pickles.

• Fresh fruit and berries were preserved; flower and herb gardens were a popular hobby.

Blue berries infused in apple cider vinegar. Cacao nibs, pink grapefruit, snow pea sprouts, quinoa, blueberry salad

Herbs used for housecleaning, medicine, and food.

Long before supermarkets and modern manufacturers of products existed, people got by with what they could grow, forage, make or trade.

The grandma’s sage advice … when you have a few jars of kraut and ruben during the winter, you can always put together a meal.

Raw sauerkraut rainbow pie. rainbow sauerkraut in fermenting jar
Everything you probably never dreamed of you would have to thank for sauerkraut.

SCRAP MEAD

After removing the two seeds of the Davidson plum to make jam / sauce.

  1. Place seeds with clean water and lemon myrtle leaves, brought to a boil, and allow to simmer
  • Strain out the seeds and pulp, add clean source of water to make up 4 litres, and stir in a kilo of raw local honey.
  • Add dash of vanilla powder and half a lemon.
  • Wild yeast ferment, until champagne like bubble.

Approx. 7.5 – 8 % alcohol

Don’t you love that there is still enough wild yeast and beneficial bacteria in our air and on the skin of our fruit to turn fruit scraps, sweetness, and water into something so tasty and healthy?

staining apple & cinnamon vinegar

SCRAP VINEGAR

1.         Fill a large jar with fresh clean water.

2.         Add 1/4 cup local raw honey / sugar of choice for each litre.

3.         Stir until dissolved.

4.         Add fruit scraps.

5.         Cover with breathable cloth, rubber band / string.

6.         Sit in a dark place or swaddle it.

7.         Stir every day or so and check that fruit is submerged.

8.         Do not worry about any yeasty white bloom.

9.         After a week or so, when the liquid has turned dark, strain and remove fruit.

10.       Pour back into original jar.

11.       Add 1-2 tablespoons mother … raw vinegar (Raw vinegar is un-pasteurised vinegar that still has its mother, or starter, and the key for fermenting).

12.       Sit for 1 -4 months. Enjoy the blobs and wispy strands that will form – may even make its own mother

13.       Strain, bottle and enjoy!!

14.       Check vinegar e-book for ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

straining wild foraged food vinegar

Yan-tsai-shin is a fermented Broccoli stem.

• Harvested broccoli is washed, peeled, cut, mixed with salt, and allowed to ferment in brine. After the exuded water is removed, fermented broccoli is mixed with various ingredients, including soy sauce, and sesame oil.

A jar of fermented broccoli stems and nasturtium flowers and leaves

• Some also add rice wine or sliced hot pepper to obtain a unique flavour and allow fermentation for a further day.

• For some vegetables with low nutrient contents, food companies add the addition of sugar, to promote bacterial growth, thereby accelerating fermentation.

Alternatively, in the home kitchen grandma would say “think like a vegetable” and add a sweet vegetable – if fermenting diced turnip with low nutrient content – add diced carrot – if fermenting pumpkin / gourd add shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts.

fermented jar of vegetable's - golden shallot and turmeric and bay leaf

Watermelon seed can be salted, fermented, and eaten as a snack.

• Grind into a flour or make a paste and use as a thickener in stews, sauces, and soups.

• Watermelon seeds can be mixed with other flour in baked goods.

• Crushed, with boiling water poured over and made into a tea.

• Ground up melon seed used in traditional version of horchata de melon if you do not like the consistency you can strain the liquid.

Like Mexican Tepache … letting pineapple skin and pineapple eyes + mint sit in jar of water, covered for 3 to 5 days shaking daily.

Mexican Tepache - pineapple skin and pineapple eyes + mint in fermenting jar

• The fermented mixture is then strained.

• Sweetness and vanilla extract are added for a refreshing drink.

• Can also add cinnamon sticks, a couple of cloves, an anise star, and some all-spice seeds along with pineapple skins.

Eat all the delish jackfruit including the seeds.

• Boiled Jackfruit seeds are a very tasty and nutritious snack.

• A great replacement for chestnuts.

• They may be boiled or roasted or boiled and preserved like chestnuts.

• Boil/steam seeds from a ripe jackfruit until soft – remove the thin brown spermoderm with a sharp knife.

Fry in coconut oil with curry leaves …yum!!!

• Seed flour is another great use with high carbohydrate and protein contents.

• We love our green banana flour and make it very easily in our kitchen, straight from the green bananas in our garden.

green banana flour + bunch of green bananas

Green Banana or plantain flour, or powder, is made by sun-drying (or dehydrating or slow oven baking) slices of unripe fruits and pulverizing or blitzing in the food processor.

• Green cooking bananas or plantains (3 kg of bananas makes about 1 kg of flour)

• Peel bananas. (Steam unpeeled bananas to help loosen the skin or we just use a knife to cut off the skin).

• We find cutting with a knife very easy. (The wearing of gloves is a good idea – as the fingertips end up a tad shabby).

• Cut into thin slices

• Sun dry / dehydrate or place on baking trays and dry in a low oven for 2-3 hours. (We dehydrate until all moisture has gone – only taking a few hours).

It will turn light in color when ready.

• Blitz in high-speed blender and grind into fine flour. If you find bananas are still sticky and are not grinding, remove from blender, spread on tray and leave to dry for longer.

• Mill again if desired, sift and store in a dry, airtight container. Has a very neutral flavour.

We prefer to simply, slice, dry in dehydrator, blitz in food processor and store.

• The left-over small pieces, make a nice nutty touch in any raw or cooked treat or pancakes – great in smoothies.

Cauliflower stalks are fermented to produce achar tandal in India.

A jar of fermented cauliflower

Unripe, green mango, along with their peels are sun dried and ground to powder (Aamchoor). It is basically used as condiment. Aamchoor is generally mixed with a pinch of turmeric and black pepper powder and added to curries, sauces, and fermented chutneys.

Pineapple Chutney

1 pineapple, chopped

1 cup green herbs (combination of oregano, parsley, mint /coriander/ cilantro, chopped, carrot tops)

1 tablespoon minced ginger

 2 tablespoons lime juice

 2 -3 teaspoons Himalayan salt

Mix all in large bowl. Pour into wide mouth liter jar.

Press down lightly

You should have 1-inch head space at top.

Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for 3 days until transferring to refrigerator.

making herb garden harvest fermentation

LES HERBES SALEES

What a wonderful way to “Catch and Store” the abundance of garden herbs and use any edible wild greens, radish & beet tops, and carrot tops.

• Dill, parsley, sorrel, celery, and spring onions – optional diced Daikon radish / parsnip / carrot & carrot tops

1.         Chop the herbs, lightly massage with salt. Let sit and then put the mixture in a jar, and close airtight.  Store in a cool, dark place.

2.         We have made a very tasty version using carrots and the tops and ginger, and rosemary, nettles, water spinach, mustard garlic, or anything desired to embrace from the world of weeds? 

• After 12-14 days, drain any excess liquid.

• Store the herbs refrigerated.

• When we jar the mixture, it will likely take far less room than started – 4-liter Fido glass jar will be less than 1 litre when completed.

• Allow the flavors to blend by waiting two weeks (a month is even better) before using salted herbs.

• It is perfect in kefir soup, marinade, sauce, cheese or in a simmered dish, they can be used on their own to enrich stews, gravies, omelettes, marinades, and baked veggies.

• Use as a rub on meat and fish.

• They can be combined with basil, oregano, garlic, and cayenne to add pizzazz to a spaghetti sauce.

• They blend with chilli seasonings, or with dill and lime / lemon.

• The possibilities are endless … where you would use salt or herbs.

Can also add vegetables to the mixture, if desired, great to use the left-over stems of red silver beet and mustard greens, but you can also add small, diced carrots, leeks and or spinach).

3 jars of LES HERBES SALEES - salted herbs - fermented

The herbs call up a lot of nostalgia.

They were often used as a healing poultice.

What to do with pumpkin seeds

baked pumpkin and fermented veggies

• Place on a baking sheet with oil, salt, and spices such as paprika or curry and cook at 300°F for 50 minutes.

• In a frying pan, season with a little oil and let toast over medium-low heat for about an hour.

• You can even grind them into flour!

Pumpkin Rind

pumpkin seeds and veggie platter

Did you know that pumpkin rinds, for example, are great to cook in a broth or soup?

• Always add a few slices of pumpkin rind to fermented pumpkin – the mighty microbes cling to the outside of the skin. And it is very tasty as a pickly snack or added to cheese platter and salads.

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pumpkin Pickles

fomented pumpkin pickles

1 litre preserving Fido jar

3 cups raw organic pumpkin including skins

qtr. cabbage, sliced

1/2 lemon

1/2 cup green apples, chopped, not peeled

3 shallots, chopped including greens

2 cm piece fresh ginger root, chopped

3 whole cloves -mashed

star anise

10 allspice berries

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole coriander

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

• Mix the pieces of pumpkin, shallots, apple, and cabbage together with the salt, and massage for a few minutes.

• Kneading / massaging will release a lot of juice (salt in the mixture will help to do that), so when you leave it to ferment, the pumpkin is completely drowned in its own juice.

• Let this mixture sit for 10-15 minutes while the salt draws liquid out.

• If, after this “sweating” period the mixture does not look sufficiently moist, continue to knead for another 2-5 minutes.

• Add the rest of the spices and lemon.

• Knead until mixed.

• Pack very firmly into jar.

• Add 3/4 cup lime juice and extra liquid if required to completely submerge.

Green tomatoes make excellent pickles

• Slice green tomatoes and put them in a glass jar with some peeled garlic cloves, thinly sliced onion, and de-seeded red chili and carrot tops.

• Add spices like mustard seed, coriander, or fennel seed if desired.

• Fill the jar with salt brine and pack with leaves.

• Seal airtight and leave out of direct UV or sunlight.

• Let sit for 5-6 days for crunchy pickles or 4-5 weeks for soft.

WATERMELON RIND + BANANA SKIN PICKLES

WATERMELON RIND + BANANA SKIN PICKLES

1 bay leaf, ½ teaspoon peppercorns, coriander, dill / carrot tops, banana skins, mustard seeds, shredded cabbage, watermelon rind with some of the red left on (brine if required) should be able to create enough liquid to cover.

Once fermented … Serve on a platter with nut cheese and raw crackers

Radish tops

Fermented radish

Radish tops are edible but are rather prickly; fermenting eliminates the prickles and fills with good for your probiotics.

• They go well with any grain, if you eat grains, or together with red meat.

• Add to pesto or a garnish for a stew or fold through mash.

• Radish tops from 10-12 radishes, ¾ teaspoon salt can add a few sliced radishes.

• Massage and cover with Bok choy juice / water.

• Taste test at 2-3 days

Pesto

fermented pesto

1kg leaves -mix of wild leaves, carrot tops

120 grams of pine nuts or chopped almonds or chopped macadamias

1 tablespoon Himalayan salt

1/4 cup of clean water / bok choy juice

50 grams basil leaves

• Blitz all the ingredients (except the water) in a blender, (you can change the ratio of ingredients to your personal taste)

• Add mixture to Fido and top up with bok choy juice or water to cover mixture

• Place weight over the top to be submerged

• Place out of direct light for anywhere between one week and 2 months

Preserved citrus

Preserved citrus

will dress up many dishes and is fantastic for cleaning – add to soap nut liquid or kombucha for dishes, laundry, floors, porcelain, tile, stove tops, counter tops – even clogged drains.

Create an all-purpose cleaner spray bottle with 1:10 ratio and clean away to your heart content!

Check out our Preserved Citrus book.

Check out our Preserved Citrus book.

Ready for Spring cleaning. Pour well-brewed (past the tongue tasty stage) Tibicos (water kefir) or kombucha in a jar to cover orange peels.

• Cover and store at room temperature for a few weeks.

 • Strain and bottle.

Glass & mirror – 1/2 cup orange vinegar + 1/2 cup water / herb brew in spray bottle.

Scrubber … 1/4 cup orange vinegar + 1/2 cup herb brew / water + 1/2 cup liquid castile / soap nut liquid.

Mix orange vinegar with olive oil for a wood polish + a fine salad dressing. Makes the home smell divine!

Whatever you do, don’t throw away those garlic and onion skins

Whatever you do, don’t throw away those garlic and onion skins. Hang on to them and get all the flavour you can from your garden harvest or groceries.

Garlic peel and onion skin uses include making nutrient-rich stocks, soups, grains, teas, topical infusions, garden fertilizers and bug treatments, and compost and add to the chicken’s laying boxes.

For the Garden

haybale garden

• Leave 50 gr of onion and garlic skins (you can add the green leaves as well if you have them) to soak for 24 hours in 1 litre of cold water.

• After one day, heat for 20 minutes, without reaching boiling point.

• Once the decoction has cooled it needs to be filtered and can then be used.

Good against downy mildew: use it on tomatoes and potatoes.

Eco Enzyme / Garbage Enzyme / Re-purposed Scrap Enzyme / Wonder Juice is produced by fermentation of fresh kitchen waste (fruit and vegetable scraps), unrefined sugar and water. 

hay bale vegetable garden

Scraps transform to a dark brown liquid with a strong sweet-sour fermented aroma.  

The enzyme contains nutrients and hormones to aid plant growth, stimulate flowering and extend the fruiting season.

Enzymes are concentrated vinegars and work better when diluted with water. The suggested dilution ratios are provided below.

The formula was researched and popularised by the founder of the Organic Agriculture Association of Thailand, Dr. Rosukon Poompanvong, winning an FAO award for outstanding contribution to organic farming, in using fermented organic waste as fertilizers, pesticides and livestock feed. 

It is a 2-stage dancing step … The enzyme is derived after filtering and removing the residue after 3 – 6 months.

organic haybale vegetable and herb garden

The key ingredient is unrefined sugar, the bacteria and microorganisms present in the waste metabolise into alcohol.

This is reduced in its final form to acetic acid or vinegar.

Vinegar with its acidic properties is well known as an all-round non-toxic cleaner, digestive aid + more. 

You can use it for washing, cleaning, deodorizing and as natural fertilisers, insecticides, pesticides and as a plant growth hormone.

For highly degraded soils, spraying continuously for 3 months can help restore soil quality.

You can even drink it!

How to make it (visit our Fermenting Garden from the eBook library)

How to make Eco Enzyme / Garbage Enzyme / Re-purposed Scrap Enzyme / Wonder Juice(visit our Fermenting Garden from the Ebook library)

HOW TO USE:

It will remove the foul odour, mould and grime in kitchen and bathrooms. It is an all-purpose cleaner and for garden care. It will help in driving away insects. Remove odours from pets. For ticks and carpets. For ironing and washing + car maintenance – add 30 ml to water tank.

Dilute the enzyme according to purpose of usage in the following ratios: Dilution is especially important when using as fertilisers or pesticides for plants, where high concentrations can prove too acidic.

Vegetable fertilizer / pesticide:

 Enzyme 1 ml: water 1 litre. Use once a week, by spraying the diluted solution (1:1000) on the leaves and the soil. 

It is best to use early in the morning to facilitate better nutrient absorption.

Can be used to stimulate plant hormone to improve quality of fruits and vegetables and to increase crop yield.

 Spray on soil continuously for 3 months to improve soil quality.

A combination of home-made compost, vermi-castings, as well as enzymes together will help nourish the soil of any organic garden.

Insecticide: Enzyme 1 ml: water 100ml

Trees to produce more flowers + fruits: Enzyme 1 ml:  water 500 ml

For Household Use: Unlike for gardening, you can be more flexible with the dilution rates.

Deodorant / air freshener: Enzyme 1 ml: water 200ml

Shampoos, body wash, dishwashing liquids, detergents (to enhance the nutrients and reduce the chemical side effects) or add to eco –friendly best choice, like soap nut liquid: Enzyme 1ml: cleaner 10 times

Save on household cleaner and body care: For dish wash, laundry liquid etc: use enzyme to multiply and to reduce chemical residues.

Ratio = 1-part enzyme: 1-part detergent/cleaner: 10 parts water

Floor cleaning: Add 30ml (2 tablespoons) enzymes to moping water. To clean and sterilise.

Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ)

FPJ form part of the ‘Natural farming method’ developed by Dr. Han Kyu Cho of South Korea. Like garbage/eco-enzyme, it uses raw un-refined sugar to extract the phytochemicals in plants.

When the juice is fermented from fruits, it is called Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ).

How to use FFJ

Use FFJ diluted 1000 times after the changeover period of your crops. It is excellent for reenergizing crops, livestock, and lovely humans.

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