Wednesday, December 19, 2012
2011 summer farm intern Cody Hooks ’13 on discovering a fermentation recipe in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library: 
College students all know the torment that is December. On one hand, you have the promise of winter break, replete with home cooked meals, friends from home, and total hours of sleep not slept the semester prior. Before you can get there, however, you have to make it through those brutal little things called finals: greasy takeout, zero social interaction, and an unfathomable amount of hours spent in the library. Terrible, I know. It makes me pretty frustrated, too.
During one of my many visits to Beinecke Library, I came across a page from La Cuisine Créole, a New Orleans cookbook that many folks consider the first of its kind. Authored in 1885 by cultural writer Lafcadio Hearn, this book is a compilation of the recipes and wisdom of free women of color living in the Crescent City. While it had directions for dishes we understand as traditional New Orleans fare—filé and okra gumbo, crawfish, and frog legs—La Cuisine Créole also has recipes that reveal food traditions that industrialization has largely killed off.  If you look at the picture above, you can learn how “to make good vinegar:” 
Mix a quart of molasses in three gallons of rain water; add to this, one pint sharp yeast.  Let it ferment and stand four weeks; you will then have good vinegar.
Making vinegar (as well as pickled oysters, mind you) wasn’t anything special in New Orleans’ late 19th century food culture. Everyone was doing it with the simplest of ingredients, including rainwater. Not too many people would dare attempt that sort of culinary experiment today – or any kind of at-home fermentation for that matter. Thankfully, there are a few folks who do dare, like fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz, who visited Yale earlier this semester. Our Yale community also has a growing number of undergraduates, graduate students, and employees who dabble in kimchees, bubbly brews, and other fermented foods.
How about this break, you and your folks start a sourdough bug and bake some delicious bread, brew some honey wine, or throw together some sauerkraut. Y’all don’t even have to use rainwater! I promise you’ll have fun no matter the outcome. That’s the great thing about break: you don’t have to worry yourself silly about results. Happy Holidays and Happy Fermenting!

2011 summer farm intern Cody Hooks ’13 on discovering a fermentation recipe in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library: 

College students all know the torment that is December. On one hand, you have the promise of winter break, replete with home cooked meals, friends from home, and total hours of sleep not slept the semester prior. Before you can get there, however, you have to make it through those brutal little things called finals: greasy takeout, zero social interaction, and an unfathomable amount of hours spent in the library. Terrible, I know. It makes me pretty frustrated, too.

During one of my many visits to Beinecke Library, I came across a page from La Cuisine Créole, a New Orleans cookbook that many folks consider the first of its kind. Authored in 1885 by cultural writer Lafcadio Hearn, this book is a compilation of the recipes and wisdom of free women of color living in the Crescent City. While it had directions for dishes we understand as traditional New Orleans fare—filé and okra gumbo, crawfish, and frog legs—La Cuisine Créole also has recipes that reveal food traditions that industrialization has largely killed off.  If you look at the picture above, you can learn how “to make good vinegar:” 

Mix a quart of molasses in three gallons of rain water; add to this, one pint sharp yeast.  Let it ferment and stand four weeks; you will then have good vinegar.

Making vinegar (as well as pickled oysters, mind you) wasn’t anything special in New Orleans’ late 19th century food culture. Everyone was doing it with the simplest of ingredients, including rainwater. Not too many people would dare attempt that sort of culinary experiment today – or any kind of at-home fermentation for that matter. Thankfully, there are a few folks who do dare, like fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz, who visited Yale earlier this semester. Our Yale community also has a growing number of undergraduates, graduate students, and employees who dabble in kimchees, bubbly brews, and other fermented foods.

How about this break, you and your folks start a sourdough bug and bake some delicious bread, brew some honey wine, or throw together some sauerkraut. Y’all don’t even have to use rainwater! I promise you’ll have fun no matter the outcome. That’s the great thing about break: you don’t have to worry yourself silly about results. Happy Holidays and Happy Fermenting!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pictures from last week’s Big Stink planting, which took place in community gardens across New Haven, are up on our Facebook page alongside images from yesterday’s Morse Master’s Tea with Sandor Katz. Check ‘em out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The YSFP is all about fermentation this fall: former Lazarus summer intern Cody Hooks is running canning classes for New Haven natives, Farm Manager Jeremy Oldfield just gave a demo on how to DIY sauerkraut, kimchee and kombucha, and next month we’ll be hosting the guru himself, Wild Fermentation author Sandor Ellix Katz, for a talk about his years experimenting with miso, mead, and more. 

To get you up to speed before Sandor’s talk, the New York Times has a number of articles on fermentation and microbiology this week: check out Sandor visiting friend of the YSFP (and former Chewing the Fat speaker!) David Chang’s Momofuku and answering questions about at-home fermentation, plus a piece about the microbiologist partnering with chefs all over the country to help them understand the scientific underpinnings of fermented flavors.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The thing about growing your own is that sometimes you end up with more than you can handle: right now the Yale Farm is experiencing a glut of green beans, tomatoes, eggplants, and summer squash. The best way to deal with the abundance? Pickle and/or preserve it, making sure that we’ve got lots of locally produced plenty to see us through leaner months. Soon we’ll be canning paste tomatoes for sauce to be used on pizzas in the winter and spring, and making dilly beans for mid-December snacks. 

If you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of pickling and preserving (and why one isn’t necessarily the same as the other), we’ve got lots of opportunities coming up: on Thursday, September 6, Farm Manager Jeremy Oldfield will host a pickling workshop on-site with some of our homegrown produce, and on Thursday October 18, Sandor Ellix Katz will come talk about the benefits of making and eating lacto-fermented foods. Sandor is the author of Wild Fermentation, which is widely considered the bible of at-home pickling. Both events are free and open to the public, though space for Jeremy’s workshop is limited— and filling up quickly! RSVP to kathryn.oshaughnessy@yale.edu if you’d like to attend.

In the mean time, we’ve posted about preserving and pickling before! Here are some recipes from our archives:

Josh Evans takes inspiration from Rene Redzepi and pickles rose petals

Yasha Magarik makes his own kimchi

Plus pear jam and salsa verde