Last weekend the equinox team attended the Harrogate Fine Food show run by Deliciously Yorkshire and the Guild of Fine Foods.
The trade only show brought together Yorkshire's finest food producers.
Success at the show means we'll be seeing Equinox stocked in an array of farm shops and new wholesalers around the North of the country very soon as well as been available nationally in shops and cafes!
Check out our new store locator to find a store near you!
We went to Sweden to do our first trade show out of the UK, it was a busy event but went really well. Chris and Jake flew over and our friend Ben was in the area so kindly got involved too.. It was a fun weekend and well worth the visit! :)
VegFest Bristol went down a treat for all there. We spent all week end handing out kombuch for all and generally spreading the love :)
Check out a nice write up of the event by beautiful heart raw kitchen here. :)
The benefits of consuming traditionally fermented foods are well documented. However, as they are not mass-produced, or available in mainstream stores, they can be hard to come by. Also the cost of buying a lovingly crafted, artisan product can be prohibitive if you are on a limited budget.
Fermentation is a very forgiving process so, provided you follow a few basic guidelines, you can make your own supply of deliciously nutritional fermented fruits & vegetables. The only equipment required are glass jars, a mixing bowl & a couple of plastic bags. Pretty much any fruits & vegetables will ferment, so choose flavours you enjoy & be prepared to experiment.
Make sure your utensils are clean.
Chop or grate your fruit & vegetables into a mixing bowl. The smaller you chop them, the greater the surface area & the quicker they ferment.
Add sea salt. This isn’t strictly necessary as fermentation will occur with or without salt, but I find it enhances the flavour. Usually a teaspoon per jar about right, but I increase this to anything up to a tablespoon if I want to neutralise highly acidic fruits like lemons.
Now for the fun part. Pound your mixture with a jar, the end of a rolling pin, or squish it with clean hands. The aim is to get the juices really flowing.
Once thoroughly pounded add spices & a bit of starter. Adding a starter can be omitted as there will be sufficient yeasts & bacteria to turn your mixture into a bubbly ferment, but I prefer to give them a bit of a head start. Kombucha, water kefir, whey & the contents of probiotic capsules all work well, & adding a starter also discourages any rogue bacteria that could taint your ferment.
Pack into clean jars, pressing the mix down firmly to eliminate air pockets, & wipe any excess from the jar mouth.
Seal the top to prevent air coming into contact with the mixture, but in a way that permits fermentation gases to escape. The lovely beneficial bacteria will do their work in the absence of oxygen, but if exposed to air then surface moulds can grow & cause contamination. My favourite ‘stopper’ is a small plastic bag part filled with water. It’s easy to poke into crevices so creates a perfect seal, whilst letting gas bubbles escape up the sides.
Filled jars can be left to ferment at room temperature. Mine sit on the kitchen work surface & are checked, & tasted, every few days. There is no definitive length of time for fermentation, so the key to determining readiness is your taste buds. If it tastes good, transfer it to the fridge & enjoy.
Home fermentation……….the healthier way to get pickled!
Fans of champagne jelly will love this ambrosial treat. Indulge yourself with a layer of invigorating Kombucha, its tiny bubbles suspended in a quivering jelly, topped with home made probiotic ‘ice cream’. It will leave you palate tingling, & your stomach ready for action.
Acetic acid forming bacteria in the kombucha help raise stomach acidity, aiding digestion & killing pathogenic bacteria. Gelatine is high in protein, contains numerous essential amino acids, attracts water to its molecules helping food move through the digestive tract, & has an incredibly healing effect on the gut. Slow-fermented yoghurt gobbles up lactose, the sugar in milk that can cause gastric discomfort, & produces a variety of probiotic microbes.
Kombucha jelly is quick & easy to make. Mix a tablespoon of high quality gelatine from grass fed cattle in a little hot water, then add your favourite flavour of kombucha & refrigerate until set. (For a vegetarian alternative use agar agar instead of gelatine.) Use the ‘ice crush’ setting on your blender to create an instant, sugar free ‘ice cream’ with scrummy frozen fruit & a spoonful of creamy yoghurt.
Go on…….excite your taste buds with this soothing, gut-friendly starter.
Mention you have a "gut feeling" about something, & everybody will know what you mean. For centuries language has honoured the role of the gut in processing feelings & "intuition". "Butterflies in the stomach", "stomach churning" & "gut instinct" are all familiar phrases.
In the chakra system the solar plexus chakra relates to the gut & is the energy centre of feelings, processing raw emotions. Stress, unhappiness, anger & fear all go straight to the gut. No wonder the gut in now being referred to as the "second brain".
The vagus nerve connects the brain stem directly to the stomach, ensuring rapid relay of information between the two organs. The stomach & intestines are richly supplied with millions of nerve cells, produce the vast majority of our smiley happy serotonin, & our gut flora comprise about 80% of our immunity. So keeping your gut in tip top condition is a great way to contribute to your overall health & wellbeing.
At birth, & during our formative months, the gut becomes populated with a wide & balanced range of beneficial bacteria. However, these can be disrupted by chlorinated or fluoridated water, antibiotics consumed directly or via secondary ingestion from foods, chemical pesticides & herbicides, & processed foods containing too much sugar & too few nutrients.
All these factors can upset the delicate harmony of the gut flora, letting the bad boys take over. And once they've gatecrashed your gut they'll invite all their mates, party non stop & leave you to clear up the mess. So if your gut is host to unwelcome & troublesome guests, then it's time to send in the bouncers.
Before the invention of fridges excess food had to be preserved to prevent spoilage, & natural fermentation was one of the methods used. Traditionally fermented foods include sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, yoghurt, lassi & natto, & the bacteria & yeasts they contain help to keep the bad boys in their place.
Drinking kefir is an ideal way to help restore the balance. Kefir grains are a symbiotic culture of yeasts & bacteria in a polysaccharide matrix, & can be fermented in either milk or sugar water, depending on their type.
These little beauties are water kefir grains, happily digesting organic sugar with a bit of lemon for added zing. In return, they'll produce numerous strains of lactic acid bacteria, the "lactobacillus" you see on the label of probiotic yoghurts, plus other beneficial bacteria & yeasts. A few days in a warm kitchen will unlock their magic & produce a probiotic drink with real clout.
Those bad boys won't know what's hit them!
Grains, nuts & seeds are packed full of scrummy nutrients, but the greedy little rascals want them all for themselves......& who can blame them!
As the future generation they need to be pretty tough nuts to survive until the conditions for germination are right, so Mother Nature has given them some awesome weapons, known collectively as anti-nutrients. These include various toxins & enzyme inhibitors. Yes, that's right, they're making it really hard for your digestive system to get to work on them, & they can even steal some of your minerals by binding to them to prevent them being absorbed by your digestive tract!
Our fast food culture & lifestyle has abandoned much of the wisdom of our ancestors, producing food as quickly as possible for profit & convenience, & we have paid the price in the huge rise in digestive & nutritional disorders. Soaked & fermented foods have always been part of traditional diets, & for good reason.
Soaking grains, nuts & seeds in a warm, slightly acidic environment mimics the conditions under which germination takes place, so you can trick them into giving you all their good stuff. The anti-nutrient content is reduced, & soaking also unlocks vitamins making nutrients more bioavailable & easier to absorb.
A mixture of Kombucha & water makes an ideal soak.
These nutty little buckwheat groats get a short soak of a few hours, & can be sprouted in a couple of days to make a living food. They make a great addition to salads, or try them with pecans, mixed berries & a drizzle of maple syrup for a light breakfast or supper.