Fermented Things Friday: Easy Homemade Sour Cream

Thanks to this Mother Earth News article, I have successfully made homemade sour cream, and thus Fermented Things Friday can return, after a long hiatus, during which I *gasp* threw away my kefir grains, and have my kombucha scobys stacked up in a veritable high-rise, and just await the energy to want to ferment more things again! This was an easy entry back, and a delightful and tangy spring treat. What’s more, it was made….

…In about 2 seconds (plus fermenting time).

It is seriously so easy, my children could do it. And come to think of it, I will teach them, so they could do it.

But first, “Why would a person want to make sour cream?” If you are asking, I will answer from my own perspective.

I just get sick and tired of seeing a long list of ingredients in my sour cream, when I know what sour cream is (should be) made of. Cream. Cream that has soured, and thickened.

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My first batch of homemade sour cream. Ingredients: cream, and vinegar to start the souring/culturing process!

Just as in this post from a few years back on chowhound.com, I don’t like the thickeners and weird things added, but was feeling lazy about doing anything about it. Well, after 2 seconds work and some fermentation on my countertop, I have sour cream made of cream once again.

I also think, and I think this blog attests, that I’m one of those weirdos who gets satisfaction from doing traditional things in a traditional way, and knowing that, even if my supermarket down the street explodes, I might still be able to feed myself. Rah!

Basic method:

Fill a clean glass jar with 1 c. of cream, and add 1/4 c. white vinegar (or, already prepared sour cream). I let it sit with a napkin over the top, held in place by a canning ring, for about 48 hours. I kept checking to see if it was thickening, or gelling up. It stayed fairly ‘milky’, though did thicken somewhat. After 48 hours, I plopped it in the fridge, where it cooled and thickened up very nicely!

The difference in taste between homemade and store-bought for me is – my homemade has a tangier bite to it, and is perhaps slightly less thick and gelled. I would imagine that over time, as I continue to make the soured cream in this method, it might gel more and loose a little bite. The neato thing is, after my first batch, and moving onto my second, I didn’t need to add the vinegar. I just topped up with some cream (and no, I didn’t measure) and then left it out. I left it out half as long this time also, before putting in the ‘fridge. So far, I’ve used it with my Wildtree spices to make a potato topped, and to make a dip for tortilla chips. Both were gobbled up, which I would equate with success.

This process does make me wish I had local organic heavy cream available, but alas, I do not. Many of the organic brands are ultra-pasteurized, making them perhaps unsuitable for this task. So, I’m using a locally available regional-based brand of heavy cream for making this, and will call that good.

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You can tell a bit in this picture, I think, that the cream has really thickened. It ‘traces’ when you stir it and let it drip into the jar, that is, you can see the lines where it has dripped, maintained on the surface.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Update: I added pictures, and, wanted to give an update on subsequent batches….My third batch of the sour cream was really runny. I’m not quite sure why! I left a little bit, maybe 2 Tbl. in the bottom of the jar, and then added more heavy cream (country style) and 2 Tbl. of white vinegar. The resulting sour cream tasted the most like ‘boughten’ sour cream of any of the batches! Success! I will try the next batch without adding any vinegar, and if I get the runny problem again, will consider continuing to add between 1 and 2 Tbl. of vinegar to each batch, with the residual sour cream from the last batch left in the jar to help get things going.

Beneficial Bugs….for you to eat…

As promised, a list of some probiotic things You, Too,(like me!) can make in your home! With simple equipment you already have! With things you’ve already bought from the grocery store or a local farmer’s market! This is not rocket science, but a rather long-standing tradition of letting things go bad on purpose. With great, great benefits! Its like a lazy cooks guide to eating healthy. Love it.

Gut flora, gut health, beneficial bacteria — this is so important! Our gut acts like a ‘second brain’, which helps us to live a healthy life. Our intestinal health is important to our overall health, which we’d all love to be optimal, I’m sure. Having good bacteria helps break down our food, and if we’re eating healthily, the good bacteria in our ‘gut’ helps us get the most  from the healthy food we eat! Everything runs smoothly when we’ve got these good bugs inside us. I am even MORE aware of this after I suffered a weeklong bout with a nasty intestinal malady recently. I am very thankful for the good health I generally enjoy!

I wish I had more time to write this week – I simply can’t say enough about how relatively easy these are, and really fun! The feeling you get when you make something yourself is just so great.

Yogurt – and along with that, soft  ‘yogurt cheese’

Kefir

Sourdough bread starter

Sauerkraut

Fermented carrots

Brined pickles

My recommended resources for tutorials on these topics (and I would love to write about each of them in depth at some point!):

the Wild Fermentation website

Nourishing Traditions, and the Weston A Price website

Simply in Season cookbook and website

Things on top of my ‘fridge:

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A playmobil guy with Viking helmet

A staple gun

A shim

Brown rice crisps

Dust

Lactoferment(ing) lemonade

It is a rainy day – can’t play outside, a bit tired from a late night. Besides the fact that its always a great day to ingest healthy bacteria, its also a great day to give more of them life, so to speak.

This recipe originally came from the cook/book “Nourishing Traditions” and I was reminded about it be fellow blogger arealfoodlover.  Scaled due to laziness on this rainy day – prepared for a Sunday after-church where I will wish I would have squeezed 6 more lemons.

6 lemons

1/8 c whey (if you make yogurt or have some in the fridge, just dribble off the clearish-whitish-yellowish top ‘juice’ to get this amount. Learn more about whey here)

1/2 c sugar

1/2 gal (8 c) purified water

Juice lemons into container. Add whey water and sugar. Stir til dissolved. Cover, put note on it so no one in your house touches it (see above), and set in a warm spot to ferment. Wait 24 – 48 hours. Chill to slow fermentation when finished, drink and enjoy! *add more sugar to taste*

Watch for a post next week about some other easy lacto-fermented foods you can make at home, on YOUR fridge. Give the playmobil guys an eviction notice, and get some healthy gut flora goin’!