A Gardener’s Diary: Sunflowers and sauerkraut

Columnist Jocelyne Sewell is learning the lacto-fermentation process of making sauerkraut.

The little amount of rain we had last Saturday night didn’t do much for the garden.

After the big wind, some of the tall sunflowers were uprooted. I tried to replant them so the birds could keep on feeding on the seeds. Some flowers ended up in the house.

They make such a nice cut flower and last at least one week. Next year, all the sunflowers will go along the stucco wire fence and can be tied up and brave any wind.

We are now eating the lacto-fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) that I made a couple weeks ago. I also made some zucchini slices and they are yummy. After one week of fermenting on the kitchen counter, the two jars are now in the fridge.

The following is taken from www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/natural-fermentation/basic-formula-fermenting-any-vegetable/: “A bacteria is responsible for lacto-fermentation. The “lacto” portion of the term refers to a specific species of bacteria, namely Lactobacillus.

“Various strains of these bacteria are present on the surface of all plants, especially those growing close to the ground, and are also common to the gastrointestinal tracts and mouths of humans and other animal species. Lactobacillus bacteria have the ability to convert sugars into lactic acid. The Lactobacillus strain is so named because it was first studied in milk ferments. These bacteria readily use lactose or other sugars and convert them quickly and easily to lactic acid. However, lacto-fermentation does not necessarily need to involve dairy products.

“Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Beyond preservation advantages, lacto-fermentation also increases or preserves the vitamin and enzyme levels, as well as digestibility, of the fermented food. In addition, lactobacillus organisms are heavily researched for substances that may contribute to good health.”

Anyone interested on the subject can find many websites with a lot of information and good recipes. The most important thing is the ratio of salt to the water used as brine. The salt best used for lacto-fermentation is sea salt as long as it has not an anti-caking agent. The water should be distilled water because the water from the tap has chlorine.

The first time I made sauerkraut, I used the water from our water purifier. It worked just fine. This time, I purchased some distilled water and used the sea salt with herbes de Provence. That gave a nice taste to the zucchini slices.

I also made kale chips and it took less than three hours to dry in the greenhouse. It was a very hot and sunny day. I stored them in a paper bag and they reabsorbed some moisture so I had to do them again for another hour.

From the Farmer’s Almanac: “Pumpkins and winter squashes are ready to harvest when their skin hardens. Press your fingernail through the flesh. If you have to work at it, the squash is ripe; if it’s very easy to pierce, the squash is immature. The skin should be full (non-glossy), firm and rich in colour without blemishes or cracks or soft spots.”

There will be more about harvesting and curing in my next column.

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.

 

Just Posted

A grant from the Okanagan Basin Water Board has allowed the historic O’Keefe Ranch in Spallumcheen to construct and complete its rain gardens project. (O’Keefe Ranch photo)
Spallumcheen ranch protects ecosystem with water grant

Historic O’Keefe Ranch receives $20,000 to construct and complete rain gardens project

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

(File photo)
Repeated cougar sighting on Okanagan Rail Trail

Plenty of bear sightings around the valley too

Vernon local Ryan Lazar – who specializes in 2D background design and 3D animation – is ready to start his career after a tough yet rewarding two years of studies. (Contributed)
Okanagan College students get animated at graduation

‘The pandemic has resulted in more video consumption and the animation industry is so hot right now because of it’

An e-scooter and a car bumper make for a narrow passthrough on a sidewalk out front of the Kelowna Law Courts on Wednesday, April 28. (Michael Rodriguez/Black Press)
E-scooters ready to roll in Vernon

Final bylaw changes in place to allow personal use and for companies to operate a rental program

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Barriere RCMP nabbed two suspects who were allegedly breaking into cabins in McLure. (File photo)
Thieves nabbed by Barriere Mounties during McLure break-ins

Police Service Dog Kody instrumental in making the arrest

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

RCMP vest
Penticton beach brawl results in one arrest but no charges

People took to social media after a fight broke out at the fire pits at Okanagan Lake Saturday

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

A single motorcycle parked outside of the Kelowna Hells Angels clubhouse at 837 Ellis Street on July 9, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Hells Angels prospect sentenced to 9 months in jail for aggravated assault

Colin Michael Bayley pleaded guilty to the downtown Kelowna assault earlier this month

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

Salmon Arm RCMP are seeking witnesses to a single-vehicle collision that occurred on Highway 1 on May 16, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP seek persons who transported injured driver, motorcycle to hospital

Motorcyclist involved in a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1

Most Read