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Pickling My Brain

[Ya, that title. I try to make it catchy—If you keep reading, I think you'll get it 😉]

It was a mind-numbing minus 32 degrees Celsius this morning, and only slightly warmer this afternoon. However, the sky is blue and the sun is shining gloriously in my frontroom window, where the cats, Walter and Truman, are sunning themselves as they dream of spring and pooping in the garden.

I, too, position myself in the sun's rays. And I dream. Of spring. Of putting seeds into earth. Of how I might better manage these cats . . .

Last year, I seeded densely in wide rows, pulled mesh over everything, and laid a thick mulch of grass clippings in the paths. By the time I removed the netting from most of the garden, the greens were big enough for spring salads and they'd covered the ground sufficiently to (mostly) deter these pesky critters. I feel victorious and am considering a future publication— Groundworks: The Cat-Loving Gardener's Guide to Planting With Pets.

But I digress.

What I really want to document today is my recent attempt with fermenting, since simply eating fermented (cultured) foods is easily the most convenient way to get a daily dose of good bacteria (aka probiotics). I've been reading just everywhere of the many health benefits associated with this practice: improve cognitive function, promote a healthy gut, boost the immune system, build bone density, kill harmful micro-organisms, improve cognitive function. . .

They had me at improve cognitive function.

My first ferment this past summer, was dill pickles. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but I figured if Melissa, over at Bless This Mess, could teach me to start, maintain, and even enjoy a sourdough, I should probably look to her for the fermenting process, as well.

This time I fermented asparagus—a whole gallon of asparagus; so, I'm feeling relieved that we actually like it, since the cucumber pickles didn't go over too well. That said, I did end up throwing a couple cukes into this jar, just because the asparagus wasn't packed tight enough to hold up the rock I had used to keep everything under the brine (yep, really sophisticated process, here).

I'm seeing a lot of this ferment in our future, just so long as Costco continues to carry those large bags of asparagus. No matter how prolific the fresh garden asparagus may prove to be this spring, it's pretty much a given that none of it will make it into a pickle jar.

At present, however, my hopes and dreams remain focused on that allusive cognitive function.


Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish. --Michelangelo


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