Easy homemade yogurt recipe

Making yogurt at home is fun, easy and satisfying, it doesn't require any specialist equipment or ingredients, and is healthier as it only contains the milk you choose to use. Joshua Naylor shows you how.

How to make kombucha

I first started making kombucha in 1995, but when we had our first child in 1997, I was knocked out of many patterns, including making this tasty fermented beverage. About a month ago I started making it again. It's really easy.

Before you make your own kombucha, here are a few reasons why you might not want to:

Paul Stamets: "The danger of misuse should be a prevailing concern for us all" CDC: Unexplained severe illness possibly associated with consumption of kombucha tea Journal of Intensive Care Medicine: A case of kombucha tea toxicity

Why do I drink it? Because it's fun to make and the flavor is almost addictive. The benefits outweigh the risks, at least for me. Here's how I make it. (Click on photos for enlargement.):

1. Get some live kombucha. I foolishly paid $25 to an online store that sells the culture in little vials (as seen above). As I later found out, you can buy a bottle of kombucha for a few dollars at grocery store and use that as your starter. If you have a friend who makes it, ask them for a "mother" (the floppy, blobby, disc that floats on top of a batch of kombucha) and a cup of the kombucha tea.

2. Collect the ingredients: sugar, vinegar (or a half cup of the kombucha tea from your last batch), tea bags (any kind). I used green tea for my first batch, but I'm now using decaf black tea.

3. Add 4-8 tea bags into a little less than one gallon of water. Read the rest

Making sauerkraut is easy

It's so easy and fun to make sauerkraut that there's really no good excuse to buy it from a store. Plus, home made sauerkraut is full of living microbes that might be good for you. (Read news reports that kimchi -- spicy korean sauerkraut -- could be a bird flu remedy.)

Store bought sauerkraut is often not even real sauerkraut -- it's just cabbage soaked in salty vinegar. Even store bought brands of sauerkraut made from lacto-fermentation have usually been cooked to the point that they're no longer alive.

I've been making my own sauerkraut for years, based on my grandmother's "recipe" (it's hard to call it a real recipe, when the only ingredients are cabbage and salt), which is pretty much the same recipe found in the wonderful book, Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz. This book shows you how to make a wide variety of fermented foods: beer, wine, mead, miso, tempeh, sourdough bread, yogurt, cheese, and other more exotic foods. Katz, a long term HIV/AIDS survivor who lives on a queer intentional community in Tennessee, is a "fermentation fetishist." In the introduction to his book, he writes:

Wild fermentation is a way of incorporating the wild into your body, becoming one with the natural world. Wild foods, microbial cultures included, possess a great, unmediated life force, which can help us adapt to shifting conditions and lower our susceptibility to disease. These microorganisms are everywhere, and the techniques for fermenting with them are simple and flexible.

Wild fermentation involves creating conditions in which naturally occurring organisms thrive and proliferate.

Read the rest