how i got my holiday spirit back - ferments are in the air! (bonus: dairy-free cashew cheese ball re
Happy October! As i write this post, i'm sitting in our back yard watching my hubby prep some space for fall plantings (cabbage, kale - lots of things that will end up in our fermentation cabinet!). The air on this, the first day of October (my favorite month!), is almost crisp and cool, so i'm going with it and pretending fall has really arrived here in the Phoenix valley (the morning are really just a teaser until November, though). Fall always gets me excited. It means the beginning of The Holiday Season.
I have to admit that for about the past decade, it's been a struggle for me to get that holiday feeling that used to come so easily. You know what i mean - that magical feeling brimming with hope and peace and love for humanity. Whether spirituality brings it forth for you, or like for me - simply tradition, crisp air and falling leaves, it's a special feeling and i count it as renewing, detoxifying and grounding. I don't feel as healthy when i miss out on that feeling, so i'm beyond happy that i'm feeling it this morning. And do you know what brought it on?
Truly! I sat down to start planning my holiday ferments and it magically appeared: that feeling of happiness, excitement, anticipation and goodwill. Here's a sneak peek of some of the ferments i'll have available locally beginning November 1st:
Marinated Kefir Labneh Balls
(a probiotic version of olive-oil marinated mozzarella balls)
Savory Herbed and Tart Cashew Cheese Balls
Fermented Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Spice Kefir
Cranberry Cinnamon Water Kefir
Join in on the fun with this recipe for non-dairy Cashew Cheese Balls!
Versatile Cashew Cheese Balls
2 c. "raw" cashews (raw is optional)
1 c. pure water
2 probiotic capsules
Your favorite herbs / spices
Dried cranberries, chopped
1. Soak cashews in pure water for 4 hours; drain.
2. Place soaked cashews in a blender with water (start with 1/4 c and add more if needed to get a creamy but not too thin consistency). Open and add the powder from 2 probiotic capsules (any brand is fine). If you have fresh whey or brine from a ferment on hand, you can use that instead of water and probiotic capsules. Blend until smooth, adding extra liquid only if necessary.
3. Place blended cashew mixture into a muslin cloth or nut milk bag, tie, and hang it or place it in a colander with a jar full of water (or other object for weight) on top to help press out excess liquid. Leave it to ferment for 24-48 hours at room temperature. Taste it as you go, and harvest when the taste suits you. It will get more sour the longer you leave it.
4. Add salt to taste. I use Himalayan pink salt. I do not recommend common table salt (it's really not great for you!).
5. Roll 2 Tablespoons at a time into balls and then roll them in your favorite herbs. I like to use rosemary and a little bit of thyme (go easy on the thyme - it's super strong!). I also love the flavors of poultry seasoning! Roll half with herbs and half with cranberries (and cinnamon!) for variety. You can also roll them in chopped dried apricots, or a blend of chopped cranberries and apricots, or cranberries with herbs and pecan pieces. The sky's the limit. Experiment and see what your taste buds like best!
Happy Holiday Season!