In our state, Health is one of the required subjects for homeschoolers. One of the ways we fill that requirement for the TruffulaBoyz is by taking it to their tummies. We cook and learn about nutrition. This year, we're taking a more focused look at fermentation and its uses and benefits.
The mamas in our small coop got excited about the prospect of learning about kefir, kombucha, and kraut. However, our childrens' collective attention was likely to zoom right out the door at the mention of those lovely ferments. I thought that the word "ketchup", on the other hand, might cause ears to perk up.
This is how I ended up with 5 boys in my not-so-big kitchen, slicin' and dicin' ingredients for their very own batches of lacto-fermented red stuff. 5 cutting boards... 5 paring knives... 5 mixing bowls... 2 compost containers for gathering their scraps... 5 stirring spoons... lots of measuring spoons... and 4 pots.
Yes, 4 pots for the 5 kids. To make the experience more "advanced" for TruffulaBoy the Elder, the oldest guy in our gang, I assigned him a different recipe. His recipe was raw, and avoided the cooking step. To make his batch, he had to step through the ingredients and instructions on his own (with lots of consultations along the way). Also, before he did anything, he had to work the math to halve all of the ingredient amounts.
Excitement built as each boy announced that he had assembled and stirred everything he needed in his bowl, transferred his batch to his pot (or not, in the case of the raw recipe), jarred it, and carefully labeled his product. Then came the disappointment: the waiting period! It would take a few days for the bacteria to work their fermenting magic...
Here are the recipes we sampled:
- A Real Food Ketchup Recipe (with lacto-fermented option)
- We exercised the lacto-fermented option. I selected this recipe because it avoided whey; some of our cooks were dairy-free.
- Lacto-Fermented Homemade Ketchup
- This was the "advanced" recipe in our afternoon "class." It included whey. It also used more spices.
Which recipe is better? They are both good. In our family, each of our cooks deemed the one he made to be the tastier one. Of course. I found the additional spices in the "Lacto-Fermented Homemade Ketchup" to lend a more complex flavor to the end product. I also have another ketchup recipe in the wings for even more taste comparisons.