I’ve been pretty into hard cider for a while, so for this latest installment of Super Food Nerds I wanted to meet some people who could shed some light on the fermentation process. Through the magic of the Internet I found Hayley Jensen, the beer sommelier at Manhattan’s Taproom 307 who, along with her husband, Stephen Durley, the taproom’s chef, is an avid, multiple-award-winning homebrewer and has been making cider at home for a few years.
Jensen suggested we meet at her home instead of the restaurant, which we understood upon arrival: Their small spare bedroom is tricked out with racks and racks of professional-grade brewing equipment and hundreds of gallons of various brews, including Candy Crush, a caramel-apple-inspired “city cider” made from store-bought apple cider.
The couple started making city cider after a trip to Jensen’s sister’s farmhouse, where they’d made cider entirely from scratch. Durley explains: “It was a big process. It took basically a full day to juice all the apples, wash them and take them to the press. Then you have to grind them, press them, get the juice and bring it home. We really liked it, but I was like, ‘Wait: Can’t we just buy some apple juice and have some fun?”
Continue Reading Super Food Nerds: Make Hard Apple Cider from Scratch (Sort Of)
In my corner of the food universe, everyone’s crushing on kimchi these days. We — friends, co-workers, me — make it, share it, gift it, and put it in and on everything. When we see kimchi on a menu, we know instantly what we’ll be ordering. We are, it’s fair to say, obsessed; and in this we are far from alone. But while kimchi soaks up all the plaudits, nobody, it seems, swoons over its European cousin in cabbage-y fermentation, sauerkraut. Who will sing of sauerkraut?
I, for one. Here, let me begin. Sauerkraut — nothing more than shredded cabbage, salt and time — is vegetable fermentation in its purest form. It is to cabbage as wine is to grapes: a complex, lively, astonishingly delicious ennoblement. (Kimchi, which involves more flavoring and manipulation, is a nearer analogue to beer.) The comparison to wine may seem a bridge too far for sauerkraut if all you know is the dull jarred stuff that upholsters billions of hot dogs. But as anyone who has ever made it at home understands, good sauerkraut, with its irresistible mix of salty and savory, crunchy and tangy, is a sophisticated thing of beauty.
Continue Reading Super Food Nerds: Make Your Own Sauerkraut