Wednesday, June 06, 2018

A relatively energetic day, including chopping everything up and launching Brad Leone’s fermented Giardiniera recipe. Mary Lou, I managed to spend my whole adolescence in New Jersey without encountering Giardiniera -- but it was the 1940's, and my mother wasn't very interested in food.

 All quiet so far – he warns that it is a particularly explosive fermentation. If I make it again, I’ll mix everything together in a bowl and then cram it into the jar and then pour the brine in. Brad starts with brine, then seasonings, then the chopped vegetables in layers, then some vigorous shaking. But he’s a strong man, I’m an old woman. (Google YouTube Brad Leone giardiniera)

I’ve figured something out, here. Fermentation adds zizz, and a vinegary taste, and preservation – but it can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. There’s got to be something tasty in the jar to start with. Another thing I figured out, is that silage is fermented. (I looked it up; that’s true.) Sauerkraut for cows.

I thing I have noticed – perhaps because all of the many fermentation videos I have watched on YouTube are American – is that nobody mentions how easy it is to calculate how much salt you need for a given percentage of brine, given that a millilitre of water weighs a gram. That is, indeed, I think, the very definition of a gram. So, for the 3.5% brine I wanted today, I filled my measuring jug with 500 ml water and weighed – get this right, Jean, or you’ll look very silly – 17.5 grams of salt.

Measuring jugs here are marked both in millilitres and fluid ounces, and have been so for many years. Perhaps not in the US.


I’m well into the third peerie for Alexander’s Calcutta Cup vest – about 11 inches. KD, for the Macrihanish, says I need 16.5” to the underarm. Meg doesn’t specify, and her schematic doesn’t include such information. I could work it out, given her gauge of 7.5 rows to the inch, but that’s a good deal harder than millilitres and grams. I’ll do one more Fair Isle band, and one more peerie, after I’ve finished this one, and then see how the cookie crumbles.

The new Fruity Knitting is a good one. Di Gilpin is delightful, and also a most energetic and interesting woman. Andrea is very keen on Alice Starmore’s “Glamourie” book, and has earmarked two things in it to knit. Should I look again? I thought it was altogether OTT, on first inspection. But maybe I need it for the completeness of my knitting library?


  1. Anonymous10:27 PM

    Jean, I did Meg's FI for my tall DH and knit to 18"' to the underarm. I t was exactly right. so 16.5" might be good. Mary in Cincinnati

  2. Anonymous11:10 PM

    I am so impressed at your fermentation experiments!
    Glad you are trying out these food ideas.
    It's often hard to make cooking for one interesting so relishes/side dishes can really perk up the plate.

  3. Yes, Pyrex liquid measures have had both millitwrs and ounces at least since the 1970s. What cheers me even more is how many websites — and now, even some printed cookbooks for a US audience — include ingredients by weight in grams, as well as by volume.

  4. Anonymous1:03 AM

    I think the problem for American cooks is that we usually don't have a scale in our kitchens,

    As a knitter, of course I have a scale to measure my yarn, and it does live in my kitchen. But I only use it in the kitchen when I am making tsukemono - fermented Japanese cabbage.

    Beverly in NJ

  5. I have a scale in the kitchen, but it is an irritating one that requires some juggling to switch between metric and imperial/us. I should look for something better. And Jean my Catholic School and 'hood was Italian and Irish, more Italians, so that may explain it.

  6. This is completely out of the blue, but I have a question about Edinburgh. I will be visiting there on June 24-26 and would like to know if there are some Scottish or UK wools that I am unlikely to find in the US? I generally go for the lighter weights, like lace and fingering. Thank you, Dianne