18 October 2011

Liz Crain has an idea on how to spend that $5 in your pocket

We heart Liz Crain at the Market. She is generous with her time, willing to dive in to any task, and a lover of food. What more do you want from a friend? Liz, Market vendor Dave Barber (Picklopolis & Bingo) and George Winborn have teamed up to organize this Thursday’s Fermentation Fest at Ecotrust. Earlier this year Liz stopped by our NW Market to talk about fermenting and food (watch the video below). As for now, she writes about how she will pretty much ferment anything that holds still.

Read on, visit Liz’s website, where you can load up on official Liz Crain merchandise or drop by Fermentation Fest this Thursday. It will be the wisest $5 bucks you ever spend.

Article by Liz Crain

When my boyfriend and I moved into our house in North Portland in 2006 (we lived in Southeast Portland prior) we got busy tilling the front and back yard and getting things in the ground. As a first-time home owner I’d dreamed of establishing a garden that I wouldn’t have to give up or break down a year or two down the road. Amongst other things, we planted a Bartlett pear and Brooks plum tree in the parking strip that first spring. Several weeks later we noticed the plum trees blossoming in our side yard. Yes, trees.  In our defense, they’re kind of difficult to identify since they’re very tall, crowded and have grown into almost a thicket.

So, lots and lots of plums pushed me in the direction of fermenting lots and lots of homemade plum wine. I’ve been fermenting various foods for years thanks to Sandor Ellix Katz’s book Wild Fermentation and I use his fruit and flower wine recipes every year as my jumping off point.

The first homemade wine I ever made was dandelion wine and now I make that with my friend and her daughter every spring. Fruit wines came later and began with plums, as you know, followed by  Black Tartarian cherries because our friend’s tree was loaded with these Bing-like cherries two years ago. I love home fermented fruit wines because they’re super tasty – I use champagne yeast and ferment them until they’re a nice off-dry – and the perfect realization of whatever fruit they’re made from. Fruit + water + sugar + yeast + time. I usually ferment my homemade wines for nine months to a year.

Portland is heavy with fruit throughout the summer and fall but if you have a hard time getting your hands on enough for a few gallons of wine (I usually use 1 part fruit to 1.5 parts water) volunteer for a harvest party with Portland Fruit Tree Project. You’ll come home with a bunch of fruit that several months to a year later, after a few easy steps, you can toast with. If you love fermented food and drink as much as I do be sure to make it to this year’s third annual Portland Fermentation Festival on Thursday, October 20th from 6-8pm at Ecotrust where you can sample all sorts of homemade fruit and drink ferments!

Watch Liz’s video!