About Shannon

Real food, sustainability, and homesteading are inextricably intertwined on the off-grid homestead Shannon, her husband and three children inhabit. She shares the insanely beautiful and shatteringly hard of it all on her blog Nourishing Days. She also works as a content writer and blog editor for Cultures for Health.

Lacto-Fermented Pickles Header

Make Old-Fashioned Brine Fermented Pickles Like Your Great Grandmother

I’m standing at the kitchen counter of the cabin my husband built for us when we moved off-grid. It’s over 90 degrees, it’s approaching the lunch hour, and my three children, aged 1 – 6, are getting hungry.

A set of red headed pigtails is at my side while I chop the mid-summer vegetables that need preserving – summer squash, cucumber, and a few green tomatoes that came off the vines too early. They’re all going into a gallon jar of pickles that will contain no vinegar, will never be heated or boiled, and will not see a lick of refrigeration.

These are old-fashioned brined lacto-fermented pickles. It’s a mouthful, in more ways than one, but these are the pickles our great grandmothers made. They keep for months, if prepared properly, I really appreciate the health benefits we enjoy from them, and though I’ve made them for years, I appreciate them even more now that we’re taking a crack at this sustainable off-grid homesteading life.

Oh and they are dead easy to make. [Read more…]

Lacto-Fermentation: A Healthier & More Sustainable Way to Preserve

This post was originally published on July 16, 2010. Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

In March we ate the last of 5 1/2 gallons of lacto-fermented vegetables. They stored for over six months in our refrigerator and I didn’t boil a single pot of water.

I think everyone should try lacto-fermentation for three reasons:

  1. The product is a living food, full of enzymes and probiotics.
  2. The process is much faster than waterbath or pressure canning.
  3. The process (and storage) can be done with zero energy usage.

A healthier product in less time and with less energy usage? Yes please!

[Read more…]

How Meat Fits Into a Sustainable, Ethical Diet

Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

There is a scene in the film Food Inc. in which a seemingly nice guy is interviewed about his giant confinement feed lot. In that interview he states that if the consumers were to demand ethically-raised meat, the farmers would change their practices to meet that demand.

In other words, the power is in our hands. Every dollar we spend on factory-farmed meat is a vote to continue that method of farming.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually feed my family meat every day. I have learned that our family is healthier with meat in our diets, but we try to avoid conventional meats at all costs and I try to serve a lot more vegetables with tons of nourishing fats as a large part of our meal.

Walk into a grocery store, though, and you’re likely to be staring at labels with claims that could mean just about anything, and often not what you might think.

The truth is, these labels are about tricking you into thinking animals live happy, carefree lives when nothing could be further from the truth. To find good meat… real meat… you have to outsmart the labels and beat them at their own game. [Read more…]

Healthy Fats Make Healthy Children

Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

Becoming a mother may just be the most intense and terrifying thing that I have ever done. There was that whole giving birth thing, which was supposed to be the hard part, right? But then you enter the world of breastfeeding, books, ideologies, and the tornado of information that comes from parenting “experts” of all sorts.

In the midst of it all is this incredibly personal thing called feeding our children. When all you have heard for 30 years is “Fat is bad!” you tend to want to feed your children according to that philosophy.

But that doesn’t make any sense. Breast milk, the perfect food for baby, is at least half fat, much of which is saturated fat and even (gasp) cholesterol. I don’t believe that a child’s need for saturated fat and cholesterol ends when weaned.

And I am not alone…

[Read more…]

The Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread (Recipe: Whole Grain Sourdough Bread)

Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days

I wish you could smell this bread. It smells of handmade farm tables and loaves shaped by the hands of our ancestors. It is the kind of bread that you slather thick with butter and eat with soup when snow falls and winds howl.

This is sourdough bread – tangy and moist, dense and nutty. It is the bread made for centuries before the invention of commercial yeast packets.

For over two years we did not make or keep bread in our home for health reasons. Bread now graces our table once again, but without the ill effects we felt before. And it is all thanks to the wonder that is traditional sourdough bread and the many health benefits it contains.

[Read more…]