One wants to take in fewer bad calories, definitely fewer nutritionally 'empty' foods, but convenience items like butter and mayonnaise, or God forbid... margarine... which slick up or sauce our staple foods cannot be avoided without withdrawal symptoms (perhaps), and therein lies the problem !
But this need not be so. Nutritionally empty sauces and spreads can be avoided without compromising on taste, even improving taste a lot.
Delicious pre and probiotic vegetable butters can be used as sandwich spreads, dips, mayonnaise or thick sauce on any food. They are prebiotic because they contain root vegetables and other plant food known to feed your gut bacteria with complex carbohydrates, and they are probiotic because they can be made using home made fermented foods. The home made ferments used in this recipe are home brewed vinegar and or probiotic home-made salt pickles.
The recipe for golden vegetable butter contains more probiotics, oil and salt, and less vegetable sugar, and that for red vegetable butter more prebiotics (root vegetables, onion family and cabbages are all good prebiotics), less oil and salt, and more sugars in the carob and beetroot. Beetroot has a great reputation for reducing blood pressure, so I would pin the red vegetable butter as more heart friendly, and the golden one as more diabetes friendly. However, some health nutrition streams propose that at a deeper causal level, sugar is the enemy in hearth health, not fat. There are many conflicting nutrition theories out there, and I'm not a qualified nutritionist. For the sake of your own health, don't take my word, do your own research. Knowledge is power, especially the power to health !
The vegetable butters are healthy and nutritious, while containing no empty calories, no poisons, and especially no refined sugar, unlike most fatty sauces that come store bought. They do contain some good oil and they do contain some salt if home made salt pickles are used, but these are a tiny proportion of the whole, which is mainly pureed vegetables, and the vegetable butter itself is used in small quantities, as butter would be used, making your final intake of salt and oil very small. You can also play with this recipe to your heart's content, to suit your own health and taste, this is just a basis.
2 cups of boiled potato, peeled and sliced
2 cups of boiled carrots, chopped
Herbs boiled with the root vegetables, or use fresh or rehydrated herbs later in the preparation
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of wild sage
½ cup of lemon-salt pickle chopped, with hard pieces like pips removed (you can use achar, or Moroccan preserved lemons, home made is better as the store bought kind may contain preservatives)
½ cup of vinegar (home made live vinegar is best)
½ cup olive oil
Blend everything with a stick blender
Spoon the mix into jars, one for the
fridge and the rest for the freezer, as it will not keep for longer
than a few days and must be consumed quickly. On trying this, freezing destroyed the creamy texture of the butter, making it fibrous, but still fine and spreadable, its up to you how you solve this preservation problem. Fermenting the butter itself could be one solution (see below).
8 tamarind pods (they grow all around the city)
1 sweet potato
3 cabbage leaves
1 raw onion
6 garlic cloves
3 T olive oil
2T wild live vinegar
Boil tamarind pods and root vegetables and keep the boiling liquid.
Steam cabbage leaves in a steamer over the boiling vegetables till quite mushy and soft
After boiling remove seeds from tamarind pods.
Chop everything and add the onion, garlic cloves, oil and vinegar.
Blend everything with a stick blender.
Suggested changes for stronger flavor
Add more spices, ginger and garlic to the golden vegetable butter.
You could remove cabbage, minimize or remove potatoes, add more garlic, and spices, nuts or seeds to any of the mixes, but I found them quite tasty enough for a toast spread, with lovely vegetable flavors.
After a party where I used vegetable butter in four different colors to make the food painting seen in the header image, to be used as a dip for chips, I had rather a lot left over, so I decided to add salt and allow the butters to ferment in the bottle. As with 'kraut' recipes, I used 2% by weight of un-iodized salt, this is just kraut in a much finer form. The fermentation teacher Zayaan Khan ferments tomato paste to make traditional fermented ketchup, so why not ferment the vegetable butter too ?
I added different spices to each paste to lift them from vegetable blandness which I like in a vegetable butter. Above you can see: butternut, sweet potato and curry spice (yellow), potato, kefir, onion and classic vinaigrette spicing (white), herb and chard with classic spicing and lime and curry leaves (green) and beetroot, carob, star anise and cardomom (dark red). All mixes originally contained added liquid, either home brewed vinegar, kefir or the reduced liquid from boiling the vegetables to make the vegetable paste softer and more creamy. All in all, depending on the mix, I selected some of the following: onion, mustard, root turmeric, star anise, dill, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, Carolina reaper chili, rice (to help with the grinding in a coffee grinder), lime leaves and curry leaves. I will report back here if the fermented pastes age well.
I did once make a pear paste left over from vinegar brewing. I did not add salt to it, just sugar, bit by bit over several months. Last seen it was two years old, and brown with no mold. I was testing the durability of the pear paste as a base for making chili sauces. I cannot vouch for the safety of any of these combinations. I am experimenting wildly.
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