Wild and Lazy Fermentation

8 Ferments Perfect for Your Thanksgiving Table

whipped cream

Assuming you can get this out the door before eating it, your host and hostess will surely appreciate the unique dessert topper!

I don’t know about you, but I love Thanksgiving.  Since I’ve lived anywhere from far to very far away from my family since I was 18, Thanksgiving has almost always been a wonderful time for me to journey home to see my loved ones.  This year, work prohibits my husband and I from traveling either to California (his family) or Michigan (mine), so we’ll be doing it up solo.  To keep my chin up, I’m preparing a special meal for just the two of us and I am pretty excited about it.

By now, I know many of you will be busily prepping the foods that can be prepared in advance.  For those of you who haven’t quite finalized the menu, or maybe those looking to bring a unique hostess gift, here are a few ferments that you still have  time to make:

Decadent, Homemade Dairy

Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream - One of my personal favorites to bring as a hostess gift or to go along with a pie!  I put mine in a jam or pint Ball jar, top the jar lid with a pretty, patterned muffin or cupcake foil, attach the jar ring and tie a ribbon around the outside.  Homemade perfection that pairs perfectly with many desserts.

Kefir Sour Cream - Do choose a high quality cream to culture.  I’ve found that some nationally available creams, even organic ones, are less likely to want to ferment than those that I’ve purchased from local creameries. (Protip: use the final product in mashed potatoes or make it into an amazing frozen (probiotic!) dessert by subbing sour cream for greek yogurt in this frozen yogurt recipe from 101 Cookbooks/David Liebovitz.  Add some pumpkin pie spice to make it a killer dessert topping.)

Cultured Butter – Once you’ve eaten this stuff, the idea of buying regular ol’ butter seems absolutely crazy.

I like to use cookie cutters on my cultured butter.  Seems challenging, pro and impressive. Is not.

I like to use cookie cutters on my cultured butter. Seems challenging, pro and impressive. Is not.

Vegan-Friendly Treats

Water kefir or homemade soda- For a little probiotic pop at the Kids’ Table (though adults might love it too!)

Bubbles in a bottle

This kind of bubbly is suitable for all ages!

Sourdough Ciabatta Rolls – Okay, technically all leavened bread is fermented, but if you have a sourdough starter, I think the holidays are a lovely time to share the wild yeasts from your home with friends and family (in bread form, of course).  I stumbled across the Wild Yeast Blog, where I found these delectable looking ciabatta rolls.

Pickle Bar – If you’re a rabid pickle-maker and also hosting this year, you might be thinking, “I can’t possibly get rid of all these wonderful pickles in my fridge, but I need the space!” Time for a pickle bar! You can use some pickles creatively, as specific appetizers (like my paleo “crackers”, or set up several, and pair them with other treats.  I especially like to pair mine with favorites from the cheeseboard.

Pickles and assorted cheese

Pickles and cheese are a match made in heaven

Worth Hitting the Shops

Cheese board – Let’s not forget that classic ferment: cheese!  If you dig some fermented curd but get intimidated at the sight of a big ol’ hunk of monger, check out the link for tips from America’s favorite cheese courtesan, Madame Fromage. And vegan friends, don’t forget, you need not skip the cheese board simply because you skip dairy.  Make some vegan cheese!

And in case you’re looking for an (unfermented) think of beauty for the center of your table, I’m obsessed with this edible table setting from The Kitchn.  I love that it’s a beautiful showstopper but wastes nothing.

Whatever you’ll be serving or eating this year, I wish you all a day of grateful reflection and rest among friends and family!



  1. Posted November 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the ideas!

  2. Posted November 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    These are great ideas!!! Cultured Butter is going on my “to make” list — thanks!

  3. Amanda
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Lindsay! It’s easy and delicious!

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