KYF #021: Listener Questions

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In this episode of Know Your Food with Wardee, I’m taking listener questions. Topics include: getting started with fermented vegetables, sourdough bread troubleshooting, herbal tea for pregnancy and breastfeeding, reactivating a sourdough starter with “aged” flour, how to make homemade salted peanuts, and how to get started with sprouting nuts and seeds. See below for the questions and answers, plus links to resources I mentioned in my answers.


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Newsy Items

At the beginning of this episode, I mentioned a few newsy items.

First, there’s a few days left to enter the giveaway from Zukay Live Foods. Everyone wins — no kidding!

Second, I’ll be in Arizona in March and I want to get together with you, probably on Sunday, March 24, 2013. If you are interested in getting together with me and other Phoenix-area friends, please email me at contact at gnowfglins dot com or use the contact page. I’ll forward your info to Sonya, who is coordinating our gathering. She’ll be in touch with info when we get things more nailed down.

And finally, I shared how much fun we’re all having in the Dehydating eCourse! It isn’t too late to join us! Membership is quite affordable.

Listener Questions

Here are the questions I answered in this episode, in the order they’re answered (in case you want to skip around). The podcast contains my answers, plus if I mentioned any additional resources, they are linked here along with the question.


Christie asked (via voicemail): What would be the best fermented vegetable with which to start? She’s tried other fermented vegetables (like kraut) and didn’t like the taste. What would be more mild that she’d be more likely to enjoy?

I suggested several recipes:

And of course I have to mention there are loads more recipes in my books Lacto-Fermentation eBook and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods, as well as my online class in lacto-fermentation.

Let me know how it goes! :)

Katie (from Girl Meets Nourishment) asked (via voicemail) for help with sourdough bread baking. She’s having trouble with loaves that are gummy and sticky inside. She’s changed rise times and baking times without success.

Full explanations are in the podcast; here are brief points of what I suggested:

  • Is the starter really active or would it benefit from babying it to get the concentration of organisms higher and the activity level higher?
  • What types of flour have you tried? Spelt and hard white wheat are lighter than hard red wheat.
  • Is the dough too wet or too dry? Either can cause this (surprisingly!).
  • Is your house temperature on the cool side? This can prevent a good rise — try a warmer location.
  • If you’re doing single rise, add a second rise (punch down in between). If you’re double rising, add a third rise (punching down in between).

Katie, if you have any questions about what I suggested in the podcast or want to add any other information, just leave a comment below. :)

Further info: Starting your own starter (free instructions), online Sourdough eCourse, Sourdough A to Z eBook.

Osanna asked: I have a friend who is getting ready to breastfeed – she wants a tea that’s good for her body and building her milk supply. I thought of you, because I value your advice about so many things!

When I was giving birth, my midwife recommended I make a blend of red raspberry leaf, oatstraw, and nettles.

Naturally Knocked Up

I asked my friend Donielle, blogger at Naturally Knocked Up and author of the book by the same name. She recommends her fertility tea blend. However, leave out the red clover and the don quai, and also the red raspberry leaf if she’s earlier than third trimester. And you can add fenugreek, which is a good herb for milk supply.

Here’s Donielle’s fertility tea blend recipe.

She and I both would recommend doing it as an infusion for greater concentration of nutrients and minerals. The instructions are in her book and the blog post.

Kindra asked: Hi, I have a question regarding sourdough bread. I searched your site but did not find an answer to my question and am hoping you can help me. I ordered my culture for whole wheat sourdough and the instructions say to use “aged” flour. My understanding is that this means that fresh ground flour should be left at room temperature for up to about 3 weeks. However, won’t this make the flour go rancid? Have you heard anything along these lines?

Short answer is that you want to use aged flour so nothing competes with the organisms you’re trying to revive in the starter. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to use aged flour for the most healthful bread, but in this instance, it is the best choice.

Having said that, I have revived starters with fresh-ground flour and with success. :)

Further info: Starting your own starter (free instructions).

Bethany asked: My daughter (age 10) and husband both love salted peanuts. I have crisped peanuts (previously in the oven, but now with my new Christmas present…an Excalibur dehydrator!!) which they’ll eat occasionally, but miss the salt. Is there any way to salt crispy peanuts like the ones you can buy in the store?

Yes! Take your crispy peanuts and toss in melted coconut oil and salt. Then roast in a single layer at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, checking frequently to prevent burning and rotating trays as necessary.

Mandy asked: I’m trying to learn as much as possible about sprouting seeds and nuts. Do you know the best way to get started?

Yes. :) Refer to this post on sprouting beans; the same principles apply no matter which “seeds” you’re sprouting. Soak overnight, then drain and rinse. Rinse twice daily until sprouted (1/8″ to 1/4″ tail), then dehydrate to crisp them back up (or blend up and use wet in recipes).

Choose raw nuts — others may not sprout. The exception is organic almonds that are H2O pasteurized (by law); they will often sprout.

I also teach sprouting of various seeds in my online Fundamentals eCourse.

And that was it — have a blessed week, everyone!

Got Questions or Comments?

I’d love to answer your questions or share your comments on the air. Here are the guidelines:

  1. Share your name and where you live.
  2. Share your website or blog URL (if you have one).
  3. One question per voicemail — leave as many voicemails as you’d like.
  4. Keep each question brief — like 30 seconds or less, if you can.

When you’re ready, click the button below to record your message.

If the button doesn’t work for you, visit this page to leave a voicemail. Or, want to use the telephone instead? Call 1-541-236-2330 to leave a voicemail with your question or comment. Or, you can contact me.


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This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. says

    Thank you for answering my question, Wardee!

    I really appreciate it. :) I am hoping to get my sourdough bread back to rising perfectly and your tips will definitely help me. I am going to try to baby my starter, it has been quite cold here in Montana so I am thinking that must be playing a part in this.

    I usually use our own sprouted flour but I will start mixing it with some spelt and whole wheat. I am wondering if the gluten level is too low preventing it from rising? I’ve started putting the loaves in the oven with the light on, and it seems to be helping get it lift up better! We had a few batches of wheat-berries (we use Wheat Montana Prairie Gold) that sprouted a little too long, could that also affect the ability for the sourdough to lift the bread?

    I will get to experimenting with my sourdough, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer this as I love sourdough and want to keep using it in many things!

    Love your blog and podcast, I listen to it every week!

    PS – here is a link to the recipe I use to make my bread every time. it usually is tried and true until this winter! My parents and sister have still had a lot of success with recipe so I know it must be something that we are doing differently:

    • says


      Good point on the gluten content. I should have thought of that. With sprouted flour, the gluten is partially broken down so those baked goods don’t rise so well. The longer you sprout, the more gluten is broken down. So between the temperature and the sprouted flour, that could explain your difficulties.

      Thanks for sharing your recipe, I look forward to trying it. :)

      • says

        We will try to keep an eye on our sprouts and make sure they don’t get out of hand! I’ll let you know what happens after we bake our next loaf. :)

        My husband just got home and I am playing the podcast for him and he is very appreciative of your help too!


      • says

        Hey Wardee!

        We had success with a sourdough loaf! We bought some spelt flour at the store and made a 50/50 mix with our sprouted flour and it worked great! We kept the loaf in a warm place to rise and we were so excited when we cut into it and it was soft and completely non-sticky!

        Thanks for all your help! :)


  2. Kirsten Stevens Evans via Facebook says

    Catherine Carson Clark, fruit chutneys are a great way to start! Wardeh has a beautiful Apple raisin one that isn’t tart at all. Truly delectable. 😉

  3. Deborah says

    I have your book..The Complete Idiot’s Guide… And think it is great. I have tried to adapt the fermenting guidelines to fermenting a combo of cauliflower and sliced carrots. The results vary and sometimes I get a great batch and sometimes the flavor is off. I have tried to tweak it…not too salty, etc. Any advice? I like a good amount of brine with it. Thanks

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