The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Learn how to make fire cider this November at Beaver Brook. Courtesy photo.

Upcoming classes

Maple Hill Farm, Beaver Brook Nature Center, 117 Ridge Road, Hollis
Register at
Pickling: The Traditional, Easy & Probiotic Method
When: Sunday, Sept. 6, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $18
Fall Fermenting: Make Sauerkraut, Kimchi and Cider Vinegar
When: Thursday, Oct. 1, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $20
Create your own fire cider
When: Thursday, Nov. 5, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $15

Beneficial bacteria
Beaver Brook hosts probiotic food series

By Allie Ginwala

Last month, Beaver Brook Nature Center hosted a class on homemade soda, the first in its new series about fermentation and probiotic foods. Noticing the recent trend of learning more about the benefits of bacteria, the center will host classes throughout the fall about making probiotic foods at home, with the next installment all about pickling on Sunday, Sept. 6.

“If there are some people really wanting to work on their gut and health this would give them a number of different skills and recipes and food groups they could work on themselves,” Celeste Philbrick Barr, education and community affairs director, said in a phone interview.
While Beaver Brook has offered fermentation-based classes before, this fall will be the first time they’re offered as a series.
“Some of these things seemed like old-fashioned, and now it’s cool again,” she said. “It’s kind of bringing it back onto the table so younger people can learn it.”
Rivka Schwartz, herbalist and Beaver Brook instructor, will lead the monthly classes, each of which will be a hands-on style, allowing guests to sample and also take home recipes to try on their own.
Philbrick Barr and Schwartz worked together to come up with the class topics, chosen based on what foods would be best for the time of year and also what products will be available to use. Since the next class takes place in the height of the harvest season, Schwartz will incorporate a lot of local produce.
“You can ferment just about any vegetable,” she said in a phone interview. “It’s [the class] an overview of different things you can ferment and also just seasonal because we’re using seasonal products from this area.”
The pickling portion of the class all depends on what she sees fresh at the market that morning, but will most likely include zucchini, turnips or radishes. She’ll also show the class how to make corn relish, mustard and salsa. 
Apart from introducing people to tasty and healthy recipes to try at home, Schwartz hopes to dispel thoughts that pickling is a tricky process.
“A lot of people have in their minds that it must be something difficult to do [because] you look at pickles at the store and they’re very expensive and you imagine this must be a whole process, but really there’s nothing easier then fermenting,” she said. “A quart of pickles only takes 10 minutes … for someone who wants to do it at home, and it’s very simple.”
Following the shift in the seasons, the October class will cover sauerkraut and kimchi with a final class in November about fire cider. 
“That is an amazing remedy that is great to do in November,” Philbrick Barr said. 
Made up of horseradish roots, garlic, onion, ginger, chili pepper, cider vinegar and more, fire cider is a tonic used to combat head congestion, a cough, sore throat and other ailments that winter weather brings about. 
After making it last year, Philbrick Barr is excited to make her own tonic again, which will be ready to use once it steeps for six weeks. During the class, Schwartz will talk about the medicinal benefits of the roots in the fire cider, which can be taken on its own or as a salad dressing.
As seen in the September 3, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu