Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Salt of the Earth

You are the salt of the earth.
But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?
It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

                                                                                            -Matthew 5:13

I take carrots, shred them, sprinkle them with salt, and mash them into a jar. 
I take lemons, cut them, sprinkle them with salt, and mash them into a jar.
I take cabbage, shred it, sprinkle with salt, and mash it into a jar.

And then I wait.  It takes a few days.  I check it, looking for signs of fermentation.  After a few days, I see the magic, the bubbles forming at the bottom of the jar, between the leaves of cabbage.  I see them slowly floating up to the surface.  And when I open the lid and finally taste, I can see and taste the transformation.  What was cabbage, firm and peppery is now sauercraut, soft and sour.  What was once lemon rind, hard and bitter is now a delicacy, soft and citrusy.  What once was carrot, crunchy and bland is now a relish. 

Every traditional society has its own cultured food, and often a vegetable. Long before refrigeration, cultures developed methods for perserving foods so that their abundant seasonal supply would continue to nourish their families instead of simply spoiling in a basket. 

And what single ingredient was most often used to prevents spoilage?  To turn abudance now into another abundance later?  Salt. 

Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the world. 

What does it mean, I wonder.  What are you telling me?  Do I have power, really, to transform?  To enter into the world and utterly change it?  To take what is ordinary and turn it into something with lasting value? 

In these jars, there is new life.   What is old has actually been transformed.  Before, the vegetables were filled with valuable nutrients, but now they also teeming with microflora, with powerful probiotics.  With just a little sprinkle of salt, these foods have been converted to lacto-fermented foods and can heal our bodies, protect our bodies, nourish our bodies. 

This is the secret:  salt does so much more than perserve.  It does not just guard, protect what was already there.  The salt transforms foods into something even greater. 

So, I mash away.  I sprinkle and I mash some more.  As I do these things, I hear his words:  You are the salt of earth.  You are potent.  Change your world. 



  1. Looks delicious! Can't wait to try it out - do you have any measurements for the salt or how long you let things ferment?

  2. Actually, these recipes are from Nourishing Traditions. The jars you see above are filled with sauercraut, preserved lemons and ginger carrots.

  3. So here we are almost two years later at the eve of a new year, and I am thinking about how appropriate your words are as a theme for a new year. " You are he salt of the earth. You are potent.Change your world." Even if our world of influence is small, Jesus asks us to be the change within it.
    Though I am not Arabic at all, I identify with looking at the culture I live in and somehow feeling not quite a part of it. I wonder if this isn't supposed to be a part of our Christian experience-- being in the world but not of the world. We as Christians are mow part of a new kingdom, where Jesus is King. How can we ever feel truly like we belong to any culture in this earth?

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  5. Oh, and I am also a Nourishing Traditions fan/follower, and currently trying to figure out a workable sourdough routine into a busy life with two teenagers...and all the driving around....

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Trying this recipe? A question or a comment? I'd love to hear from you!