Peach leaf starter & drying

Yield: 1 Starter

Measure Ingredient
1 quart Fresh peach leaves, unpacked
3 cups Water
3 \N Baked potatoes, medium size
½ cup Yellow corn meal
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt



Bring water to rolling boil and steep peach leaves in it for 15 minutes. Drain liquid and add enough water to make 3 full cups again.

This will have a rather unappetizing green color but don't worry! It will disappear during the fermentation process. Peel hot baked potatoes and put through a food mill or sieve. Scald ½ cup corn meal in 1 cup of the liquid until it reaches boiling point and thickens. Stir constantly so that it will not become lumpy. Now combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl (do not use metal or plastic). Cover with cheesecloth and set in warm place (about 80 to 85F) until well fermented. In warm humid weather this will take about 24 hours. In cool dry weather a few more hours may be required for mixture to become active throughout. Stir every few hours during the process. When it is ready, pour into a large glass jar (I use a 2 quart glass pickle jar with porcelain lined zinc lid). Store in refrigerator at about 38 degrees. If necessary stir down a time or two until it stops foaming. It is ready for use when about ½ inch of clear liquid has risen to the top. This will take about 2 days.

Stir well each time before using.

When the starter has been used down to about 1 cupful, add 3 cups water, 3 medium sized baked potatoes, ½ cup corn meal scaled in 1 cup water, 3 Tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. salt prepared as for the first time (no peach leaves). Set in warm place until it becomes very active in about 6 to 8 hours. Store in refrigerator and it will be ready for use the next day.

Peach Leaf Dry Starter:

Follow directions for making Peach Leaf Starter until it is ready to store in refrigerator. Sterilize about 2 quarts of corn meal for 1 hour in oven, at low temperature so that it will not brown. Stir often. After it has cooled stir as much of this into the fermented mixture as it will absorb. Spread ½ inch thick in flat pans. When it has set enough, cut into 1-½ inch squares. Separate and lay on clean towels or absorbent paper to dry. Do not place in the sun. Be careful that insects do not have access to it during the drying process. When completely dry and hard, wrap each cake in small squares of cellophane and seal with tape. Store in refrigerator in moisture proof container. This will keep for a year or more.

Only a portion of the starter mixture may be taken to make a small amount of cakes if desired. Then only a proportionate amount of corn meal need be sterilized.

A starter from Dry Yeast:

A starter can be made by combining 1 cake Peach Leaf Dry Yeast, ½ cup warm water, ½ tsp. ginger and 1 tsp. sugar in glass bowl. Cover with cheesecloth and let stand in warm place (80 to 85 ) until a white film covers the top of the water. This will only take overnight in warm, humid weather, a little longer in cool weather.

Add ½ cup water (room temp.), ½ cup white flour and 1 tsp. sugar.

Let stand until foaming actively. Stir often. Pour into glass fruit jar and store in refrigerator with lid loose until foaming has stopped. As soon as about ½ inch of clear liquid has risen to the top the starter has ripened enough to use.

Posted 10-17-93 by PAT STOCKETT on F-Cooking MM by MMCONV and Sylvia Steiger, GEnie THE.STEIGERS, CI$ 71511,2253, Internet sylvia.steiger@..., moderator of GT Cookbook and PlanoNet Lowfat & Luscious echoes

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