17 November 2011

Water, Milk, and Cabbage in St Petersburg Russia


The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings

Lewis Carroll, 1872 excerpted from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found ThereThe Walrus and the Carpenter hotlink

Excellent water, the best milk, and homemade sour cabbage bring some pleasing moments to our daily lives... in this the gloomiest month of the St Petersburg calendar!

Never drink water from the tap in Russia!

St Petersburg claims our water is contaminant free before it is piped through the system.  The most obvious problem is poor quality corroded and leaking pipes between the treatment center and our taps.  Also city water includes  some chlorine or chloramine which can be possible dangers for skin, body... and lungs during and after a bath or shower.

We used to use a Brita filter to make potable water.  For a  while we did a second step of putting water through a Heboton, which claimed to make silver water.  We stopped bothering when I found out that colloidal silver water is  apparently of no value, and could be dangerous. 

Clean clear water in St Petersburg? hotlink Our post 09 December 2009 tells more about water here.

Now in the last year we have a big improvement in our lives!  A new kiosk near our front door claims it sells artesian water, with no metallic crud or chlorine, for 24 rubles a 6 liter jug (you bring the jug).  We use around three liters a day.

The attendant puts a curved wand out a small window, carefully filling your container close to the top.

You may notice...

Russians like to hid from each other...  don’t like openness... witness the notices stuck strategically on the window so customers can’t see in.  I crouch down and say pa-see-ba, barely seeing the woman inside the darkened space.

Graffiti is endured, not cleaned off right away.  Exterior appearances are usually not considered important here.


Fresh milk with cream on the top...


Fresh rich milk from a tank on the back of a small truck is sold by competing dairies - both two times a week- one just out the back door of our apartment section, the other by the school.  Around 10 AM they arrive for around twenty minutes.  One liter costs thirty rubles, around a dollar.

Larissa boils it at home, and puts aside some milk for procto-kwasha.  This is a type of sour buttermilk... also known as a clabbered, cultured, or fermented milk.  I enjoy the surface penka from boiled milk after the pan is cooled.

The milk is delicious, as it hasn’t experienced the factory  homogenizing blasting process or had it’s cream mechanically skimmed, and then just a little added back.

Scrumptious fermented cabbage this year!

квашеная капуста!  Larissa hand sliced two large cabbages,  some carrots, worked all in a large basin (no  water added, just a tablespoon or so of salt) and compressed everything in this make shift apparatus of pan, pot, plate and a six liter jug of water in place of a stone weight!

After five or six days the cabbage tasted just right!   The good wife moved the pail to our unheated balcony after putting a jar of this fermented cabbage in the fridge so we could start enjoying the pungent biting flavor right away! 

Fermented Russia hotlink our post from 22 September 2010 gives a lot more background on three ways to practice Russian zymology!

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  1. Thank you for sharing this peep into the simple pleasures of your life.


    1. Hello Padmavani,

      I'm happy you stopped by.

      You write some appealing poetry!




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