We live in a culture that fears bacteria.
But what we are learning is that bacteria are our friends and allies! They are all around us and intricately and intimately involved in our lives. And when it comes to food they offer us good health and good taste.
Rachel Turiel continued are edible education with another preserving class: The Art of Fermentation
She helped us to demystify fermentation,
the process by which food is altered by microorganisms,
teaching us the benefits and giving us the tools to do it ourselves!
Why ferment food?
Fermentation preserves food while enhancing the nutritional value and increasing beneficial flora. It also adds a great culinary tool to our repertoire by strengthening flavors.
NOTE: Cassava, a staple food in the tropics, raw contains cyanide but fermented is edible!
History of Fermentation
Fermentation may have been discovered before fire. Indeed, many ferments were probably "discovered" by accident, not "invented."
In our class we made kimchi. It was a lacto-ferment meaning the bacteria active in the process was from the family Lactobacillus, which are beneficial bacteria found all over, including in our guts. Our role in the whole endeavor was to make an environment that the good bacteria, the lacto-bacteria, could proliferate in while arresting any bad, putrifying bacteria.
The process was really quite easy:
Keep submerged under water.
Let the bacteria do their thing!
If you would like to know more check out Rachel's Kimchi recipe (she says once you understand the process you dont even need a recipe!) and the handout she gave us.
Also, here is a video of a well-know fermentation revivalist (as he calls himself), Sandor Ellix Katz, to help you through the process.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
New England cheese making supply co (online) to order cheese culture
More fermentation recipes from Rachel (Ginger Ale and Pickles)
What's your favorite ferment?
Rachel Turiel is a freelance writer, urban homestead tender, and aficionado of all things DIY in the kitchen, much to her children's chagrin.
She teaches workshops and blogs at 6512andGrowing.
Workshop series made possible by