Friday, April 4, 2008

Wild Fermentation

On Sunday, at The East End Food Coop here in Pittsburgh, I got to hear Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods...a book I love! He also wrote The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements.

He demonstrated fermenting veggies, and though I've made them so many times before, I'd never massaged the veggies and salt together first, to release the juices, then stuff it into the jar and push it down with my hands! I was always so careful to touch as little as possible, but Sandor just digs right in! We sampled his previously fermented veggies (10 days and 3 months, then also a fermented squash which I liked) on some sourdough bread.

That night I put up my sourdough starter (whole wheat flour mixed with water, covered with a cloth napkin) and today I baked the bread (mmmm, best I ever made!) and put up my red cabbage, green cabbage, daikon and carrot (all mixed and grated) with salt to ferment.

Fermented vegetables are incredibly safe to make and eat (no chance for botulism...that only happens to canned foods, very different!) These foods are live and teaming with beneficial bacteria to help digestion, help the flora of the gut, and give a pungent bite to many a salad or meal.

Then last night at the Coop, Dave went to a talk on keeping bees....

(ps...Dave's talk Acupuncture De-Mystified will be given at the East End Food Coop on Wednesday, April 9, at 7 pm. Hope to see you there!)


Anonymous said...

I would love to learn more about the fermenting preparations and what your favorite items to ferment are! I've never done it, and wonder if this is the way sauerkraut is made...

Birch Center said...

Yes, this is the way sauerkraut is made! Although many store-bought sauerkrauts have been pasteurized, so the great probiotics in them have been killed. It's awesome to make them yourself because it's safe, easy, and a healthy living food. (And delicious.)
Let's see...the one I just made was red and green cabbage, carrots and daikons and salt. That is really good. I also love putting fenugreek seeds don't need to soak them first, they get nice and soft as they sit in the veggie juice to ferment. I've made lots of combinations...I often put in sea veggies like arame or hijiki, and different herbs and spices. I put a bit of garlic in once and it tasted too strong for me. Perhaps I didn't let it ferment long enough. It's fun to experiment. I almost always use cabbage as a base and then go from there. Hot peppers in it make good "kimchis."
You can find recipes online, and also in that book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz (which is in the Carnegie Library system in Pittsburgh.)