About a month ago, after doing some research, I started my foray into food fermentation. I have known about this for a while but it is only recently that I got interested in exploring this for myself. It seems to be the latest food trend these days. Fermented food is supposed to be good for us. Probiotics and all that jazz, you know!
This is what convinced me to explore the art of fermentation: Sandor Katz and the Art of Fermentation. Listen at your own risk. You might find yourself running to the nearest grocery store to get a head of cabbage after listening to this Food Program by BBC! Sandor Katz, also known as Sandorkraut is a self-proclaimed fermentation revivalist. Fermentation is his passion and has been since the first sauerkraut he made over 2 decades ago. His mission is “to encourage home fermentation experimentalists and propel more live-culture foods out into our culture”. You can find out more about Sandorkraut, HERE.
So What is Fermentation?
The Marriam-Webster dictionary defines fermentation as:
- a chemical change with effervescence
- an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (such as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid); broadly: an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound.
In the words of the Wellness Mama:
Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
Why Did I Start Food Fermention?
I love making things from scratch and I love the idea of foods that are nutritious and benefits my body. I have digestive issues and I’m hoping that the addition of fermented food into my daily diet will help with restoring my body to its optimum functioning. Moreover, my husband loves it. I can’t be certain that eating fermented food is as beneficial as it is proclaimed to be. I tend to be skeptical about the newest research reports and discoveries and prefer to trust my own body when it comes to what is beneficial to it or not. So the jury is out on this one. I think this is something I will know over time.
For now, I really enjoy doing it and will continue doing so.
My First Two Batches of Fermented Food
The first batch I did was sauerkraut made with cabbage with ginger and garlic. To 2/3 of it, I added chili pepper flakes as my husband really enjoy spicy food. I didn’t follow a recipe I ended up with 3 1-litre jars. I let this batch ferment for 3 days. Although quite good, this batch had a bit of a bitter aftertaste. My husband loved it. For me, I would have preferred it without the bitter taste. I now know that this was a result of adding the ginger. As you can tell in the picture above, two or the jars have chili pepper flakes. In all honesty, I wasn’t so sure I would like this so I made more of the spicy one as I knew that my husband would like it possibly more than I would. It took us about 2 weeks to go through these 2 jars.
My second batch just completed its fermentation time. My husband and I tasted it after 3 days and we both felt that it needed a bit more time. This could be because I’m now using 1.9-litre jars instead of the initial 2-litre jars or it could be because I packed the jar more. So I let it ferment for another 3 days. This time, I didn’t add ginger and garlic to the sauerkraut. I did add chili pepper flakes to one of the jar and to the other, I added caraway seeds. Yummm! I really like this one! Both are really good. Although the spicy one is too spicy for me. This time I ventured into trying carrots. To the carrots, I added ginger and turmeric. This one is good but has that little bitter taste I didn’t like in the first batch. So obviously, it is the ginger. I also did a fourth jar which ended up in the garbage as I wasn’t sure about it. This one had carrots, apples, ginger and allspice. The top layer of apples had a greyish colour and both my husband and I weren’t sure about the smell. So we decided not to take our chance with that one.
There are a few more things I would like to try. I would like to make Kimchi. My son loves this stuff and it would be a nice surprise for him. I also want to ferment fruits. However, I will use a recipe next time I do this to make sure that I do it properly. I’m not a big fan of throwing food away. I also would like to do fermented chutney. Here’s a list of some of the recipes I have set aside to try:
- Fermented honey garlic
- Fermented salsa
- Lacto-fermented Crazy Raisin Chutney
- Lacto-fermented Pineapple Salsa
- Fermented Apple Salsa
Doesn’t that all sound so good?
If I have peaked your interest and you might be thinking of venturing into making your own fermented food, a good starting point is any videos by Sandor Katz. You will see how easy it really is. YouTube has quite a few videos you can watch. Check them out HERE!