Friday, March 9, 2012

Fermentation (this is not only about wine)


When I was pregnant with our older son, Harry, Steve planted a bunch of daikon radish in the garden with the idea to ferment it and turn it into pickled daikon, a Japanese delicacy. Luckily our attempt to ferment a baby turned out better than the daikon radish experiment, but it started us of on a path of fermentation and we have never looked back! 
Making Kimchi
Soon after our first failed attempt at fermenting, we discovered a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, where we learned that fermenting foods is not only an age-old way to preserve food, but that the process of fermentation actually makes the food more nutritious.
Different types of fermentation yield different results. With beer and wine, yeast ferments sugars and carbohydrates into alcohol. Another type of fermentation, called lacto-fermentation, uses a bacteria called Lactobacillus to ferment things like milk into yogurt. Malolactic fermentation, which is a type of Lactobacillus fermentation, is part of the secondary fermentation which some wine varieties, such as Chardonnay, go through (that's where Chardonnay can get it's butteriness).

It includes Napa cabbage and watermelon radish
Since we have a big garden, we are always trying to figure out easy, healthy ways to preserve the bounty. So over the years we have learned to successfully ferment the vegetables as a way to preserve them. By trial and error, we have gotten pretty good at making lacto-fermented sauerkraut, pickles, olives, and much more!

This past weekend, the cabbage was turned into sauerkraut and Kimchi (a spicy Korean type of sauerkraut) and the weekend before, we made pickled cauliflower (yum!). If you come by the house, you will almost always find something in the fridge that's been fermented. This might even include several experiments which are sometimes amazing, like green tomatoes, sometimes not, like the unripe nectarines. 

The best recipes for fermented veggies are from a book called Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. In his book, Katz reminds us that many of our favorite foods and drinks are fermented including bread, cheese, wine, beer, chocolate, coffee, tea, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, and buttermilk.
the finished product
And be sure to check out his recipe for the Best Sauerkraut Ever!




Jill Klein Matthiasson

1 comment:

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