The Joy of Fermentation
Saturday, 08 November 2014 00:00  |  Written by Guest Contributor | Blog Entry

Yogurt with Berries and Nuts photo by Peter GigerI’m addicted to fermentation. It started innocently enough—my boyfriend’s mom gave me the old yogurt maker that had been sitting unused in her cupboard since the 1970s. I simply had to plug it in and leave some milk (and a little yogurt culture) to incubate for six hours, but I soon realized the vast potential for experimentation. What if I tried a different kind of milk? Or left it out for 12 hours instead of six? I could make it sour or sweet, thin or creamy. With little tweaks to the process, I could sculpt a unique creation that precisely fit my tastes. Or it could surprise me!

Soon, the corners of my kitchen filled with my fermentation projects. I made kefir and clabbered cottage cheese, sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha and root beer. My kitchen came alive! Every time I open the cupboard below the stove to check on my kombucha, I feel a surge of glee: It looks different than it did yesterday! Tasting the final product is even better, because I get to experience the joy of transformation.

Fermentation is healthy, saves money and connects us intimately to our food, but it also has a learning curve. Some of my early projects didn’t come out so well, but nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment I get at that sour-tangy taste of well-fermented food. I feel self-sufficient and crafty, giddy like a preschooler presenting her masterpiece to mommy.

Feel free to experiment yourself. I’ve recommended some books below that will help. And if you want an easy recipe to get started right now, try the lacto-fermented root beer recipe posted in Eco Recipes on this site.

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Additional resources:
How to Make Kombucha: My Raw Kombucha Recipe
Eat Life = Receive Life: Eating a Diet of 'Living Food'
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice
Fankhauser’s Cheese Page
Traditional recipes in the spirit of Dr. Weston A. Price and Sally Fallon

[This piece was written by Lindsay Meisel and provided courtesy of the Society for Agriculture and Food Ecology (SAFE). – Ed.]

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Eco Tip

Lower your thermostat temperature in winter and raise it in summer. In winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees or less during the day (and wear a sweater) and 55 degrees or less at night (and add an extra blanket). Wear less or use a fan instead of air-conditioning on all but the hottest summer days. When you must use air-conditioning, set your thermostat to 78 degrees or more.  More tips...

Eco Quote

He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Essays, Second Series, 1844   More quotes...