>> Sunday, March 30, 2008
he was great. a wealth of knowledge surrounding fermented foods... some of the points he made that i found interesting were...
1. almost all gourmet foods are fermented... cheese, olives, bread, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, etc...
2. fermentation arised as an art because it is the path of least resistance... food ferments!
3. fermentation was a necessity because 38 degree boxes are a new luxury... need to preserve.
4. the double meaning of the word culture is appropriate, fermentation has local flavor.
5. wild fermentation captures local bacteria. just like eating local honey helps local allergies.
6. our bodies are 90% other organisms, we need to maintain their balance to maintain ours.
7. our "disinfecting" culture actually makes us less safe by making resistant bacterias unnecessarily.
8. fermented foods make food more digestable and increase the available vitamins including B12 (earlier...)
he gave a very simple fermented vegetable recipe (which we've done... great!) which i will give here:
chop whatever vegetables you want (raw, although cooked do work). i'd recommend cabbage, carrot, pepper, garlic, crimini mushroom, green beans, romanesco (for looks), and some salt. he said that salt does prohibit certain (potentially beneficial) bacteria from forming, but that lactobacillus (a very necessary bacteria) actually likes salt. his ratio for salt is roughly 2.5% by weight... or just salt to taste. mix those veggies together, squeeze them to slightly break the cell walls down a bit, put in an open jar or crock, and press them down. if their own juices don't cover the veggies, add a bit of water. make sure there is cloth cover on it and just let it sit. it can sit for a long time, just keep pressing the veggies under the liquid. the water protects it from mold growth. if mold does form, skim it off. if you let it sit, the mycelium will penetrate the pickle and make the texture softer (that's desirable in some cultures). we let ours sit out for about a week before we put the top on and tossed it in the fridge, although much slower, longer ferments (especially in cooler climes) can go on and makes the flavor more complex. anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to 3 months, to even 3 years can work, with some variation. this is hardly exhaustive, but feel free to ask any questions.
enjoy... foods with live cultures help us live!