Monday, 2 March 2015

My Journey to Fermentation

I am certifiably the laziest blogger out there, no doubt. I feel like every post I do recently starts with "sorry it's been so long"! Life seems to get in the way and whilst I'm usually documenting photos on my iPhone (I don't even bother with the proper camera now days), I never seem to sit down and write.

So, today I will write. I'm going to tell you a bit more about my journey to better health in 2015. Several weeks ago I went to a fermentation course at a wellness centre called the Purple House which in Fourth Tasmania (outside Devonport). They also have a highly recommended cafe called Alchemy. But I digress. At this time, I was already experimenting with making my own sauerkraut after hearing of the health benefits and then my friend Lori, told me about the fermentation course at the Purple House. We booked a session and went on a road trip to find out more.

The information I got that day was somewhat of a lightbulb moment for me. The benefits on our health through eating fermented foods is astronomical and it's not just limited to sauerkraut. There are various drinks like Kombucha, water and milk Kefir and Kvass. There is a process called lacto-fermentation which means you can ferment foods like hummus, strawberries and vegetables. You can ferment butter and of course, sourdough is a form of fermentation (just to name a few.)

From left to right: Kombutcha (fermented tea), water kefir (fermented water), fermented hummus and sauerkraut
I'm not going to go into a detailed explanation about why this fermentation is good but I will give you a simple explanation. The immune system is very much connected to the "gut" and fermented foods-drinks are full of probiotics (good bacterias) which fight bad bacterias when they get into your system. So the more good bacterias that you have in your system, the less likely the bad ones are going to be able to survive if they come along. You follow?!

Since going to the fermentation course at the Purple house, I have a whole set up of fermented foods on the go. It's like a witches cave at my house, things brewing here and stuff bubbling over there! Oh and the smells...when I have a new batch of sauerkraut on the go my house smells like (there's no nice way to put this) FART! That said, I have been able to localise the smell to one little Eski BUT, it still smells the house out if I open the lid so I simply go outside with my Eski of sauerkraut when I need to check on it's progress. I should also mention that despite how bad it smells whilst fermenting, it tastes awesome (we eat it as a side dish at least once a day)!

Sauerkraut is soooooo easy to make. It's simply vegetable or fruit (or both mixed), a little salt and a few weeks of fermenting. How easy is that! If you're interested in giving it a go, here's a basic recipe which I have taken out of the book that I got at the Purple House:

My tips are:

* Make sure the vegetable is always submerged in water/brine (top it up if you need to). And if you can, weigh it all down with something like a cabbage leaf with a small shot glass on top of it.
* House your sauerkraut in a Eski of some description which keeps a stable temperature but also contains the liquid that spills out during the fermentation process.

* Use a spring and rubber lid type jar rather than a mason jar if you can. The mason jar works fine but the process corrodes the lid.

If you can't be bothered with making sauerkraut yourself, you can buy it at the health food shop but expect to fork out upwards of $15 per jar. If you do it yourself it only costs as much as a few vegetables. You can do the math!

There is so much going on at my house at the moment. I'll endeavour to share more of my fermentation adventures plus cooking and renovating over the next few weeks without having a huge break between posts.

I hope you're all well. Oh and if you're interested in doing the Purple House's fermentation course for yourself, check out their website or their Facebook page as they regularly hold sessions.


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