Fermentation: Best Way to Preserve Food

I first made sauerkraut in 1983, using a recipe I found in a book. This was “wild” fermentation, with just salt and cabbage. The first batch was excellent; the second, a failure. I chickened out, started making pickles with vinegar, and canning tomatoes and chutney. Now, many years later I’m back to making fermented foods, but this time I’m using whey, a lacto-fermentation starter that pretty much guarantees that your batch will come out fine.

A couple of weeks ago I joined some friends at the Lama Foundation where we presented a workshop on preserving food and traditional food preparation. The next few blog posts will be about fermentation: why it is so great, how to do it, and some excellent recipes (milk, meat, vegetables, drinks).

Why is fermentation the best way to preserve food? Three main reasons: the food ‘s nutritional value is actually increased during the fermentation process; it doesn’t take fancy or expensive materials, nor electricity to make or store; and it lasts a long time (but you are going to eat it up before it ever gets too old).

So stay tuned for a fall extravaganza of fermentation: and no, this is NOT alcohol, and NOT vinegar, but rather lactic acid / old timey fermented foods like our “great grandparents” used to make. Delicious, easy, safe and fun.

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