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Fermentation

This page is a support resource for the talk I gave at Savour Stratford 2012 and then again (in an adapted version) as part of Uniiverse’s MOTOFO week, on vegetable fermentation. It will also act as a general summary of my related content and will grow and evolve over time.

Thanks to everyone who joined me for the workshops. I had a great time chatting with all the attendees. I’ll be updating this page to add more resources to answer your questions with more detail than we had time for. Check back here or drop me an email at info@foodwithlegs.com and I’ll keep you posted on developments.

Recipes

Pickled Turnip: This is the perfect beginner ferment. It has a simple list of ingredients, is more or less foolproof, and can be made at almost any time of the year.

Wild Dill Pickles: Obviously I have covered this territory before and have several posts on the topic.

Spicy Sichuan Sauerkraut: My latest project is matching technique from one culture to flavours from another. Here the traditional German sauerkraut process plays well with a bunch of Sichuan spices.

Further Reading

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods I can’t stress too much how important Sandor Katz has been to the movement to revive traditional fermenting. This was his first book and has many recipes that I’ve used (and adapted from).

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World┬áKatz’s second book on fermenting is more of a textbook to Wild Fermentation’s recipe pamphlet. It’s thorough, well-researched, and very balanced. I expect this will be the unequaled reference for a very long time.

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats This book is more about embracing certain traditional foods as part of a complete lifestyle. Many recipes. Some parts are considered controversial.

The University of Georgia extension service is the accepted resource in the US for government-approved, tested methods of preserving. Here’s their page on fermented pickles.

Asked Questions

There were a boat load of really good questions during and after the talk in Stratford. I feel like I had useful answers for most of them but I’d like to give some more detail, or clarify on a few.

Where did you find the unrefined sea salt?

The one I had at the workshop is unrefined, grey sea salt from Guerande that is sold in 1 kg bags under the brand le Paludier. The price was quite reasonable.  This type of salt is the optimal choice (but not necessary) for wild fermentation brines because the trace minerals that are left in probably help keep whatever is being pickled crunchy.

I think I said I found it at Bulk Barn. It was actually Highland Farms. Bulk Barn is a good source for coarse sea salt. I’ll give updates if I find this salt in other grocery stores.

What can I substitute if I can’t find Korean chili powder for making kimchi?

Gochugaru is the Korean name for the chili powder that gives kimchi its heat. It can be tough to find outside of Korean markets and the smallest container may be too big for the beginning kimchi maker. Chili powder cut with cayenne was my on-the-spot answer and I think it’s a pretty good one. It works even better if it’s a high-quality, spicy, Indian chili powder and posters to this thread on discusscooking.com suggest going an extra step by adding a pinch of smoked paprika.

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