06 December 2010
A friend passed to me her copy of ‘Wild Fermentation’ by Sandor Katz. I’m a bit of a Sandor Katz groupie now! I think he is amazing; inspiring, talented, humorous, friendly and generous. His style of writing is down to Earth and has such a casual tone to it, you feel like you are sitting there having a conversation with him. A friend who lives in Tennessee recently attended a workshop where Sandor presented! She said it was wonderful and had a different energy to it to see him present live than just to read his words in a book. How very blessed she is to live so close to this wild food crafter. I ordered Sandor’s book ‘The revolution will not be microwaved’ and it arrived yesterday. With sorrel teaming over in our garden, I am keen to look up the ‘shav’ (cold sorrel soup) recipe in this book.stuffed vine leaves w. mint cashew aioli (we used cooked brown rice as opposed to making the ‘raw rice’ mostly because I had cooked rice on hand and no cauli or parsnip!), and our very first and yummy Kimchi. But fermenting is also a game of ‘you win some - you loose some. Yesterday I was mortified to realise I’d lost a batch of sour pickles. My first ever pickles. I was so excited. I'm a bit of a pickle fan and was SO looking forward to my own batch. I used a pasta bowl (which I now realise was too shallow) on top of the cucs in the crock and put two 1.25kg weights off some old dumb bells in the top. They are a bit rusty - but the plan is they don't touch the brine, they just sit dry in the bowl weighting the produce down. I opened my crock yesterday to check how the sour pickles were going and you can imagine my disappointment when I found the brine had expanded and the weights were now submerged in brine - GROSS! There was a rusty brown tinge to the brine. I felt like crying :( The chickens enjoyed the cucs and I have learnt from my novice mistake. Also, we tried to make an apple cider w. store bought apple juice, preservative free, organic etc - but it was on the shelf, so obviously has been heat treated or had some kind of treatment to allow it to be without refrigeration. So this cider just turned sour instead of fermenting. We will be retrying this with fresh squeezed apple juice from our FIG juicing apples.
But here’s the reality check. In decades gone by, when families lived with several generations on one property - they lived and worked in communities that supported each other. Nanna Josie was the sourdough queen, Aunt Bessie was always good with the fermented vegetables and Uncle Ted was the one who had his Great-Great-Great grandfathers recipe for creating the sweetest mead you’ve ever tasted. Then it all came together at meal time. No one person was in their kitchen from sunrise to sunset and even longer hours still; grinding grain, fermenting flours, tending sourdough cultures, fermenting vegetables, checking miso crocks, stirring bubbling meads, culturing dairy, pressing vinegar’s and straining curds for cheese making. It takes a community to SHARE what they are doing for the health of all. So whilst I’m not suggesting we all deck ourselves out in colonial garments, move to a property where we all reside and each takes their own role in this community of conscious living. I do have a vision and a dream... "I have a dream" - Martin Luther King Jr.
Some folk may have different fermentation books or guides and that is fine. But if you are looking to purchase an affordable, easy to read, inspiring and recipe filled fermenting book, I would recommend Wild Fermentation. It is a great all rounder book. Betterworld books is great place to purchase the book. US$16.50 and US$3.97 shipping worldwide. BWB also has a really great business philosophy with funding literacy programs in third world countries as well as saving millions of books from landfill. I also find that most often their books are much cheaper (even new books) than elsewhere.