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Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods - Sandor Ellix Katz, Sally Fallon Wild fermentation“The focus of this book is the basic processes of transformation, which mostly involve creating conditions in which naturally occurring wild organisms thrive and proliferate. Fermentation can be low-tech. These are ancient rituals that humans have been performing for many generations.” P. 3Fermentation:• Preserves food. • Breaks food down into more easily digestible forms.• Also creates new nutrients. As they go through their life cycles, microbial cultures create B vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and biotin. • Some ferments have been shown to function as antioxidants, scavenging cancer precursors known as “free radicals” from the cells of your body. • Fermentation also removes toxins from foods. (example, cassava)Many commercially available fermented foods are pasteurized, killing the prized bacteria. If you want live-culture fermented foods in our food-security-obsessed age, you have to seek them out or make them yourself. The most common ingredient called for in the recipes in this book is water. Do not use water that is heavily chlorinated for fermentation projects. Chlorine is used in water precisely because it kills microorganisms. If you can smell or taste the chlorine in tap water, either boil it to evaporate the chlorine before using the water for fermenting, or use water from another source. Another frequent ingredient is salt. Salt inhibits many organisms, but up to a point it is tolerated by Lactobacilli, a type of bacteria important in many food fermentation processes. I like to use sea salt. It’s fine to ferment with either sea salt or pickling salt, but don’t use the standard supermarket table salt with added iodine and anti-caking agents. Iodine is antimicrobial, like chlorine, and could inhibit fermentation. Coarse kosher salt is another option, but be aware that because of its larger grains, the same weight of salt will occupy greater volume, so you’ll need more of it. P.35Kefir and tara are distinguished from yogurt by both the method of fermentation and the types of organism that the fermentation involves. Kefir and tara are made with “grains,” actually colonies of yeast and bacteria that look like curds, which you strain out of the milk after fermentation, then use to start the next batch. The presence of yeast in addition to Lactobacilli gives kefir a bubbly effervescence and a small alcohol content (about 1%). P. 79Tara or kefir is especially easy to make because it requires no temperature control. The hard part is coming by the grains to get started. For people who do not drink milk, this same process can be done with soy or rice or nut milk or juice or honey water. Oat porridge. Fermenting oats before cooking them not only makes them more nutritious and digestible, it makes the resulting oatmeal much creamier as well. For the freshest, most nutritious oatmeal, coarsely grind whole oats yourself when you are ready to use them, though steel-cut oats or rolled oats will work fine, too. 1 cup of oats. 2 cups of water. Soak oats for 24 hours (longer is okay too) in a covered bowl or jar. The oats will absorb most of the water. When cooking, boil additional water (he says 3 cups, I found this to be too much) with a pinch of salt. Lower the heat, add the soaked oats with any remaining water, and stir until the oats are hot and have absorbed all the water, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly, as the thick, sticky oatmeal can burn easily. 3 to 4 servings. Fruit scrap vinegar. Any fruit scraps (peels and cores, fallen, bruised fruit, overripe bananas, etc.). Vinegar is a recycling opportunity. Just pour sugar water (1/4 cup dissolved in one quart of water) over the fruit. Cover with a cheesecloth to keep flies out, and leave to ferment at room temperature. When you notice the liquid darkening , after about 1 week, strain out the fruit and discard. Ferment the liquid 2-3 weeks more, stirring or agitating periodically.