This blog is a place to share my passion for cooking and inspire people to cook more from scratch. With six people in the family, cooking is something that is always on my mind. I want to share some of my favorite foods and recipes and share more about traditional diets (like the kind of food our great, great, great grandmothers would have made). Right now I am fascinated with fermented vegetables, coconuts, seafood with a cerviche twist and organ meats... although maybe not all in the same meal!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dr. Kraut Makes House Calls!

OK, well maybe not in person, but I felt like I hit the Daily Double when I went to my local library and saw that they had a copy of a fermentation workshop with Sandor Katz, aka Sandor Kraut and master of all things fermented.  Considering that I've not had good luck with our library lately in that either most things I want to borrow are either already checked out or not even carried, I was so excited to see this video available for viewing.

If you are not so lucky to have this in your local library, I would say it is worth a purchase which you can do here at Fermentation Workshop.   (And no, I'm not sponsored for saying that!  Although I have found Sandor's books and videos to be very worthwhile so if this ever finds it's way to Sandor Katz please let him know I am happy to endorse his products!  I'd love to get to one of his workshops someday)  Sandor is known for his book Wild Fermentation which is a wonderful resource on all things fermented with tips on making bread, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and Kimchee, yogurt, beer, wine and all kinds of other things you might not have considered.  He is also well known for his workshops that he gives on various fermented topics in Tennessee and also around the country.  If I had unlimited time and funds and didn't have the responsibilities of motherhood, I certainly would have liked to have seen him recently at the Freestone Fermentation Festival in California.  So the wonderful thing about this video is that until you can work it out to see Sandor in person, you can learn quite a bit just from watching his video!

What I love about Sandor Katz is how he makes the whole process of fermentation seem less daunting.  He just gets right in there and chops away and makes you feel confident that you CAN DO THIS!  You don't need special cultures, you don't need fancy equipment and you don't need to stress about it.  I remember when I made my first batch of fermented veggies several years ago; I tasted just a wee bit of it and waited to make sure I didn't keel over!  Sandor addresses the fear that most people have about food left at room temperature and I admit a few years back I was no exception.  He explains how fermentation is actually one of the safest ways to preserve food and how all the good bacteria that you need is right on the vegetables so you don't need to stress about thinking this is a complex process.  

In fact, one of the blessings of my adventures in fermentation is that I am less bacteria phobic than I used to be.  It is not that I don't appreciate that there are bad bugs out there, but that part of the best way to defend against these bad bacteria is to build up your supply of good bacteria and when you ferment foods, you do just that.

I was so inspired after watching Sandor's video that I went out and bought a large ceramic platter that makes a wonderful base to squeeze lots of vegetables at one time and I made a gigantic new batch of kraut filled with many of the seasonal vegetables in my CSA farm box for the week.  The kraut should be ready in a few weeks and I can't wait!

Also posted at Real Food Wednesday

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