Oh how I love cooking classes! Especially when I’m the student (and not the teacher). I did a cooking workshop called The Art of Fermentation at my local organic store (New Harvest) and it opened my eyes to another way of preparing food.
Fermenting foods is a process that has a long history. For many generations, humans have preserved food to aid digestion and store goodies away during the changes of the seasons. It has been found that certain types of pickles ‘cool’ the body during hot weather, while others ‘heat’ the body during cooler weather.Fermented foods supply us with Vitamins B and C as well as vital digestive enzymes that help to improve our immune system by balancing the flora in our gut. Instead of getting your probiotics from things like yoghurt, you can actually get it from fermented foods. Fermenting foods make raw foods more digestible and avoid the use of harsh vinegar.
To do it yourself, you will need:
- Japanese Vegetable Pickle Press (aka Salad Pickle Press) – this is usually a large container with a disc attached to a screw that presses down the vegetables. you can usually buy them at health food stores or online.
Two bowls – if you don’t have a vegetable press, this method will also work (it’s just messier). Place the vegetables in a bowl. Place another bowl inside the first bowl and weigh it down with books or a brick so that the second bowl is pressing the vegetables. Place both on a tray as the water from the vegetables will spill over the edges once the fermenting is in progress.
- Organic sea salt, celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt
- Umeboshi – you can use this Japanese salted plum or its paste.
- Umeboshi vinegar (“ume su”) – available at most health food stores or Asian supermarkets
- Grainfields probiotic fermented drink – lemon and ginger is excellent. This drink helps the pickling process and ensures that the product helps create a balanced gut flora in your digestive system.
SOURCE: Many thanks to New Harvest and to Angie (pictured above) for a fantastic workshop and for teaching me new skills.