|Befriend the Microbes & Viva La Ferment Fever!|
|Saturday, 26 May 2012 15:18|
Industrial culture views wild microbes as a danger to eliminate. This mentality fuels product sales. Anti-bacterial mouth-rinses, wipes, soaps, detergents, and sprays are purchased and applied to our hands, scalps, bodies, children, pets, homes, and gardens with zeal. But here’s the rub: without these ubiquitous tiny critters, we are toast. Wild microbes permeate the air we breathe, our entire digestive systems, all of the plants and soils in our gardens. They are responsible for all decomposition and they form a protective sheath on the surfaces of leaves, our skin, and even our tongues that help fend off disease. All healthy pre-industrial cultures knew this at some level. They partnered with microbes to predigest and preserve their foods, to fend off disease, and to recycle their wastes.
Here at VEG we are not only at peace with the microbes - we seek them out to productively collaborate on a regular basis. Sitting quietly in Amanda & Dan’s kitchen today you can hear or see the activity of billions of tiny helpers. Sourdough bread is rising, beer, ginger beer, cider, honey mead and kefir (a yoghurt-like milk culture) is bubbling, sauerkraut, kim chi (Korean vegie ferment) & poi (Pacific sweet potato or taro ferment) is pickling. Each meal includes at least one fermented food to assist with digestion.
We have found that partnering with microbes to create nourishing food goes hand-in-hand with edible gardening, and we want to share the joy. In collaboration with the lovely folk of Transition Hobson’s Bay, VEG’s Amanda and Jayne are leading a series of four different workshops titled Viva la Ferment Viva. Each workshop covers a different area of fermented food in a hands-on four-hour session over three successive Saturdays in June. See the details of each workshop here and a recent newspaper article about them here.
So, there you go, whether from books or experience or from workshops like these, befriend the microbes and continue your journey with billions of tiny colleagues at your side (and in your gut, and on your tongue, and everywhere!).
Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz is a must read, and we don't say that lightly.