On Monday myself and Elea had the joy of attending a Daylesford Farm workshop at their shop in Marylebone. It was a treat. The event was hosted by nutritionist Rhaya Jordan who shared her knowledge on all things fermentation, it's nutritional value and showed us how to do a lacto-fermentation and a brine fermentation. Which meant we got to go home with a jar of sauerkraut and a jar of beetroot that I am utterly looking forward to cracking into. All the best workshops end with you taking things home!
Rhaya herself was marvellous and spoke to us with a great balance between technical terms and general information but still keeping everything accessible. Daylesford Farm Shop was a lovely venue and all the staff went above and beyond to ensure we all had a great workshop. For £15 it was great value for money and I'd definitely attend more (hint hint Daylesford...)
So what did we learn?
Fermentation is a way of preserving fruit and veg by anaerobically (without air) degrading them in a brine to cultivate good bacteria - probiotics (that same stuff the yakult ads talk about). It's the lactic acid released that gives you that sour flavour that you love so much in things like yoghurt and kimchi. Eating ferments regularly is good for you as it helps to diversify your gut flora and, if you grow your own, it's a great way of getting a longer shelf life out of your produce. Most people don't get enough probiotics in their diet and in the world of ferments yoghurt is actually quite low in them and you're better off cracking a jar of fermented veg.
Some top tips from the workshop
Artisan cheese will be fermented so is actually good for you. Yes, you read that right, go eat cheese.
Eat a ferment when you like it - if it tastes best to you at 4 weeks in rather than 4 months eat it at 4 weeks
No two batches will ever taste exactly the same, embrace that
add a tea to your brine to add tannins and keep your veg crunchy
You can add any herbs and spices you want
You can ferment almost anything
Ferments and pickles aid digestion so it's a good idea to have some as a side with your meals
How do you do it?
There are 2 ways, that we found out about, of fermenting. Lacto-fermentation which is where you use salt and pressure to draw liquid out of the veg and jar it covered in it's own liquid. Or Brining which is where you cover your chosen veg in a premade brine. Both ways you need to make sure your veg is completely covered so that the anaerobic process can happen. Keep an eye on this blog as when my harvest gets in full swing I will be fermenting, pickling and preserving galore and recipes will pop up left right & centre.
Peace, love and cider