Fermentation Tools, Equipment and Ingredients

You can spend lots of money on tools and gadgets designed specifically for making fermented foods—airlocks to let gas escape from jars, lids with small “windows” you open in order to release gas, glorified glass jars rebranded as “small fermentation crocks,” expensive weights, mandolines to cut vegetables quickly and uniformly… These tools all sound nice […]

Why and How to Make Sauerkraut and Krautchi

Click here to jump to the recipe Why ferment? People have fermented foods for thousands of years. At first, ferments must have happened by sheer accident—a handful of vegetables forgotten in salty water or a misplaced bowl of porridge, discovered days later and showing signs of life and gentle bubbling. When those first curious cooks tasted these supposed mistakes, they would […]

Garlic-Dill Pickles

For pickles, fermentation was the primary means of preservation until the 1940s, when direct acidification and pasteurization of cucumber pickles was introduced. — The Art of Fermentation Store bought pickles may taste good but to render them shelf-stable, food manufacturers pasteurize the cucumbers in vinegar. On the plus side, they last forever. On the down […]

Fermenting Versus Canning

Updated 06/11/17 fermentation noun     fer·men·ta·tion     \ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən, –ˌmen-\ “[The] process by which microbes consume sugars and produce acid, alcohol and gases.” — from The Good Gut “The transformative action of microorganisms.” — from The Art of Fermentation Often when I discuss fermentation, people say to me “Cool! I’ve always wanted to try canning.” Before I started fermenting […]

Happy Birthday, Eleanor (How to Make a Sourdough Starter)

one year old sourdough starter

Click here to go straight to the recipe Updated 04/19/20 A year ago I wondered if Eleanor would make it to this day. I had baked with a couple of other sourdough starters before Eleanor came along, and I thought they exhibited fundamental flaws—they lacked vigor, they smelled too acidic, they produced lackluster loaves. As I’ve come […]