I’m still getting lots of questions about last month’s posts on fermenting vegetables at home. If you’re afraid to ferment your own produce, it’s likely because the technique is unfamiliar. I understand the hesitation: Fermentation involves so few ingredients and tools but so much time that you worry about messing it up.
Fortunately, fermenting has a long history, and it’s modern popularity is on the rise. This translates to lots of fabulous resources to help you become comfortable with fermenting fruits and vegetables. Here are some of my favorite sources for fermentation recipes and advice.
Sandor Ellix Katz
Basics of Fermentation, Wild Fermentation, and The Art of Fermentation
Without a doubt, “Sandorkraut” Katz is the big dog in the home fermentation world. He has a range of books tailored to everyone from beginning fermenters to fermentation geeks. If you just want the down-and-dirty how-to on fermenting everything from vegetables to dairy to grains, grab the slim Basics of Fermentation. This was technically Katz’s first book, published originally as a zine and later repackaged and republished with photos that beautifully illustrate the process. He expanded it into Wild Fermentation, now in its second edition, which gives you more how-to details and more of his thoughts on the fermentation revival. If you really want to geek out on fermentation and learn the science behind it and history of it, Katz’s The Art of Fermentation deserves a place in your library. You can also learn more about Katz on his Wild Fermentation website; he teaches and lectures regularly around the world, so subscribe to his newsletter if you want to know when he’ll be in your area.
Favorite “Sandorkraut” recipe: Injera (basic recipe in Basics of Fermentation, expanded recipe in Wild Fermentation, and science and history in The Art of Fermentation)
Twice as Tasty recipes and workshops: Starting with Sourdough, Fraternal Twins: Making Lemon Cheese and Yogurt
I wish I had known Karen Solomon when I lived in San Francisco; perhaps she would have inspired me to launch Twice as Tasty years ago. As it is, I’m inspired whenever I pick up one of her books. She’s fearless in the kitchen, curing meats, making condiments like Worcestershire sauce, and roasting coffee beans and cacao nibs. Most of her books have some recipes that deal with fermentation, but my favorite is her collection of Asian Pickles. How can you go wrong with a book that begins, “My dear fellow pickling aficionados” and lists “weighing your pet hamster” among reasons to run out and buy a kitchen scale? You can also check out some of Solomon’s recipes on her website.
The Joy of Pickling
My collection of fermentation books has been growing, but I still return often to one of the books that got me started with vegetable fermentations: Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy of Pickling. Her book covers everything from fermented to processed to quick pickles. I trusted her advice on fermentation partly because of my success with her other recipes and partly because she does such an excellent job of explaining how various pickling processes work. Her blog, A Gardener’s Table, also contains a lot of thoughts on fermented foods.
Twice as Tasty
Only a few carrots, beets, leeks, and hardy greens remain in my Montana garden, and I just finished my last major round of canning: Grilled Tomato Chipotle Salsa, Grilled Tomato Bloody Mary Mix, and Grilled Tomato Pizza Sauce. So I’m likely done creating new vegetable ferments this year, and we’re already dipping into the stash weighing down the shelves of our fridge. But just because the growing season has ended doesn’t mean you have to stop fermenting other foods. Fall becomes cozy with freshly baked sourdough and homemade cheese—and they’re great snacks while you’re browsing your new fermentation books. You’ll find plenty of info on the blog to get you started or moving forward with grain and dairy ferments, or you can gather some friends for a workshop.
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