I spent almost a month trying to articulate why I’m so focused on fermenting food at this time in my life. I guess I’m not finished thinking about that, and you can look forward to something more someday. For now, I’ll start with the stuff itself.
What I make shifts with the seasons, and also with what’s in the fridge that needs using. This means the techniques used might shift too. I’m very much an opportunist in my fermenting journey, inspired by what’s in front of me to make something new.
I lactoferment kimchi, nut cheeses, hot peppers, and many other vegetables. They are eaten as side dishes, spread on crackers or put into salads. Some are dehydrated to use as seasonings.
I make milk kefir, which goes in cereal, into a special hot sauce for further fermentation, or becomes a soft cheese.
There are the continuous yeast bugs and honey tonics made from fruits, spices, and sugars, which in turn ferment teas, oats, or sometimes jams with their bubbly goodness. Tibicos, or water kefir, is another beverage fermenter that adds fizzy variety to my collection.
And then there’s koji. With it I make that special hot sauce mentioned above, plus amazake, the creamiest, dreamiest sweet porridgy stuff. I’ve also used koji to make mirin and miso.
There’s vinegar, too, which has its own set of amazing fermentation processes going. I’ve made some very tasty ones, but I’m still studying and learning.
On a typical day I might consume 8 or so of my own fermented foods, in addition to yogurt or cottage cheese, which I purchase. I didn’t even mention my sourdough bread or crackers.
It’s all delicious. It’s always a variety, and my body appreciates it. As I’ll discuss another time, there are other reasons to ferment.
What’s in your life that your body appreciates?
With all my blogging and posting about fermentation, I gather you’re much better than me at actually incorporating it into your daily eating habits. I’m most consistent with sourdough bread (though I go through phases with that) and of course hot sauce. I get the most joy out of sharing my ferments with a very few friends who would be considered “adventurous”, my own parents are mostly not interested unless it’s alcohol.
We eat kimchi every week, in a variety of ways, and that’s what has been most consistent (and my sourdough bread). I want to eat and drink all the things because they’re so tasty! Well, a subsequent blog post will share all the Why, but that’s the main one. It surprised me when I sat down and listed all the fermented foods in my regular diet, and how many I made myself. My husband is less enthusiastic than I about my fermented sodas and teas.