Fermentation Circle

Saturday 9 April, blog by Kristina Nitsolova, photos by Clementine Sandison

It is a wonderful thing to realise how much can be learned in the space of a few hours, even if the subject may be the ancient practice of fermentation (pre-dating agriculture).

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It took an afternoon in the Soil City lab to motivate me to turn all the leftover vegetables (especially cabbage) from the weekly Locavore veg bag into all sorts of delicious sauerkraut experiments and to give rye sourdough bread making another go. Hearing about the different approaches to preserving and preparing food of experienced Glasgow-based ‘fermentators’ made the use of natural fermentation techniques seem less of an aspect of countryside life and more of a possibility for a healthy urban diet.

Some great books to guide the novice as well as those more experienced in the art of fermentation, are available in the Soil City library- The Art of Fermentation and Gut reveal a lot about the principles and health benefits of incorporating more naturally fermented foods into our modern diets.

Not only did we get to taste Clem’s sourdough rye bread, beetroot and cabbage sauerkraut, and yogurts, Martin’s white cabbage and caraway seeds sauerkraut and kombucha, and Lindsay’s allioli but we had a go at making some sauerkraut with seasonal (very aesthetically pleasing) vegetables, and even ferment some wild garlic.
On a personal level participating in the Fermentation Circle was a way to switch off from the politics of our global food system and its ills (which I often find thinking about and discussing) and re-connect with food as a source of nourishment and health when produced/processed/prepared using natural methods- another valuable point of engagement with sustainable food activism, in my opinion.