If there’s one thing you need to learn to do – for the good of your guts (and broader health) – it’s to ferment.

Making my sauerkraut, shooting for I Quit Sugar For Life
Making my sauerkraut…a shot for I Quit Sugar For Life (recipe in the book). Photo by Marija Ivkovic

Fermenting is a big focus in my second book, I Quit Sugar For Life (which you can preorder now), and I feature a bunch of cultured recipes – including a beetroot relish which is great on hamburgers(!) and fermented cucumbers. Which are pickles. But better.

Here’s a bit of a blurb on why fermenting your veggies is so good for you. Also:

If you’re already a fan of fermenting, you may have heard of Sandor Katz, the US-based fermentation guru. The I Quit Sugar team and I are bubbling with excitement to be going to one of Sandor’s fermenting classes in a few weeks. And it gets better for you, my dear readers: Milkwood Permaculture, who are hosting the event are giving away four tickets – for yourself and three mates – to attend Sandor’s evening workshop in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne. Details below! 


If you want to know more about the fermenting classes, the details are here. You’ll be learning how to make everything from krauts to kefirs to sourdough to… beer.

If you’re keen to win the tickets (you must be able to attend the evening workshop in either Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne – please check the dates in your state), simply add a comment below sharing a fermentation tip or question. The winner will be chosen on Monday February 3 at 5pm, AEST.

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • tip: use clean jars… Argh!! I Don’t know ANYTHING about fermentation, but I’m DESPERATE to. I’m due to have a baby in June this year and my naturopath says babies get their first dose of good bacteria in the birth canal (gross but great) so I need to up my intake of fermented foods in the last few months. This course would be perfect for me as I’m a ‘watch and learn’ type person more then a ‘read then do’ person.
    Please, please, please send me 😀
    * side note: have been up early looking at baby furniture and cloth nappies this morning… it’s all big $. Winning a course like this would make it possible to do.

    • GreenEve

      I was going to add a comment, but then I read this one and thought, yes, she really does deserve a place there, the babies are our future 😉 so I vote for Krysten x

      • Sweet of you GreenEve! xox

    • Hey Krysten, We’d love to send you. Please email [email protected] before Thursday Feb 6 to claim your tickets! Congrats.

  • Bec Carter

    I have crohns disease and have just started following the GAPS diet. fermented foods and bone broths are big healing foods so I would love to learn from the best. I’m a single momma with 5 year old twins and time for experimenting at home doesn’t happen often! I would love some help to learn.. how do I make coconu milkt kefir? I’m lactose and casein intolerant. Thanks!

    • You can use milk kefir grains ( not actually a grain) to make coconut milk kefir. However the kefir does need sugar to feed on so the grains won’t last as long as if they were being fermented in cows milk (which can last for ever if looked after) You could try using water kefir grains instead and make coconut water kefir which is delicious and the grains can last for ever.

  • Kat

    I recently discovered sauerkraut (Peace Love & Vegies) and would dearly love to be able to make my own. I love making my own foods, and usually ‘tote’ my meals. I freely admit to knowing nothing about fermenting but I plan to learn. These fermenting classes would be the first step to an endless supply of my own Sauerkraut and more! Beetroot relish sounds delish! Fermenting is the next part of my better health journey. The chance to win these tickets is a little exciting! 🙂 I shall be ‘playing’ around with your sauerkraut recipe this weekend. (plus that’s my birthday weekend….what a great way to spend it)

  • Andrew

    Tip: If you live in a chillier climate or it’s the middle of winter in Melbourne a great way to keep your fermented drinks going is to set your jars/bottles on a Brewer’s Heating Pad which can keep a constant gentle temperature perfect for fermenting. It’s been a lifesaver for keeping my kefir going over winter.

  • Kelli

    If you don’t already have a copy Sandor has a great book – The Art of Fermentation! A great book FILLED with everything you need to know about fermentation. I too am keen to learn more and would love to go to a class with Sandor. I have started out simply and now make my own yoghurt – so simple and so free of everything you find in supermarket bought yoghurt!! I love it! Looking to broaden my horizons and try sauerkraut and maybe Kombucha!!!

  • Inner Pickle

    My fermentation conundrum: how to make your own apple cider vinegar on the bench without attracting swarms of drain flies that then follow you around the kitchen like a cloud? Sandor! He’ll know!

  • Nicola

    I would like to know any tips on incorporating fermented foods into babies’ and toddlers’ diets. Very excited to try fermenting at home, and would love to go to a Sandor Katz workshop!

    • Hi Nicola, as per my comment above, the way I’m getting my toddler into fermented foods is to start him off slowly. So we started with veggies only fermented for a few days, then the next batch we did a little longer. etc. The first few batches won’t have heaps of probiotics in them, but the aim is to get them use to it at first. 🙂

      Also, our toddler loves fermented drinks. Either the ginger-ade here on Sarah’s website, kombucha (use de-caf tea!!), or water kefir. 🙂

    • I give my daughter water kefir with a little lemon juice. She thinks its homemade lemonade. You can also make milk kefir into a lovely smoothie using any fruits your child likes.

  • Klyne

    Tip: mix miso paste, almond butter and a little hot water for the YUMMIEST spread on toast (especially sprouted spelt bread mmm). If you add more hot water and make it a runnier consistency it’s also a super easy and delicious dressing for steamed vegetables!

  • Emma

    I have been attempting to make ginger soda the last couple of weeks … and had to throw out the first batch, as I left a tiny hole in the cover, and when I went to stir it one morning, a cockroach had got in and drowned … so my tip is to cover the ferment properly!!!

  • Lisa

    I’m diving into it now & I’ve got my ginger bug brewing although I have a question I don’t actually have any cane sugar in the house so I’ve used coconut sugar will that still work? Ps I would love to go to the brisbane workshop 🙂

  • Prue

    I would love to attend a Sandor Katz workshop!

    I would really like to start making my own kefir and would like to know the best way to source kefir grains?

    • Macbee

      Hi Prue…this article is uncannily timed, i’ve just started experimenting with kefir grains in the past 3 weeks to try & alleviate my IBS…I found my grains via eBay! The milk ones I collected here in Melbourne myself, but the water ones came all the way from Perth in a regular mail envelope (in a snap lock bag inside of that of course) and have been doing me proud since they arrived. I’ve been making loads of lemon & ginger fizzy kefir water and it is DELICIOUS. Hope this helps…good luck 🙂

    • Bec at Growing Home

      Prue, just for your information, you can buy kefir grains on eBay or several places online, as Macbee said, they are quite transportable, as long as they are packed with a food source and arrive quickly! You could try asking on your local Freecycle, maybe relevant facebook groups, classifieds, or put a wanted ad up on a local noticeboard (in a health food store!) for anyone who has some to spare. Good luck, it can be fun trying different flavours too… we did our water kefir second ferment in apple juice for a fizzy, slightly sweet drink!

    • I bought mine on ebay as well. 🙂 I just found a seller close to me so that they would get to me the next day.

    • you can purchase them from http://www.naturaltherapyshop.com.au

  • Tanya

    My tip is to join a like-minded group of fermenting people who I promise do not smell. Fabulous Food Ferments have been one such group who are a wealth of knowledge and inspire me to keep learning and experimenting.

  • Sonja

    can you ferment raw food or do to have to cook it first, some receipes tell you to cook it first for e.g. beetroot?

    • Bec at Growing Home

      I have only ever done it with raw foods. I would think that the cooking will remove the natural lactobacillus, so maybe you would need to reintroduce those (with whey or kefir or bit of yoghurt ‘water’). I have done LF beetroot and carrot sticks, and they lose their ‘rawness’ a bit once fermented, so are not hard in texture. I have read recipes for beetroot, where the beetroot is grated, which I would think would mean the texture would be softer than pieces turn out. BTW, If you cook the foods after LFing, they will lose their extra nutrition too.

    • I’ve done both raw and cooked beetroot. The cooked version was softer, and the raw stayed crisp. 🙂

  • svarga

    Tell your jars you love them everday

  • Emma

    Hi- thanks for sharing Sarah & Milkwood. So many questions, but especially whether there are particular fermentation processes/vegetable choices that are best for encouraging good flora in the gut? or if they all benefit? Would love to be able to finally learn about preserving/fermentation processes- Brisbane class would be fab!

    • Hi Emma, They all benefit and mixing them up is great. Milk kefir has the most strains of probiotic in as well as Vit B and minerals. Fermenting veggies also have some probitotics but have the added benefit of digestive enzymes. So having a spoonful at the start of a meal will mean you will be better able to break down and digest your food and so get the most of the nutritional value from them.

  • Jody Taylor

    Am new to fermenting and have just started my kefir and kombucha journey not for my own well being but for my family-having a normally well child become ill was a difficult experience that rocked our world. Our lives have changed forever especially his and at 10 years old he handled his illness with maturity and wisdom beyond his years . Real food and fermenting are the key and would love yo attend this workshop to ensure my family can be the best we can be .

  • Matt Rothman

    So much food and drink we consume is fermented without you even knowing it cheese, bread, wine, beer not to mention or the classics like sauerkraut. And kimchi.. I started with fermenting veggies from my garden like berry wines and fermented butternut in winter with excess veggies .. The key to fermenting is experiment and record.. Every day, town or city gives you different temperatures for your fermenting ….Hot Tip… Watch, Listen, Smell & Taste

  • Ciara

    A fermentation talk on valentines day. My husband will love it :-). The perfect date!

  • Marianne

    I absolutely love sauerkraut, especially the fancy versions. I’ve made one with red cabbage, lemon peel and ginger that’s simply devine. And I would love to win the ticket to Sandor’s workshop!

  • I want to heal my gut and improve my families health. I love the idea of fermentation, but have no idea how to start. I would love some real help!

    • start simply. either with kefir or fermented veggies. If you check out cultures for health website they have heaps of great videos showing how to prepare and ferment all manner of foods. if you want any of their products you can purchase them in Australia from The Natural Therapy Shop online

  • alvaklim

    MY TIP: depending on what your making, if you don’t mind the taste of olive oil, add a layer of extra virgin OO on top of your ferment to keep out oxygen and making the good bacteria (lactobacillus etc) happy and bubbling away, while allowing the CO2 to escape. Also make sure the ingredients are all submerged under the oil/brine. A great trick especially if you don’t have a good pickling jar! It was handy for my nashi pear-macadamia nut-dried mango concoction.
    Met an Indian professor once who studied the different micro flora behind tempeh and natto. He travelled to Japan, Nepal, Korea and Indonesia calling the region the ‘Natto triangle’ – I was fascinated to hear him talk about the absolute importance of having a biodiverse micro flora for our health and for the diversity of fermented foods produced by local bacteria! He was sad because of commercialisation, many communities have lost the art of producing these foods, and with it, the unique tastes, characteristics and benefits. Nowadays we just go to the shop and buy probiotic tablets to keep our guts ‘balanced’..
    Good on you, Sandor Katz and milkwood for keeping the art of fermentation alive!!!! please please send me!

  • Sarah

    I am a total beginner in fermentation! I love other peoples products but want to try to make my own. Where do I start??

  • Jodie

    I would so so love to see Sandor in Melbourne… my big tip is don’t make sauerkraut during a 40+ January heatwave: explosive ferments can ensue!

  • Kavisha

    When making kombucha, use a mix of white tea bags and chai tea bags. Then in the final brewing/flavouring stage add 1 tsp of cinnamon to the brew. Best flavour combo! 🙂

  • I would love to learn more about fermenting drinks, particularly on a budget! As a uni student the prospect of being able to make so many things I normally purchase through the art of fermentation is incredibly appealing.

  • Mandy Darby

    Tip – Making your own fermenting jar – use a Fowlers Vacola preserving jar with a plastic snap on lid (which are sold separately). Ball preserving jars have a similar plastic lid option. Drill a hole in the plastic lid and insert a rubber bung and airlock. Both rubber bung and airlock can be bought from the homebrew supplier. There you have it! A fermenting jar which allows gases to escape without your precious ferment spilling over onto your bench. Would absolutely love to go to the Sandor Katz workshop!

  • Gina

    My biggest tip: it’s so much easier than you think!!!! I’ve been making kefir & kombucha since Dec & will start my first batch if vegies today with the whey I’ve collected. It’s all very exciting…like having new little bubs!

  • Sarah

    I’ve been meaning to try fermentation for ages! My question is where to source good but cheap jars or containers?

  • Margaret

    Love it! I’ve recently been eating fermented veggies and they have improved my digestion immensely. I was bloated and thinking I probably had FODMAP issues, and was preparing to go on a low FODMAP diet (torture because I love eating massive quantities of all vegetables), but after eating fermented vegetables twice a day for a month, my digestive problems are gone!!

    I’ve been buying fermented vegetables. I really want to learn how to make them myself. 🙂

  • Bel Vin Karki

    Sandor Katz is the man. My question is what’s the best utensils to use / easiest to use when fermenting. I’ve heard good and bad things about traditional crock pots, mason jars, fido jars, etc…can you just ferment with a cloth covering a sterilized glass jar or do you need a tight seal? Sydney please 🙂

  • Daniel L

    Another great topic! I love fermented food and already making some progress with my own home made stuff 🙂 So far, my most successful products are kefir and kombucha… Sauerkraut and pickled veggies is the long tradition running in my family, but I will keep it up with that during some colder months in Sydney 🙂
    All these probiotics from fermented food are very welcome to enrich flora of the intestines, so it goes extremely well to improve overall health even more, after quitting with sugar and processed food… Fermentation is process too, but it enriches food with good bacteria and makes life better too 🙂
    Sandor Katz is a greatest promoter of fermented food and his educational video clips on YouTube are really fantastic. It would be really nice experience to attend his workshop in Sydney.
    Thank you again Sarah for yet another great article, which inspires me a lot to keep making nice food at home…Even with the sauerkraut topic (great photo!), you have made another sweeter day 🙂
    Enjoy a lot tonight’s movie “Economics of Happiness” and the rest of the evening 🙂

  • Gabriella

    Fantastic prize!! My question is does including fermented foods in your diet benefit you mentally as well as physically?

  • Amanda

    I’m scared of a scoby. I feel like this workshop would demystify what a scoby is, and get me on the fermented journey I’m too wary of to yet take!

  • Sophia Palmer

    I made my first batch of sauerkraut this with with your recipe, Sarah! With your recipe, I finally got my partner on the fermented bandwagon. Yay! I have a little tip; I use my pestle basher from my pestle and mortar to extract brine from the sauerkraut, pack the cabbage into the jar tightly, then I put a smaller jar inside the jar of pre-fermented sauerkraut, and weight it down with the pestle, then cover the entire jar! Weighing down the sauerkraut prevents bits of cabbage floating to the top, which causes mould to grow. I also thoroughly clean and sterilise the jars and other equipment used.

  • Sanja

    My 87 year old mother says that fermented foods is the reason she is still not totally grey haired. I make a yummy sauce with kefir, tahini and stacks of chopped herbs andspring onions to pour over veges and as a salad dressing.

  • Joanne McPhee

    Hi I’m in Melbourne. I only discovered Sandor Katz last year and now the guru of fermentation is coming to Aust! I’d love to win tixs to see him…I love that fermented foods can house more broad spectrum probiotic properties in a cheap affordable way than a supplement.

  • jj

    I would so love to attend the Melbourne workshop, I’m a novice sauerkraut maker in Adelaide. I’m also very involved in my local community garden & we regularly hold community food events, with a focus on teaching & sharing skills such as sour dough bread & the like. I would love to be able to learn from the Master & take it back to my community, please! p.s. more than happy to travel to Melbourne I have family moving there this very w/end 🙂

  • Elise

    How do you know when your sauerkraut is ready? I put mine on the bench, and it’s a bit hit and miss with the ‘funk factor’!

  • Diane

    I would love to win tickets for my sister and I. We both do milk kefir and my sister has begun making sauerkraut and ginger bug too. I’m yet to start but raring to go. We are available for the Melbourne events. Would so love to go and learn from “The Expert” 🙂

  • picardie.girl

    My question may seem a bit silly… but it would be great to go to the Sydney class, so I’ll put it out there!
    Most fermented foods don’t really float my boat. I find them a bit… potent? Smelly? Yucky? Is that just because I’m not used to it, or for another reason? Is there anyone here who tried these things and thought ‘yuck!’ but is now converted?

  • Damian Harrison

    Hmmm a tip, I’d say the best thing I’ve learnt so far is that it’s not as tricky as it seems! Get stuck in! Also… still trying to figure this one out, when making sauerkraut, I think chopping your cabbage a little larger helps to keep some of its crunch when fermented….? I Love a good crunchy kraut!

  • Helen Rand

    I love sauerkraut, but my question is WHEN is the best time to eat it? Before during or after meals? And how much would be optimal to consume every day ?

  • Sara

    I love this prize! I’ve been brewing kombucha successfully now for 6 months thanks to you sarah. You put me onto the idea. But I’m now overrun with SCOBYS! You can however use them to fertilise your garden, as a chew for your dogs, and as a frisbee (maybe). And one more tip. Whatever you do, do not show anyone you want to try your kombucha the SCOBY.

    Oh, one final tip re flavour. Bottle your kombucha then add ginger and passion fruit and ferment again for 3 – 5 days. Bloody awesome.

  • Tara

    Having recently taken a big interest in fermented foods, I now sneak coconut kefir into my children’s smoothies every morning and tell them I’m putting billions of ninjas in their tummies to fight the good cause! They think it’s pretty cool stuff 😉

  • Sars

    I don’t know much about fermenting my own foods (my mother took far too much care of me and so I never bothered to learn) except that boy does it make my perma-bloated gut feel so much better! My last attempt at sauerkraut ended in a purple stained kitchen. Note to self – open fermented food jars with care and don’t use purple cabbage and then wear white. Derrrr! p.s would love to go to Sandor’s workshop in Sydney. Thanks in advance!

  • Cassie Hower

    Tip: give your kefir grains to friends when they multiply so you can share the fermenting love! I’m loving making sauerkraut, coconut milk kefir and regular milk kefir and I’d love to learn how to make kombucha and pickles. I’m hooked on fermenting and actually crave those types of food. Its fantastic and I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen 😉

  • hotmamma

    I’ve read that eating fermented foods help the body to rid itself of heavy metal toxins. I’m not sure if there is one person on this planet who’s body hasn’t accumulated some form of heavy metal(s) in their body over their lifetime. In this day and age it’s really hard not to. That’s why restoring the body’s detoxification system is so important. Fermented foods seems like a practical and effective path to perfect health.

  • Zoë

    I don’t have any tips, i’m totally new to the do-it-yourself fermenting, but i’m super keen to get started! I love sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir. I love to make my own food and would love the chance to go to the workshop!! So my question is, will you pick me? 🙂

  • kiraaj

    I would LOVE to win this….i use to can and ferment when i lived in the USA but since returning back to Australia i have just lost all mojo to do it…partly because i havent found were to buy my supplies and i no longer have friends who enjoying getting together and making large batches for our families! One of our favs was fermented garden salsa and fermented ketchup! tip: find someone who shares the interest as it makes it so much easier when your first learning!

  • Jacqueline Lee Phillips

    I’ve been working hard on healing my gut (including taking part in the latest I Quit Sugar 8 week challenge) and have recently started eating store bought fermented veggies and coconut kefir. I have been wondering how easy it might be for me to start making them myself – I love the therapeutic nature of cooking for myself and am forever working towards a more sustainable and simple life, so learning how to ferment for myself would be another amazing step towards getting myself well in mind, body and soul.

  • Louise

    Hi Sarah – I have a burning question! Is kombucha sugar free? I’ve wanted to drink it for health benefits, but then I found out it’s made with sugar. I understand that the idea is that the fermenting eats up all the sugar, but how do you know when that is? I’ve drunk friends’ homebrew kombucha and it’s tasted quite sweet…which would lead me to believe that there is still sugar banging around in there? Thoughts?

  • Ang

    HI Im not really a fan of fermented foods. I only ate pickled cucumbers/gherkins when I was a kid becuase my grandfather liked them and gave them to me. (He was czech ) This was before I knew what cooking was and what taste meant. Now I am not really fond of it, kombucha or even saurkraut. I know the reason why its good for me but how can I start to eat it ? haha Anyone know how to help ? Maybe I should try an organic brand at a organic shop? I know
    Cornersmith Cafe in Marrickville Sydney sells their own fermented foods they use in their cafe. Maybe I could try that. Btw you can buy clear jars on ebay in a big bunch which is cheaper than the shops. There is a heap of info on the net about mason jars. Also you can buy really cute tops and I have also bought in the past cute jar name/jam labels from etsy because I wanted to make jam one day for mothers day 😉

  • Hannah-Louise

    (1) Keep all your old jars for fermenting. The big one’s (like the Niugini coconut oil jars) are really great for making big batches of kimchi or sauerkraut, and the tiny ones are really good for making pickled radishes. Plus its sustainable and cheaper. Which is even better.
    (2) In terms of clean jars, (I’m not sure if this counts) but I sometimes pop some jars into the dishwasher with a load just before i’m about to place the food in the jars. It comes out hot, clean and saves time (I try to do it in the morning, or at night so its cheaper).

  • Zoe

    Are there any great resources for sugar-free fermenting recipes?

  • Kate T Bondi

    Id like to ask Sandor Katz how long before you start seeing the benefits of eating fermented foods and how much do you need to eat also do you need to build up or can you just eat as much as you like?

    Id love to attend these workshops and have lots of friends who would like to attend also fingers crossed

  • Leoni

    I’m only new to sauerkraut – I spent years thinking I wouldn’t like it, then tried it – omg so delicious! It would be so great to see a demo of how it’s made. I would also love to know more about kombucha – it’s everywhere on the blogs. The making of it sounds a bit intimidating.

  • Neets

    With a 13 day old baby, I’m keen to pass on good health and nutrition to him. I’ve had great success with Kefir.. got the grains from a Polish food scientist. Tip: Kefir with frozen raspberries, flaxseed oil and Vital Greens makes the most zingy energy drink!

  • erin

    Before going to bed each night I put on some raw milk kefir to work it’s magic while I sleep. Then in the morning I strain it and use it to make my 10 month old a delicious berry kefir smoothie and a raw milk vanilla kefir panacotta for us all to enjoy as a gelatin rich luscious dessert (or snack!)

  • Fiona

    I have just started on my journey of learning about fermentation and would love to go to the course in Sydney!

  • Jane

    How long do milk grains for making kefir last in the fridge and what do you need to do to keep them healthy and alive?

  • Rachel Alt

    I have a question – Will adding fermented foods to my diet boost my immune system? I like the idea of using food as a preventative measure against colds, flu and infections in winter and when travelling a lot. I would love to learn more at the Sydney classes and am available on any of the dates.

  • Anne

    Can I really do this at home? I’ve given up sugar, cut back coffee and alcohol, eliminated gluten. Fermenting makes so much sense, but it is a little intimidating for the novice. I would so love to go to the Melbourne class.

  • Taya Prescott

    I love pickles! If you’re buying, Byron Bay Sauerkraut is amazing. I’d love to know how to keep homemade ferments from spoiling – is the secret in sterilising the jars properly right at the beginning?

  • Humlae

    I make my own kimchi at home, and use the ‘lock and lock’ (snap-lock?) containers sold at Korean/Asian supermarkets everywhere.
    These are pretty much specifically designed for holding your kimchi and other fermented (and fresh) side dishes and make it really easy to store everything in your fridge and let the gases out- turn it over etc. I store up to two kilos of kimchi and it just lasts and lasts and lasts! (Kimchi is a kind of spicy sauerkraut by the way
    I will be in Melbourne on holiday from Perth exactly when Sandor will be- would love to learn more 🙂

  • lindatee

    I’ve been fementing for almost two years now and the options are endless. I’ve met people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise including Dearbhla from The Cultured Club in Belfast. Dearbhla is doing great things in Ireland. I would so love to go to Sandor’s Melbourne session with friends because I’ve only ventured into sauerkrauts, kimchis and yoghurt, oh and a little bit of keffir. Kimchis have to be the easiest and I love to eat it straight out of the jar Nigella style 🙂 There is so, so much to learn and Sandor would have to be the worlds best fermenting guru to learn from.

    My tip: Instead of book clubs, get a group of friends together to make a night of fermenting with a few fermented beverages. So much fun, loads of different ideas, a little more adventurous than when solo in your kitchen, and so many goodies at the end. Yum yum.

  • Tatiana

    A question…my understanding is that fermenting is a good way to preserve food without the use of a fridge, am I correct?? but I live in central queensland where the heat can be kinda ridicoulous and my friends do keep their fermented foods in the fridge, why, doesn’t that defeat the purpose and are there options?? I would love to hear the answers LIVE!!

  • Emily

    I learnt to make fermented radish slices. so good! I would love to learn more……….. 🙂

  • Cass Good

    I have my first batch of sauerkraut fermenting away now, I used whey (drained from my Greek yoghurt) and Himalayan Salt. Am I supposed to be using both?

  • Ang Ericson

    A tip for all of you who are scared to try fermentation or want the probiotic benefits but don’t like the taste of pickled veg – start with water kefir! As a couple of other lovely people have mentioned in the comments (in case you missed them) you can get the grains on eBay if you don’t know anyone who makes their own kefir. It’s fine for people with lactose or casein intolerance (like me), and so, so easy to make! They’re super hardy little guys, and if they ever get grumpy just give them a 12 hour soak in some coconut water, and they’ll be back to floating up and down like tiny elevators in no time 🙂 Plus the grains are quite innocuous looking – I still can’t muster the courage to grow a kombucha SCOBY no matter how good the final product is… 🙁 I usually toss organic dried mango in with my water kefir on its first ferment, it makes fizzy mango lemonade – so tasty and refreshing on a hot day!!

    Oh, an extra tip – start with a really small amount and build up to bigger glasses, until you get used to getting so many delish probiotics in your belly at once (as it’s sooo much more than store bought probiotics) you can have a bit of tummy shame… Be gentle with your tum <3

    My pickle-loving beer-blogging Swedish feller and I would love to check out Sandor's Sydney presentation (I had no idea he spoke on beer as well!) so we could finally dip our toes in the water of home pickling – I've been a bit nervous, I've read so many tales of exploding cabbage… It would also make for a rad double date with pals for Valentine's Day, ha! xx

  • Glen

    I spent a fair chunk of my afternoon crawling about the kitchen trying to find out where the strange fizzing noise was coming from…..ah, it was my beetroot relish bumbling away. Tip: fermentation can be noisy!

  • LisaH

    How terrific that this is all coming back. My grandparents ate a lot of fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles with meats etc. I have IBS amongst other gut related issues and have struggled to find a solution that works for me for the past three years. I am starting to really see how things seem to have gone wrong for me and my family with the removal of fermented foods (as well as the increased consumption of processed food which I have cut out in the past year). I really think eating fermented foods is the final piece in the puzzle for me and would love to get into the kitchen to make my own fermented products so I know what ingredients I am putting into my, and my childrens, bodies. Great work Sarah, thank you so much.

  • Naomi Lee

    Hi there – my fermenting tip is something practical – save and store lots of small-ish glass jars so when you’ve got a batch of fermented veggies ready to go into the fridge it’s easy to fit them all in! Also makes it easier to share your bounty with others. I’ve found lots of willing recipients for sauerkraut. I’m in Melbourne and I’d love to go to a weekend session.

  • Caroline

    Wow, I’d love to attend Melbourne! I’ve been experimenting with kefir (too hot in Melbs at the moment, but it seems to be OK in the fridge – I’m not sure how long I can continue this way for??). Next stop coconut kefir. I’m also fermenting nut cheese as we speak – it would be amazing to see and more importantly smell the real deal – it’s all a bit scary (though exciting!!).

  • Amanda Gabrielle

    Sounds like a new project for 2014, thanks Sarah. What better way to fill up my brain than to have three mates to bounce ideas off?! Hmm, a question, so much I need to find out 🙂 Does this process mean keeping foods for longer as well as making them healthier and more easily digestible? btw – just LOVIN’ that you’re so into avoiding wasting food! Have a great weekend!

  • Emma

    I eat fermented veggies everyday!
    Fabulous as a snack to keep the cravings at bay paired with chicken or another lean protein. I also add it to salads and sandwiches. I would love to learn how to incorporate herbs such as coriander and load it up with chilli for an extra kick! Fennel, cabbage and cumin is another great combo. I would love to make my own creations as it can be a little on the expensive side when you are not buying in bulk.

  • sooz

    I would so love to attend a Sandor Katz session in Melbourne. I began making milk kefir 12 months ago for a relative diagnosed with bowel cancer, he drank it every day during his major op and subsequent chemo and his doctor is amazed at his recovery. I have given grains to my family and some friends (others cant be persuaded)! This has changed ALL our lives for the better, especially myself who suffered IBS all my life. I have tried fermented vegies but mould formed on the top so I really would appreciate the information from Sandor. If anyone around the Mornington Peninsula would like kefir grains I am more than happy to give them to you.

  • Naomi

    The fermented dills I had in the us were outrageous and try as I might I can’t reproduce. I don’t have access to fresh grape leaves, am not a great arborist and/or unsure if we even have oak trees in Australia and tea didn’t work for me – so my cucs are never crispy. I heard bay leaves work, is that true? Or am I using the wrong cucumbers?

  • Lyndall MC

    A friend of mine has recently started making her own Kombucha (after getting a “mother” sample off her sister in law – I have been reading up on the health benefits and would love to learn how to make my own! I am really trying to turn my health around this year and have cut out sugar, caffeine, processed foods. I have just bought an Omniblend blender and have been making smoothies, juices and raw food recipes – fermentation would be a logical next step!

  • Claudia

    I’d love to go to the Melbourne class! I’m a poor student/fermenting enthusiast, and I love Sandor’s books.

  • Felicity

    I would love to attend Sandor’s workshop in Melbourne. I have been reading a LOT about fermentation & about Sandor. I love pickles & sauerkraut, but have yet to make my own. These classes sound amazing: a fantastic opportunity to learn & to share this knowledge with my husband & friends. I know my tummy will love me too 🙂 Thanks Sarah, Milkwood Permaculture & the IQS team for the opportunity to enter!

  • Susan

    I have the most beautiful red cabbage growing in my veggie tank September each year. I simply don’t like wasting it trying to create the ultimate single girl portion. What combinations can I ferment together to make my cabbage king & to add a fresh dimension to the kitchen garden , my dinner plate and my effort to make a little sustainable life in the vortex of busyness?

  • jo

    A lot of sugar is used in making water kefir, i know the fermentation process uses most of it up but how sugar-free is it? Ive heard it is high in fructose? And I killed some of my kefir grains when I went away in the heat, so a workshop in Melbourne would be superb! 🙂

  • Laura

    Kombucha!! I love it! My kids really really love it. Like a lot.
    And I have tried to make my own and mostly just grew a lovely mould. So I buy our ‘booch’ from our local organic shop.
    I would love to know how to make kombucha. I would like to ask for the secrets to making kombucha at home!?

  • Emmaline

    My tip is kombucha is an easy way to start…. I found other fermented foods/drinks too daunting! I even made a fermented drink with whey but then was too scared to try it! It’s stil in the fridge 6 months later! But kombucha just wasn’t as scary! So my tip is to try kombucha if you find other options to scary! I would love to go to a fermenting class….. It might make it less scary!!

  • Lisa

    Great post Sarah. Was lucky enough to get a thermomix last year and made sauerkraut today by chopping the cabbage in TMX, OMGness sauerkraut completed in a quarter of the time it usually takes me! Made double what I usually do! Which means I can have one for me and the other is for my niece who’s a vegetarian and just been diagnosed with fructose malabsorption. Also gave me to he time to get a batch of fermented carrots done! Next on the list is a batch of kimchi and pickles. Would really love that book! ???

  • kylie

    So my tip is if the American recipe for saurkraut you’re reading says to pop in on your bench top for a week you should LISTEN to the little voice in your head that tells you that it’s probably a mighty different temperature in your west facing kitchen in hot humid coastal NSW. AND next tip, if you haven’t listened to that inner voice do NOT try the grey slime that results. It is not saurkraut :-/.

  • Nadae

    Tip: add spices and/or to the veggies. Fennel, cumin, caraway or nigella seeds, bay leaves, dill, thyme… However, some of my fermented vegetables still go mouldy despite using clean, sterilised jars. What is it that I’m doing wrong?

    • Nadae

      Spices and/or herbs 🙂

  • Hayley C

    Jars of fermented goodies are really yum,
    I make them to give me and my kids a healthy tum.
    How do I keep my goodies submerged and stop them going rancid?
    For this I would really love to know the answer!

  • Deb

    I’m making a large jar of fermented cabbage and would like to then decant this into smaller jars to give to friends, after sterilizing the jars is it ok to full them with the cabbage while they are still hot? or will this destroy some of the goodness? I’m interested in learning more about kombucha and keffirs too!! The Art of Fermentation really is a great book!

  • Brendan Chan

    Best tip I can give is to give it a go! Don’t be scared of failure, it’s a learning opportunity!
    I brew beer, and I’m really keen to ferment more solid food!

  • My tip is to start off slow and work your way up to the full fermented taste. 🙂
    Of course the bacterias etc. get better and more robust the longer you leave your ferment, but sometimes it’s a really strong taste and it’s hard to get family members (or yourself!) into it when it’s really strong. Start off with veggies fermented for just a few days, then the next batch do for a few more, etc. etc. until you’re leaving it for a few weeks and really getting all you can for fermented foods. 🙂

  • Lucy

    I want to learn from the past; when food wasn’t so fast
    To feed the body and nourish; allowing microbes to flourish
    To put food on the table; that carries no label
    To make food that is real; which carries no use-by seal
    No litany of numbers; give me pickled cucumbers
    Without sounding demented; I wish to get fermented
    And raise a cheer with a spritzy cup of kefir.

  • Emma

    I don’t know much about fermentation, having just started to dabble in making my own yoghurt, but I’d love to try kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha! Please send me to Sando’s class

    • Emma


  • Anna

    I want to know if I can do fermentation in a small apartment? I always think of large vats and outdoor space needed.
    I’d be able to go to the Melbourne classes 🙂

  • Manda

    My tip – I have water kefir and love making up all sorts of variations , but I am running out of room for all the extras that keep multiplying , so tonight I whipped up a face mask using my kefir grains , pineapple and bentonite clay with my immersion blender . Magic ! Sparkly skin thanks to the wonderful probiotic benefits of kefir 🙂 I think papaya would work well too .
    Keep up the awesome work Sarah , love what you are doing and your journey .
    I would looooooove to go to one of Sandor Katzs workshops , in fact I am half way through his book and am busting to learn hands on more about fermenting 🙂

  • Sarah

    I would love to have some tips on how to get my kids eating fermented foods – they shy away from anything other than natural yoghurt and they only eat that if I put Maple syrup in it 🙂 I would love to see them snacking on pickles etc! I think if I can involve them in the process of making the foods they will be more inclined to try them – hence I need to learn to make them! I would love to attend the Melbourne workshops!

  • kara

    I have just stumbled across your website. I think you are fantastic. I have recently had a baby and have had horrible symptoms since. I kept going to doctors and they all told me I had post natal depression. It’s taken 6 months for a doctor to take me seriously to test my thyroid (i have hasimotos) and SIBO which I’m trying to overcome. On top of that I’ve just had my gallbladder taken out. I’m still a very happy optimistic person and I believe I can get better. I’m changing my diet but there are so many conflicing views out there on what to do to heal your gut! I thank you Sarah for this site, you are an inspiration! I would love to learn about the art of fermentation. I have no ideas about that!

  • Sara

    WOW, some awesome tips here! I brew raw, organic kombucha in Melbourne & my tip is placing your jars of Kombucha to brew in the cupboard above the fridge to take advantage of the gentle heat from the fridge to safely increase fermentation in less time.. especially helpful during the cold, winter months! I am aspiring to start a kombucha brewing business for local cafes, to spread my love for kombucha and it’s amazingness to others. This workshop would give invaluable knowledge not only about kombucha, but heaps of other fermented foods & beverages that I am dying to learn and try!

  • I think my previous comment got lost. 🙁

    Anyway, my tip is to start of slow and work your way up to the taste. So start with fermenting your veggies for just a few days (I started with 3) so that they JUST have a taste. Then the next batch ferment for a few days more, and the next for a few more days. etc. etc. This way you get use to the taste.

    This is how I’m getting my toddler into fermented veg!

  • Willa

    Don’t talk whilst making your fermentation brew. Mum’s early attempts failed because drops of saliva landed in the mixture

  • Please feel free to E-mail us at The Natural Therapy Shop if you have any questions or need help in fermenting foods. It is way less scary than is seems! http://www.naturaltherapyshop.com.au

  • Wooragee

    I love the idea of fermenting, just can’t get my head to agree to making something bad to be good. I would live to taste some real ferments.