Last week I gave away tickets to a fermenting workshop with Sandor Katz to the reader who shared the best fermenting trick with us all. Congratulations to our winner Krysten Ioannides! If you missed out, come along anyway. The IQS team is attending one of the Saturday workshops.
But since all of you shared such great witchy ideas I’ve pulled together a little list below so we can all enjoy. And I’m answering a few questions about fermenting, too, at the bottom. It’s a big focus in my second book, I Quit Sugar For Life (which you can preorder now and get a copy of the Chocolate Cookbook FREE). But moving on…
Andrew: If you live in a chillier climate or it’s the middle of winter 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.
Klyne: Mix miso paste, almond butter and a little hot water for the yummiest spread on toast (especially sprouted spelt bread). If you add more hot water and make it a runnier consistency it’s also a super easy and delicious dressing for steamed vegetables!
Macbee: I’ve just started experimenting with kefir grains in the past 3 weeks to 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 and ginger fizzy kefir water.
Bec at Growing Home: You can buy kefir grains on eBay or several places online, 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!
Tanya: My tip is to join a like-minded group of fermenting people. Fabulous Food Ferments have been one such group who are a wealth of knowledge and inspire me to keep learning and experimenting.
Alvaklim: 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.
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!
Mandy Darby: 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.
Sophia Palmer: 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.
Sanja: I make a yummy sauce with kefir, tahini and stacks of chopped herbs and spring onions to pour over veggies and as a salad dressing.
Sara: You can use SCOBYS to fertilise your garden, as a chew for your dogs, and as a frisbee (maybe). Bottle your kombucha then add ginger and passion fruit and ferment again for 3 – 5 days. Bloody awesome.
Cassie Hower: 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.