Fermentation

by Danny Zawacki

So apparently there is a new seasons of Chef’s Table out on Netflix. Ellie and I really love this show. It’s fascinating to see how chefs from all over the world approach food. Often, they have very similar approaches and that usually means finding a way to modernize their country’s traditional dishes and prove it can stand up against all other cuisines of the world. Simply fascinating.

More often than not, the chef cooks organic food that is locally grown by working with local farmers. And a good number of them work to preserve the food in interesting ways. A lot of time things are canned and a lot of time things are fermented. Canning is easy, and complex to the point that I’m often scared I’ll do it wrong and kill myself on accident, but I power forward. Fermenting, however, is something I want to learn a lot more about.

My background in fermenting is very, very limited. I’ve made fridge pickles a handful of times. I’ve made sauerkraut twice, once successfully and once unsuccessfully. I’ve tried to make beer with a kit and failed and I made wine once and it was alright, too dry for my tastes (Brian and I drank it anyway). I’ve also tried my hand at making kvas, which is a Ukrainian drink of fermented bread water. Once I was successful and once I did a bunch of things wrong. Laying all the things out like this makes it look like I have a 50-50 chance in succeeding in fermentation. Oh, I also made kimchi once and I go back and forth on whether I liked how it turned out. It was a successful process, it just didn’t taste like what I imagined.

But I want to ferment more and more. I want a vat of pickles in the basement and a crock of cabbage turning to sauerkraut. The more I learn about fermented foods and drinks, the more evidence I find that they’re immensely beneficial for you to drink. With my body getting older and slower and starting to show signs of age, wear, and tear then the more I can put in me to keep me living a healthy life the better.

But I don’t know where to start.

This is where I really need you to come through. If you have ever successfully made something fermented, anything at all except shellfish (partly because that sounds gross and probably not a thing and partly because I’m allergic), then I’d love to hear what it was you made and hopefully get a recipe from you. I’m really open to anything. Ellie said she tried a fermented corn dish at an expo a month or so ago and she said it was really good, so if you have a recipe for that I would love to see it.

Seriously, send me some recipes. I’ll put them together and report on how things go. Probably more than once too, since fermenting is such a long process. Help a Danny out!


3 thoughts on “Fermentation

  • taplatt

    What about sourdough bread? We learned to make it last year at some point and it’s great fun, though it does take a day of being at home. Have you watched Michael Pollan’s “Cooked” on Netflix? There’s a whole episode on fermentation. I also like “Chef’s Table” a lot.

    Reply
    • Danny Zawacki Post author

      Chef’s Table is amazing. I couldn’t get into Cooked.

      I have a friend who has a sourdough starter he uses. I think I might need to ask him about it so I can start my own. I’ve considered it for a while.

      Reply
      • taplatt

        I’d recommend it! We haven’t used ours very much recently but as long as you keep feeding the starter, it stays happy in the fridge. Ours is named Stanley.

        Reply

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