Lacto-Fermenting Workshop!

18 February 2017

Today I went to a really cool workshop at one of my favourite places in town, Little City Farm. LCF is one of our biggest inspirations when it comes to backyard homesteading and they run a variety of really interesting workshops there throughout the year. Everything from soap-making to chicken keeping for beginners (check out their website to see what else they're up to!).  Today I went to "The Art of Fermentation: An Intro to Lacto-Fermenting." I am a huuuuge fan of all things pickled (it's practically all I ate when I was pregnant with Harvey) so I was pretty pumped to learn how to make fermented things without vinegar or that didn't require traditional canning methods - you know the kind where you sterilize a bunch of jars, heat them up and all that jazz. 

So I'm not going to lie, initially the phrase "lacto-fermenting" sounded pretty odd ball to me.  But turns out it's one of the original ways to preserve food and maintain almost all of the nutrients in the food. I personally always thought that pickled things had to be made with a vinegar, is that just me? Anyways, these don't use any vinegar (mind blown) but a sea salt brine and a "probiotic starter" which the instructor told us was just equal amounts of red cabbage and water blended together, strained, and then left to do its thing for a few days. These types of pickles are FULL of probiotics and are great for your gut. Nice! 

A few key things I learned...
  • don't make pickles with tap water! Tap water here (in Kitchener-Waterloo) has chlorine and fluoride in it, which kill most bacteria including the good bacteria you want to make pickles
  • chop everything small so the bacteria can really get at the veggies
  • use a cabbage leaf on the top to push down the veggies and keep everything submerged in the brine
  • use organic veggies - most veggies and fruits have this almost powdery film on them (you can really see it on a red cabbage). This is called a bloom and it is where all the good bacteria live. You want this on your veggies and fruit! 
We got to make and take home a giant jar of pickles that we made at the end of the class and I'm really excited to try them after they ferment for a few weeks on top of the fridge. 

What a lovely way to spend a few hours this afternoon, in a sunny greenhouse making pickles with a bunch of ladies. 

Now I really want to pick up this book and pretty much ferment all the contents of our fridge ;) 


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