Food fermenting is an almost forgotten skill that is happily making a comeback into our diets. In Ireland we enjoyed a healthy, organic diet with naturally probiotic foods like buttermilk to give us good gut health. Due to an increase in chemical treatment of our food, in recent years we have seen a rise in problems with gut health which can lead to coeliac disease, candida, IBS and eating fermented fodos has a hugely postive effect on symptoms of PMS as well as giving you increasd energy and vitality. Feeding your gut with delcious fermented foods improves your gut health with natural probiotic foods and the best part is they are all chaep and easy to make and are delcious too.
I am running 4 workshops of 2 hours each with small groups to introduce you to these wonderful foods, we will go from sauerkraut and kimchi to kombucha and kefir, with sourdough, kvass, cream cheese and yogurt thrown in too.
The first two classes are as follows:
March 3rd Sauerkraut and Kimchi - how to make these classic fermented foods from different cabbages
March 10th - Kefir, curds and whey - the benefits of raw milk, how to make your own yogurt, cream cheese and paneer and all about whey, the magic ingredient for all your other ferments
Márch 17th - no class, St.Patrick's Day
March 24th - Kombucha, learn how to make this mysterious and delicious naturally fizzy drink and Kvass, a natural liver boosting tonic - kombucha mushrooms will be available
March 31st - Sourdough, from starter to loaf, this amazing bread is so easy to make and is actually good for your gut - some starter for everyone
In this first workshop I will give step by step demonstrations on how to make the king of fermented foods, sauerkraut and it's korean cousin, kimchi. You will get recipes to take home and planty of fermented foods to taste. Following workshops will cover the other areas or fermented foods.
Workshops will continue on Tuesday mornings and evenings and is must for anoone following the GAPS protocol or a fan of the Weston A Price Foundation traditional diet
Please state whether you wish to book the morning class from 10am to 12 or the same class that evening from 7pm-9pm. There are a maximum number of 8 places for each workshop
What a weekend it was here in Limerick at the very first Irish conference of the Weston A.Price Foundation. Organised by friends of mine and attended by over 300 people who are passionate about their own nutrition and learning how to live according to a more traditional diet, this was an inspiring event that fuels us all to take our health into our own hands. For more stories about how much the way we eat can affect our lives read my friend Dee's blog here.
Darina Allen opened the conference, reminding us all of how close we used to be to proper diets in Ireland, lots of real butter, unpastuerised milk, meat stocks, organ meats (liver, kidneys, offal), bread made from soaked grains, porridge with cream and honey and on and on it goes for simple, delicious and nourishing foods. These foods promote good gut health which leads to stronger immune systems and better quality of life. The emphasis on preparing parents for conception and good diet during pregnancy and babies life was particularly interesting and knowledge I'd love to have had as a young Mum. However we can only go forward.
I can say from first hand experience that I've gone back to many old ways in the past couple of years and I now get fresh, unpasteurised milk every week which has cleared up my kids 'teen' skin. I make chicken stock at least once a week and we regularly eat liver and kidneys as well as baking sourdough bread and getting what I don't bake from Joe Fitzmaurice, baker extraordinaire at Riotrye. I've been making fermented foods for some months, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, cream cheese and sauerkraut and I love eating these foods, plus it's great t build up a store cupboard of fermented veggies so you don't have to prepare fresh ones every time you want to eat them.
I have always been prone to coughs and colds and while I still get them, the does isn't as bad and the duration not as long. The most significant effect I have found with eating fermented foods is that they have eliminated my PMS/PMT which, for me is news from the heavens with angels singing. As PMS is caused by inflammation and eating probiotic foods reduces inflammation, this makes perfect sense and I wanted to spread the word to you as I know many women suffer terrible symptoms every month, but the solution is in your hands.
I plan to run a series of workshops in the near future in food fermenting to share this knowledge so that you can learn how to make these delicious foods and help yourself and have something yummy t eat that is cheap to make. For now, here is a simple recipe for sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, it's yummier than it sounds.
It is essential that all your equipment is really clean so sterilise your jar by boiling it in a full pan of water for 10 minutes and leaving to cool. Also add your spoons and tongs to the pan. Sauerkraut is a process of encouraging lactobili bacteria to grow, so you don’t want to introduce others to the mix. Don’t be put off by the technical appearance of this, it’s spectacularly easy to make.
Equipment needed: 1 x 1litre mason jar, 1 instrument for ‘pounding’ the cabbage like a flat ended rolling pin, a very clean, large plastic basin or bowl, a small jar or stone for weighing the cabbage down in the jar, this will also have to be sterilised.
Makes one 1litre jar
1 head organic cabbage, red or white
1 tsp sea salt
4 tblsp whey (this is a bi-product of cheese making and can be bought from health food stores) if you are not using whey just use an extra tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds or other flavourings like star anise or black peppercorns
Shred the cabbage with a large knife, you can use a food processor but it tends to chops the cabbage too finely.
Put the cabbage into the bowl with the salt and whey, if using, Mix everything together with your hands and then get your rolling pin and begin pounding the cabbage with the flat end, keep going for 10 minutes until some of the juices are being released, just think of the toned arms your getting! Sprinkle on the caraway seeds or other flavourings, or leave it plain.
Get your sterile jar and pack the cabbage in with the juices, press in down and pop in a jar/weight or stone that’s big enough to put pressure on the cabbage when you close the lid down. You want it to be submerged in the juices. Place the jar on a plate to catch any juices that overflow.
Leave the jar at room temperature for 4 days, you should see bubbles happening in the jar, this means it’s working! Open the jar every now and again to release the gasses. You can refrigerate the sauerkraut after this time, that will stop the fermentation process, you can also let go of the weight in the jar.
It is important that the sauerkraut goes into the fridge after the 4 days as if the temperature stays too warm your cabbage can get mouldy and you will have to bin it. Otherwise it will keep well for months, enjoy this strangely addictive food in small quantities