Starting this site has been fermenting in my head for a few months now. I’ve been known to talk incessantly about fermentation. Finally, in conversation with my friend Dade I jokingly suggested I start a podcast about fermentation. His response was a resounding, “Yeah, you should!” While this isn’t a podcast, yet, I hope this gives my obsessive tendencies toward fermentation a bit of an outlet.
I started fermenting as a kid. My Dad had my younger brother and I assist with preparing cabbages for sauerkraut and blueberries for wine. He attempted pickles once, but forgot about them and didn’t weigh them down, so they all went bad. I’ll never forget the smell as he opened that five-gallon bucket or the looks of sadness on his face. While we had cows we made yogurt and butter. As I grew older we fermented less and didn’t get more cows.
When I was old enough I started to make my own wine. I started with blueberry and used wild yeasts. Then moved into cherry wine from our sour cherry trees, again fermented with wild yeasts. Most of my wine experiments were successful; consumed young, and delicious. I kept brewing wines as I moved around, leaving behind a trail of growlers filled with various wines. Then I began working in food service and stopped cooking as much and started to work more.
Skip ahead ten years.
I had a stomach issue, likely food poisoning, and I wanted my usual probiotic drink- milk kefir. I had recently gone car-free and the only place I could easily walk was my local Walgreens. They didn’t carry kefir, but they did have kombucha. I grabbed aa couple of bottles of a brand I knew and made my way home. Of course, I’d had kombucha before, but I’d always seen it as a tasty beverage and not thought about the probiotics or much about its fermentation. I was hooked.
I’d read about kombucha being fermented but hadn’t thought much about it. Oddly, in a discussion with my Mom, I learned that my brother had recently started making his own kombucha. Because I’d been talking about it so much, my wife kindly bought me a SCOBY for Christmas. My single gallon of kombucha soon became two then finally three. The three gallons of kombucha lead to making my own sauerkraut, then lactofermented carrots, fermented pickles, mead, beer, and eventually, back to wine.
This site is intended to give you some ideas about fermenting food as well as preserving food for out of season use. Mostly I’ll explore small-batch processing but we’ll get into some larger batches as I figure out what to do with the fruit from my pear and peach trees. I’ll write about gardening, foraging from farmers’ markets, finding sales, winter growing, and dealing with the issues of homesteading in a suburban neighborhood.
It won’t all be pretty.