Visit my kitchen and learn how to fill your life with healthy, delicious, preserved vegetables and fruits all year round using various simple, natural methods.
Next workshops: June $45 / person
I will also introduce you to pickled garlic, preserved lemons, lacto-fermented, seasonal vegetables, milk ferments, such as yoghurt and keffir as well as kombucha.
Price includes keffir culture to take home.
Fermented food? What is this all about?
The peoples of the world have always used fermentation to store vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes since the dawn of time. It is a safe, extremely health giving, totally natural process which has fallen by the wayside with the modern obsession with sanitation and pasteurisation and the faster method of preserving in vinegar.
Pickles can be made by storing prepared vegetables in vinegar, a weak brine solution, by drying them or making them into condiments like chutney. The best way to gain the benefits of consuming the friendly bacteria caused by the fermentation process is to avoid pickles made in vinegar as this kills the bacteria outright.
Lacto-fermentation is an easy traditional and healthy method of making pickles without using vinegar. Pickles made in this manner are alive and rich in probiotics. It is also a good way to store any excess vegetables and produce for several months.
In this age of antibiotics, consuming lacto fermented pickles will address the balance of the flora growing in the intestines which in turn aids absorption and production of nutrients.
Lacto-fermentation is also a very safe way to preserve food and comprises of just vegetables, herbs, spices, water and sea salt. This provides the right conditions for nature to take its course. The salt slows the decomposition of the vegetables briefly until the sugars in the vegetables are broken down by friendly lactobacilli and converted into lactic acid to preserve the vegetables for many months.
Many foods you know and have eaten are fermented too; sourdough bread, yoghurt, beer, soy sauce, sauerkraut, to name just a few.
My introduction to fermenting and preserving workshop will show you how to incorporate fermentation into your busy life, and bring you a step closer to taking charge of your inner health and vitality.
You will taste my preserves and my fermented preserves and take home kefir grains to start you off on the journey. It will be a fun and informative session in my kitchen. Just the thing for a winter’s day.
Bring a small, glass jar and a smile.
Milk Kefir Grains
All kefir comes from the original culture known only to exist in the Caucasian Mountains bordering Russia. Amongst the people of the northern slopes of the Caucasian Mountains The ‘Grains of the Prophet’ were guarded jealously since it was believed that they would lose their strength if the grains were given away and the secret of how to use them became common knowledge.
Kefir grains were regarded as part of the family’s and tribe’s wealth and they were passed on from generation to generation.
So, for centuries the people of the northern Caucasus enjoyed this food without sharing it with anyone else they came into contact with.
Other peoples occasionally heard strange tales of this unusual beverage which was said to have ‘magical’ properties. Marco Polo mentioned kefir in the chronicles of his travels in the East.
However, kefir was forgotten outside the Caucasus for centuries until news spread of its use for the treatment of tuberculosis in sanatoria and for intestinal and stomach diseases. Russian doctors believed that kefir was beneficial for health and the first scientific studies for kefir were published at the end of the nineteenth century.
However, kefir was extremely difficult to obtain and commercial production was not possible without first obtaining a source of grains.
The members of the All Russian Physician’s Society were determined to obtain kefir grains in order to make kefir readily available to their patients.
Early this century a representative of the society approached two brothers called Blandov and asked them to procure some kefir grains. The Blandov’s owned and ran the Moscow Dairy, but they also had holdings in the Caucasus Mountain area, including cheese manufacturing factories in the town of Kislovodsk.
The plan was to obtain a source of kefir grains and then produce kefir on an industrial scale in Moscow.
The Blandov’s were excited since they knew that they would be the only commercial producers of this much sought after product.
The true story of the Blandov’s quest for the elusive kefir grains is below.
Nikolai Blandov sent a beautiful young employee, Irina Sakharova, to the court of a local prince, Bek-Mirza Barchorov. She was instructed to charm the prince and persuade him to give her some kefir grains.
Unfortunately, everything did not go according to plan. The prince, fearing retribution for violating a religious law, had no intention of giving away any ‘Grains of the Prophet’.
However, he was very taken with the young Irina and didn’t want to lose her either. Realising that they were not going to complete their mission, Irina and her party departed for Kislovodsk. However, they were stopped on the way home by mountain tribesmen who kidnapped Irina and took her back to the prince. Since it was a local custom to steal a bride, Irina was told that she was to marry Bek-Mirza Barchorov. Only a daring rescue mission mounted by agents of her employers saved Irina from the forced marriage.
The unlucky prince was catted before the Tsar who ruled that the prince was to give Irina ten pounds of kefir grains, to recompense her for the insults she had endured.
The kefir grains were taken to the Moscow Dairy and in September, 1908, the first bottles of kefir drink were offered for sale in Moscow. Small quantities of kefir were produced in several small towns in the area where there was a ready market for it, people mostly consume it for its alleged medicinal value.
Commercial manufacture of kefir on a large scale began in Russia, in the 1930s. However, it is difficult to produce kefir by conventional methods on a commercial scale.
(Extract taken from website Kefir: Yoghurt for Life.)