Class: Creating Culture: Kraut, Kombucha and Cashew Cheese

Our ancestors utilized fermentation as a means to preserve food and to improve nutritional content, making foods easier to digest and more delicious. Often cultured nourishment was thought to come from the gods; divine intervention transformed food into matter that could last much longer and which delighted the gut and spirit. This was very important in the days before refrigerators, and is still important today. Developing gut flora with diverse beneficial bacteria is one simple way we can improve our health and vitality.

The process of intentional fermentation has been around for a very long time. Some say 10,000 years, others say that before we made mead before we learned to spark a fire. Others dispute that the first ferments came from 4000 BCE when Egyptians began making sourdough bread. Regardless of the exact date, fermented foods have been around for a very long time, and are often one of the unique distinguishing characteristics and defining traditions of a culture.

Preserving and extending the cabbage harvest is said to have originated in China when  sauerkraut was created via a happy accident of leaving cabbage packed in crocks. After a few days they noticed the flavor had changed, and kraut became a staple food of the workers who constructed the Great Wall of China. Ghengis Khan brought some kraut with him when he invaded Eastern Europe and a new tradition was born. Many sailors would bring crocks of kraut aboard ships in order to have a consistent supply of vitamin C while away at sea.  While the history of ferments may have a checkered past, there is something sacred about food that can increase in vitamins, nutrients and protein as it is allowed time to rest.  In this class we will discuss the benefits of transformed foods and the ways in which creating edible cultures nourishes our creative thought, bodies and communities.

We will discuss the three main types of fermentation, lactic acid, acetic acid and ethyl alcohol, and the role that yeast, bacteria and molds play in helping to transform and potentize foods to be even more nutritious and delicious. I will demonstrate how to make kraut, kombucha and cashew cheese. These techniques can be adapted in countless ways and I will show you some basics to create your own fermentation station and begin the compelling art of creating culture at home. I will provide some samples of fermented foods and beverages. You will experience how making ferments allows us to express ourselves creatively and nourish and delight our friends and family. At the end of class there will be a potluck lunch so feel free to bring food, drink, recipes or ideas if you would like.

If you would like to register, please visit our workshops page and look for “Creating Culture: Kraut, Kombucha and Cashew Cheese.”

 

Resources:

  1. Harmon, Wardeh, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods, Alpha Books, 2012.
  2. Katz, Sandor, Wild Fermentation. Cheslsea Green Publishing, 2016.
  3. Vargas, Pattie and Rich Gulling, Making Wild Wines and Meads, Storey Publishing, 1999.
  4. Schinner, Miyoko, Artisan Vegan Cheese, 2012