You may have seen my post a few months ago introducing the Community Kitchen (where you can see a little more about the kitchen and what it's about) but I really felt like I needed to talk about this workshop as fermentation is huge at the moment. I've been buying large jars of Sauerkrat but was finding I was wasting it as the opened jar shelf life was only 3 days in the fridge. I figured it must be a fairly easy process once you got the basics down and I like the idea of turning my own hand to fermentation not only because I could reuse the jars I seem to get through at a high rate of knots.
Benefits of fermentation
So I'm only going to touch on this lightly but the long and short of it is that the fermentation process goes through a stage called lactofermantation (nothing to do with milk - as a non milk drinker you can trust me on this one!). Lactofermentation is where bacteria feed on the starches and sugars of the food you are fermenting and results in the food being preserved but also full of beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids and a wealth of gut friendly probiotics.
All of these things provide an amazing wealth of healthy digestive properties that help us absorb our food, improve bowel health, reduce inflammation and since the gut is a major factor of immunity can improve your ability to fight bugs and diseases.
Caroline Whiteman headed up the class - Caroline is part of the team at the kitchen and has been fermenting for many years. The idea is to teach the basics of fermentation with the aim of giving students the confidence to get stuck into fermenting their own produce - whether it be left over veg at the end of the weeks veg box, veg bought in the bargain section or produce you buy from a market.
We went through 3 different recipes - Sauerkraut, Kimchi and a fermented vegetable. Caroline is an engaging and supportive teacher and as we started with the first task it because apparent that fermentation is an easy and rewarding process and one that doesn't take up much time - perfect for busy people on a budget who want to ramp up their healthy diet.
We were encouraged to work with partners and also get stuck into different tasks with the people around us making it an incredibly sociable event without having the pressure of networking so really recommend one of these classes if you'd like to meet fellow foodies. I went alone, as did many of the other attendees, and it was a kind, welcoming group - I imagine the kitchen tends to attract these kind of people considering it's mission!
The kitchen provide everything you need for the class with vegetables sourced from the ever wonderful Barcombe Organic and you come away with three jars of produce ready to start the fermentation process at home. We also had tasting of Carolines own fermented foods and the evening ended with us all chipping in to make a recipe which we sat down to eat - such a lot of fun and so lovely to have a laugh with the other people on the course. The recipe? Kimchi pancakes with a Korean dipping sauce - absolutely heavenly and well worth breaking my 5:2 fast day for!
All in all a wonderful thing to do! Would be perfect to go alone to, go with a friend or a small group of people. The kitchen also hold workshops for groups for small, civilised parties. And even better all profit is ploughed back into the work the partnership do - more details here.
The kitchen are going to be holding more of these fermentation workshops so keep an eye on their website for new dates or even better sign up to their news by scrolling down the page a little following this link.
Formally Emma Gutteridge