“Bacteria are not germs, but the germinators – and fabric – of all life on earth… In declaring war on them we declared war on the underlying living structure of the planet – on all life-forms we can see – on ourselves”– Stephen Harrod Buhner The Lost Language of Plants
Lacto fermented foods are extraordinary and they have the power to restore to us rude health! These live life enhancing foods and drinks foods have been a passion of mine for many years now. My interest in Macrobiotic philosophy and food led me to start fermenting things back when I was just 14 years old! That’s a good long relationship with good bugs. My first cultures were Japanese Takuan radish pickles that stank and jars of miso and then there was a dairy kefir ‘plant’ I got from my cousin Greg. He christened his S.C.O.B.Y, that’s a Symbiotic Collection Of Bacteria and Yeasts ‘Jim’ he gave me what became and still is known to me ‘son of Jim’. Along the way, there have been intense periods of regular contact and periods when son of Jim has spent time dormant, in the freezer. When I am culturing using son of Jim I get a fresh, drinking style yoghurt that provides a wide range of beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts and I can also use him to turn sweet coconut water into a refreshing effervescent mineral rich drink. I can use the dairy kefir product as a drink or turn it into fresh cheese and even a very delicious all raw, all food cheesecake! I now grow a range of scobys, I have a Kombucha ‘mother’ which thrives on green, black red and or white tea and raw sugar, water kefir which produces a fabulous sparkling gingery drop. With these helpers at home I always have the makings of other fermented foods, using the product itself or by utilising whey from my dairy scoby. These can be used to make, amongst many other things, digestible nutritious deliciously light pancakes, pikelets, muffins and fruit compotes and vegetable pickles and by employing their probiotic powers they can be used to turn otherwise hard to digest foods into faster cooking,digestible nourishment.
There is something quite magical about vegetable pickles where you take a fresh ingredient and turn it into what equates to medicinal food; using naught but itself and a little salt.
I am including an article I wrote for Notebook magazine it might be of interest and could encourage you to get friendly with fermented foods. This month I have 2 classes I call ‘Capturing Cultures, get the good bugs’ where these foods can be seen and tasted and you learn the what, why and how of growing them safely and inexpensively at home.
Read my article on Probiotcs, written for Notebook magazine