Fermenting in the Kitchen: Probiotics and Permaculture Principles

A Workshop with Elderflower-Tibicos Champagne

Today I am having a great time at home preparing for a workshop tomorrow….

I really love teaching about lacto-fermentation, sharing what I know, because I truly believe in the health-giving properties of probiotic food, its deliciousness, and the joys of “cooking” without heat.  I am offering this class to a Sector 39 Permaculture Design Course organised and taught primarily by an inspiring and knowledgable Permaculture teacher named Steve Jones.  Usually I focus on vegetables; tomorrow I’m offering something more summary on various kinds of fermenting.  I will also try to talk a lot about Permaculture and its Design Principles in relation to why I’m such an enthusiast.

(If it’s possible for you, I will be doing something briefer to probably a larger group on the 6th of July at the London Permaculture Festival which looks just great all around!)

A big part of the session tomorrow will be Show and Tell, which really means, Taste and Chat, and it’s fun organising everything so I thought to share what I’m bringing on my blog.  Hopefully tomorrow when everything is spread out, I will remember to take a photo to post for you.


To discuss Culturing Vegetables with Lacto-Fermentation I’ve made:

Ruby Sauerkraut — red cabbage and caraway seeds

Curry Kraut — white cabbage, carrots and curry powder

Kimchi with Dandelion Greens

Cultured Ginger/Lemon Carrots — something I imagine as Japanese with a twist…

Beet Kvass

“Pickle Juice” — this is the brine leftover from an attempt to use marrows (huge courgettes/ zucchini abundant in British gardens in late summer) in place of cucumbers in a kind of Jewish pickle that is close to my soul.  Pickle Juice is a mystery ingredient in lots of things I give my children that they find very scrummy, my children who are disgusted at the thought of all things fermented.

and a pureed hot sauce similar to this one.

I talk about lots of aspects of lacto-fermenting,  including the possibility of cooking with what you make.

I’ll also talk about Wild Scrap Vinegars as aerobic, therefore acetic fermentation (requiring air) vs lacto-fermentation, and how useful these are for dressings, marinades, tonics, “shrubs,” and plain-old sipping.  I have vinegars Rhubarb, Pear, Apple, Blackberry, Plum and Honey and Japonica Quince to share.

Next I’ll discuss and share samples of Water Kefir (a.k.a. Tibicos): We will taste a delicious beverage made from Peashoot Juice, Mint Tea, and Yuzu, at a lovely effervescent moment in its life, a pumpkin-seed Horchata that’s maybe, unusual?, but was a worthwhile experiment, and a Probiotic Elderflower Champagne, to be made with the infusion pictured above mixed with a stage-1 fermentation for the students to make their own after I’ve left.   (I am working on a blog piece about this which I’ll post and link to in a day or two.)

I’ve made a nice Kombucha which is still early on the go, flavoured and sweetened with the Dandelion Flower Syrup.  Am inspired for the next go to use the Elderberry Cordial that’s leftover from last winter.

I’ll bring Milk Kefir grains and discuss what I know about the tremendous healing people experience.

And of course, I’ll bring along and leave my good old Sourdough Culture that I “harvested” from the wild yeasts of this crazy house when we first moved in 6 years ago, and have nurtured ever since through breads, flatbreads, tart shells, pancakes, waffles, and weird cake experiments.

I will leave everything with the students and look forward to hearing what they get up to.

OK, enough with writing about it, better start packing 😉