Ask Flora: Fermentation
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
October 6, 2014
This is the time of year for preserving food to last through out the long winter months. Most gardeners are familiar with canning and freezing, but there is another method that should not be overlooked: fermentation.
What is fermentation?
Signed: Ivan Q. Reus
Dear Mr. Reus,
Fermentation is a traditional method of food preservation. It is a process where sugar and starches in fruits and vegetables are converted into lactic acid. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Lactobacilli are the good bacteria found in fermented foods. Fermentation occurs when living cells are present on the skin of fruit and vegetables break down the sugars inside. Microorganisms called yeasts grow under varied conditions and produce different end products, the main byproducts being alcohol and carbon dioxide.
What are the health benefits of fermentation?
Signed: Bell E. Ake
Dear Ms. Ake,
Fermentation adds wonderful things to your food to make it more nutrient rich. The good bacteria help you digest your food and strengthen your immune system. Fermented foods help to break down fats and provide your body with more probiotics than a supplement can provide you.
Can I use fermentation to preserve my fall harvest?
Signed: Iyona G. Arden
Dear Ms. Arden
Yes you can! Almost all fruits and vegetables can be fermented. There are many resources on the web to provide you with methods and recipes. Sandor Katz, a well known fermenting genius, has published books and YouTube videos and offers assistance and knowledge on his website found at www.wildfermentation.com. Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions is also a wonderful resource and can be found in the Sublette County Library in Pinedale.
What are some of the most common fermented foods?
Signed: Bubba Lee Brewer
Some of the most common fermented food includes coffee, tea, chocolate, sourdough bread, cheese, yogurt, kefir, Salami, wine, beer, cider, pickles, kimchi, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, sauerkraut, kombucha, and vinegar.
How can I get involved with other gardeners in the region to share ideas and learn?
Signed: Gnu Gardener
Sage & Snow Garden Club meetings are typically held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Sublette County Weed & Pest Office at 12 South Bench Road, Pinedale. The educational topic for October 21st is "Squash." To find out more about the Garden Club & read all Ask Flora articles, visit our website at www.sageandsnow.org. You can also call the club president Jeanne (307-683-6066).