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For Sandor - What CAN'T you ferment?  RSS feed

 
Adam Chisholm
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Location: Bluegrass region of Kentucky, USDA Zone 6a - unpredictable but manageable
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Mr. Katz...or all you permies who know more than I do -

My current preservation method of choice has been drying (I used to freeze but I don't like all the electricity it takes to keep that going) and I have experimented with drying just about everything I grow. I'll get your books for the specifics on how to do it, but my question to you would be what CAN'T be fermented. Or rather, what things should I avoid trying to ferment because either the end product or nutritional value is not significantly impacted by fermentation.

I love this topic by the way. I live in Kentucky, so my winter garden is still producing tons of Kale and Spinach, and my spring garden is breaking through the mulch as I sit here. I feel almost giddy thinking about preserving the yield with something other than my homemade food dryer. Awesome subject matter.
 
Sandor Katz
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I don't think there are any foods that cannot be fermented. Which does not mean that every food is equally delicious fermented, or has a long history of fermentation. But I cannot think of any foods that could not be fermented in some ways. Fermenting vegetables is the best place to start a practice: easy, quick, fast, safe, nothing special needed.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Adam, was your question only about vegetables?

About vegetables:
Can you ferment raw veggies that cannot be eaten normally raw?
I think about taro, or starchy roots for example, potatoes, sweet potatoes...
Is there any change about oxalic acid content after fermenting?

Can you ferment eggs?
ALL meats?
Any difference according to meat fats content?
 
Adam Chisholm
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Location: Bluegrass region of Kentucky, USDA Zone 6a - unpredictable but manageable
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Thanks for the reply Sandor, I keep having to remind myself that we're talking about fermenting (not pickling with brine right?) My context is for pickling and all of these threads are blowing my mind with possibilities of fermenting.

Xisca, I had only been thinking about veggies so great addition to the question. I'd love to know Sandor's answer to your question as well.
 
Sandor Katz
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Adam, pickling with brine IS fermenting. With sauerkraut, the liquid for the brine comes from the veggies, which is possible because they are shredded, with lots of surface. A brine is the same salty environment, except with added water. The bacterial process that unfolds in this environment is the same with either method.

Xisca, yes you can ferment veggies not usually eaten raw, but you can cook them and then ferment them, as well. I make mashed potato kraut sometimes, with cooked mashed potatoes and raw cabbage (don't add potatoes until they cool to body temperature). Fermentation reduces oxalic acid. You can ferment eggs in a number of ways, including hard boiled ones in kraut. In Art of Fermentation there is a small section on fermenting eggs, and here's a link to an egg fermentation entry on my website: http://www.wildfermentation.com/miso-fermented-egg-yolk/. There are many ways ferment meat and some of them, for instance salamis, specifically incorporate fat as well as muscle.
 
Adam Chisholm
Posts: 24
Location: Bluegrass region of Kentucky, USDA Zone 6a - unpredictable but manageable
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Thanks Sandor, clearly I have much to learn. My local library doesn't have your books, but I've put in a request for an interlibrary loan. Your response is much appreciated.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Wife is reading a blog of a Japanese man who fermenting just about anything he can think of.

For example fermented wasabi from a tube & rayu (hot sesame oil). Fermented just fine, but not necessarily tasty.
 
John Kindziuk
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Well, you can ferment almost anything, but the question is does it make sense? Fermentation is controlled spoilage of food. You let food to rot and you try to control the process. Foods which ferment well contain sugar as bacteria will break sugar either into lactic acid and carbon dioxide (sauerkraut) or yeasts will break sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide (wine). Potatoes, rice, grains. sauerkraut, beets, all those foods are loaded with sugar and will ferment well. Great Polish vodkas are made from rotten potatoes and believe me, you don't want to be around fermenting potatoes.
Meat ferments very well, however, better be good at it, as meat can spoil easy. It is no fun to throw away you salamis after playing with them for 2 months. Talking about meats, you don't ferment them with brine, you use salt and sodium nitrite and in some extreme cases salt only. All said, it makes a lot of sense to try to ferment different foods in one gallon containers. If experiment goes bad, you can always drink some of a freshly fermented wine. It is a pity that in the US we cannot distill alcohol which is allowed in most European countries. Check some of the equipment we were using in Poland. We made better stuff that was available in stores.
Distilling Column
 
John Saltveit
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Sandor Katz wrote, "Fermentation reduces oxalic acid. "

This is an important idea to think about because many vegetables, such as beets, chard, sorrel, oca and others are good to eat but people have to be careful not to eat too much due to the oxalic acid. Also it can neutralize calcium or iron in diets. Also many people in their middle ages can get kidney and gall stones from excess oxalic acid.

I am excited to ferment with these vegies to see how they can optimally be improved. Some of them may just need a quick ferment, as many are leafy vegetables and can turn slimy if fermented too long. However beets and oca are quite substantial and should take fermenting for long periods. They certainly have made ferments out of beets for years.

Also, beets have lots of sugar in them, hence sugar beets. Fermenting should decrease the amount of sugar, so people on low glycemic or diabetic diets would be able to avail themselves of the huge numbers of antioxidants in their rich red color,without worrying about damaging their health.


John S
PDX OR
 
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