Real Food Fermentation
by Alex Lewin
If you have no experience with real food, and many don’t, one of the first things you will learn when you encounter the genuine article is that real food doesn’t last very long. You just don’t see many expiration dates on real food around the year 2050 or later. So what do you do, besides eat it fast? One thing you can do is ferment it. If you like relatively easy and inexpensive options, this is a good choice. The process has additional benefits, like enhancing nutrition, enzymes and flavor.
Early chapters in Real Food Fermentation explain why you would want to ferment food in the first place, what are the benefits, what equipment you’ll need (not much), and how the process works. The instructions are all non-technical and easy to read. Lewin wisely advises using local and organic produce as much as possible. This book includes a list of books and movies that have exposed what is going on with our food supply over the last hundred years from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, to Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, to the films “Food, Inc.” and “Farmageddon.” If you are familiar with the titles in this list then you have a good idea of what is going on with food production in the U.S.
There is a chapter for sauerkraut, a chapter for other lacto-fermented vegetables, and a chapter for cultured dairy products. Raw dairy is recommended in this book. You will find good instructions for making butter in that chapter. There are additional chapters on fruit, drinks like cider, kombucha, kvass, and vinegar, and the last chapter is about fermenting meat. This is a visually appealing book with many excellent pictures illustrating the steps of the process and it scores a thumbs UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2012.