Fermentations No. 1

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“Preservation of Community”, Elisa Yon, Working Holiday Fermentations, 2015. Photography: Amanda Arcuri

Working Holiday Fermentations No. 1
Thursday, October 22, 2015
6:00–8:00 pm
Dunbar Community Centre, 4747 Dunbar St.

This workshop was led by artist Elisa Yon and Chef and Holistic Nutritionist, Andrea Potter. Through hands-on instruction, participants learned about the art, science, and nutrition of lacto-fermented foods while creating a limited edition set of delicious cabbage inspired ferments. This workshop was offered as part of this year’s Vancouver Sustenance Festival. sustenancefestival.ca.

Produce was sourced from local organic farms and food suppliers. Vegetables were prepared and participants were given instruction to “shop” for ingredients with a total weight of 1lb to accommodate the 500 ml jars provided. The ferments were presented as unique individual expressions of our environments. Author and fermentation specialist Sandor Ellix Katz describes the practice of fermentation as a way of engaging the “life forces” that surround us. It was an opportunity to stop and take a break from our everyday industrialized food system.

The project raised further questions about the value of collective labour during the harvest season, capturing and reflecting on the transcendence and continuity of skills, history, culture, and community ties. Perhaps a broader understanding of food preservation should include preservation of culture and community.

A special thanks to Amanda Arcuri for photography.


Andrew’s Private Reserve Kimchi
yield: about 1 quarts
(fermentation vessel: 1 quart jar)

1/2 head napa cabbage, chopped
1 1/2 carrots, shredded
1/2 large diakon radish, shredded
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/8 cup dulse seaweed flakes
1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for at least 30 minutes
  2. Pound into 1 quart jar, and cap loosely or top with a water-filled ziplock bag to seal off oxygen. Set aside to ferment, at room temperature, for at least 3 days. Taste for the degree of sourness you want, then refrigerate.[Recipe revised from book: Shockey, Kirsten K., and Christopher Shockey. Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, LLC, 2014.]

Sauerkraut with Apples and Raisins
yield: about 1 quart
(fermentation vessel: 1 quart jar)

1.5 lbs cabbage, cored and shredded
1 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1/16 cup raisins
1 tsp caraway seeds
1tsp of sea salt per pound of veggies.

Combine all ingredients except salt.  Weigh everything together.
Mix salt into cabbage mixture.  Let set for about 30 mins to release the juices.
Pound into your fermenting vessel by placing a large scoop or two of cabbage in your jar.  Press down with either a rolling pin, a wooden spoon or a kraut pounder. Press the cabbage firmly so that it is submerged beneath the liquid.
To keep the cabbage under the brine, you can either use carrot peelings arranged in a spoke formation or a cabbage leaf.
Seal your jar and let set at room temp for 3-10 days according to the temp in your house.  Pickl-It recommends fermenting at 68-72F for 10 days and reducing the time by 2 days for each degree over 72F.  For instance, 7 days for 73F, 5 days for 74F and no more than 3 days for any temp of 75F.  Cabbage is not traditionally made in the heat of the summer but rather is made once the temps start cooling down.

After the 3-10 days at room temp, place kraut in a cool location.  Ideally a basement or root cellar that is around 45-55F.  If you don’t have a cool place like that, you can store the kraut in the warmest part of your refrigerator which is usually either in the door or the top shelf toward the front (bottom shelf in the back is the coldest part).

In this cool location, let the kraut ferment for a minimum of 10-12 weeks.  Many people don’t touch the kraut until 6 months have past. You can taste the kraut at this point.  It should not taste like cabbage or be salty.

[Recipe revised from: http://www.picklemetoo.com/2012/11/15/sauerkraut-with-apples-and-raisins/ ]

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