Happy New Year Sunset Park CSAers!! Who is already getting excited for the 2014 season? I know we are! As we prepare for the year ahead, we will be doing a series of posts about some of the highlights of 2013. Our first installment documents our very first Fermentation Workshop. Very many thanks to our member, Carl Gambrell, for writing this article about the workshop.
Bread, cheese, wine, beer, cider, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, salami, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, vinegar, yogurt, kombucha. Most people consume fermented foods and drinks every day. Fermentation makes foods more nutritious as well as delicious. Microscopic organisms (“good bacteria”) transform food and extend its usefulness. Preserving the harvest and eating foods that are rich in healthy probiotics has been something humans have been doing for thousands of years.
On Saturday, September 21, the Sunset Park CSA held a fermentation workshop led by Michaela Hayes, owner of Crock & Jar, and organized by CSA core member Jen Wittlin. Michaela taught members the basics of lacto-fermentation, the simplest type of fermentation, and covered two different methods, each technique historically rooted in the German and Lower East Side cultures. She also provided us with a recipe for sauerkraut and dill pickles.
After Michaela showed us how to make dill pickles and explained how that
process differs from pickling sauerkraut, we got to get our hands dirty and make our own sauerkraut.
For our hands-on lesson, Michaela demonstrated the process of selecting a cabbage and preparing the vegetable for pickling. We paired up, cut out the main stem and base of the cabbage, shredded the rest of the vegetable, and put it in a bowl to knead. We saved the thicker outer leaves to fold into a protective layer over the shredded cabbage.
After adding mineral-rich sea salt, some spices (pepper flakes and turmeric), we massaged the cabbage, salt, and spices until a juicy brine was created with the water content of the vegetable. We added half of each cabbage and all of the brine into our canning jar and pressed the cabbage until it was completely submerged in the liquid, then added our folded outer leaf as a barrier from any airborne bacterias that might contaminate the pickling process.
We put a protective ziplock bag over the cabbage leaf, then partially filled another plastic ziplock bag to act as a water weight and pressed this down into the mixture. And that was it! Each participant was able to take home a jar of their own sauerkraut to let ferment for the next three weeks.
And now that it’s ready, it’s delicious!
This was a great workshop for people interested in preserving more of our CSA bounty,
and I look forward to additional educational workshops from the CSA in the future. This was a fun and easy way to learn about fermentation and hopefully will make you think twice about putting that cabbage in the swap box on pick-up days.
There was a $5 materials fee to enroll in the workshop. The class was limited to 12 people so register early if you’re interested in one of these workshops in the future. Email the core group at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Crock & Jar: http://www.crockandjar.com/