Friday, February 20, 2015

The Art of Fermentation Workshop with Sandor Katz

My morning toast to the water view before the big day

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On February 8,  I had the privilege to attend a workshop The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz at the Pacific Rim College in Victoria BC.

Sandor is known for his passion and knowledge about fermentation, he has written books like The Art of Fermentation and The Wild Fermentation and is well respected in the fermenter communities all around the world. I highly recommend anyone interested in fermenting to acquire these books as great resource materials.

Traveling to attend this workshop was also a turning point for me. I haven't travel alone since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis a little over a year ago. The thought of venturing out of my comfort zone was daunting but when this opportunity came up, I knew this was my chance to take the next step on my healing journey.

What is Fermentation?

Sandor starts the workshop with the definition.

Fermentation = microbial transformation 

He covered many topics from his books along with demos and Q and A throughout the 9-5 workshop.

Demo time
In my 8 pages of notes,  I would like to share a couple of topics I am glad to have gotten clarification and affirmation from:

1. Anaerobic ( without oxygen like sauerkraut being submerged under water  )  vs. aerobic ( with oxygen like kombucha being kept in a breathable cover ) ferments

2. The Purpose of fermentation
  • Preservation of in Season foods
  • Pre-digestion for easier absorption
  • Detoxification by improving and balancing gut flora health

What I got out of the event?

As a facilitator, Sandor is a down to earth and knowledgable speaker. He warmingly shares his stories around ferments through his extensive travels. I appreciate how he gracefully addressed questions without dismissing any that are more specific to nutritional needs and outside of his area of knowledge.

The Art of Fermentation workshop gave me the opportunity to be in good company of like minded fermenters. The event has affirmed my love for fermentation and interest in the human microbiome. I am glad I took the online course Gut Check: Exploring the human microbiome from Coursera a few months back where I got an introduction of the Scientific background on the topic. The "Expansive possibilities" of ferments fascinate me so much that I wish to continue learning about this world of microbial community.

Specifically,  this workshop has inspired me to explore wild fermentation more. I have since started my first batch of Beet Kvass and cucumber, radish, garlic greens ferment and patiently waiting. I also want to experiment wild fermenting fresh fruit in water to see how it does. As Sandor says, " everything ( food ) is fermentable and I will continue to explore.

Left: Brine method ferment - cucumbers, radishes, dill and garlic
Right: 2nd pressing Beet Kvass

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