Last night I went to a lecture on making fermented foods. Sandor Katz was the speaker and the evening was organized by Just Food. Sandor was a funny, intelligent and very knowledgeable man. He has been experimenting with different methods of fermenting food for about 10 years. Wild Fermentation is his book, which looks to be an interesting read.
There were samples of fermented foods to sample: sauerkraut, carrot/ginger kraut (for lack of a better term), cheese and kefir. He demonstrated how easy it is to make sauerkraut while sharing his knowledge and wit with the audience. I learned a lot about making kombucha, which I think I will try soon. To make kombucha and kimchi, you need a bit of “starter”. In the case of kefir, it is called kefir grains. In the case of kombucha, it is called the mother, the mushroom or scoby. The scoby looks like a thick, gelatinous pancake. Several people in the audience very generously brought kefir grains and a scoby. The scoby grows in layers, so you can peel off a layer and start brewing your own kombucha.
There are a lot of health benefits from fermented foods: greater digestibility, higher amounts of nutrients, etc.
Be prepared to see some posts on fermented foods coming up soon!