August Urban Farm Handbook Challenge — Fermentation!

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Urban Farm Handbook Challenge

This whole year, The Urban Farm Handbook authors Annette Cottrell (from Sustainable Eats) and Joshua McNicholls (a Seattle-based journalist) are hosting a month by month challenge to turn urban (and rural) farmers everywhere into farmlettes (or more…)!

Throughout the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge we walk you through a year’s worth of change from grains to dairy to vegetables to protein. We offer you both simple and crazy ways to get you on the bus. But now it’s time to get real. That bus is coming for you. Will you get on it?

August’s Urban Farm Handbook Challenge theme is preserving, and I’m here to encourage you to explore fermentation as part of your preservation strategy. (Marisa at Food In Jars issued your canning challenge last week.)

By the way, you could win a prize for participating…

Fermenting at a Glance

Pictured below is a slide from a recent webinar I offered on food preservation. This slide features the traditional and gut-healing practice of preserving food through fermentation — I call it “fermentation at a glance.” Feel free to download or share this around. Click the image to see it full size.

Fermentation offers the most health benefits of all food preservation methods and is one of the easiest ways to preserve food.

I think it isn’t practiced as much as it could be for three reasons: 1) people are unused to the complex, sour flavors of fermented foods; 2) people are scared by the idea of it, or that something could go wrong; and 3) most modern homes lack cellars or adequate cool storage to make fermenting feasible for the majority of our food preserving.

None of those hurdles need stop you from taking part in this challenge.

Why? Because, to participate, 1) you can make any fermented food you want, like a mild or sweet fruit ferment, 2) you’ll start with a tried and true recipe, and 3) you’ll make a small batch that will fit in your fridge or get eaten so quickly you won’t need to worry about storing it.

Ready? Let’s Go!

Here’s your challenge: Make any fermented food! Yes, any.

You could choose from any of my freely available recipes:

Or, if you have my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods, or have taken my online class in fermenting, feel free to use any recipes there. Or, search the internet for someone else’s recipe. You can make anything you want. You can even make it up as you go along!

If you’re a blogger, blog about it. If you’re not a blogger, make it anyway, and keep your experience in mind.

Then what?

At the end of the month (I’ll let you know when it is ready for you), visit Sustainable Eats to link up (or leave a comment) with the details of your fermentation entry. You could win:

So, get fermenting! If you have questions, please let me know. If you’re going to participate (or even thinking about it), please leave a comment so I can let you know when Annette is ready to take your entries.

Have fun!

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Comments

  1. Ashlee says

    I’ll try it! I’ve been needing to try a batch of sauerkraut to get started with GAPS. Thanks for the motivation.

  2. Julia says

    I am still trying to find a fermented food I like. I have made kefire, asparagus, beets, and saurkraut…

    I didnt know you could do it with fruit. I may try that~

  3. says

    Hi Wardee,

    Four weeks ago I made half-gallons of 3 types of kraut. Then a couple of weeks ago I made your Bread and Butter Pickles–two quarts of them. I put them in the back room with the krauts and forgot about them until today.

    HOLY COW! When I opened the first pickle jar (which seemed to have its lid bulging), I found that the ferment was majorly bubbly and roiling! I sampled a couple of pickle slices and they were hot-spicy! (I guess the whole peppers had really given their all). I didn’t have any reaction stomach-wise to eating the slices, so I assume they’re okay to eat. But should I dump them out, considering they went at least two weeks instead of the recipe-directed 3 days?!

  4. Anne says

    Hullo Wardeh, I have just got a copy of your idiot’s guide from the library and am reading and making the first recipe = saurkraut that you have in the book.
    Reading further you talk about fermenting grains.
    As I live in New Zealand, and you know what these grains are, can you name something less specific, such as wheat, barley, etc etc so that I can identify them here. a more generic type would be so helpful.
    Translating measurements from US to metric, when you still think in UK imperial is challenging enough!
    And thank you for writing such an interesting and easy to read book, it is certainly on my shopping list of books to get.
    I just wish there was one written on distilling, it is legal to own a still in NZ and I have been trying to get my head around that as well.
    I
    .

  5. Jean whitaker says

    I have never fermented anything but am game to try. So tomorrow I will download your instructions and have a go at it. Will keep you posted as to what and how things are going. Prolly have a ton of questions also. lolol

  6. Carol says

    I would love to participate. I have kefir and sour dough and kombucha going at all times, but I also make yogurt sauerkraut,beet kvass, and kimchi. Would love to learn more.

  7. Jenny says

    Hi,
    I’m in. I have sourdough starters that I rotate for bread and such. On my third batch of sauerkraut. Love, love that stuff. Have dill pickles in the frig. Kinda scared to try them. R they supposed to turn cloudy? Think they smell ok, haven’t opened them since I put them in the frig. I have a kombucha scoby that I grew waiting on me. Keep looking at it but time sure does fly. I am fascinated by fermenting and want to try sweet stuff, ketchup and mustard. Thanks for ur blog. Love it also.
    Jenny

  8. Lisa says

    Count me in. I am going to do several different ferments: salsa, eggplant, asparagus, onions, mild peppers, and brussel sprouts. One can never have too many ferments!

  9. Emily S. says

    Count me in. With the summer’s aboundance of garden veggies, we have experimented with pickling squash, okra, and salsa.

  10. Amy says

    I would love to partipate! I’ve made 32 quarts of LF salsa in the past week. It’s soooo good when we open a jar in the middle of winter and have FRESH tomatoes, peppers and onions all mixed together!

  11. says

    I have been skirting around this issue for some time. I tried unsuccessful sauerkraut, but have had success with ginger carrots, and make yoghurt all the time. guess I need your book :) I will read over your recipes and give it another try. I never realized there was such a variety – thanks for this informative post. Please do let me know when I can submit it.

    • says

      Marilyn — Yes they will ferment. But if they’re old and possibly have spoiling organisms already present, then they may not ferment positively. Best results come from fresh foods.

      • Marilyn says

        They are not too old. I thought the tomato juice was still good, but when I poured it into a glass it was thick and light and tangy…like there is air in it…
        The milk is not smelling too good though even though it is organic…

        • says

          Marilyn — I’m not surprised that the tomato juice is better than the milk. The organic milk is pasteurized or not? If the tomato juice is doing fine, try fermenting it. Don’t try fermenting the milk; it will just get worse.

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