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Introduction - The Art of Fermentation

Introduction - The Art of Fermentation

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The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.
The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Feb 01, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/31/2014

 
AN IN-DEPTH EXPLORATION OF ESSENTIAL CONCEPTSAND PROCESSES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
With Practical Information on Fermenting Vegetables,Fruits, Grains, Milk, Beans, Meats, and More
SANDOR ELLIX KATZ
 Foreword by Michael Pollan
The 
ART
of  
FERMENTATION
 
 
 xv
IntroduCtIon
L
ittlecouldIhaveimagined,asaNewYorkCitykidwholovedpickles,thatthosedelicious,crunchy,garlickysourpickleswouldleadmeonsuchanextraordinaryjourneyofdiscoveryandexploration.Infact,productsoffermentation—notonlypickles,butalsobread,cheese,yogurt,sourcream,salami,vinegar,soysauce,chocolate,andcoffee,aswellasbeerandwine— wereprominentinmyfamily’sdiet(astheyareinmany,ifnotmost,people’s),thoughwenevertalkedaboutthemassuch.Yet,asmypaththroughlifeledmetovariousnutritionalideasanddietaryexperiments,Ididlearnaboutthedigestivebenetsofbacteriapresentinlivingfermentedfoodsandbegantoexperiencetheirrestorativepowers.AndwhenIfoundmyselfwithagarden,facedwithasurplusofcabbagesandradishes,sauerkrautbeckonedme.Ourloveaffairendures.ThersttimeItaughtasauerkraut-makingworkshop,attheSequatchie ValleyInstitutein1999,Ilearnedthatthereisatremendousfearinourcul-tureofagingfoodoutsideofrefrigeration.Inourtime,mostpeopleareraisedtoviewbacteriaasdangerousenemiesandrefrigerationasahouseholdneces-sity.Theideaofleavingfoodoutsideofrefrigerationinordertoencourage bacterialgrowthtriggersfearsofdanger,disease,andevendeath.“HowwillIknowwhethertherightbacteriaaregrowing?”isacommonquestion.Peoplelargelyassumethatformicrobialtransformationstobesafe,theyrequireextensiveknowledgeandcontrolandarethereforeaspecializeddomainbestlefttoexperts.Mostfoodandbeveragefermentationprocessesareancientritualsthathumanshavebeenperformingsincebeforethedawnofhistory,yetwehavelargelyrelegatedthemtofactoryproduction.Fermentationhasmostlydis-appearedfromourhouseholdsandcommunities.Techniquesevolvedbydisparatehumanculturesovermillennia,throughobservationofnaturalphenomenaandmanipulatingconditionswithtrialanderror,havebecomeobscureandareindangerofbeinglost.Ihavespentnearlytwodecadesexploringtherealmoffermentation.Idonothaveabackgroundinmicrobiologyorfoodscience;Iamjustafood-loving back-to-the-landgeneralistwhobecameobsessedwithfermentation,spurred byavoraciousappetite,apracticaldesireforfoodnottogotowaste,anda willfuldesiretomaintaingoodhealth.Ihaveexperimentedwidely,talkedtomany,manypeopleaboutthesubject,anddonealotofreadingonit.Themore
 
 xv
 
inTrODuCTiOn
IexperimentandthemoreIlearn,themoreIrealizehowlittleofanexpertIremain.Peoplegrowupinhouseholdsinwhichsomeofthesetraditionalfer-mentsarethedailycontext,andtheirknowledgeisfarmoreintimate.Others becomecommercialmanufacturersanddeveloptechnicalmasteryinordertoproduceandmarketconsistentandprotableproducts;countlesssuchpeopleknowmuchmorethanIaboutbrewingbeer,makingcheese,bakingbread,curingsalamis,orbrewing
saké 
.Microbiologistsorotherscientistswhostudy veryspecicfacetsofthegenetics,metabolism,kinetics,communitydynam-ics,orothermechanismsoffermentationsunderstanditallintermsIcanonly barelycomprehend.NordoIpossessanythingapproachingencyclopedicknowledgeoffer-mentation.Theinnitevariationthatexistsinhowpeopleoneverycontinentfermentallthevariousfoodstheyeatistoovastforanyindividualtohavecomprehensiveknowledge.However,Ihavehadtheprivilegetohearalotof wonderfulstories,andtastemanyhomemadeandartisan-fermentedconcoc-tions.Manyreadersofmybooks,visitorstomywebsite,andparticipantsinmyworkshopshaverecountedtalesoftheirgrandparents’fermentationprac-tices;immigrantshaveexcitedlytoldmeaboutfermentsfromtheoldcountry,oftenlosttothemthroughmigration;travelershavereportedonfermentstheyhaveencountered;peoplehavedivulgedtheirquirkyfamilyvariations;andotherexperimentalistssuchasmyselfhavesharedtheiradventures.Ihavealsoeldedthousandsoftroubleshootingquestions,causingmetoresearchandthinkaboutmanymoreaspectsoftheinevitablevariationsthatoccurinhomefermentations.ThisbookisacompendiumofthefermentationwisdomIhavecollected.Ihaveincludedmanyotherpeople’svoicesthroughout.ThoughIhavemadeanattempttobethorough,thisbookisfarfromencyclopedic.Myintentionwithitistoidentifypatternsandconveyconceptstoempoweryouwithtoolssoyoucanexploreandreclaimfermentationintoyourlife.Iamonamissionofshar-ingskills,resources,andinformationrelatedtothisimportantart,inthehopethattheselong-standingcoevolutionaryrelationships,embeddedinculturalpractices,arenotlostbutratherspread,cross-pollinated,andadapted.Onewordthatrepeatedlycomestotheforeinmyexplorationandthink-ingaboutfermentationis
culture
.Fermentationrelatestocultureinmanydifferentways,correspondingwiththemanylayersofmeaningembeddedinthisimportantword,fromitsliteralandspecicmeaningsinthecontextofmicrobiologytoitsbroadestconnotations.Wecallthestartersthatweaddtomilktomakeyogurt,ortoinitiateanyfermentation,cultures.Simultaneously,cultureconstitutesthetotalityofallthathumansseektopassfromgenerationtogeneration,includinglanguage,music,art,literature,scienticknowledge,andbeliefsystems,aswellasagricultureandculinarytechniques(inbothof whichfermentationoccupiesacentralrole).Infact,theword
culture
comesfromLatin
cultura
,aformof
colere
,“tocultivate.”Ourcultivationofthelandanditscreatures—plants,animals,fungi,

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