Sandor Ellix Katz (a.k.a. “Sandorkraut”) is a fermentation revivalist, food activist, and author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation. He joins the listeners of Talking Chefs today to help demystify lacto-fermentation. In this episode, we cover the basics of fermentation, the benefits of bacteria, and the salt ratios to get you started in your ferments. By the end of the episode, you will have a clear idea of how to ferment fearlessly!
“Sandorkraut” presents fundamentals and guidelines to help the listener navigate the steps of fermenting vegetables such as cabbage (to produce a traditional sauerkraut) and butternut squash (for a buttery puree, spread, or dip). Further to our discussions on how one can use fermentation to preserve food and to enhance flavour, Sandor elaborates on the science of fermentation, providing an overview of the traditional roles bacteria plays in our environments, kitchens, and intestines. During this Talking Chefs episode, you will learn the simplicity of starting fermenting, its benefits, and the reasons why you don’t have to be afraid of it. Sandor also provides further depth for the listener with his preferred salt for lacto-fermentation, the salt ratios for a starting point, and the different approaches to salting ferments.
After my conversation with Sandor, my relationship to fermentation has changed. The fears of fermenting food with which I was once burdened have now been put to rest. I now interact with my ferments with the same confidence and sophistication as I interact with a sauce --- that tasting and adjusting of the seasoning, that patient waiting for the flavour and texture to come together. Now, with fermenting too, I work towards the moment we call it “done” --- and salivate with anticipation of another taste.