I just finished watching Fermentation Workshop with Sandor Ellix Katz twice. If you are interested in getting started with fermented vegetables or kefir, it is must see.
Fermentation Workshop with Sandor Ellix Katz is an almost 2 hour long workshop by the author of Wild Fermentation. It is an excellent presentation. Sandor covers history, health, different cultures, ideas for ferments and the science. And he does it all while making a vegetable ferment.
I loved this DVD. There were no pauses. Sander is passionate about fermentation and covers a lot of information. Many of the ideas covered in the DVD are things I learned through trial and error. I would have loved to have gone back in time to when I first getting interested in fermentation and watched this presentation. Regardless, I still learned more.
Not only was the demonstration educational, it was inspiring. Even though I’ve been making ferments for over two years now, I felt like jumping up and starting another ferment. Actually, I did. Sandor also covered making kefir, which is something I did a few times and then got out of the habit. Now I’m all fired up to resume making kefir again!
Some topics covered in Fermentation Workshop include:
- Nutrition and mineral bio-availability.
- An overview of different types of ferments.
- How raw milk differs from pasteurized and what it means for fermentation.
- A kefir demonstration.
- A fermented vegetable demonstration.
- Discussion on how to vary salt levels based upon taste, temperature and how long you need to preserve your ferment.
- He demonstrates how a German made Croc prevents surface mold.
- A complete discussion on food safety, with a core message that fermented veggies are always safer than raw. The reason is pathogenic bacteria can not survive acidifying bacteria.
- How people with digestive issues such as IBS, acid reflux and constipation can dramatically improve their health with fermented vegetables, dairy ferments and kombucha.
If you live in Seattle, you can put a hold on this DVD at the library. However, expect to wait at least a month. You may just want to buy it. The video and audio quality are excellent. The DVD also has an interview with the Sander Katz that is also worth watching. Even though a lot of information is covered, you will not feel overwhelmed at the end. You will feel empowered. I highly recommended this DVD.
Oct 29, 2011 — 7:30 am
it’s available at my library. thx for the heads up. after a few experiments based only on what i’ve read here, i’ve had some success. i feel i still have a lot to learn.
Oct 29, 2011 — 12:50 pm
Sorry to sound like a know-it-all, but Sandor recommends against using even food-grade plastic bowls – he says they still leach chemicals.
Oct 29, 2011 — 2:37 pm
In honor of your last two posts I started a green bean ferment this morning. The fermented cherry tomatoes need some company.
Oct 29, 2011 — 5:01 pm
In a prior post you showed us your setup which is pretty big. Do you think this is something someone with a very small kitchen could reasonably accomplish? If making small batches, are the results worth the labor? Is it prone to failure?
I have just started eating fermented things from Firefly Kitchens. It’s wonderful, but expensive. I’m also trying to find a space to make kombucha. My clothes closet (the only closet in my apt btw) is looking like the most likely place. I have high ceilings, maybe I should build a fermentation loft.
Oct 29, 2011 — 5:24 pm
@GWhitney – Sandor’s book came out in 2003. This presentation was filmed in 2010. I got the sense that he takes a more dynamic approach to fermentation now. Two examples:
1 – He no longer measures salt levels. He mixes and tastes as he prepares the veggies for packing. I know a guy that spoke with Sandor a year or so ago. Sandor now uses less salt than he did in his book. This is 2nd hand info and may not be accurate, but I suspect it is. The trend in competition level ferments is lower salt levels than those used in the book Wild Fermentation.
2 – In the presentation Sandor mixes the veggies in food grade plastic. He discussed how the best things for the actual ferment are ceramic and glass. Plastic can be used, depending upon how concerned one is about plastic and the length of the ferment. The only no-no was using metal.
Sandor is a Fermentation Ninja. He knows many styles and is not confined by recipes, not even his own.
Oct 29, 2011 — 5:29 pm
@Geoff – I like the green bean idea. The next time I see them on sale, I’m going to give it a try.
@Marcia – How much of a setup you need is really determined by how much you eat. I now consume a lot of fermented veggies and I give a lot away, so I needed to ramp up my operation. You absolutely should start out small. All my R&D recipes were first tried in quart jars, before I expanded to the larger containers.
There is no failure only feedback. Taste your ferments as you go. I have what I expect to be a 5 week sauerkraut going right now. I tasted it after 8 days and it has a wonderful flavor. I’ll keep testing it and learn how the flavor evolves.
I’m not sure I’d ferment in my clothes closet. Some ferments – especially kimchi – can throw off an odor that you may not like. A fermentation loft might work if the temperature doesn’t get too high.
Oct 30, 2011 — 2:09 am
Sandor speaks against using plastic in this 2009 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77hU3zR-fQ
Oct 30, 2011 — 11:19 am
My guess is that if I we spoke to Sandor directly he would probably say the benefits from fermentation are greater than the risks of plastic. Absolutely avoid fermenting inside plastic if you can, but not at the expense of avoiding fermented veggies.
Oct 31, 2011 — 9:44 am
Thanks for bringing this to our attention! We’ve had success with sauerkraut but are still not confident with the fermenting process. Do you think the DVD is enough or do you recommend ordering the book as well?
Oct 31, 2011 — 10:10 am
@Elyse – The DVD is enough to get you confident in making and experimenting with your own fermentation ideas. If you need more ideas, then pick up the book. I don’t own the book and have no problems coming up with endless ideas for ferments. My only limitation is space and equipment.
Nov 1, 2011 — 10:25 am
I am WAY to lazy to deal with the library, which is good news for you!
I just funded a few more minutes in the life of MAS. 🙂
Nov 1, 2011 — 10:26 am
@Nick – Thank you! And you can always resell it on Amazon once you finished watching it.
Nov 4, 2011 — 1:28 pm
I work for Sandor’s publisher (Chelsea Green), and I just wanted to mention that he’s written a new book that will be out in the spring. Here’s a link: http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_art_of_fermentation:hardcover
(but it will also be available on Amazon so you can support this blog). Enjoy, and sorry to be all sales-y. I just like to let interested folks know about this stuff!
Nov 5, 2011 — 3:58 am
That note from Jennifer is the nicest spam message I’ve ever seen. 🙂
Nov 5, 2011 — 7:13 am
@Jim – Jennifer is cool. It is clear she read this post and extended the topic. I had no idea that a new book by Sandor was coming out. I’m glad she posted. I’ll be reading that book for sure. In fact, she can always send me a pre-release copy for a review on this site. 🙂
Apr 6, 2012 — 2:12 pm
“There is no failure, only feedback.”
Hmmmm….do you know a guy named Tad James? He says that a lot, and that’s where I got it.
Great info – thanks for your work, and the time it takes to blog about it.
Apr 6, 2012 — 2:28 pm
@Susanne – I first heard it from Art De Vany. I’m not familiar with Tad James, but I’m reading his site now. Thanks.