Jenny McGruther of the popular Nourished Kitchen blog is having a special sale on her class, Get Cultured: How to Ferment Anything.
It’s 13 weeks of learning how to ferment EVERYTHING — from pickles to sauerkraut to yogurt and sourdough bread. Best of all, you can take the class from the comfort of home. No schlepping to a class — it’s all online! And you get lifetime access so you can go at your own speed.
JUST ANNOUNCED: Jenny will be doing a FREE webinar this Friday, May 18th. Click here to sign up now.
I did an interview with Jenny to learn more about fermented foods.
1. How did we move away from traditional fermented foods?
Inventions, social movements, the migration from the country to the city all contributed to our move away from the traditions of our ancestors. Yet, when it comes to our move away from fermented foods, we can largely pinpoint that progression to the invention of refrigeration as well as the popularization of canning, both of which negated the need to ferment foods for long-term storage. Up until the 1920s many foods were fermented including homemade sodas like root beer, vegetables like beets and sour pickles, as well as meats, fish and milk products.
Without the need to ferment foods, the traditional practice largely fell by the wayside except in a few circumstances: yogurt making, cheese making, curing some meats, bread baking and the making of sauerkraut.
Further, there’s been a deep-seated concern over food safety and hygiene in recent years and all bacteria (including beneficial lactobacillus bacteria) have been villainized as a result. So in our society’s quest to wage a war on bacteria through antibacterial sprays and wipes and rigid refrigeration, people have been made wary and fearful of the natural process of fermentation. And while good fermentation practices ensure that fermented foods are safe, people have been made afraid of this practice and the concept of specifically culturing bacteria-rich foods — a practice that was once quite common — is now foreign. Our health is suffering as a result.
2. What got you interested in fermented foods?
I wanted to make my own yogurt. It seemed less expensive and it seemed like a fun process – to get back in the kitchen and try it out. After that first quart of yogurt, I fell in love with the process and began experimenting with all sorts of fermented foods: vegetables and fruit, sodas, naturally cured meats and fish and homemade cheeses.
I’m simply fascinated by the transformational process that food undergoes as it’s fermented. The process of transforming liquid milk into yogurt or yogurt cheese is fascinating, and there’s a real beauty to pounding two simple ingredients (cabbage and salt) into something like sauerkraut.
Plus, I value fermented foods’ benefits to my family’s overall health.
3. What are the health benefits of fermented foods?
The benefits of fermented foods largely rest in the action of beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria help us to better digest our foods, to manufacture vitamins in our digestive tract and to support immune system health. These bacteria can also help to resolve digestive system issues, help people to recover from foodborne illnesses and show some benefits to those suffering from autism spectrum disorders.
When beneficial bacteria populate our guts, they offer an element of protection and work together with our own cells for overall systemic wellness. A lack of bacteria-rich fermented foods, formula feeding in infancy, abuse of antibiotics and an overly hygienic society have severely weakened our body’s natural retinue of immune-building beneficial bacteria and our collective health has suffered as a result.
4. You’ve told me that your son likes sauerkraut. How did you get him to enjoy more sour flavors? Do you have any tricks for parents out there?
But for parents who are just starting their children on traditional and real foods – perhaps transitioning from a more standard American diet – they’re unlikely to see those same immediate results. I recommend serving your children fermented foods they already like: homemade ranch dressing made with herbs, olive oil and kefir is great; homemade fermented barbecue sauce or ketchup are others.
Some children also don’t care for the texture of fermented foods like sauerkraut, so starting them on true sour pickles, or fermented carrot sticks proves more appealing.
Children also love sodas, and in Get Cultured! we talk extensively about probiotic tonics beyond water kefir and kombucha, to homemade herbal tonics like ginger ale, root beer and other homemade sodas that are naturally fermented. Kids typically LOVE these.
5. What will students learn in your online class, Get Cultured?
Get Cultured! is a comprehensive class on fermentation. We talk about cultured dairy foods like kefir, yogurt, cultured butter and other dairy foods before moving onto probiotic drinks and tonics like kombucha, kvass, rejuvelac and homemade herbal sodas.
We also talk about homemade condiments including mayonnaise, ketchup and mustards. Of course we talk about fermented vegetables including sauerkrauts, pickles, brine-pickles and shredded vegetable ferments. We also address cured meats and fish like homemade bacon and gravlax as well as sourdoughs, ferments of coconut and other ferments including nut pates and tempeh.
All in all, there’s over 50 instructional videos on preparing fermented foods, plus over 100 recipes and ideas for incorporating the fermented foods you learn to make into your daily life. Plus we also address the science behind fermentation and why it’s so good for us.
By the end, students of Get Cultured! will know how to ferment just about any food, understand why fermented foods are critical to our health and will feel confident that they can ferment foods at home safely and prepare delicious foods their families will actually enjoy.
Also, I’m always available to answer questions and enjoy chatting with many students personally as well as on our conference calls.
6. Do you have any special fermenting tips and tricks to share?
For successful fermentation, it’s critically important that you create an anaerobic environment — that means air shouldn’t be getting to your ferment. While there are several products on the market that are designed to create this environment, you don’t need special equipment to do it. The key is to make sure your ferment is resting below the brine level in your jar or crock, and we outline several ways to do this in the class. This practice, keeping your ferments completely submerged, is what makes home fermentation safe.
Also, learn to relax a little and experiment! Once you have the basics fermentation process down, experiment with different flavors – so there’s always something new in your kitchen.
7. What are your favorite fermented foods?
Chocolate? No, my favorite ferments to make at home have to be the homemade herbal tonics. I love to make herbal infusions and then ferment them. Not only do you benefit from the medicinal herbs, but also from the beneficial bacteria and these herbal sodas are faintly sweet and very fizzy.
Watch the Video
Save Over $100 on Get Cultured!
Jenny’s class, Get Cultured! is still on sale — you can get in for only $147.
If you use the coupon code SAUERKRAUT you will get an additional $50 off. You can get into the class for only $97!
Hurry though… this offer is only good until next Tuesday, May 22nd!
JUST ANNOUNCED: Jenny will be doing a FREE webinar this Friday, May 18th. Click here to sign up now.PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.