Our Grow Appalachia first year teens, Food Commanders, did not meet this past week. They will be meeting Saturday, and touring a recycled community garden. We will also design their gardens for their own back yards. But, that did not keep us from not doing something exciting with some of our other teens in Greene County, TN! We work with three other groups of teens, at different levels in the training program. Our second year teens learn how to cook and preserve food, the third and fourth year teens are given business training and guidance in running a small food related business from the farm. This past week, our second year teens had the honor of participating in a fermentation workshop, led by renown author, Sandor Katz.
The teens, along with about 90 other participants, were intrigued with the word fermentation.
What does it mean? How does it work? Is it an exact science? Can anyone do it? Is it difficult? What can be used? Many questions were asked, and several were answered before they reached anyone’s lips. Sandor Katz demonstrated the art of making sauerkraut. This workshop served as our Annual Board Meeting for Rural Resources. What better way to show what we are all about than to have a special guest speaker. Volunteers came together the afternoon before and helped chop cabbage, carrots, onions, radishes, and turnips.
Sandor was a wonderful speaker! He spoke so all could understand, demonstrated how to make the sauerkraut, and how to care for it when we got it home. I had no idea how simple this fermentation activity was. I have fermented pickles and there are a few weeks involved in making cucumbers into pickles. Did you know sauerkraut can be ready in as little as 2-3 days! Or, it can take up to 6 months! Sandor said it all depends on your taste. Also, the only thing added to sauerkraut is salt! The salt makes the veggies wilt, and brings the juices out. By simply squeezing the cabbage and veggies together, the natural water comes out, and that’s what you use to pack your sauerkraut in. Put it in the jar, twist the lid and ring on, and your done, until the next morning. Once a day Sandor suggests twisting the ring enough to release the natural gases that build up.
If you would like more information, check out his website at www.wildfermentation.com. Or, pick up one of his books. We were recently given a copy of his latest book, “The Art of Fermentation”. It is a wonderful resource for your home gardens or anyone who is interested in preserving food.
The teens each left with their own jar of sauerkraut. They all felt it was very simple and they could handle making it themselves. What an exciting night!