One of the things I love about my new life in this Sardinian little village is that I finally started fermenting. For the first time in my life I have access to the treasures of a vegetable garden of our own. This is quit the experience in itself, since I didn’t really grow up having a green thumb (I blush when I admit there have been times in my younger days that I couldn’t keep the simplest little plant alive). For me a whole new world of learning and growing (pun intended) opened up. These days I try to keep up with the seasons, the moon and the gardening work to create a tasty harvest all year round. It’s a bit tough still, we just have so much work to do and attending to the garden sometimes just isn’t possible. We didn’t have anything to harvest this winter but lemons, lots of lemons yum!, but last week Alessandro sowed a bunch of seeds to plant around march. Since I tasted food from my own garden I admit I am really excited about getting back into the gardening routine so we can have more of that!
I noticed last year that gardening means having a lot of the same produce at the same time. At least that’s what happened to us. I can’t tell you in how many different ways we ate zucchini last summer. We sure got creative! Now I know another good way to deal with all the surplus: fermenting. I simply love it. Not only is it super healthy for many reasons, it is also really really tasty. And while you are fermenting you are simultaneously storing and preserving your food. Can’t get much better than that. So why is it healthy? For one, it is a probiotic food source. Fermented food is alive, that means that your fermented yumminess contain a lot of good bacteria that your body needs. The proces of lactofermentation also creates omega 3 fatty acids, b-vitamins and beneficial enzymes.
I do not stop at homegrown veggies, I also brew some pretty darn tasty probiotic, all natural drinks. I have water kefir, milk kefir, kombucha, jun and, at times, ginger and turmeric fermenting on my shelves. All of these brews contain a different array of probiotic bacteria, some more complex than others. Together with the fermented veggies these homemade ferments have become an important part of our diet. When we are on the road and it’s not possible to bring along our bubbling, sizzling jars, we notice how our bodies crave the salty, sour and sweet tastiness that is fermented foods.
For christmas this year we decided to give the whole family a jar filled with homemade kimchi. This is a Korean type of ferment that contains cabbage, carrot, onion, garlic, chili and ginger. You can play around with it of course, that’s what makes fermenting so much fun, but I believe these ingredients are most often in it. You should have seen their faces! As home fermenting is not really a big thing (yet) in Sardegna, they were a bit surprised to receive a jar filled with colour and liquid occasionally letting out a bubbly sigh. They eyed it suspiciously and I can’t wait for them to try what’s inside when it is ready. Actually I might sneak into the kitchen right this moment, a little taste now and then to check the progress is necessary, right!