Fermented foods are all the rage for foodies right now, and two Winnipeg women are hoping to keep cultivating the trend.
Natalie Dyck and Alexis Goertz run a little business called Edible Alchemy, where they teach people the art of canning, cultivating and fermenting foods to both keep your food longer and add to the healthy bacteria in your system.
"It's this strange world and this niche that we have hit on at the right time," said Goertz.
Fermented foods like kimchi, a spicy Korean cabbage concoction, sauerkraut, and kombucha, a sweet tea drink that contains a SCOBY (an acronym for a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that floats like some strange semi-translucent ghost in your drink), have been lauded lately by scientists and nutritionists. They believe the good bacteria that grows on these foods forms good relations with the trillions of bacteria in your gut.
Fermenting jars at Edible Alchemy. The jar on the left contains a SCOBY. (Mike Green)
Yes, reading the words bacteria and food in the same sentence can be jarring, but I assure you the whole fermentation thing can be both nutritious and delicious.
And the Edible Alchemy team can show how to do it all at home, all while making it stimulating through their "skill shares."
"It's a technique that forces people to engage and interact -- it's kind of a laboratory you have in your kitchen where you taste over time and see things develop all these flavours that you wouldn't otherwise experience," said Dyck.
"But it also draws our attention to all these symbiotic relationships and interactions that happen in nature that we don't usually notice."
Indeed, half the fun of fermenting is seeing how your food can transform, both in taste and appearance.
For instance, if you and a friend were both to use the same recipe for sauerkraut, using the same cabbage and the same process, but were to make them in two different environments, the resulting tastes and textures could turn out differently, due to the interactions in the air as your food begins to break down.
It's fascinating stuff, and it will open up a whole new world of flavour to your diet. Edible Alchemy will be holding their next skill shares in Winnipeg on September 24 and 25, with more slated for October.
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