Artisan Files

Getting cultured - the art of fermenting produce

Having read THE DIET MYTH by Professor Tim Spector from cover to cover (twice-over), our eyes have been opened to the once hidden world of the microbiome. These reads have demystified the common misconceptions we and many people have about fat, calories, vitamins and nutrients – it supports what our valued expert friends like Anthia Koullouros and Kitsa Yanniotis have been preaching to us. Fermented foods have taken on even more meaning at Artisan House than before!

When produce is fresh and in abundant supply, it’s a great time to start “culturing them”.

Veg for fermenting

Since long, long ago, many civilisations have pickled and fermented foods primarily to preserve them, in modern days known as Culturing Food. Unknowingly, they were magnificently creating superfoods packed with healthy microorganisms (also known as “probiotics”) and reaping all sorts of health benefits.

Research has proven time and again that the age-old practice of fermentation is good medicine because of the “healthy bacteria” that are contained within these foods.

Fermenting produce is quite easy and fun with a blend of art and science that must be practiced to be successful.

To those who are new to fermenting their own produce, perhaps the best way forward would be to invest into a good fermentation kit. This way you will have all utensils and vessels, including good quality sea salt to get you started.


For those who have practiced home fermentation before and are comfortable with using their existing fermentation equipment, just a few important considerations:

Which salt to use and how much of it?

An ideal salt for fermenting is whole, unrefined, and full of natural vitamins and minerals. Find out all about salt here.

As a general rule of thumb, whenever we are fermenting produce at Artisan House, we use approximately 2 tablespoons per ½ kg of shredded vegetables.


What to “culture”?

Practically any vegetable can be fermented, and culturing fresh produce is a safe and enjoyable way to provide good nutrition year-round. You can ferment one vegetable alone or create a mix of many different kinds, along with herbs and spices, for a great variety of cultured foods.


Which fermentation method/recipe to use?

There are a few methods that are generally used:

* Kneading salt directly in to shredded vegetables draws their juice out and they then ferment in their own juices. This is the lengthiest method but in our opinion yields the most flavoursome and desirable result;

* Dissolving salt in water, to make a brine and then submerging the vegetables in the brine completely for proper fermentation works faster and is less messy, but does not yield the same intense vegetable flavours as the prior method;

* Using a combination of lactic acid (such as Kefir whey) and a brine speeds up the whole fermentation process (in some cases lessening the fermentation period by half) but produces a more acidic, sour tasting result.

So, the method employed should really be determined by your taste buds. However you prefer to make it, remember that if you choose the best ingredients and practice your technique with love, your cultured veggies will be healthy and delicious!

Red Sauerkraut

Further information on fermentation of produce is readily available in published books and from specialists such as Kitsa Yonniotis of Emporio Organico.


COMPETITION TIME! To celebrate the current Spring planting season (for all that fresh produce perfect for culturing!) and the upcoming release of The Produce Companion on Cooked, we’ve teamed up with some friends of Artisan House to give you the chance to win the ultimate gourmet pack valued at up to $240.

There are five packs to give away, filled with awesome things from Mount Zero pink lake salt & olive oil, Bambu Makers denim apron, Olsson’s Sea Salt, Cutting Edge Cultures and more. Plus, we’ll throw in a copy of The Produce Companion and The Diggers Club‘s The Australian Food & Vegetable Garden cookbooks, as well as a one-year membership to Cooked so you can start searching for delicious new things to cook with your goodie pack.



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