It’s not only wine that is fermented in Carmel Valley. I attended a very informative in-home workshop right in my neighborhood on the topic of “culturing” food. Having little idea about what culturing was, I had much to learn and was duly impressed with our instructor Deborah’s knowledge of food. The topic was fermented foods and the value for the baby boomer’s diet. Bottom line, we need cultured foods. Two reasons: to create a healthy inner ecosystem and to boost our immune system. Sounds good to me.
My friend Dee and I watched Deborah demonstrate how to culture or ferment a batch of vegetables. I was overtaken by the colors--red cabbage (Theo Indigo if you do watercolor), ultra bright yellow beets and Meyer lemon. While I won’t describe the entire process for the recipe, watching Deborah slice, peel, chop and shred the veggies was mesmerizing and made me hungry on the spot. We asked questions and learned the variations of ingredients one can use. Deborah says to try it your way; it will work. All raw ingredients and the culture ended up in jars to store/ferment for a week. While taking a couple of hours to prepare, the process doesn’t seem that hard. I think I can do this!
After the demo we got to taste three different recipes and we both agreed we liked the one with the seaweed best. And better yet, we got to take home a jar. Deborah warned us before we began tasting that we might not like the flavor at first. Americans are used to salty and sweet, leaving bitter and sour mostly out. And the first taste was tart/sour. After several more tastes, the tart was gone. What was left were interesting flavors with crunch. Deborah added ginger, lemon and even garlic to her veggie creations and we liked that.
After the recipe was made, we on the patio outside sat and enjoyed a delicious zucchini frittata, fresh green salad and gluten-free cookies. The preparing and sharing of food with friends and neighbors, is never a thing of the past…just takes a bit of time. Luckily, it’s happening Carmel Valley.