As promised, we have some practical tips & tricks to share from our Get Cultured workshop by Georgia of Stirring Change! After our last blog, Get Cultured…basics of fermented foods, we’re all now up to scratch on the origins of fermented and cultured foods, and the role they play in our diet and health! The second part of Georgia’s workshop was the fun practical part, where we all found out how to create our own beautiful cultured foods to enjoy!

General Fermenting & Culturing Guidelines

  • Cultures do not like metals
    Any reactive metals will permantly damage cultures. Stainless steel and plastic are OK, but wood, glass and ceramics are ideal!
  • Clean hands & utensils
    Thoroughly clean your utensils so you remove any strains that may compete with your culture, to maximise its chance of living!
  • Cultures need clean air
    Avoid any pollutants or toxins which may affect the health & flavour of your culture!
  • Back-up your culture
    Keep any leftover stock in case your main organism is damaged. You can always top up your culture with your back-up stock!
  • Try dehydrating
    Cultures can be dehydrated at low temperatures (>35 degrees), and stored indefinitely.

About Fermented and Cultured Foods

Kombucha
An ancient healing tonic, consumed in small amounts, that can be adapted to suit any palate. Try adding fruit & spices! Kombucha is the perfect beginners culture; very handy and low maintenance. Research has shown that Kombucha has antimicrobial activity, enhances sleep and pain relief, has potent antioxidant activities and is recommended for treating digestive, cardiovascular, joint/tissue, nervous, infective, hormonal and skin conditions.

Kombucha ideas…
- Tea Blends: try teas like English Breakfast, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Oolong and regular Green tea. Avoid any teas with oils like Earl Grey or fruit flavoured teas. It’s always best to choose organic teas!
- Spiced Apple
- Fruit: add the juice of 1 lemon and some dried fruit to your kombucha.

Kefir
This is an easy to maintain, highly digestible and extremely nutritious alternative to regular milk products! Most yoghurts and supplements contain around 10 million ‘friendly bacteria’ per serve/capsule. Kefir has a live organism count of around 1 billion per mL, so 100mLs gives you 100 billion healthy little organisms for your gut, wow!! The diversity of the bacteria in kefir is also far supreme to those found in pre-made products. Kefir’s strong cultures re-populate the digestive tract by forming stable colonies.

Georgia’s workshop includes recipes and tips for creating a range of fermented & cultured foods including; Kombucha, Kefir, Tibicos, Coconut Yoghurt, Almond Milk Yoghurt and Basic Sauerkraut! Here is another special recipe which Georgia has shared from her Stirring Change workshops…

Thai Curry Pickled Carrot Sticks (1L)
©Stirring Change
Ingredients
½ kilo of carrots, peeled and chopped into sticks
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ inch ginger, peeled and sliced
10cm lemongrass stalk, outer leaves peeled, sliced longitudinally
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds (best if dry-roasted until fragrant, then cooled)
1/2 a fresh deseeded jalapeno pepper (or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes – both optional)
1/2 packet of body ecology starter culture
1.5 tsp salt (3 tsp salt if you’re not using the starter)
1 cabbage leaf
Equipment
1L ball, mason or fowlers vacola jar

Method
In a clean (sterilised) jar, gently swish the salt and starter in a little water until it is mostly dissolved, then pack all the other ingredients tightly into the jar.
Fill with extra water so that it is 2 inches from the top. Fold the cabbage leaf and press it into the top of the jar to keep the carrots under the brine. Screw the lid on tightly and leave on the kitchen bench – out of harm’s way.
With starter: The carrots should be ready in 3-7 days
With salt only: The carrots should be ready in roughly 1.5-2 weeks
There are no rules with timing – simply taste them every few days and transfer to the fridge when you’re happy with the flavour. They will continue to improve with time in the fridge.

If you are lacking some time and energy to get into the kitchen, it happens to us all! Then here are Georgia’s top picks for fermented & cultured food products which you can purchase…

Fermented fish and butter oils (Green Pastures)

Georgia from Stirring Change runs regular workshops and classes. Find out when her next cultured workshop is.. details here!