{Food and Gardening} Book review: The art of fermentation

Fall is in full swing and the harvest is coming in abundance. It’s that time of year when preserving what we have grown takes center stage. Having good resources on hand is a must to help make the process go smoothly.

There is no better resource on fermented foods than The art of fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. It is a treasure trove of recipes, practical experience, scientific knowledge and a compendium of nearly every kind of fermentation out there. I admit this is the first book I have reviewed that I haven’t read cover to cover. It is huge! I don’t mind taking my time with it though. There is a lifetime of experimentation within it’s pages.

There are instructions on how to ferment vegetables, fruits, meats, milk products, etc. If you can eat it, chances are you can make a yummy ferment out of it. Also if you like to drink ferments, there is a lot here for you to play with. Alcohol and non alcohol beverages alike. I personally can’t wait to make meade and cidar. My two favorite hard fermented drinks. However if kombucha is your thing, this book will get your mother rockin’.

I think the thing that was the most refreshing about this book is the chapter on non-food applications of fermentation. It’s almost halloween so lets get a little morbid for a second. I’m sure many of you have heard about green burial. The practice of being returned to the earth with as little intervention and space between you and the ground as possible. Well it’s the microbes and other natural decomposers that are going to go to work on you during this process. Essentially fermenting you and then breaking down your remains. Returning you to the nutritive cycle of the planet. Pretty cool huh? There are other fun things in this chapter as well, so no worries.

If you have read Wild fermentation, also by Katz, then you will love this book. If you haven’t, then what are you waiting for? I suggest grabbing The art of fermentation as it is everything Wild fermentation was and then some.

What are your favorite fermented foods? Any plans on fermenting your fall harvest?


As always happy eating




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  1. I love making Kombucha. I only made fermetted cabbage one time with success. I would like to try again. I need a good container for it.

    • We always make our sauerkraut and fermented foods in mason jars. We prepare it and cram it into the jar as tight as we can (wide mouth makes this easier), then leave it in the pantry for about a week to ferment. Then we put it in the fridge. Some people don’t like to eat a cold but I don’t mind it. :) If we left it out of the fridge in a mason jar, it would get moldy since there would be air entering the jar. I have known a friend to make sauerkraut and put it in a bucket. Then she put a plate to cover it an a bag of sand on top of that so no air would get in. She stored it in her pantry for a year and it was still good, just a small film on the top that we peeled off and underneath was very delicious kraut! :)

  2. Gardening, self sufficiency, cooking, and fermenting are some of my biggest passions! I have invented some recipes on my own and gotten other recipes from farmers that I have lived with. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickles, beet kvass… it’s all so fun and easy to make, plus it’s INCREDIBLY HEALTHY! I’ve read parts of Wild Fermentation, but I don’t own a copy of it myself and recently I have been compiling a list of books to put on my Christmas wish list so I will definitely add The Art of Fermentation to the list! Thanks for the great article. :)