Fermentation all the Whey

Our permaculture initiative is in full swing, but that’s not all that’s new to Oaklands Country Manor… We’ve been enjoying our garden’s fresh produce so much that we’ve got some exciting new experiments fermenting in Kathy’s Kitchen.

It’s a Whey of Life

Permaculture involves more than green gardening practices – it’s also a sustainability-centred, organic and healthy lifestyle. So, we’ve decided to get creative with the fresh produce harvested in our own backyard by extending our permaculture initiative from garden to kitchen.

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Zymology 101

Before we get to how we’re adding culture to our cooking, let’s cover the basics. The science – don’t panic, it’s organic – of fermentation is called zymology. Fermentation is a metabolic process by microorganisms (like yeast and bacteria) that turns sugars into alcohol or lactic acid. It sounds quite technical, but it really isn’t all that complicated… It’s natural, after all! Believe it or not, fermentation happens in plenty of the foods we eat every day, from cheese to pickles to buttermilk rusks. It’s this process that turns milk to yoghurt, barley into beer and makes bread dough rise.

Oaklands-fermentation-bread

Fermented Foods

While fermentation has been used by humans for as long as 10 000 years, the process was only studied and refined by French microbiologist Louis Pasteur (as in pasteurise) in the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, the process has been applied to modern medicine, technology and of course, food.

Oaklands-Fermentation-Louis-Pasteur

Culturing the Oaklands Menu

In The Art of Fermentation, author Sandor Ellix Katz describes fermentation as “the flavourful space between fresh and rotten”, which is a lot more delicious than it sounds. The Oaklands kitchen is no stranger to fermented foods, but we’ve decided to include some less-common fermentation experiments to the menu, including kefir cream cheese and smoothies, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, beet kvaas (say what?) and other fermented fruit and veggies. Keep an eye on our blog for the menu updates and more info about fermentation and our permaculture initiative.

So go on, escape to the northern Drakensberg to give our new fermented foods a try… What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.