In the beginning, the self-described “fermentation fetishist” Sandor Katz loved sour pickles.
On today’s Fresh Air, Sandor Katz talks about DIY techniques for making your own cheese, wine, cured meats and beer: ““Fruit and honey will spontaneously ferment into alcohol whereas grains, which are complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates, need to be predigested. They need to have those complex carbs broken down into simple carbs. In the Western tradition of beer-making, we do this through malting — which is germination, or sprouting. In the Asian tradition, molds are used. And really, the most ancient method of doing this is chewing — using our human saliva to break down starches into sugars, and then you brew the beer from the grains which have already been malted or otherwise enzymatically broken down into starches.”
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It’s not forever like canned foods that you can put into a pantry or storm cellar and forget about for 10 years and still eat it. These foods are alive, they’re dynamic, but they’re extremely effective strategies for preserving food through a few seasons, which is really the point.
— Sandor Katz, explaining how fermentation allows food items to be preserved well past their shelf-life date.