The sheer power of fermentation
Sheffield is an experimental city. Its people are open-minded and embracing of many things, including the growing interest in pickling and fermenting.
Fermenting has been bubbling away in pockets of the city for a while, but it’s been around since Neolithic times.
It is believed to help maintain a healthy gut.
What’s in your gut? About 1.5kg of bacteria packing a punch to keep you physically and emotionally well.
Some refer to this microbiome as our second brain, and our fast living, processed diets along with constant use of antibiotics can decimate this good bacteria, forcing our health into a nose-dive.
I’ve dabbled for a while, but after a year of health problems and lots of research, I’m ready to fully embrace fermenting.
Fermented foods are good for us because they are probiotic and teeming with live bacteria.
They love cosying up with your own gut bacteria and procreating.
Foods such as kefir (yoghurt-like fermented milk), sauerkraut, kimchi (spicy Korean vegetables) and kombucha (fermented tea) may all sound strange and mysterious, but these probiotic lovelies are being nurtured in many homes around Sheffield.
And in true Sheffield spirit, people are willing to share, teach and inspire us to give it a go.
Take Alice. She makes her own kefir and kombucha in S6 and she is happy to share some starter tips with readers.
Find her on Olio, the food sharing app I talked about last month.
Or pop down to greengrocer Barra Organics on Sharrowvale Road.
Moya’s shop is a cavern of good things – beautiful fruit and veg, yes, but you’ll also find kefir, kombucha and kimchi, fresh turmeric (anti-inflammatory), raw cider vinegar, and the most beautiful Dutch fermentation crocks.
Moya is so passionate about fermenting she runs courses with her good friend, Laurence. Together, they are inspiring Sheffield to have a go at all kinds of fermented foods, even pickled eggs!
Courses start late February and are popular – book through the shop or on Facebook.
And if you’re not convinced fermented foods can also taste good, head over to Jöro, at Kelham Island
You’ll find Luke French there - fermenting and pickling all sorts of things, and receiving rave reviews for his work.
It’s powerful stuff!
Find Helen on Twitter @Pickled_Pair