Brighton has at least one restaurant serving kombucha, and one cafe. We have it at home. But what is it, and is it good for you?
I am reading Sandor Ellis Katz’s groundbreaking book about fermentation, what it’s all about and even how to do it. I’ve already read the first couple of chapters, after which it’s mostly recipes, blah blah blah. No seriously, great for the cookery-minded. I’m going to get through this.
Sue and I have been talking a lot about fermentation recently. If you hate your guts (ok, ok …) or even dislike them – is fermentation the answer?
It’s not your guts’ fault anyway, it’s probably the way you’ve been treating them. Ever heard of “junk food”? So it’s no use blaming your guts.
We already have at least two fermentation processes going in our home, three if you count Sue’s failed attempt at making sourdough bread. We bake our own bread, with the help of modern technology of course. But the interesting fermentation story in my life is our kombucha culture.
Putting aside the ongoing debate about how good kombucha is for me I’m prepared to give Sandor’s ideas a go. After all, fermentation has been around a long while, think ale, cheese, pickles and more.
Sandor Katz is a fermentation evangelist. I used to be indifferent to all these “cultures” fermenting themselves all around me. I knew I didn’t like the look of mould, or touch it, or be anywhere near it. My idea of a good feed is one which doesn’t have mould on it.
And yet I’m happy to eat cheese (but not yoghurt).
And I’m more than happy to scoff ginger beer, another drink made by fermentation.
I know Alexander Fleming did amazing things with it and introduced the world to the power of antibiotics, but interestingly the bacteria are starting to fight back against them now. Ailments we once thought we had the upper hand with, now seem to be fighting back. Antibiotics don’t always work, as this picture I purloined from Wikipedia shows.
I’m getting more and more interesting in this microscopic bacterial war that’s going on all around us.
Katz’s book has started to make me think. About processed foods and how we are encouraged to buy products that “kill 99.9% of all known germs”. Should we be killing so many things we don’t really understand that well?
One quote from the book:
“… we have become increasingly isolated from the natural world, lacking awareness of and conscious interaction with animals, plants, fungi and bacteria in our midst. Rather than continuing to distance ourselves from interaction with the larger web of life, we must reclaim these relationships. Fermentation is a tangible way of cultivating this consciousness and these relationships.”
We must reclaim our relationship with life. Never a truer word spoken.
Do you ferment your own drinks? Or food items? Please add a comment and share
Old Tree Brewery Brighton http://oldtree.house
To quote their web site Old Tree Brewery is “an ecological brewery based in Brighton producing a unique range of small-batch, probiotic and celebration drinks”. This includes kombucha and kefir.
Old Tree is currently in the Field House site in Brighton, but that’s being redeveloped and I’m not sure where they are moving to yet. So if you know please add a comment.
Silo Brighton http://www.silobrighton.com
A trendy looking restaurant in The Lanes, Brighton (don’t get more trendy than that), describing itself as a “pre-industrial food system”. We haven’t eaten there yet but we’ve booked for late October.
Know of any other fermentation businesses in Brighton, Hove or Sussex? I’d love to hear from you – please add your comment.