I had planned to do very little last Thursday. Then, just before lunch, I saw that there was a space going on the Edinburgh Fermentarium kraut and kimchi workshop and jumped on it. There are more workshops coming up and here’s why you should consider going.
Get over your fermentation fears
I’ve made sauerkraut and kimchi before but had lost my fermenting confidence. I thought that doing this workshop would get me back in the groove. All I needed was some hard facts, a recipe or two and a kickstart. Ruth, Ms. Edinburgh Fermentarium herself, offers all these things in her workshop. You’ve probably seen her around Edinburgh’s various markets selling Cracking Kimchi, Braw Slaw and jars of her other fermented master pieces.
Make food and friends
We gathered in an industrial kitchen between Duddingston and Craigmillar and, after introductions, got to it. We started with kraut: chopping, salting, sweating. The sweating is an important aspect. I remember my red kraut being a little dry and having to top it up with brine. Now that I’ve massaged, squeezed and sweated my cabbage in company, I know what it should look like. I’ve learnt to lok for and love the puddle.
It was fun talking to others about their fermentation experiments and experiences. Ruth made sure we were on target and didn’t get lost chatting.
Learn about fermenting more than cabbage
Ruth doesn’t make only kraut and kimchi: she also makes kombucha and water kefir. She has a wealth of knowledge of how to work with various types of fermentation and so obviously loves her work. It’s impossible to come away anything less than inspired and enthused.
I left holding two precious jars of veg – one sauerkraut with pepper, cumin and fennel, and one kimchi – that now sit in my kitchen, fermenting cheerfully. I could have come away with a whole bagful of fermented goodies but showed self-control in the shopping department.
I’m planning a big squeeze soon. I want to make Ruth’s fermented salsa (see below) and I want to make kimchi-flavoured red cabbage. (Because I love kimchi and red cabbage is cheaper than Chines leaf.) And as Ruth pointed out, anything you make now will be ready in time for Christmas and make great presents. Kimchi-spiced red kraut, anyone?
Ruth’s fermented salsa recipe from the Edinburgh Fermentarium Facebook page: