Humans have been struggling to keep food fresh and safe to eat for as long as we have been eating, and the luxury of time afforded by refrigeration is recent and only available to the developed world. A little further back in time the process of packing food into sterile jars and sealing them was invented by Nicholas Appert. He was spurred by a reward offered by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1795 to ensure his army was well-fed as they marched across Europe. Canned foods are now well known for their convenience and longevity, but also bland flavor, dismal texture, and diminished nutrients.
Saurekraut preparation. Fermentation transforms the humble cabbage into a delicious dish.
I sold jars of sauerkraut at a booth in a farmer’s market last summer, and a common question concerned the necessity of refrigeration. Cool temperatures won’t damage the ferment, but the whole point is to render refrigeration optional. I’m currently on a bicycle tour through Mexico that will last several months, and of course, I’ve been making and eating fermented vegetables along the way without even a cooler. Transporting glass would be foolish, but a couple stainless steel food canisters will be sturdy and friendly to acids and microbes. I plan to learn and share local recipes I find along the way on this blog.
Fermenting on the road! Here I am preparing to make tacos topped with sauerkraut that I made in our hotel room a few days prior.
Marina Jade Phillips
Fermenting Specialist, Interesting Human BeingBorn in Alaska and raised in Colorado, Marina discovered the joys of fermentation in Philadelphia in 2005. She spent the last decade wrangling a homestead in Northern California, fermenting everything from tomatoes to beans. Currently, she is pedaling and eating her way thru Mexico on her first but probably not last bicycle tour, toting a violin and at least one jar of sauerkraut.