In July, we attended the RADIATE! Love + Light Fund Raising Event for Melissa Kirby at the beautiful Clipper Mill Pool in the Woodberry neighborhood of Baltimore. In April, Melissa suffered a rare type of stroke that left her without the ability to move or speak. Her friends and family held the event to help cover costs of her recovery. Wanting to help, we bid on an auction item and won a fermentation class at Hex Ferments.
Last week, a few of the Trohv folks invaded Hex Ferments in Belvedere Square for an evening of fermentation. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we all love food and we were quite excited to learn more about the process of fermentation. When we arrived, owners Meaghan and Shane Carpenter graciously welcomed us into their cozy, inviting space. We put on our aprons and got ready to get to work! Around the room sat large glass containers with colorful concoctions of different fermenting veggies. In the center of the room was a large work island; on it sat the largest metal bowl we had ever seen! The second bowl contained roughly 5 lbs. of carrots, apples, scallions, cabbage, and ginger. As we started chopping everything into bite size pieces, Meaghan and Shane explained the benefits and history of fermented foods.
A few highlights:
Probiotics in fermented food improve the intestinal tract health, enhance the immune system, and reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance.
People have been fermenting foods since 10,000 BC. Originally, fermentation was used to store unused crops through winter months.
Once we were done chopping, we added salt to taste (about 3 tablespoons to our 5lbs of veggies). Then we began massaging and squeezing the mixture to encourage the salt to bring out the moisture. Next step was filling containers; the key here was to pack them very tightly so they ended up under their own juices. Once filled, we were told they should sit on our counters with a weight to keep the mixture down in the jar. After 3-5 days, the new creation can be enjoyed.
Next we learned about kombucha. Carmen was amazed the first time she saw the SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) maybe because it slightly resembles human skin. This is what starts the fermentation process in liquids such as kombucha, vinegar, kefir, and even ginger beer.
We had tastings of several varieties of kombucha that they sell at their shop. I think we all loved the Ginger the most (enough that we mixed it with some Rum and had another glass)! We toasted to the recovery of Melissa, new friends, and the wonderful food that we made, appropriately named Kirby Kraut.