Next up in our Going Green series: Fermenting!
Social Pantry’s 2021 challenge is to lead the way to Zero Waste and getting to grips with the fermentation process will definitely help us! Fermenting is a straightforward and very affordable process to substantially reduce environmental impact as it reduces our costs of controlling resources and discards, improves our operating efficiency and decreases our carbon footprint.
The process to become a zero-waste organisation can be a real challenge and knowing what to do with left over, surplus food can be hard. We often turn to pickling and fermenting. Composting methods are not always easy to implement, due to the need of lots of space which it is hard to find within a “grey jungle” of a big city. There are many different ways to reutilise kitchen waste and one of the most important it is called Fermenting. The word fermentation comes from the Latin word “fervere”, which means “to boil”. The Ancient Romans noticed that the bubbling of grapes was very similar to boiling process, reason why it was termed using a similar word.
Fermenting, how does it work?
Fermentation is a process by which some microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts and fungi) obtain vitality from sugars without using oxygen and producing a series of metabolites. The process of fermenting food has been utilized for long time. In the past it was used to better maintain foods or to change their flavour, without knowing the potential role of the microorganisms involved in the process. Today, however, technological innovation has transformed fermentation from a domestic to a controlled process suitable for industrial-scale production systems. Scientists said that food fermentation process can lead to the production of molecules with beneficial activity for health.
Below are some of the products that we have fermented at Social pantry:
(Starter: Negroni cured salmon, pickled fennel and dill crème fraiche and fermented oranges). This recipe has been used for Taylor Wessing 6 course dinners.
(Canape: fermented blackberries, whipped goats` cheese on fennel shortbread). This recipe has been utilized for a wedding event.
(Dessert: fermented plum compote served with plum frangipane tart). This recipe has been utilized for a wedding event.
Benefits of fermentation:
Especially in this particular and difficult times where a pandemic has affected and changed our day-to-day lives and dietary habits, fermented food is a great addition to your health nutrition requirement. This type of food delivers living organism directly to your gut, ensuring a high percentage of gut-friendly bacteria which boots your immune system and helps your digestion and metabolism.
Fermented food also provides an array of other good elements for your body:
- Antioxidant activity
Some molecules contained in food exercise a protective action against oxidative damage. Fermented foods are natural sources of antioxidants.
- More vitamins
Fermentation also allows the increase of certain vitamins in food.
- Digest better
During fermentation microorganisms begin to break down food proteins, making them more digestible.
The health benefits of fermented foods may also be due to their probiotic activity. Within the last years we have implemented fermenting recipes for our clients and our seasonal menus for taste, variation and health benefits.
The British Chef Website is a great place to start if you want to give home fermenting a go:
“Making fermented food at home can sound a bit worrying – after all, it goes against our intuitions to take fresh ingredients, cover them in salt and leave them out of the fridge for days or weeks at a time. But it’s actually a very safe, simple way to create intense flavours which can then be incorporated into incredible recipes.
Get started with kimchi – choose between the classic Korean Cabbage kimchi or one made with barley and black pepper. There’s also sauerkraut and miso to make from scratch. For actual dishes, you can’t go wrong with Anna Hansen’s Lamb neck with fennel kimchi, or Pollyanna Coupland’s Mushroom and chestnut pâté with tarragon and fermented cranberries”. (Cit. British Chef Website)
Below is Joey O`Hares fermented tomato salsa recipe. Joey shot to fame on Masterchef and is our Veg centric pin up! Check out her recipes on insta, yes you can thank us later!
· FERMENT PASTE
- 200g of tomatoes
- 20g of flaky sea salt
- ginger, thumb sized
- 4 tbsp of live cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp of honey
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 red chilli
Here we are working with the ‘dry-salt’ method of fermentation, and so will be using a ratio of 2% salt: we’ve got 1kg tomatoes in all, so that’s 20g sea salt. Disinfect the Kilner jar, and wash your board, knife and hands well.
Blend together all the ingredients for the ferment paste until smooth. Mix the ferment paste with the chopped tomatoes and diced shallot. Tip into a Kilner jar and pack down well
Leave to ferment at room temperature for anywhere between 4–7 days. I find this salsa starts to ferment more quickly, and tends to continue fermenting in the fridge, although of course very slowly. More hardy ferments, such as sauerkraut, will take longer to get going, and become completely dormant once cold.
Burp the jar each morning and night, to prevent too pressure building up inside. Check the tomatoes after as little as 2 days. See how they are faring and pop in the fridge when you’re happy. They will last in the fridge for up to 2 months