Two weeks ago , I spoke at our library on  the publication of my latest book on local history.  At one point during the question and answer period, Terri asked me if I had any new projects in the works.

Her question took me off guard, but since I sensed she really wanted to know I told her this:

“Well, actually I do. There are two.  One requires a good chunk of money so until that piece of the puzzle comes together ….

My first project in the wings is this….I would like to retrace (on foot) the Scottish pioneer settlers that came to our area late 1830…they started in the Red River Area of Manitoba Canada..worked their way down through Minnesota and into eastern Iowa.   All told, a 1300 mile trek on foot.  Realistically, I would need two and 1/2 to three months to pull that off. and because I would not be working,  enough money to off set the lost income…so until that piece of the puzzle comes together…..

 I have discovered another area of life, that combines several things.  I have been intrigued for years about various processes (making cheese, fermenting wine, starting sour dough starter from scratch with wild yeast… etc)  I realized a few weeks ago, they all fall under a general category of fermentation….so my latest quest is to become a “Fermentation Master”   (whether it’s sour dough, wine, sauerkraut, or cheese, curing meat, food preservation, etc.  I want to understand the theory behind these life skills…”

(Fermentation master is a term I DM have coined for myself…like acquiring a masters degree in college). 🙂


If you were to stop by our home currently, you would discover I have 2 things currently fermenting.   A two quart jar of peach mead, (from local raw honey and some peaches off one of our trees)  and 2 jars of red sauerkraut.  I’ve been nibbling out of one jar of  sauerkraut the past few weeks just to have a handle on the taste…I’ve noticed my incessant food cravings have tapered back between 50% to 75%…(which I have battled for years.   I’ve also dropped 8 pounds).  In some of the literature I’ve read about lactic acid fermentation  (which is what is going on when making sauerkraut)..it mentioned the link between food cravings,  obesity, healthy gut bacteria, the brain/ probiotic links etc.

So last night, I messaged a friend who also happens to be a family doctor that specializes in nutritional and lifestyle choices  (who is much more up to speed on the medical angle of these things) and asked her if there could be a connection…here is what she said:

“It makes perfect sense, Doug! What happens is that by eating the sauerkraut you have been changing the microbiome of your GI tract. You may have had an imbalance of yeast, which ALWAYS causes you to crave carbs and sugar.”


Anyway,  here is a link to a great blog with  information about fermentation and some recipe’s you can try yourself at home that I stumbled across recently:


And here is a link to a user friendly, in depth book on fermentation by Fermentation Master  Sandor Katz.  I  got my hard cover copy two weeks ago.   It is  so readable and full of practical wisdom.

It should be on every person’s book shelf.


And finally, here’s a link to Sandor Katz  on Youtube talking about how to make your own sauerkraut and the health benefits.  Check it out!

So that’s some of what’s been on my mind the past month.   DM



17 thoughts on “Fermentation

  1. I’ve got my eye on a couple of books on fermenting (I like books over internet info – though both are good sources). I’ve done all the things on your list – though definitely not a master 😄. I’ve cured and smoked our own pork – and had the butcher do it for me – prefer my own, but it takes time and attention – which I’m usually short on. I make all our own cheese – many types, and it still amazes me to this day how you can take a gallon of milk from a cow and with the most minor of adjustments in time, temperature and technique, you can achieve so many different results. I’m always on a quest to forage from my property – I turn dandelions into everything from jelly to mustard to wine. (I don’t drink – the wine goes in my chicken stock to help break down the carcasses). You’ve set yourself an awesome project – there’s no end to the learning, it’s very satisfying to eat something you made yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • (have you made any coffee from roasted dandylion roots yet?) sounds like you are already way ahead of me on the fermentation trail (although it sounds like we are both marching to the same drum beat) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • No – though every year I intend to…. the roots need to be dug in the fall, and oddly – despite the glut of the things in the spring, I have a hard time finding them at this time of year. Good reminder – I’m pulling my horseradish today, I’ll see if I can dig up some dandelion roots while I’m at it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandor Katz is the master. We have his book and really enjoy fermented foods, but I must confess that Cherie handles that for us. We should do more of it.

    I’m intrigued by your local history project. That needs to be done! I’d bet there are grant opportunities, but I don’t know how you’d go about finding them.

    I’ve been pondering trying to write something focused on local history this winter. I just need to come up with a topic. 🙂 One idea I’ve had lately is to read the local papers from about a hundred years ago and find some event that was the top of the news back then, capturing the public’s attention for a while, but that has since been forgotten, and try to write a history of it. I like the fact that while there wouldn’t likely be any eyewitnesses left, I’m sure researching it could trigger memories people have of having heard about it. Just something I’m noddling around with, but thanks for reminding me of it. I greatly enjoy local history and I’m thankful for folks like you who put in the work to preserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are there any details of your early family history that have intrigued you locally you could dig into more? I know your family farmstead has roots that go way back…I’m thinking you mentioned talking to an old timer before @ the farmers market that remembered details from way back…maybe you could do something that combines local history and your family….. are you guys home from your vacation yet?


      • You can do it DM! You have all the time in the world.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandma_Gatewood
        .”Emma Rowena Gatewood, better known as Grandma Gatewood (October 25, 1887–June 4, 1973),[1] was an extreme hiker and ultra-light hiking pioneer who was the first woman to hike the 2,168-mile (3,489 km) Appalachian Trail from Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine solo, and in one season.[2]…. In 1955, at the age of 67, Gatewood told her children (who were by then adults) that she was going for a walk. They did not ask where or for how long, as they knew she was resilient and would take care of herself.[3] About 5 years earlier, Gatewood read an article in National Geographic about the AT and thought “it would be a nice lark,” though in retrospect considering the difficulty she added “It wasn’t.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I suspect I could watch Sandor Katz all day long…I once read a really long article on him and it just made me insanely happy. I may be trying sauerkraut soon, from this recipe…even though I suspect I will be the only one eating it. I’d also like to try kim-chi– basically spicy Korean suerkraut! DM, I finally realized one of the OTHER reasons I’ve loved following your blog for so long(besides your wise musings, stories, and thoughts) is all these endless projects you embark on! They make me really happy. I am somewhat similar but what hits me now is that I was even more so as a child. If we’d had YouTube back then, I suspect I never would have left the house or gone to school (if I could get away with it) because I’d be doing projects basically non-stop everyday. I made dandelion wine as a teen, before I was allowed to drink– God, I stunk up my parent’s basement with my giant vat of the stuff! Acorn muffins…using the wrong kind of acorns (red oak acorns, which had WAY more tannin than white oak acorns, and therefore needed endless boiling and changing of water)…tried my hand at stripping the wood in my window frame and putting stained glass in the dormer windows in my room…made farmers cheese…bought thrift store wool coats and cut them down and altered them and added satin insets and lining…etc. Haunted the local botanical gardens and mapped out entire gardens in our backyard (which I seldom followed through on entirely, because I didn’t have the money or maybe the follow-through)…dug up trees, planted perennials, tubers, all kinds of things. You remind me of the person I might like to go back to being! You are an inspiration. Go DM with your creative maker self!

    Liked by 1 person

    • that is so cool you’ve already heard of Sandor. I could listen to him for hours and hours myself. Next time you visit, we’ll have to come up with a DIY project you can work on while you’re here ..what do you think? (maybe do some canning/ or start a fermentation batch of something ???? Always good to hear from you Lisa. DM


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