Fermentation is very close to my heart.
I love how the microorganisms which we can‘t even see transform food into its upgraded version. A version which is more time resistant, more complex in taste and much easier to digest. Fascinating.
I also love the taste of fermented foods and how they make me feel. It‘s like when you feel that something is good for you, not only because you know it is, but because your body screams: yes, and more please! It always blows my mind and my taste buds!, how a simple ingredient can transform into something so sophisticated and satisfying, in a natural process of fermentation.
Noma Guide To Fermentation describes fermentation as the process by which a microorganism converts sugar into another substance in the absence of oxygen.
Despite its fancy definition fermentation has somehow always has been a natural part of human life. Either as a way of preserving ingredients, enhancing their nutritional quality or developing particular tastes of foods and beverages. Having existed for so long, fermentation can surely teach us a whole lot, which brings me to a book I’ve read recently, called Fermentation as metaphor by Sandor Ellix Katz. The author, a real of fermentation guru, introduces exciting ideas on how fermentation can translate into our lives as humans on this planet and members of societies. I got thrilled by this way of thinking and started to examine my life through a new lens. A lens of a ferment.
Fermentation is life. You can literally see the life force bubbling through the matter. It‘s in action, fully present. Life force wants to manifest itself. Bubble with joy, excitement and enthusiasm for the miracle it is. The word fermentation itself comes from the Latin verb fervere, which means to boil. I like to think that the same life force is manifesting in ourselves too. Anytime we tune into the presence and pay attention, we can literally feel that flow of life inside of us, that life force bubbling through us. It’s like if we flow in the waves of light which created everything. We start to glow. Anything we create from this place carries a special quality, a special strength, possibly even tastes better. Like a ferment.:)
FERMENTATION AND MEDITATION
Fermentation can teach us patience. It takes time. You can‘t rush it. It‘s like meditation. In fermentation you place an ingredient in a container with optimal conditions, let it stay still for a certain period of time and end up with its upgraded version which is more nutritious, far more rich in flavour and containing new substances which were not there before. There is nothing the ingredient has to DO, just observe how life is transforming it.
Now, replace the ingredient with yourself, create the optimal conditions – find a quiet place and a position which supports your meditation, and then stay still for a certain period of time. Again, nothing you have to DO, just EXIST, observing it all. The breath, the heart beat, the magic of life bubbling through you. You end up with an upgraded version of yourself. More peaceful, wiser, more beautiful. There is new connections created in you brain, new hormones flushed into your blood stream. Well done!
Let me use ice bathing as another example. You decide to go to the cold water. You get ready, set your mind, take couple of deep breaths and emerge yourself into the cold. You might swim around, breathing deeply. Your energy kicks off, your inner animal takes over, you‘re dragged into the present moment. You may scream or laugh. Or maybe stay completely still. Once you get out, sit down and close your eyes, you witness that inner revolution in your system. Blood running through your veins, heart beating vigorously. All the good hormones flooding over your body, making you feel alive, high and happy. A perfect mix of excitement and deep calm. You just upgraded yourself. Fermentation completed. Congratulations!
Same applies for yoga. You move, breathe and connect to your body. You start to notice even the subtle sensations. You become more and more present. Thousands of chemical reactions taking place in your system as you immerse yourself deeper into the practice. When you finally arrive in shavasana and let it all set, you probably feel relaxed, and more ’at home’. You radiate light and you crave what is naturally good for you. Which brings me to fermented food!
I would love to share with you one of my favorite recipes. It’s a very easy and satisfying sourdough porridge which can be served both savory or sweet, depending on your preference.
What do I need?
2 dcl rolled oats
2-3 dcl water
1 Tbsp sourdough starter (if you don‘t have sourdough starter, you can also use a 1 Tbsp of yogurt)
pinch of salt
Savory porridge: olive oil, pepper, chili, salt, herbs, parmesan or anything else you wish
Sweet porridge: cinnamon, coconut oil, honey, strawberry jam…
What do I do?
In a bowl mix your sourdough starter with oats and water, cover with a table cloth and let ferment for at least one night at room temperature. The longer you let it, the more sour it becomes. Once ready, add some extra water and cook the mixture in a saucepan for about 10 minutes or until you reach your favourite texture. Add more water if necessary. Add salt. Finally season according to your tasted and serve warm! Bon appetit!
HOW CAN I FERMENT THIS?
Some philosophical but practical words to close up.
Fermentation is a transformation. We can all use it in our lives in various ways. For example, any time you feel weird or have to handle a challenge, you can ask: How can I ferment this?, meaning how can I transform it into something better? This may change the way you see things, and remind you that the power is in your hands, or in your heart.:)
I really hope that this blogpost sparks some inspiration in you.
I would love to hear about your impressions or your experience around fermentation so if you feel like, please feel free to share here or via email.
Thank you for reading! Happy fermenting!
Clarification: (In the case of sourdough bread or porridge there is a partial oxygen presence, and the process is then called aerobic respiration instead of anaerobic fermentation.)