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, who is a kind of fermentation guru, brings on interesting parallels between fermentation and various areas of life. I got excited about this idea 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, special strength, 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 set 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.
Now, let’s say you 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. You end up with an upgraded version of yourself. More peaceful, wiser, more beautiful. There is new connections created in you brain, new hormones are flushed into your blood stream. Magic.
Let me use ice bathing as another example. You get ready, set your mind, take couple of deep breaths and emerge yourself into a cold water. You swim around a bit and breathe deeply. Your energy kicks off, your inner animal takes over, you‘re dragged into the present moment. You may scream or laugh. Then you get out, sit down, close your eyes and observe the enhanced energy level in you. Your can literally feel your blood running through your veins. All the good hormones taking over your body, making you feel alive, high and happy. A nice combo of excitement and deep calm. You just upgraded yourself. Fermentation completed. Congratulations!
Same applies for yoga. You move, breathe and become aware of your body. You notice the more and more subtle sensations in your body. You become more and more present. Thousands of chemical reactions is happening in your system as you immerse yourself deeper in your practice. You finally arrive in the shavasana and let it all set. You become a successful ferment. 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 a recipe which I like a lot. It’s a very easy and satisfying sourdough porridge which can be served both as a savoury or sweet porridge, depending on your preference.
What do I need?
2 dcl rolled oats
2 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
Savoury 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. 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 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. I am thinking of how I can use this concept in my everyday life. For example, if I am not feeling well or if I have to handle a challenge in my life, how about I ask myself How can I ferment this?, meaning how can I transform it into something better? This may change the way I see things, and remind me that the power to handle the situation is in my hands, or even in my heart.
I really hope that this blogpost sparks some inspiration in you.
I would love to hear about your impressions or your experience around this topic so if you feel like, please feel free to share here or via email. 🙂
Thank you for reading!
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.)