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Spotlight on: The Fermentation Station

Team-TFS

Our latest partners, featured in the upcoming Explorer Box for July, Sam and Amy from The Fermentation Station. They have a unique concept, creating amazing seasonal ferments, based in Liverpool.

Here’s Amy answering our most pressing questions:

What’s the story that got you into fermenting food?

Fermenting food and drinks was always a home passion for us, it was a hobby that was quickly nurtured into a business. We absolutely loved experimenting with different fruits and vegetables which is what began our drive to create and craft ferments centered around the seasons and using surplus food. Ultimately fermentation is the act of ‘ordered chaos’, and we adore the creativity and experimentation that it encourages in us. I think there’s something extremely nostalgic and comforting that comes from creating and nurturing fermented products, our ancestors have been preserving foods through fermentation for centuries and we are thrilled to see the passion for ferments expand especially as a means of eating and living more sustainably.

What is your personal favourite fermented food?

This is a really tough question as fermented food is so diverse in taste and cultural heritage it’s hard to pinpoint a favourite. I think for versatility nothing can beat Miso, it’s a fantastic ferment that can be used in just about anything. Whether you’re looking for a simple broth or to add an umami taste to a marinade, Miso creates such a complexity of flavours and created correctly with authenticity it’s a fantastic ferment. But we also love the creativity that comes with fermenting Water Kefir, again such a simple ferment that is so adaptable to flavours and many different personal palates. Our fermented drinks are something that really encourage creativity in us and we love coming up with different flavours every season.

What fermentation experiment have you got going on at the moment?

We are just in the process of launching our summer seasonal ferments so we’ve been working hard at curating the very best of the summer seasonal produce and creating fantastic ferments with them. In addition, we are working on a six course tasting dinner event that shows the very best that fermented foods and drinks have to offer. We’ve been working on a Lime Pickle we’ve been fermenting for eight weeks and our very own sweet white Miso, both of which are delicious and truly highlight the vast difference between authentic and shop bought ferments.

Check out The Fermentation Station on Instagram or visit their website at thefermentation-station.co.uk

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Spotlight on: Kimchi and Radish

Kimchi and Radish

We are delighted to feature Kimchi and Radish in the Explorer Box this June. We shipped their original Kimchi which is Vegan (no fish sauce). Founder Jihyun Kim, or Kimmy, personally delivered her delicious kimchi and kindly answered our questions (later over email, ssshhh!).

Here’s Kimmy answering our most pressing questions:

What’s the story that got you into fermenting food?

I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I grew up with fermented food and it is normal to eat fermented food every day. It’s likely safe to say that the vast majority of Koreans are eating fermented food, probably kimchi, in at least one meal of the day!

16 years ago I moved to the UK and I found it very hard to find kimchi and even fermented foods like sauerkraut from non-speciality shops. At that time I felt kimchi was largely unknown outside of Korean restaurants and except for New Malden, very few asian supermarkets had any either. With my background as a chef, it was just the obvious thing to make it myself and so I did, following my mother’s style and recipes.

After marrying and having children, I’d find myself making kimchi not just myself and my family, but for my friends and their families too. The amount I was making kept on increasing so I started looking in to how to make larger batches. The turning point was when one of my friends said I should be charging them more than just cost, as it was so good! It grew from there.

What is your personal favourite fermented food?

Hahaha – you’re asking a Korean this?? Of course I’m going to say kimchi! Having said that, my personal favourite is kimchi at least 2 months old – I really love the tangy sourness; the gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), ginger and garlic combination that increases in complexity with age; and the texture – soft yet still crunchy. My other favourite is fermented chili paste, Gochujang which is made with fermented soybean and gochugaru – I add it to almost everything from salads, to other sauces and even just it mixed with rice. Where my children love ketchup, I love this 🙂

What fermentation experiment have you got going on at the moment?

We are looking into bottling our Rainbow Kimchi and Beetroot kimchi fermented juice – it’s a very small scale at the moment and we’re experimenting to get consistent results in viable quantities. What we’ve done so far is very refreshing as a chilled drink (as a shot) and also works as a tangy probiotic salad dressing!

Check out Kimchi and Radish on Instagram or visit their website at kimchiradish.com

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Spotlight on: Jamie Ferments

Jamie Ferments

To kick off this new section on our blog, we are featuring Jamie Ferments, based in South East London. We featured Jamie’s Kimchi, Kale Kraut and Piccalilli Kraut in the our Explorer Box in April and May. His piccalilli truly stands out as one of the more unique ferments we’ve had: well balanced, crunchy cauliflower and not overly sour with earthy notes from the fresh turmeric. We’ll definitely have it again, thank you Jamie for being part of the tribe.

Here’s Jamie answering our most pressing questions:

What’s the story that got you into fermenting food?

I became interested in the possibility of a healthier gut flora having a positive impact in general health. Id long known that mind body and spirit are not separate so it felt intuitively right that what goes on in our gut speaks to everything else in our system. I knew almost nothing about fermented food, so set about tinkering with vegetables and jars, and fell for the creative magic of leaving things and seeing what happens. I still feel that way.


What is your personal favourite fermented food?

This is a tough question to answer for a fermenter. I tend to start my day with a glass of kefir, homemade. Kimchi features in at least one meal a day because its so versatile. So those are the two ferments I enjoy most. But actually, my favourite is probably regular sauerkraut. Perhaps because it amazes me that three or four simple ingredients can make such a taste explosion.


What fermentation experiment have you got going on at the moment?

Im working on a fermented hot sauce right now with a view to market that. Im also enjoying pickling, with pink pickled onions in R&D and pickled spinach and pickled eggs on the go at home!

Jamie Ferments product lineup

Follow Jamie Ferments on Instagram at @jamieferments

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Your gut microbiome: explainer videos

This video from New Scientist explains how gut bacteria regulate your health

A great explainer video from Kurzgesagt

Tim Spector at the Royal Institution on What Role Does our Microbiome Play in a Healthy Diet

Prof Simon Carding: Gut bacteria and mind control: to fix your brain, fix your gut

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How to read scientific research and the Media Mirage effect

This article was written by Sebastian Catana, nutritionist-dietitian with a passion for educating. Sebastian has a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timisoara, Romania. Apart from his practice and individual coaching, Sebastian is employed by companies to hold nutrition, health and lifestyle-related seminars (sebastiancatana.ro). He is also a trainer in a certified course for a Nutrition Technician degree. But above all, his mission is to stop the wave of misinformation found in traditional and especially online media.

Continue reading How to read scientific research and the Media Mirage effect
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A review of the scientific research on consuming Fermented Foods

A review of the scientific research on consuming Fermented Foods

We Ferment has started keeping track of the scientific evidence for health benefits coming from consuming live fermented foods, particularly vegetables. We created a Google Spreadsheet that we are sharing with you all. You can find it here

Continue reading A review of the scientific research on consuming Fermented Foods
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We Ferment Manifesto

We Ferment

We Ferment respects and honours the family of microbes – the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria – that make our funky ferments possible. The naturally fermented products that we sell are never pasteurised, canned or otherwise processed in any way to maximise shelf life. This food is very much alive.

We prefer this natural process over pickling with vinegar mostly for the complex flavours that fruit and vegetables develop when undergoing natural fermentation. When microbes eat sugars and starches they produce lactic acid as a by-product and a myriad of other compounds that impart a unique, zingy and funky flavour that we can?t get enough of! 

We are also very excited about recent scientific interest in the ?human microbiome? and how the foods we eat impact the composition of our gut bacteria. There are many times more bacterial cells in the human body than human cells, roughly 100 trillion microbes representing as many as 5,000 different species and weighing approximately 2 kilograms (source).

Current scientific understanding of these microorganisms that inhabit us, sometimes called our second genome (source), is still very much in its infancy. There are exciting times ahead that will reveal therapeutic, medicinal implications of eating fermented foods. We aim to share these findings with you as they are published by reputable sources. More on this initiative.

As we grow, we will strive to support the food artisans that have 100% traceability of every fruit, vegetable, spice and grain of salt in their ferments. We’re also building our very own 100% electric fleet so we can get your supply of ferments to your door without releasing any more carbon into the atmosphere. This is our ambition and you can help accelerate this vision by becoming a Founders Club member.

We’re working hard to build a better food business. One that celebrates local produce. The Farmers and Growers. The food Artisans. And the rod-shaped, carb loving bacteria of the Lactobacillaceae family. 

Thank you for reading this. I hope it doesn’t sound too wanky. It is sincere.

Alex Blogu, We Ferment founder