Columnist helps locals get things bubbling

·2 min read

About a year after her talk on fermenting for Grey Ag Services was cancelled due to COVID, Martha Rogers shared with a dozen particpants online about the joys of letting things bubble.

Bubbles are a sign of carbon dioxide being released, which means that all is well with the fermentation process, she said.

Popular home ferments include kefir and yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchee and vinegars.

Ms Rogers took her certification as a Master Food Preserver at Cornell University in New York state.

“I’m a huge foodie, and I’ve had a passion for canning most of my adult life,” she said last Thursday.

Fermentation is a special interest of hers, which relies on creating “a nourishing environment” for bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms” to transform food.

While canning has been around 200 years, fermentation is ancient – one example is evidence of beer-making in China 7,000 years ago.

Sourdough became a huge craze during the last year – an example of lactic acid at work.

The modern resurgence of home fermenting of other beverages and food picks up on interest in probiotics and other health benefits of the process as well as becoming more self-sufficent.

Fermentation is “very easy to do and very good for you,” Ms Rogers said. And the techniques can be used on so many creative combinations of ingredients – “just let your imagination go.”

There are some precautions to keep things safe, such as keeping air out and food covered – “under the brine, everything’s fine.”

She gave tips about sorting out what was a skin that could be skimmed off as opposed to a usually more colourful growth that was a sign of things gone wrong.

Ms Rogers also encouraged people to try homemade cheeses, like ricotta and paneer, as well.

She shared tips, of technique, where to get supplies, good sources of recipes, and also answered questions from participants.

Lorie Smith of Grey Ag Services thanked those who participated for registering for the webinar, as the money is used to pay for the blue brochure listing courses that goes to every mailbox.

Ms Rogers will do another talk on Apr. 8 on canning.

Between now and then, many seminars are available online – including farm topics such as the AgriSuite online tools, horse pasture, small scale pig production, successful lambing, several beef topics, agronomy, horses and gardening.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald