Gift Guide: For Fermentation Freaks

December 21, 2016

fermented-foodsFor most of human history, pickling and preservation skills were essential. Thanks to commercially available shelf goods, those days ended in the modern era and pickling became a lost art.

But it’s coming back. Big time. Pickling is easy, it’s economical, and it doesn’t take much time. Pickling is now so cool that a beautifully produced new magazine called Cured just made its debut with articles by the best in the business (Darra Goldstein, Jane Lear, Fuchsia Dunlop, Jessica Harris, Betty Fussel, William Woys Weaver and Charles Perry, to name just a few); it would make a great gift for a passionate pickler.

For those who want to take it farther, consider a pickling class. Fermentation specialists are a famously elusive bunch, so many cool classes are one-offs; google fermentation classes in your friend’s home city and you’re sure to come up with a handful.  And if you happen to know a budding fermenter who lives in the Bay Area, Happy Girl Kitchen offers regular classes, as does the Institute for Urban Homesteading.

making_kraut_elizabethkochFor the truly obsessed, there’s the legendary Sandor Katz – this country’s fermentation guru – and the classes he offers on his Tennessee compound. (Though they’re almost always sold out.)  Next best thing? Katz’s manifesto, The Art of Fermentation, which features one of the loveliest – and most permissive – recipe-writing styles you’re likely to encounter. It’s on the bookshelf of every chef I know. 

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