Forgoing the precision of modern technology, these cider makers embrace the old-world method of fermenting with yeast already present on the skins of the apples. While producing cider using native fermentation can be unpredictable, the results can offer an array of savory and earthy flavors—these ciders are more complex than any others in the American cider landscape.
'fermentation' on Serious Eats
Last week on The Cider Press, we talked about the how cider gets from the branches of a tree to a bottle. But what if you don't have a few extra acres to plant an orchard? Here's a guide to the simplest and cheapest way to make cider at home.
Developing a delicious hard cider is no easy feat. From farmer to scientist to master blender, aspiring cidermakers take on a variety of roles through their cider's long journey from fruit to glass. While there are as many methods to cider production as there are apple varieties, here's a general idea of how cider is made.
For some eaters, natto belongs in the nasty bits category of vegetarian fare. Both beloved and reviled, the fermented soybeans are a staple in traditional Japanese cuisine. To make natto, soybeans are cooked for many hours, then inoculated with bacteria and left to ferment in a temperature-controlled fermentation room. But the smell of natto—like a cross between ammonia and rank Camembert cheese—can be off-putting to those without a love for funky tastes and smells.
It's hard to compare the taste of kombucha (comb-boo-cha), the fermented tea drink, to anything else. Vinegary, fizzy, cider-y, or just plain nasty if you haven't given it a chance yet. Then again, some people (particularly those who drank vinegar as a kid) like it from sip one. The leaders of the market are GT's Kombucha, but brands like Honest Tea are appearing on shelves, and some "kombuchaseurs" are brewing their own at home.
In this video, Kitchen Caravan introduces us to Sandor Katz, aka Sandorkraut, a self-described "fermentation fetishist." Many of my favorite foods are fermented: kimchi, beer, yogurt, and bread to name a few. Besides making these foods taste delicious, the fermentation process creates healthy bacteria and vitamins that provide a host of heath benefits. Katz is the author Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods and conducts regular workshops and events on the topic. Watch and listen to Katz at one of his workshops after the jump....
Boingboing.net The photo on the right is not cabbage with feta; it's mold. If exposed to too much oxygen, the proto-sauerkraut will get all scummy since fermentation is an anaerobic process. Make sure to seal mason jars tightly and if using a crock, place a plate or cloth—or a cloth tied with a rubberband, to avoid flies—on top. Submerge the cabbage in lots of salty water, and smoosh down at least once daily to release air. As Boing Boing points out, it's pretty easy, despite the mold threat. A good fermenting takes at least three weeks, and for an especially potent flavor, wait around six to nine months. For more on the magical ways of fermentation (including beer, yogurt,...