Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!

Why Ferment?

Last night, after long study session for my upcoming biology exam, I grabbed an evening snack  of paté (recipe coming soon) and carrots before heading to bed. Unfortunately, my brain was so fried from memorizing the role of the sodium-potassium pumps in neuron membranes that I forgot to put the paté container back in the fridge. Thankfully, there was only a few spoonfuls of paté left so I wasn’t too distraught when I dumped the sour-smelling leftovers down the sink in the morning.


Why Ferment? Plus Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!In general, we try to avoid fermenting our foods by leaving them out at room temperature. But while soured paté is certainly not appetizing, purposefully fermenting fruits, vegetables and dairy produces delicious and probiotic-charged results. As a matter of fact, I try to eat a form of fermented food (usually my homemade yogurt or homemade sauerkraut) with every meal.

A few days ago, I discussed the #1 Missed Opportunity to Boost Your Immune System. I explained the role of gut flora in the immune system and how consuming sources of fermented foods bolsters your immunity. I encourage you to go read that post so you can learn how:

  • bacteria from fermented foods reduces an autoimmune response in the body

  • a certain fermented food was shown to drastically increase antibodies

  • special probiotics play roles in reducing inflammation and strengthening immunity

How does fermentation work?

Purposeful fermentation (think yogurt, traditional sauerkraut and creme fraiche) involves fermenting a food with microbes, leaving it at room temperature for a specified period to allow the flora to reproduce, and then transferring the jar to the fridge for longer storage.

During the fermentation time, the microbes flourish and transform the ingredients. Crunchy cabbage wilts into tangy sauerkraut. Milk thickens into pleasantly sour kefir. Even black tea turns into a fizzy kombucha.

Want to Start Fermenting?

I was so tickled to have the opportunity to review Alex Lewin’s Why Ferment? Plus Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!book Real Food Fermentation. (You can find Alex at his blog, Feed Me Like You Mean It.) Alex’s book provides the perfect starting place if you have never touched kefir grains in your life. He gives a thorough explanation of the fermenting process which is very useful for beginners.

For those who have some fermenting already under your belt, this book will expand your fermenting horizons with recipes like Peach and Plum Chutney, Ginger Ale and even Corned Beef!

Why Ferment? Plus Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!My favorite part of the book? The pictures! Alex gives you step-by-step pictures for nearly every recipe so you will never be alone in your fermenting journey! And I’m sure you’ll agree that photographs are the best part of any cookbook.

Take a Sneak Peak

Preview time!Alex let me share this recipe for Cucumber Pickles with you all!

Why Ferment? Plus Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!

Why Ferment? Plus Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!

Why Ferment? Plus Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!Why Ferment? Plus Real Food Fermentation Giveaway!

Enter the Giveaway!

Alex is also offering a free copy of Real Food Fermentation to two lucky winners! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway runs through Wednesday the 14th. For more about Real Food Fermentation, visit the next stop on the blog tour tomorrow:

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  1. cindy says

    I’ve made kombucha and tried to make sauerkraut but it didnt turn out well. It had a funky smell..But would like to try again.

  2. Jen B. says

    I’ve made kombucha, water kefir, milk kefir, and yogurt. I’ve tried sauerkraut but it didn’t work out. I’d LOVE to try sauerkraut again along with other vegetables. And some recipes from his cookbook would be great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. says

    I just started fermenting with a carrot &ginger recipe that has been a big hit. I would love to try some new “recipes” . Thanks for the chance to win, and yes I love a lot of pictures in a cookbook. Inspiring!

  4. Kelly says

    I’ve fermented some veggies before, and some pickles, but they didn’t come out crisp at all. I would love to have more guidance at how to ferment more successfully. I also really want to try making kombucha at home.

  5. Karen says

    My 11-year-old son and I are in Gaps intro and thrive on sauerkraut, kombucha and yogurt. Even our guests have enjoyed our crazy food! We also tried fermented salmon – yummy!

  6. Tonya says

    Thanks for the great recipe. We’ve tried several times to make pickles, but never successfully. Now I have a new reason to try again.

  7. Daniel says

    This looks like an awesome book. I’ve been curious about fermentation for a while but wasn’t sure were to start. Looks like I found the starting line.

  8. RaeEllen says

    I would love to learn to ferment foods..i am definitely needing an easy beginners guide for this, looks like this would be it.!

  9. Diana says

    I’m so ready to start fermenting! I just ordered some cultures last week via the Internet. This book would be a wonderful guide to get me started.

  10. says

    I’ve done fermented sauerkraut, dill pickles, carrots, blood oranges, crab apples, dairy products & other beverages. But I’m still learning so this book would be great!

  11. Jennifer says

    Fermenting has always been something I am afraid of. I would love to learn more about how to do it safely and healthily!

  12. says

    What a great giveaway – something I truly need! I have fermented sauerkraut and sour cream but would love to add more variety to my fermented foods options. I am new to the process and this book would be a wonderful resource to have on hand. Thank you!

  13. Leia says

    I have never done my own fermenting but have many auto-immune issues and so want to heal naturally. I would LOVE a copy of this book to help me get started with fermenting. I still have 2 children at home (and 2 grown) and want to be around to watch them grow up and teach them a healthier way to live!

  14. Jessica C says

    I have yet to start fermenting anything, but really want to try. The pictures in this cookbook make me feel like I could do it! Thanks for offering this.

  15. Ruth says

    I have tried a number of fermented pickle recipes, following every direction for crispy pickles, and they are nearly always mushy. I do sometimes use regular cucumbers rather than the pickling size commonly used. Do you think this is the problem? I would like to get a consistent pickle!

  16. Dorothy says

    I am interested in learning more about fermenting. The saurkraut is soo good, I have a hard time thinking of anything else to ferment. But my family would enjoy more variety. Thanks for putting this information together. Hope to read it soon.

  17. Stacey McIntosh says

    I desperately need this book! We are doing the GAPS diet for our 2 1/2 year old and have seen so much success, but I lack the confidence of making my own probiotic food after several failed attempts. Fingers crossed at winning!!! Thanks!

  18. Judy M. says

    I have made saurkraut, kombucha, kefir, and yogurt, and some fruit chutneys with success, but so far have not had any success with pickles. This book looks amazing. I would like to branch out and learn to do more fermented veggies. I still have a lot to learn.

  19. Heidi says

    I’ve only done a bit of fermenting-only salsa and pickles. They are so outrageously good fermented, I would love to try some new recipes! That said, I would like to solve the problem of soggy fermented pickles. I’ve tried oak leaves and grape leaves but still have soggy pickles. Help?

    • says

      Hi Heidi,

      Fermented cucumber pickles are actually pretty difficult, which is funny, because pickles are so popular. I’d recommend trying the following: Cut off even more from the blossom end than you have been doing. Throw in even more tannin sources (like spices). Use more red wine vinegar (which also contains tannins). Put the pickles in the fridge while they’re still crunchy. Get the freshest pickles you can.

  20. Shari W says

    I’m currently doing my research & prep to start the whole family on GAPS. We all seem to have health issues that would benefit. The fermentation part is the one area we are all a bit worried about – so any & all knowledge would help us!! I love the pictorial how-to’s – very helpful!!

    • says

      I use mason jars, and I leave them on the counter myself. Some folks express concern that ultraviolet rays could kill bacteria, thus inhibiting the fermentation. I’d say this is not a huge issue, since glass blocks most UV. Dark cabinets are more likely to have weird moldy things in them, so I’d say the counter is a good bet. (And do keep your ferments away from fruitbowls and sourdoughs and shoes and other possible sources of molds and yeasts…)

  21. Eve says

    Alex I am also wondering if there is ever any danger of bad bacteria growing when home fermenting dairy, cabbage – anything?

    • says

      Hi Eve,

      It’s not a big concern.

      Generally, if a vegetable ferment fails, it will either get moldy or yeasty. If it’s moldy, you’ll see it and it will be slimy, and if it’s yeasty, it will get alcoholic. Either way, you won’t want to eat it.

      If you try to ferment dairy and your starter is dead, it won’t go right, but again, it will generally be gross enough that you won’t be tempted to consume it.

      Fermenting is very different from canning in this regard!

      Once you’ve fermented a few things, you’ll have a feeling for how it’s supposed to go, and you’ll have an even better gauge of if something went wrong.

  22. Susan says

    I have tryed fermenting cabbage but also ended up with mold and abit too salty I feel. Because I live in a relatively cold area I put a heated cable around my crock and I think maybe it became too warm for the initial 4-5 days. Would appreciate a good book that I could follow. Thanks for all the support you offer:)

  23. Emily says

    I have never fermented anything…purposefully. I have been looking into how to do it and with pictures in the book – great!

  24. Kim O. says

    I haven’t done anything more than yogurt so far. I bought cabbage and intend to do sauerkraut, but the whole process is daunting. I don’t know where to start!

  25. says

    I tried making Sauerkraut but it went mouldy instead of fermenting. I don’t know whether the room was too warm or it just got contaminated.
    I am successfully fermenting Kombucha though….lol

  26. Sharmista says

    I’ve been fermenting lots of stuff this year! Kefir, kombucha and veggies! But sauerkraut still eludes me and I’ve had a couple of oopsies too. This book looks really fantastic!

  27. Nicole says

    I’ve done just a little fermenting, but I’d love to do so much more. This book would be a great help to get me going!

  28. says

    I have made fermented pickles. But I don’t like pickles. lol I have also fermented garlic and green beans, I make my own yogurt, and I would like to try more things!

  29. April says

    Yes, I’ve fermented sourdough starter, vegan cheeses, kimchi, saurekraut, etc.! I was really nervous when I first started, but I’ve learned to have no (or less) fear! Thanks for the giveaway!

  30. Jessica says

    Would love to win this book! I have made kombucha…tried sauerkraut, but just got mold. Tried water kefir, not sure if I did this one right….my family thought it was pretty gross.
    Would Alex mind commenting on his thoughts about using a Pickl-It….or a special air lock jar on a mason jar….or just a mason jar. Thanks!

    • says

      Did you use enough salt? Did you really squeeze the vegetables quite vigorously, to get the liquid going? I’ve had good luck using a plain mason jar. And make sure to pack the vegetables back down if they start popping above the liquid. You can also certainly try a Pickl-It or other air lock jar…but it hasn’t been necessary for me for just sauerkraut.

  31. Sarah says

    I’ve made a few ferments from Nourishing Traditions book… ginger carrots and pickled beets are my favorites. But I still feel like a newbie. I’d love to learn more.

  32. Denise says

    I love fermented stuff. Unfortunately when I ferment something, I tend to forget about it and it goes bad :( The book doesnt have anything about bad memory in it does it? LOL.

    • says

      Hahah! Tie a ribbon around your finger!

      Or, seriously, leave it out on the counter somewhere where you’ll see it every day. And write the date on a piece of painter’s tape or masking tape, and put that on the jar.

  33. Sheena says

    i’ve been meaning to dip my hand in the fermentation pool, i just haven’t gotten around to it yet. i love fermented foods, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and to have these things at my disposal all the time would be great! this book looks like an excellent and informative guide, with great recipes.

  34. Kerstin says

    I have tried sauerkraut and kombucha, but on neither one am I sure I got it right…although it hasn’t made me sick :-)

    I would love to learn more about fermenting – and if I could make our own pickles, I know my husband would be ecstatic…loved the book preview!

    • Kerstin says

      Oh, want to add yogurt…although it never got thick.

      r.e. the comments about lighting above – I kept my kombucha in the same room as my saltwater tank, but across the room on the top of the mantle…didn’t seem to go badly, goodness knows my mother grew tremendously!

  35. Jamie V says

    I make my own yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sourcraut. I have only tried dill pickles once and they had great taste, but went a little soft. I would love a book with more recipes and ideas!

    • says

      It may seem strange, since they’re everywhere, but cucumber pickles are actually some of the trickier things to make! So don’t be discouraged. Keep trying. Next time try putting them in the fridge a little sooner…

  36. says

    I just put up a batch or kimchi to ferment for the week! It’s my first time fermenting kimchi, and it’s already sooo delicious! So exciting!

  37. Sara G says

    I’ve failed at Sauerkraut twice now. I’m currently attempting to make Kombucha and working my courage up for Kimchi and to try Sauerkraut one final time. This book has beautiful photography and the instructions look very simple!

  38. eema.gray says

    The airlock makes me giggle a little. I’ve been sucessfully fermenting for 3 years now using nothing more than “mason” jars with 2-part lids. I regularly ferment tarshi (turnips pickled with a slice of beet for color), watermelon rind, shredded kholarabi (great source of selenium for the nut free of this world), saurkruat in all it’s regional variations, cucumbers, broccoli, and carrots. Truthfully, there are very few vegetables that do not take to fermentation processes.

  39. Yahaira Scoop says

    I am an Orthomolecular & clinical Psycho-Neuro-Immunology therapist & know the importance of fermented foods. I have not been in the opportunity yet to make myself familiar with the making of fermented foods. I love sauerkraut, pickles and and love to know more ways of fermenting foods. I am native of the Island of Curaçao and have lived 12 years in Netherlands where I did the study. I am familiar with some pickled vegetables but don’t think that’s fermented. Sure love to be one of the winners of the book………….
    Keep up the good job……………………..

  40. Angie C. says

    I have made water kefir but am really anxious to start fermenting vegetables…just don’t really know where to start.

  41. Adriane McCaffrey says

    I used to make a lot of kombucha before I moved…need to get a new scoby! Would love to get creative with some veggies!

  42. Emily P in DC says

    I’ve fermented a little bit at home, just sauerkraut and ginger carrots and the like, I’d love to learn to branch out!

  43. Barbara says

    I’m looking forward to starting to ferment foods. I’m definitely a newbie. I would love a copy of your book. Thank you!

  44. Barbara says

    What an awesome recipe! I’m definitely doing this. I’ve fermented kombucha and yogurt for years and only a year ago added kefir. Everyone in my house from the humans down to the cats, dogs, and even all my chickens get kefir every day! I’ve made it a goal to get free kefir grains to every one I can in my county and teach them the benefits.. I’m a bit in fear and trepidation tho, with doing the kimchi or sauerkraut….but I really want to! I need to learn out more….help! help! My healthy kitchen NEEDS this book! Thanks again.

  45. Audrey says

    We always made pickles when I was growing up; The kind in a big barrel that you left outside waiting to change the brine. I really want to know more about it. My mom’s recipes all burned in a house fire.

  46. Debbie says

    I have not tried fermenting my own foods, although I take a strong probiotic pill each morning and eat some Bubbies sauerkraut with lunch and dinner. Fermenting my own foods sounds intimidating which is why I would LOVE this book!

  47. says

    my husband and his family in the Ukraine make pickles and ferment foods all the time. They eat kefir and sauerkraut etc. They are quite healthy and have robust immune systems i have to admit. It would be interesting to read about his views on this as I don’t know much about the health benefits of fermentation and a recipe book in English would be brilliant as I don’t udnerstand my mother in laws notes in Ukrainian lol! 😀

  48. Tracy says

    I find this very interesting. I have just recently changed my diet to a very healthy one. I am loving it and feeling so much better. This book would be awesome to have on my journey tto better health with diet.

  49. Jennifer says

    I have been fermenting for several months now. Last night I opened the best batch of kimchi I have made yet. It did, however erupt quite a bit. It splashed me and the walls. Small price to pay for good kimchi, but how would I avoid that in the future?

  50. Carol G says

    I have made cultured cabbage once before as well as kefir and kefir cheese. I am just getting into culturing and would love to win the book.

  51. Elizabeth says

    I just recently made my first batch of pickles using the Nourishing Traditions recipe. I loved them! I’d love to make lacto-fermentation a bigger part of my life!

  52. says

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