Fermentation workshops will soon be offered to Iowa residents. Human Science Food and Health Specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (ISUEO) gathered at Iowa State University for a pilot fermentation workshop lead by Specialist Jill Weber to train and prepare.
The workshop offered a broad overview of fermentation, potential health benefits of fermented foods, and how to conduct a successful workshop. Using a small-batch method, participants engaged in the making of their own quart jar of sauerkraut to ferment at home.
Consumer interest in home fermentation has grown in recent years with specific interest in fermenting vegetables and kimchi for the beneficial bacteria fermented products may provide for gut health. The biggest trend in fermentation is small-batch fermentation—small amounts made regularly using quart (or larger) jars. Small-batch fermentation goes more quickly and allows one batch to be fermenting while a previous batch is eaten fresh deriving all the benefits of a fresh ferment. The consumer market has responded with an assortment of fermentation kits designed to make fermentation fun and 1-2-3 easy. Small-batch fermentation is an excellent workshop activity for learning and engaging.
To help Iowans safely preserve foods, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach also offers Preserve the Taste of Summer 101 food preservation classes or workshops at various locations throughout the state covering topics such as jams and jellies, salsa, pickles, canning, freezing, and dehydrating. The classes and workshops are helpful for beginning home food preservers as well as experienced preservers who wish to stay current with safe practices.
Food preservation and fermentation workshops are a great way to learn about the science that goes into preparing a safe product. However, the classes and workshops go beyond learning about preservation, fermentation, or making salsa or sauerkraut. Workshops bring people together as they create their own ‘make and take’ product; it is also an opportunity to broaden social and cultural experiences as strangers share in a common adventure that may be new to them.
To find out when a Preserve the Taste of Summer 101 workshop will be offered, check the Preserve the Taste of Summer webpage for class or workshop offerings. Fermentation workshops are planned around the state beginning this fall; to indicate interest in attending a fermentation workshop, email Jill Weber (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, phone, and county in which you live. Jill will help you find a workshop near you.