Flu season is nigh, and while some are reaching for their cold and flu, others are opting for a different method of keeping healthy. James and Bel came down from the Blue Mountains to run a fermentation workshop at Ruby Lane, a health food store and cafe with a perfect, airy wooden deck out front (where the workshop was conducted).
Having already run these workshops several times, it ran efficiently and smoothly. After a quick introduction about gut health and bacteria (plus a handout packed with information on gut health, enzymes, and history), James demonstrated the fermentation process, with some additional narration from Bel. To save time, the vegetables to be fermented (daikon, cabbage, carrot) had been preprepared and were handed out in large bowls by Bel, as the participants learned that fermenting cabbage increases the vitamin C content by 300%. We also learned that their products are fermented traditionally — for a month minimum, which not only allows for greater probiotic count, but also gives a greater shelf life. (Commercially fermented products are often only fermented for 2-7 days).
While the participants worked on their kimchi, I sampled some of the products and chatted to Bel about the fascinating process of fermentation, and just how much love goes into one of their healthy, delicious jars (hint- a lot. They brine their own limes for a whole year before using them in their lime and mango pickle). When the brunt of the fermentation was done, the group moved inside for a delicious dinner, featuring some of the pickles and organic wines, followed by a Q&A session, before heading home with over a kilo of fermenting goodness each.
Overall, the workshop was informative and flowed well. The venue was welcoming and spacious, and they run monthly wellbeing workshops on topics related to nutrition and education. Phil, the general manager of Ruby Lane, explained that they run workshops on things they offer on the menu, so customers can come learn what it is, why it’s good, and how to make it at home.
Liv S. is a creature of warm weather, negronis, and writing. She can usually be found elbow deep in a pile of chicken wings. Check out her musings @callmememphisjones.