If you haven't yet heard, fermentation -- the process by which foods are partially broken down by living microorganisms -- is big!
Consider some of the more common ferments that many of us know and love: beer, wine, sauerkraut, bread, yogurt, and pickles -- all are ferments, and that just scratches the surface.
Many foods can be safely preserved for long periods of time only because they can be fermented. Not only that, science is beginning to catch up with nature in terms of our understanding of the important role that microbes play in human health. There are billions of microorganisms that live in our gut; their varied composition and number are now suspected to play a significant role in maintaining individual health.
Of course, food preservation and personal health are not the entire benefit package of eating fermented foods. The variety of ferments and their different individual tastes, are also a big reason for their growing popularity.
And that's where three local friends, Liz Crain, author of The Food Lover's Guide to Portland; David Barber, owner of Picklopolis; and George Winborn enter the picture. Since 2009, they have produced Portland's annual fermentation festival that celebrates the culinary wonders of fermented foods. The perennial festival is a National Geographic-like expedition of recognized and exotic ferments representing different food cultures. This event brings home fermenters, professional fermented food producers, and the general public together for a night of indulgent ferment tasting pleasure.
The fermentation festival is an opportunity for beginners to experience first-hand a variety of foods under one roof. Even more, it tastefully illustrates how the tiny world of microorganisms looms so incredibly large upon the culinary world -- and beyond.
Originally posted on Cooking Up a Story.