It does seem a bit mad how much food gets thrown away in Scotland, especially when you think of all the land used in growing that food that’s been deforested or habitats that are destroyed to make way for it. It gets me on a personal level because food is something we should all value, and not everyone has enough of it.
When I set up my business, the Edinburgh Fermentarium, I wanted to try and break the taboo of people thinking fermented foods are strange, a bit scary and not very tasty. The more people I can encourage to try them and realise they are actually fresh, crunchy and tasty with the unexpected tang that fermentation brings the better! As well as selling kimchi and kraut I offer workshops, so people can learn to do it themselves. This means they can reduce food waste at home.
For me it all started I went on a course learning how to make Korean Kimchi. Then I began making it for myself and for my friends and family. When I started eating fermented foods my health changed for the better. After years of cutting various things out of my diet, from gluten to dairy and much more. I found that adding fermented food and drinks to a healthy balanced diet put my system back in balance. So simple, I couldn’t believe it! After being made redundant from my fashion design job I was a bit lost and my partner got me a life coach for Christmas. She helped me decide to take the next steps and turn my hobby in to the small business that it is today.
On a personal level, my favourite way to use up food is, unsurprisingly – fermenting! I find if you have too many vegetables on the go in the house you can make sauerkraut, kimchi or brined vegetables. You should never throw away the brine. It’s full of all the goodness and quite versatile you can use it as a salad dressing, I love a shot in the morning like a health tonic and my friend drinks it at night mixed with vodka...
Anything you have a surplus of you can just google it to find a recipe. Even beetroot stalks taste amazing fermented. If I ever make a batch I’m not too keen on, I add it to soups, stir fries and stews. It adds amazing depth of flavour. Of course, heating it kills the live bacteria, but at least nothing goes to waste. You don’t need special equipment, just a kilner jar and some salt! If you have a glut of red currants, black currants or any fruit you can try making fruit kvass. Just fruit and sugar fermented. It’s so simple and tasty, and again you don’t need special equipment to do it.