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Ferment: A Guide to the Ancient Art of Culturing Foods - Book Review

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by Sue Hinchey (subscribe)
A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me or
Published September 8th 2017
Ferment, fizz, snap, crackle and pop your way to health
Ferment Holly Davis author chef wholefoods Murdoch Books
image courtesy Murdoch Books Publishing

Author, chef, and wholefoods educator and pioneer, Holly Davis, has just released her latest book, 'Ferment - A Guide to the Ancient Art of Culturing Foods'. Published by Murdoch Books, Holly has explained what all the fizz is about. Fermenting is not a new thing. On the contrary, the practice has been used to preserve food for thousands of years, and Holly has been pickling, preserving, fermenting, curing and infusing since she was a teenager. In the book, she systematically explains the how's, why's, and wow's of what a little good bacteria can do for our guts.

In 1985 Holly Davis co-founded 'Iku' wholefoods in Sydney, which now has 14 outlets across the city. She continues to train wholefood chefs, teach classes at a variety of venues for the general public (including my local Permaculture North group), and I recently attended one at iconic and historic Vaucluse House, where we learnt how to make sauerkraut. It was an enlightening afternoon and a very simple process. The book is a culmination of her passion for the art of fermentation. It is beautifully photographed and a pleasure to read. Holly's knowledge and expertise transfers easily through her words and pictures. She comprehensively explains what fermentation is and why it's good for us; how many of the foods we eat lack the 'sour' factor and it's importance in our bodies being satiated; what type and shape of jars and salt to use, and there's also a glossary of unfamiliar and unusual terms.

The book is sensibly sectioned into categories:
Activate - e.g. nuts and sprouts;
Capture - e.g. natural bacteria for kimchi and sauerkraut;
Steep - to submerge, to brine or pickle;
Infuse - to add culture or bacteria to make kefir;
Leaven - or rise, how to start and grow sourdough bread;
Incubate - using controlled temperatures to change the nature of the foods;
Cure - or dehydrate, vegetables, fish, tofu, etc.

The step-by-step format makes it easy to follow, the ingredients are simple, and the photographs illustrate techniques and the desirable visual outcome. Holly works intuitively, using her nose and eyes to guide her - what the food smells like and how it looks is a vital part of success. Included in the 270-page hardback are more complex recipes, and tips and tricks on how to integrate ferments into your diet.

I first met Holly Davis around 25 years ago when she released her first book, 'Nourish'. Her wholefoods pioneering adventure continues, her passion hasn't waned, and her new book is a celebration of her life's work.
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this is right up my alley. thank you for this review.
by lois (score: 2|114) 746 days ago
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