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Picklefest 2008 was a huge success. Held at Machine Project in LA, the public was invited to bring their produce (grown in their garden, or purchased at farmers' markets or a supermarket) and pickle it using the lacto-fermentation process.

The event was expertly conducted by Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne, who are the authors of The Urban Homestead (my pick for book of the year) and the founders of the Homegrown Evolution blog.

From Machine Project's page about lacto-fermentation pickling:

Back before the advent of canning and freezing, folks preserved their vegetable harvest via lacto-fermentation. This process, once commonplace, survives today mostly in the form of sauerkraut and kim-chi. These days, almost all store bought pickles and contemporary pickle recipes are vinegar-based. Lacto-fermented pickles contain no vinegar at all.

In lacto-fermentation, salt is added to vegetables, either by covering them in salty water or by mixing them with salt to draw out their own juices. Either way, the vegetable ends up stewing in salty liquid. Lactic microbial organisms (the same beasties that spoil milk) take hold in this environment and make it so acidic that bacteria that cause food to spoil can’t live there. The result is a pickled food that will keep without canning or refrigeration.

Lacto-fermented pickles are also full of beneficial bacteria that, like the bacteria in yogurt, are good for your gut and make food more digestible.

Photos from Picklefest 2008

12 Responses to “Photos from Picklefest 2008”

  1. brundlefly76 says:

    Wow now that sounds like a GOOD TIME!

  2. adamnvillani says:

    “Lacto-fermented pickles are also full of beneficial bacteria that, like the bacteria in yogurt, are good for your gut and make food more digestible.”

    Is this a nicer way of saying it gives you the runs?

  3. cinemajay says:

    Mark, it says you have to be signed into Flickr to see the pics.

  4. dragonfrog says:

    Does yogourt give you the runs? If so, I guess natural sauerkraut might do as well.

  5. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    It was great to meet you Wingo! Looking forward to seeing you at the Picklefest 2008, Part 2 meeting where we get to eat the stuff!

  6. scottso says:

    I enjoyed The Urban Homestead… except for the book’s complete lack of editing. It had really bad spelling and grammar errors, and it could have used a once-over by someone with a red pen to cut some wordy sections. It was really too bad – it probably prevents some of the better advice from being enjoyed as well as it could have been.

  7. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    scottso@4: “It had really bad spelling and grammar errors…”

    I spoke to Erik about this. He said the 2nd printing will take care of the typos and grammatical errors. Nevertheless, these didn’t bother me when I read it.

  8. Linds says:

    How much time does this alternative lifestyle of yours eat up?

    And by the way kim chi doesn’t keep for very long

  9. mistervega says:

    ok – nobody’s said it yet, but pickles or no pickels – kelly’s a hottie. oh and wingo’s got the beginnings of some good bruce lee hair!

  10. wolfiesma says:

    I’m coming to L.A. for Christmas. I’m going to find these guys and buy their book. Maybe hand delivery is the new distribution model for print media?

  11. jessica402 says:

    I’m coming to L.A. for Christmas. I’m going to find these guys and buy their book. Maybe hand delivery is the new distribution model for print media?

    I suppose you could do that – you could also just order it at Amazon or walk over to your local bookstore and buy it. (If they don’t have it, you could always suggest that they do.)

  12. Wingo says:

    Hey, that’s me!!

    We had SUCH a fun time, and are so excited to try our sauerkraut and peppers in a couple of weeks. We can barely stop ourselves from ripping open the jars, it looks so yummy already!

    Thanks again, Mark, for the awesome Saturday afternoon activity. We will doing much more lacto-fermentation in the future, for sure. I should have some of my photos up soon as well.

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