Since its publication, Katz has traveled the globe teaching hands-on workshops and learning from others about the many foods and beverages made by the process of fermentation. His travel schedule – and his personal appeal– aptly earned him the title of “The Johnny Appleseed of Fermentation” from Michael Pollan. To see why Katz has earned this reputation, check out his workshop DVD (a clip is below).
The additional knowledge Katz has gained since the publication of Wild Fermentation is found in The Art of Fermentation, Katz’s award-winning book published last year. The book landed on The New York Times bestseller list, was featured on Fresh Air, and won a Beard Foundation Book Award in the reference category.
To celebrate Wild Fermentation’s 10th anniversary, we asked Senior Editor Ben Watson to recount meeting Katz for the first time, and bringing this important book to print.
I will never forget the day I first met Sandor Katz, though oddly I can’t remember exactly what year it was—either 2000 or 2001. He was traveling, staying with friends in Vermont, and had arranged to come into the Chelsea Green offices to meet with our editorial team: myself; Jim Schley, our longtime editor-in-chief; and Stephen Morris, the publisher and president of the company at the time. This was when Chelsea Green was in the old Gates-Briggs Building in the center of White River Junction, an historic edifice with a lot of what could generously be called “character.” The drop ceilings in the editorial office were just that—ceiling panels would work themselves loose and float down periodically, exposing wiring and pipes. The theater just down the hall was the scene of summer musical rehearsals, with kids belting out chestnuts like “Tomorrow” from Annie . . . all day long. And of course the whole building shook ever so slightly whenever the Amtrak train would pull into the little passenger station across the street. It was the furthest thing from a typical corporate setting one could imagine.
Jim and Stephen were already used to meeting authors and signing up books in interesting places and circumstances. They had previously signed the contract for The Sauna in Rob Roy’s round, cordwood masonry sauna, trying hard not to drip sweat on it from their naked bodies. And there was even talk about arranging a meeting with Canadian author Robert Henderson in a hall in Newport Line, Vermont, which had entrances in both Canada and the U.S. (Robert’s wife, for reasons I never quite understood, was considered persona non grata in this country, and Quebec—on the other side of the building—was as close as we could get her to White River.)
Sandor arrived, looking very flamboyant in what I remember as a multicolor ring-striped sweater and corduroy pants that were very soft and velour-like in texture, and golden-mustard yellow in color. Clearly neither he nor we were going for the corporate image. He entered, carrying a jar of his homemade “kraut-chi” and a small, saddle-stitched pamphlet—the original, self-published version of Wild Fermentation. As the meeting progressed, and we passed around the jar, scooping out delicious fermented vegetables with our fingers, we became more and more impressed and fond of this bright, articulate, and passionate young man, who was part social activist, part cultural preservationist—and clearly obsessed with all things fermentable. It wasn’t a hard decision to sign up his book.
Time passed, and most of the staff turned over during a major reorganization at Chelsea Green. Our offices changed as well, moving a few hundred feet up the street to the Tip Top Building, a big open space inside what was once a production bakery and that had been converted into artists’ studios and other uses. The new, expanded edition of Wild Fermentation was one of the first titles Chelsea Green issued under our “new” Publisher, Margo Baldwin, who with her husband Ian had founded the company in 1984 and had run it for many years before taking a well-deserved break.
I remember when we opened the box containing the advance copies of Wild Fermentation. There was a stunned silence, then a mixture of bemusement and outrage. We had struggled over the cover design for a long time (“Should we have microscopic photos of bacteria on the front?”), but had opted in the end for a funky type-heavy cover. The color in the printer proofs we’d seen had been a dark forest green. Imagine our surprise then when we saw, on the front cover, a shockingly lighter, almost bilious pea green color, and a neon-pink, childrens’ chewable vitamins color in the title and on the back cover. Our first reaction was to reach for the light switch and see if the damn thing would glow in the dark.
We had no clue how this garish-looking, flamboyantly fabulous book that we were sending off into the world would sell. Fortunately, we had an equally flamboyant and fabulous author to promote it. Sandor carried this book to the four corners of the earth, tirelessly spreading the word and talking to everyone who cared to listen about the wonders of fermentation. And over the course of time, this book has grown to become a classic.
Like many of the books we have published at Chelsea Green, Wild Fermentation was way ahead of its time. Today fermentation is a “hot topic,” with everyone from self-reliant anti-government bunker dwellers to tragically urban hipsters from Brooklyn to San Francisco jumping on the bandwagon and eagerly discovering (or rediscovering) the traditional skills for transforming and preserving a wide range of foods. And with the 2012 publication of The Art of Fermentation—Sandor’s best-selling magnum opus—even more readers are now discovering Wild Fermentation, his first book. It’s the one that made it all possible, the original “culture” that started a great and growing ferment.
Here at Chelsea Green we love seeing how publishers from other parts of the world adapt our book covers for readers in their respective countries.
There are more than 150 foreign editions of Chelsea Green books in eighteen different languages, and each book has its own unique look and appeal. Each year we see more books being translated, thanks to an in-house team that travels to Frankfurt and London to meet with overseas publishers, as well as our helpful distributors in Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, and South Africa.
We’ve created a slide show containing a number of our favorite foreign covers and have two simple questions for you:
Can you recognize the U.S. edition by its foreign cover?What do you think of their interpretation?
The supply of fresh summer fruit is waning in most temperate regions, and before you know it, apples and pumpkins will abound.
If you’re lucky and berries or stone fruits are still available to you, try this easy method of preserving them: whole fruit jam.
This recipe relies on the natural sugars in fruit to provide a balanced flavor and sweetness in this complimentary spread. Preserve the last of your seasonal fruit simply – no added sugar and no freezing.
Sugar is a practical and economical method of food preservation—so much so that we tend to overindulge, and make jams that contain more sugar than fruit! When we discover that excess sugar is one of the great scourges of the modern diet, we might think it best to renounce jams completely. Besides, replacing white sugar with brown sugar is only a relative improvement. Whole or raw sugar (evaporated juice from sugar cane) would be a better substitute, but its strong flavor often masks the taste of the fruit.
The solution to this problem is twofold: avoid eating too much jam and other sugary foods, and make these foods using far less added sugar, or none at all. Knowing and applying these techniques, we can continue to preserve food properly and successfully. For example, certain jams made with very little sugar must be refrigerated once opened, preferably in small jars, to prevent premature spoilage. For those recipes that require sugar, we will use either brown or whole sugar. Other recipes are “sugar-free,” or use honey instead.
Note that the term “sugar-free jam” in essence is a contradiction in terms, since by definition, sugar is the preservative agent in jams. To be more precise, we should discuss “jams with no added sugar.” In reality, jam already contains sugar: both glucose and fructose, which naturally occur in all fruit.
Jams with no added sugar were not invented by health-food advocates wanting to reduce their sugar consumption. These preserves are an old tradition dating back to a time when sugar was scarce and expensive (or even nonexistent). Three classic examples, and the most commonly known jams of this type, are pommé (apple jelly), poiré (pear jelly), and raisiné (grape jelly). The first two have been made for centuries in certain regions of northern Europe, particularly Belgium and Germany, whereas the raisiné is a tradition of Périgord in southwestern France. Carob “honey” is a similar preserve that is found in the Middle East, Galilee (recipe follows in this chapter). All these preserves share this common feature: They are made from the juice only, and not from the whole fruit. Thus, they are jellies or thick syrups, rather than jams. Their preparation is based on this simple principle: Prolonged cooking evaporates enough water to concentrate enough of the naturally occurring sugars for preservation to take place. Jams from whole fruit can also be prepared by following the same principle. In general, after pouring hot jam or jelly into a jar and sealing it, turn the jar upside down. This will sterilize any air remaining in the jar and ensure preservation. It’s also a good idea to store the jars upside down.
Whole Fruit Jam
Very ripe fruit (any type)
A preserving pan or large saucepan
Canning jars and lids
This method is good for all types of fruit, including grapes, greengage plums, and so on. Use fruit that is very ripe; simply cut and crush it roughly. Bring the fruit to a boil; then cook it over very low heat for a very long time.
It is impossible to recommend a precise cooking time, since this depends on the type of fruit used, and its ripeness and water content, both of which vary from one year to the next. In any case, you should allow as much water as possible to evaporate. Stir often, because certain fruits have a tendency to stick during cooking. The jam is ready when it does not run off of the spoons but forms a bead that sticks to the spoon. At this stage pour the jam into scalded screw-top jars. It will keep for at least two years.
How can we successfully bring our neighbors together and relocalize our food, energy, and financial systems?
To glean some of the best ideas percolating throughout the United States, and the world, sign up for the Community Resilience Chats—a webinar series that delves into details essential for communities that are ready to take the necessary steps to reclaim their future. These online discussions stem from The Community Resilience Guides co-published by Post Carbon Institute and Chelsea Green.
The webinar is free, but space is limited so don’t wait to sign up. Participants will receive an exclusive 35% discount on Greg Pahl’s Power from the People. There will be a presentation and time for Q&A, but send in your burning questions on community clean power in advance to help shape the conversation.
Next up on Community Resilience Chats: Local Dollars, Local Sense. Michael Shuman’s perspective sheds light on rebooting the economy to meet the needs of investors and entrepreneurs for a healthy and secure local economy.
Want to learn more about these books and how to make your community more self-reliant? Chelsea Green is offering The Community Resilience Guides series as a special book set to make sure you and your neighbors have the tools and strategies you need to become more resilient.
Quick: What do one million Facebook fans and the U.S. Department of Justice have in common?
Apparently, they agree that it’s a waste of time to crack down on individual marijuana smokers. So, will the feds move toward legalization next? If they follow the leads of voters in states like Colorado and Washington, then perhaps we can end the prohibition era mentality when it comes to smoking pot.
The position that marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol is sparking a conversation in communities and legislatures across the country—forcing the media, policy makers and citizens to pay attention to this issue.
Marijuana is Safer debunks many marijuana myths and provides research and evidence supporting the relative safety of the substance. This new edition includes the same message, but with even more research and facts, explains the Colorado victory, and lays out the talking points that can help enable change in your state and community.
Whether you’re in support or have yet to be convinced, Marijuana is Safer will educate you, open your mind, and empower you to take action.
Don’t forget to visit the Marijuana is Safer Facebook page and add your support to the one million (and counting) fans. And get Marijuana is Safer for 35% off with discount code MIS35 at checkout.
Chelsea Green – an employee-owned, mission-driven book publisher — is looking for a creative, book-loving, savvy Online Marketing Intern to join our growing marketing and publicity team in the company’s Burlington, VT office.
If you’re interested, please send resume and cover letter to Online Marketing Manager, Gretchen Kruesi: [email protected] No phone calls, please.
Online Marketing Intern is responsible for assisting the Online Marketing Manager in updating our consumer and media websites, working on consumer email and analytics program, and other administrative tasks as needed.
• Support Online Marketing Manager including, but not limited to tasks listed below. Position will have opportunity to improve and expand skills and knowledge in website and online management.
• Assist in updating our ecommerce site (ChelseaGreen.com), keeping book data up to date and highlighting major media hits.
• Surveying website for problems and assist Online Marketing Manager to resolve quickly.
• Assist in updating media site for sales/media (Media.ChelseaGreen.com), updating book data and marketing information as needed.
• Conduct research on new authors to provide publicity background information on Media.ChelseaGreen.com.
• Update other Chelsea Green content on other platforms as needed, such as: Scribd, YouTube, affiliate sales program, etc.
• Assist Online Marketing Manager with researching potential online outlets for targeted promotion campaigns.
• Potential for other online marketing opportunities, such as: limited graphic design, video editing, etc.
Position Details: 15- 20 hrs/week for 4 months with possible extension, paid $10/hour, based in Burlington, Vermont.
Reports to: Online Marketing Manager
Qualifications: This is a position for someone with a demonstrated interest in website management and marketing. Experience with Adobe Creative Suite and basic HTML and is required. The qualified candidate will be able to work within a team environment as well as work independently. Comfort with other multimedia experience and using Google Analytics and other online tracking software is helpful, but not required. Detailed oriented, reliable, strong computer skills and proficiency in Excel is essential. Successful applicant will have an opportunity to learn new skills and expand knowledge base.
About Us: For almost 30 years, Chelsea Green has been the go-to publisher for people seeking foundational books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, including organic gardening and agriculture, renewable energy, green building, eco-cuisine, and ethical business. In 2012, we decided to practice what we publish and became employee-owned. We are a founding member of the Green Press Initiative and have been printing books on recycled paper since 1985, when our first list of books went on sale. We print our books on paper that consists of a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste and aim for 100 percent whenever possible. We also don’t print our books overseas, but rather use domestic printers to keep our shipping costs (and impact on the environment) at a minimum.
At the height of summer, when the days are long and the Earth is in bloom, we enter the lunar cycle known in sixteenth-century England as the Mead Moon. The beehives are heavy with honey made from the pollen of spring and summer flowers, and honey was the crucial ingredient for making mead—the honey wine of legend, myth, and human history brewed from the precious produce of industrious bees.
Makes 2 quarts
This lacto-fermented mead has very little alcohol but showcases the flavor of honey, and is delicious. Mead was traditionally drunk on the summer solstice.
2/3 cup raw, unfiltered honey
1 1/2 cups filtered water, very warm (about 110°F)
6 cups filtered water
1/2 cup kefir grains—rinsed grains from making milk kefir, or water kefir grains
Pour the honey into a clean, 2-quart mason jar.
Pour the hot water over the honey and stir to dissolve.
Pour the rest of the filtered water into the jar.
Add the kefir grains.
Cover the jar and put it in a warm place for 1 week.
Strain into two glass bottles with screw tops. I use the bottles from the mineral water Gerolsteiner. Put an even amount into both bottles. If they are 1-quart bottles, they should be full; if they are 1-liter bottles, add enough water to fill to the top. Screw the lids on tightly, label and date the bottles, and return to the warm place for another week.
Transfer to the fridge. Once they are cold you can enjoy them anytime! When you are ready to drink the mead, open the bottles carefully because they may have built up a lot of carbonation. Open them outside or over a sink. Turn the lid very slowly to see if the drink begins to release foam. If so, then allow it to release some of the carbon dioxide by not opening the bottle all the way and letting out some of the pressure, then opening it more and more, bit by bit. This way you won’t lose your drink to its carbonation.
Two years ago Hurricane Irene ravaged Vermont—displaced families, isolated communities, and washed away homes, roads and bridges.
Many communities and families are still rebuilding from the devastation caused by this powerful storm—a storm that hit Vermont harder than almost any other state.
Could much of the damage caused by Hurricane Irene—and similar storms—be prevented by implementing some basic permaculture principles on open land? Below, Ben Falk convincingly argues that point using video from his research farm taken during Hurricane Irene to show how swales can productively retain water on farmland.
“Nothing defines the nature of a place more than water. The quantity, qualities, forms, distribution, and intensity of its entry into a landscape determine nearly everything else that happens ecologically in a place,” Falk writes in his recent book The Resilient Farm and Homestead. “Though there are many physical aspects of a place, including the type of bedrock, soils, and climate, it is the play of water that most directly determines an ecosystem’s behavior and capacity for production or regeneration. Thus, the most optimal design within which to fit human activities in a place start and end with water.”
As we continue to rebuild and look for ways to become more resilient in the wake of these powerful, and unpredictable, storms, Falk urges us to consider how we can slow, spread and sink our water according to the condition, climate and needs of the landscape.
Though we cannot always accurately predict the weather, we can prepare to endure anomalies with care and consideration in our design.
All good things must come to an end – and that includes warm summer nights. But with the close of summer comes overnight frosts, the ideal time to gather plump, ripe rosehips.
A rosehip’s sweet, unique flavor is perfect on morning toast. There are endless variations on ingredients and many ways to make rosehip jam. Here are two simple techniques – no canning or freezing required!
Rosehips (fruit of the wild rose)
White or red wine (optional), or water
A preserving pan or large saucepan
A food mill
Canning jars and lids
This jam is seldom made, unfortunately. It’s true that you have to gather rosehips during the winter, after several frosts have softened them. The cold and the wild-rose thorns take their toll on your fingers, and the preparation for this jam
takes quite a bit longer than for most other kinds. Having said this, the delicious taste and velvety smoothness of rosehip jam make it all the more worthwhile! Rosehips are also very rich in vitamin C (one-half pound of rosehips contains as much as is found in two pounds of lemons). The Causses region, where I live (in extreme south-central France) is poor, but covered with wild-rose bushes. Every year, I partake of frozen, silent mornings, for the pure pleasure of giving my friends this glowing nectar to savor.
Pick the rosehips when they are very soft (January or February, depending on the winter). Remove the black tip from each end, place the fruit into a preserving pan, and cover it with a good white or red wine. Marinate one week, stirring
every day. (You can leave out the wine and omit this marination step, cooking the rosehips with just enough water to cover them, but the flavor of the jam will be different. Jams made with white wine or red wine also taste different from each other, but they’re both a treat!)
After one week, cook the contents of the pan over high heat for fifteen minutes. Then put the rosehips through a food mill, using a fine grind (this is the longest part of the process, due to the quantity of seeds in rosehips). Weigh the purée obtained and add one and two-thirds pounds of sugar per two pounds of purée. Cook this mixture for thirty minutes, stirring constantly. Put the jam in jars and seal them. The consistency of the jam will vary from year to year; some years it comes out firmer than others.
–Emmanuelle Bompois, St. Énimie
A large saucepan
A food mill
Canning jars and lids
Gather the rosehips when they are very ripe, immediately after the first frosts. Sort and wash the rosehips, if necessary. Immerse them in boiling water for a few minutes; then put them through a food mill with the cooking water, using a fine grind. Weigh the puréed rosehips, and add one and one-third pounds of sugar per two pounds of purée. Cook this until thick enough. Put it in jars, closing them immediately. The normal consistency of this jam is thick, but it will become very hard if you cook it for too long.
–Sophie Jacmart, Coux
Uncooked Rosehip Jam with Honey
A food mill
Canning jars and lids
Pick the rosehips after the frost, when they’ve become soft. Wash them, remove the stems and the black tips, and purée the fruit in a food mill. Using the back of a knife, scrape off the purée that comes out. This process may seem long and tedious, but it’s worth it. Mix the purée along with an equal amount of liquid honey. This jam is very rich in vitamin C and will keep indefinitely. You can serve it as a garnish on desserts, cakes, and so on.