Fiery Ferments, by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher Shockey (2017)

Fiery Ferments, by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher ShockeyIf you follow food blogs, you’ll know that fermented foods are gaining new interest, beyond sauerkraut. Turns out you can ferment almost any vegetable, though obviously some lend themselves better to the pickle-y flavour than others. Having made my own sauerkraut with surprising success, I am interested in furthering my forays into fermentation (sorry – I simply cannot resist a powerful alliteration). In this follow-up to their first book, Fermented Vegetables, the Oregon couple has put together an excellent recipe and instruction book for creating “hot sauces, spicy chutneys, kimchis with kick, and other blazing fermented condiments,” according to the lengthy sub-title. My brother and I inherited a love of fiery foods from our Hungarian mother, so this title really appealed to me. And it delivers big-time. They begin by explaining how fermenting works, how to be successful using a myriad of methods, and that if something does go wrong, you won’t die. (Admit it, it’s the one thing that stops you from trying to make your own sauerkraut!) You can go big-time with high-end equipment, or give it a try with a couple of mason jars, regularly “burping” the CO2. Each recipe includes suggestions for appropriate methods, and tips if you choose an alternative method. The focus here is on peppers, so the Shockeys include a section on the various peppers you might use for your spicy concoctions. I was delighted to discover guajillo peppers in the list, as I have planted this in my own garden this year, having discovered it at my local seed exchange earlier in the year. There are recipes for simple pepper sauces, salsas, salads and so much more. The book includes many gorgeous full-colour photos that will certainly motivate readers. I’ve already added the easy-peasy and spicy fermented carrot and lime salad to my file! There are a few recipes for suggesting how to use your fermented foods, from smoothies and soups to sausages and small plates, as well as drinks and desserts. Finally, a troubleshooting section provides guidance for making sure your ferments result in a tasty outcome. I’m pleased to see there is space allocated for an index but it had not been included in my advance copy. Simply terrific – I will certainly be adding a print copy of this superb resource to my cookbook collection. My thanks to Storey Publishing for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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