Heidi’s interest in traditional foods began twenty-eight years ago when she moved to rural Japan and was captivated by the array of fermented foods she encountered there. She learned Japanese cooking mainly from the women around her and also through trying everything and developing a palate for the new flavors. Upon returning to the U.S., Heidi began in earnest to study world traditions of fermentation through workshops and a residency with Sandor Katz. Heidi is one of the organizers of the Portland Fermentation Festival, now entering its eleventh year. As part of her deep commitment to all people having access to nutrient dense foods, Heidi coordinates nutritional programming and teaches cooking classes at Quest Center for Integrative Health. She is also a personal chef and the owner of Wanpaku Natto.
TRADITIONAL JAPANESE FERMENTED FOODS: TSUKEMONO, MISO AND NATTO
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Fermentation is transformative and, in some ways, magical. Most cultures have fermented foods, yet each has its own distinct ferments. In Japan, tsukemono, which translates as “pickled things," are made using a variety of different techniques. Some tsukemono are lacto–fermented with just salt and cabbage--familiar to anyone who has made sauerkraut–while others are made using a pickling "bed" of rice bran mash, miso or koji (the starter culture for miso). Miso and natto are two distinct soybean ferments which are typically eaten in small quantities as part of a traditional Japanese meal. The various fermented foods at any given meal are prized not only for their health benefits, but also their complexity of flavors. Heidi will provide an overview of these fermentation traditions and illustrate how to make your own tsukemono, miso and natto.