Fermenting in the tropics comes with stunning sunsets and swaying palm trees, together with a number or surprises and challenges! Because of our high heat and humidity our foods ferment faster. While there are bonuses to this, there are also a stack of tips and tricks worthy of noting.
One of the greatest challenges to urban homestead fermenters in the tropics is that there is very little researched evidence of tropical ferments, and what we often find are conflicting stories. One article will say it’s safe to eat kahm – young yeast often found floating on top of ferments. And then another article will clearly state the opposite. My stance is this: listen to your gut! If something smells bad, looks bad and tastes bad, then guess what? I call that bad – for me. You see, I don’t have an iron gut, I have a very delicate one. I have compromised my immune system over the last 40 odd years and now have an autoimmune dis-ease, am prone to candida, have loads of intolerances and take methatrexate to interrupt further bone decay.
Soooooo what does this mean for you? Well, the truth is, I can’t tell you that. What I will do is encourage you to work with an holistic practitioner/GP and pay attention to what your 1st and 2nd brains tell you. 4 day ferments can taste delicious, but will have very little medicinal value. They really need to pass through 12 days at least, of stable temperatures around 24 – 26deg to reach maximum health benefits. Given that we only get that kind of climate stability for a couple of months of the year doesn’t stop me from fermenting my heart out all year round – I just do it differently depending on the weather of my life.
Fermenting Cheat sheet tip #1
Use top quality salt and water. I love Himalayan rock salt and dechlorinated water – but you need to test what works for you.
Fermenting Cheat sheet tip #2
Experiment your heart out – but write it all down. Trust me, when you make a stunning ferment, you’ll want to remember how you did it!
Fermenting Cheat sheet tip #3
If upcycling and using preloved glass jars, try not to use metal lids. I have and they rusted, thereby ruining the ferment.
Fermenting Cheat sheet tip #4
Listen to your instincts. I’ve ignored my gut instincts and ended up with either rotten kraut, sour kombucha, over fermented kefir and explosive kombucha as well. If your gut instinct tells you to bottle, refrigerate or monitor a ferment then do it!
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