Real Food Fermentation: New book is natural step after farm to table

Alex Lewin

From what I can tell based on a new book I recently received for review, few care as deeply about their food as Alex Lewin, a culinary school graduate, mathematician and healthy food advocate.

In Lewin’s new book, Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Kitchen ($14.73 via Amazon), he succinctly and precisely spells out how to take produce from farm to table to kimchi. But Lewin doesn’t stop at fermented veggies. Want to know how to make hard apple cider with those crispy-sweet Honeycrisps just on the market? Lewin tells you how. (Like baking chocolate chip cookies or brewing beer, the waiting is the hardest part.)

Sauerkraut, vegetables, fruits, dairy, veggies, even meat gets a thorough discussion, which includes step-by-step instructions and big, clear photos that illustrate each important step of every process.

I wish I had this book when summer’s cucumbers were taking over the local markets (his recipe for making pickles is the simplest ever), but instead I’m going to focus on making my own preserved lemons and homemade ginger ale.

And if you’re the slightest bit timid about watching your food ferment, Lewin’s chapter on making sauerkraut is worth the price of admission. He includes precise instructions for every step, from  how to chop a bell beeper (really!) to a full-color photoessay that illustrates how fermentation progresses from fresh to funky.

Yes, several fermentation books have been making a stink recently (Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods is one;  The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World is another), but none are as beautifully illustrated or as clearly cookbooked as Lewin’s Real Food Fermentation.