Fermentation is globally accepted as a healthy, natural, and nutritional way of processing food. It is the first Lithuanian book on natural fermentation, also known as wild fermentation. Lithuania has a long traditions of consuming fermented foods. We consume fermented cabbage and cucumbers, fermented rye bread, soured milk, and kvass—these products are deeply engrained in the Lithuanian cuisine to the point of becoming ordinary. This book is an attempt to see these simple food items in a different light and to advance the fermentation process using more versatile products like herbs and wild edible plants, which are abundant in Lithuanian meadows and forests.
Fermented or soured products, often considered part of a separate food group, are highly nutritional and easy to digest. Thanks to the biochemical processes that occur during fermentation, nutrients are easily absorbed by the body producing a higher amount of vitamin B. Fermented food is also valuable for producing lactic acid bacteria, which enables a smoother digestion, boosts the the immune system, and improves overall wellness. The benefits of such foods, however shouldn’t be overestimated – it’s best to follow your individual experience. Still, anyone could benefit from adding one or two fermented products to their diet.
Fermentation is also a creative process that offers an alternative to industrial, processed, monotonous food that lacks nutrition and flavor. Making food with the help of bacteria, wild yeast as well as wild plants allows us to create and maintain a unique culinary heritage and get to know the endless world of microorganisms that exists in harmony with our own.
In this book you will discover basic recipes for fermenting various foodstuffs and ideas on how to use these foods in cooking. Some of the recipes are based on ancient Lithuanian know-how, while others are modern and internationally popular (for example, the recipe for kombucha). The rest of the recipes are unique, created by author Ieva Šidlaitė.
As you read this book, try to see the Baltic traditions of fermentation in a new light. We hope it will inspire you to start a new chapter in your own kitchen.