pickles a cuke? Is yogurt alive? Where does Swiss cheese get
its holes? How is pizza dough made?
These questions all relate to fermentation,
a process people use to create and preserve many types of
The term "fermentation" refers to the activity of bacteria
and fungi, such as yeast (which is a single-celled fungus).
These microbes break complex compounds, like sugars, into
simpler substances, such as carbon dioxide and alcohol. Because
these simpler substances are toxic to food-spoiling microbes,
they act as natural preservatives for food.
Before refrigeration, fermentation was a primary method of
food preservation. Builders working on China's 1,500-mile-long
Great Wall in the early part of this millennium ate cabbage
fermented in wine.
Genghis Khan's forces carried pickled food with them on their
invasions of eastern Europe in the 12th century. In the early
18th century, the British Navy carried pickled cabbage to
provide sailors with vitamin C in order to prevent scurvy.
Kimchee is a traditional fermented
cabbage dish from Korea. Koreans eat kimchee year round for
the spicy taste and because it contains lots of vitamins C
You may be more familiar with the traditional German pickled
cabbage dish, sauerkraut, a less
spicy version of kimchee.
In a bottle fermentation chamber you can pickle your own
cabbage. You'll learn a lot about fermentation, and enjoy