I remember when the thought of leaving food on the counter overnight completely weirded me out. Growing up in a pasteurized society, it’s hard to imagine anything is edible if it isn’t immediately boiled, frozen, or canned. Much of that, I believe, stems from our having grown up with refrigeration and away from the natural processes of growing, preparing, and eating one’s food.
So many of us, myself included, make a little journey when we embrace cultured foods. We hold our breath when the milk sits out for a day to make kefir. We sniff and poke and prod our vegetables wondering if they will kill us and then we taste them and have to grow accustomed to that sour flavor we will grow to love.
But it’s not always easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. I am a long ways away from being an expert, having only started culturing foods in my own home for about a decade or so now. Maybe that’s why I still remember the hesitation, the wonder, the amazement, and the frustration. So, here are a few things I know now that I wish I’d known then.