Ya know how you get super excited when a good friend or family member of yours gets to do something they are really good at and are helping other people at the same time? That’s the feeling I get when I think about Wardeh writing this book.

Ya know how you get super excited when a topic you’re really passionate about comes up and you could talk and talk about it for hours? That’s how I get when people start talking about fermented foods.

So now that Wardeh Harmon’s book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods has been released I can finally role those two experiences into one. I’m excited, y’all.

This book is for anyone intimidated by fermenting foods. It starts you from the ground up, explains the ins and outs, gives you step-by-step recipes that will ease you into this age-old healthful, sustainable practice. This is the book for anyone wanting to learn to ferment foods.

This book is for anyone who is already into fermenting foods. Whether you’re a kefir strainer or a kraut maker, this book will give you all sorts of new recipe ideas, more insight into the full process, and exciting new things to try like sausages and fermented beans.

The bottom line is you need to own this book.

An Interview with Wardeh Harmon

Here’s a fun little interview I conducted with my friend Wardeh:

How did you first get interested and involved in fermenting foods?

When I got into traditional cooking and read about traditional cultures and their habits and what they ate, I noticed they consumed fermented foods regularly. The gut’s link to overall health is undeniable, whether we’re talking allergies or immune system or good digestion. Since fermented foods keep a healthy gut populated with good guys, it seemed like a no-brainer that we get into it.  So I started learning how to do it. Of course, I love to eat fermented foods — I love the salty, tangy, sour, spiced, even sometimes sweet, flavors.  But more importantly, I fell in love with the process.

Fermenting suits my style of cooking. A few rules keep the ferments safe, and after that you have freedom to play around, combine flavors, try new things. I am not a big recipe follower, more of a formula follower, and fermenting fits right in with that. I tried to write my book with that in mind. Of course there are lots and lots of recipes in the book, but the first few chapters give the big picture so readers can feel the freedom to tweak.

What was your family’s response to these "odd" (by most westerner’s standards) foods?

They have been champs, but like anyone who is not used to fermented foods, there have been transition periods learning to like new fermented foods. Plus, I usually take a try or two to get something right. I have to say, they’ve been very supportive and willing and I appreciate that very much. And the rewards have been great. Not only am I proud of my family, especially my children, for their bravery in trying new things, but we’re all healthier for it.

Do you really eat fermented foods at every meal like so many folks recommend?

Yes, we do. It is much easier than people think. All it takes is a dollop of homemade sour cream. Or a spoonful of sauerkraut. Or some crumbled raw feta cheese. A glass of Kombucha. Spreading your sandwich with lacto-fermented mayonnaise. Fermented foods are not usually main courses, they are complimentary condiments or sides to enhance the meal. A little goes a long way in terms of flavor and health impact.

What are the top three most frequently eaten ferments in your home?

Let’s see… sour cream, kefir, and Kombucha. With sauerkraut coming in a close fourth.

What do you recommend fermenting newbies start with?

Homemade sour cream (your recipe ) or no-pound sauerkraut (recipe here). Both are well-loved foods and very easy to make.

Do you have any other projects in the works?

I’m continually working on my online classes, producing videos and print tutorials. Currently we’re working through more fundamentals of traditional cooking (I call it Fundamentals II). I have some writing projects on the back burner, but nothing definite. Thanks so much for having me, Shannon!

Be on the lookout for a giveaway of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods tomorrow.