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Share A Trip To Highbank Fermented Food

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Food Heroes

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  • A Trip To Highbank Fermented Food

A trip to Highbank: Fermented Food

Rod Calder-Potts Highbank Orchards
Rod Calder-Potts Highbank Orchards

Coming together to hear food stories is always a special occasion. It is a unique opportunity to share knowledge, passion and meet others with a similar interest.  A series of events which celebrate producers of real food, last Saturday’s Bia Beag gathering at Highbank Orchard Organic Farm in County Kilkenny was one such occasion and the topic was fermentation.

Although a practice as old as time, used mainly to preserve foods in the days before refrigeration, the benefits of including fermented foods in our diet has thankfully seen a wider revival in recent years. A process whereby the naturally occurring microorganisms in food such as bacteria, yeast or fungi, convert organic compounds such as sugars and starch into alcohol or acids, fermenting not only preserves the food but also enhances the natural, beneficial bacteria in the food, making it probiotic-rich.

Kefir Grains
Kefir Grains

Collectively known as The Microbiome, our intestinal tract contains significant amounts of bacteria, some beneficial, some neutral and some harmful. If the mix of microbes in our gut is out of balance it can lead to health issues such as digestive problems, eczema, IBS, anxiety, weight problems and a compromised immune system to name but a few.

The modern day western diet, high in processed and refined foods, can play havoc with our gut health. Fermented foods like Kefir, Sauerkraut, Vinegar, Miso, Kombucha and Sourdough help to bring the gut back into balance by replenishing the missing or unbalanced components in the gut microbiome. Fermented foods are also easier to digest so their more nutrient rich fermented form is now more accessible to the body, allowing it to manufacture or synthesise other essential vitamins that we need for good health.

Hayley Milthorpe of The Cultured Food Company
Hayley Milthorpe of The Cultured Food Company

Hearing first hand from fermented food producers Hayley Milthorpe of The Cultured Food Company, Riot Rye sourdough baker Joe Fitzmaurice, Rod Calder-Potts of Highbank Orchard and Nutritional Therapist and The Little Green Grocer owner Eleanor Duggan, was both inspiring and motivating. Their stories are full of passion for what they do and their eagerness to share their knowledge is heartening. The renewed awareness of the benefits of fermented food has thankfully led to better access to them through retail in recent years. Many of these good bacteria rich foods can also be made easily by us in our own homes as they were generations ago. A natural process, fermentation asks us for little more than time, a precious and free commodity which we would be wise to reconnect with. Whether fermenting at home or through the range of fermented foods available, we can now play an important role in our overall wellbeing and enjoy the satisfaction of procuring some of these very ancients’ foods ourselves. 

Listening to each of the speakers share their knowledge in the beautiful 17th century farm building of Highbank Organic Farm was indeed a treat. Tasting their carefully crafted fermented foods, once again reminds us of the importance of being connected to where our food comes from. Ancient grains and fertile soil are all in our care and we must protect them if we are to have a sustainable food chain. An additional treat was the hospitality, roaring fire and Julie’s Highbank Orchard Brandy which we enjoyed afterwards. 

The Magic of Fermintation
The Magic of Fermintation

As part of the weekly Thursday food tastings at Ardkeen Quality Food Store, I will be sampling a selection of the Irish Artisan produced vinegar range that we carry in store. Carefully crafted this is an opportunity to taste some of the best Irish vinegars on the market today and a perfect example of a fermented food that is both accessible and affordable to our good health. 

  • Highbank Orchards Organic Balsamic Cider Vinegar 250ml

    Highbank Orchards Organic Balsamic Cider Vinegar 250ml

    Organic Balsamic Cider Vinegar with ‘Wild Mother’

    • Raw
    • Unpasteurised
    • Unfiltered

    €10.50

  • Highbank Orchards Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 500ml

    Highbank Orchards Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 500ml

    • with ‘Mother’
    • Raw
    • Unpasteurised
    • Unfiltered

    €6.50

  • The Cultured Food Company Chilli & Dill Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    The Cultured Food Company Chilli & Dill Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    A versatile condiment to be enjoyed with any meat, fish, cheese or salads.  

    Reviving the ancient tradition of hand crafted raw fermented foods. By harnessing the natural power of certain microbes, we transform foods through fermentation into a whole new taste sensation rich with real culture. 

    €5.25

  • The Cultured Food Company Kimchi 300g

    The Cultured Food Company Kimchi 300g

    By harnessing the natural power of certain microbes we transform foods through fermentation into a while new taste sensation rich with real culture. A versatile condiment to be enjoyed with any meat, fish, cheese, or salads. 

    €5.25

  • The Cultured Food Company Organic Carrot & Fennel Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    The Cultured Food Company Organic Carrot & Fennel Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    A versatile condiment to be enjoyed with any meat, fish, cheese or salads.  

    Reviving the ancient tradition of hand crafted raw fermented foods. By harnessing the natural power of certain microbes, we transform foods through fermentation into a whole new taste sensation rich with real culture. 

    €5.25

  • The Cultured Food Company Organic Juniper Berry Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    The Cultured Food Company Organic Juniper Berry Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    A versatile condiment to be enjoyed with any meat, fish, cheese or salads.  

    Reviving the ancient tradition of hand crafted raw fermented foods. By harnessing the natural power of certain microbes, we transform foods through fermentation into a whole new taste sensation rich with real culture. 

    €5.25

  • The Cultured Food Company Organic Natural Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    The Cultured Food Company Organic Natural Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    A versatile condiment to be enjoyed with any meat, fish, cheese or salads. 

    Reviving the ancient tradition of hand crafted raw fermented foods. By harnessing the natural power of certain microbes, we transform foods through fermentation into a whole new taste sensation rich with real culture.

    €5.25

  • The Cultured Food Company Organic Ruby Red Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    The Cultured Food Company Organic Ruby Red Raw Sauerkraut 400g

    A versatile condiment to be enjoyed with any meat, fish, cheese or salads.  

    Reviving the ancient tradition of hand crafted raw fermented foods. By harnessing the natural power of certain microbes, we transform foods through fermentation into a whole new taste sensation rich with real culture. 

    €5.25

  • Clashganny Organic Farm 100% Apple Cider Vinegar 500ml

    Clashganny Organic Farm 100% Apple Cider Vinegar 500ml

    Raw and unfiltered, no water or sugar added.

    Direction for use:

    1. Shake well before use
    2. Dilute 1 teaspoon in a small glass of water
    3. Honey or juice may be added to sweeten if liked

     

    Our organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains the “the mother”, strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria which give it a murky cobweb-like appearance.

    Richard and Sheila have been growing apples for nearly 20 years in their Organic Orchard near Portlaw Co. Waterford. The orchard is stated on the sunny, fertile banks of the river Suir. The apples grow organically and so are free of chemicals and pesticides.

    The goodness of their Organic Apples goes into their Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. 

    €6.50

  • King of Kefir Chilli & Ginger 330ml

    King of Kefir Chilli & Ginger 330ml

    • Trust your gut
    • No added sugar
    • Handcrafted in Dublin
    • Contains Naturally occurring sugars

    Naturally sparkling with sweetener from natural sources. Unconventional soft drinks using beneficial cultures from natural water kefir. A refreshing low calorie soft drink crafted in small batches, unfiltered, unpasteurised and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. 

    €2.95

  • King of Kefir Cucumber Mint & Thyme 330ml

    King of Kefir Cucumber Mint & Thyme 330ml

    • Trust your gut
    • No added sugar
    • Handcrafted in Dublin
    • Contains Naturally occurring sugars

    Naturally sparkling with sweetener from natural sources. Unconventional soft drinks using beneficial cultures from natural water kefir. A refreshing low calorie soft drink crafted in small batches, unfiltered, unpasteurised and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. 

    €2.95

  • King of Kefir Lemongrass & Ginger 330ml

    King of Kefir Lemongrass & Ginger 330ml

    • Trust your gut
    • No added sugar
    • Handcrafted in Dublin
    • Contains Naturally occurring sugars

    Naturally sparkling with sweetener from natural sources. nconventional soft drinks using beneficial cultures from natural water kefir. A refreshing low calorie soft drink crafted in small batches, unfiltered, unpasteurised and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. 

    €2.95

  • HOLO Organic Kombucha Sparkling 330ml

    HOLO Organic Kombucha Sparkling 330ml

    • Unfiltered
    • Raw
    • Vegan
    • Unpasteurised

    Kombucha is a fermented tea with a long history, of which we are but a small part. Bits in your buch? Hooay! That’s cause it’s unfiltered and unpasteurised.

    Handcrafted by the Hyde twins.

    HOLO stands for HOListic Organics. We believe we are the result of what we eat, drink and think. We believe in full lives, family, friends, strong communities and endless love. Free yourself!

    €2.95

  • Llewellyn Irish Balsamic Cider Vinegar 250ml

    Llewellyn Irish Balsamic Cider Vinegar 250ml

    This unique Irish Balsamic Cider Vinegar is made by a natural fermentation process starting with fresh ripe apples. No other ingredients, such as sugar, water, preservatives intrude along the way. The final result is a perfect balance between the tanginess of the vinegar and the sweetness and fruitiness of the apple. It's award-winning flavour makes it a delicious ingredient for any salad dressing, or with olive oil as a wonderful dip for breads. Drizzle it on potatoes, broccoli and roast pork. Use your imagination to enhance the flavour of many other dishes.

    €11.95

  • Llewellyn Premium Irish Cider Vinegar 500ml

    Llewellyn Premium Irish Cider Vinegar 500ml

    • Raw – Unfiltered
    • Contains the ‘Mother’

    Apple cider vinegar has been valued for centuries as a nutritious foodstuff, natural remedy, tonic and antiseptic.

    We have naturally fermented this cider vinegar from the best of Irish apples. Unlike some ‘big brands’ manufactured cheaply by bulking up with water and cheaply by bulking up with water and sugar during fermentation, we ferment only pure fresh-pressed apple juice. This gives our cider vinegar more flavour and more natural apple goodness.

    Any jelly-like deposit or strands visible in the bottle are harmless evidence of the live bacterial ‘mother’ culture, and valuable proof of its quality and authenticity.

    • Use instead of wine vinegar in recipes for marinades, salad dressings, chutneys, pickling etc. May be taken, diluted with water, as a daily tonic drink.
    • Salad Dressing: for a simple yet delicious dressing, mix 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 4 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil, salt and black pepper to taste.
    • Daily Tonic: A popular recipe for a daily tonic drink: 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, mixed in a glass of warm water, taken twice daily. 

    €7.00

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