At Vegepod, we love our Masterchef-turned-foodie-consultant-extraordinaires and Ms Mandy Hall is no exception! Having gotten sick some 20 years ago, she turned to cooking and in particular, fermentation, to change her gut health and turn her illness around. Now she is the veggie fermentation queen and knows how to cure a mean sauerkraut. Have a read to discover her experiences and tips on fermentation and stay tuned to the end to see how to make her famous Fermented Dilly Cucumber Pickles.
What inspired your love of cooking, and in particular, fermentation!
My love of cooking actually came via a number of channels, my mother was an incredible cook and I had always loved dining out, that was perhaps the start, however, about 20 years ago I got very ill and at the same time, so did my son - it really turned my world upside down. I lost my career, lost my health and, as time went on, I began to think more and more about food, from cooking to the manufacturing processes, farming and freshness. I decided that it would play a huge part in our lives going forward. I did some research on fermentation and realised it could only help us; so, over 20 years ago, my poor son was the only kid at school with sourdough sandwiches and some fermented veg in his lunch!
My initial fascination with fermentation was all about gut health but now I really focus on fermentation for flavour and it's incredible preservation capabilities! Of course my time on MasterChef didn't really allow me to showcase my fermentation but it was a wonderful platform to bring awareness afterwards.
What's your number one tip for gardeners looking to ferment some of their veg?
Start really simple - a kraut, a fermented hot sauce, some fermented carrot sticks - any of those will yield a great result and really give you the opportunity to understand the process. Once you start, you'll be hooked. Ferment whilst your crop is freshly picked and you will get extraordinary results that will keep in the fridge for months without losing any quality. In fact, the process will just enhance the produce. There's nothing like getting a fermented carrot stick from your fridge that is 2 months old and is still crisp but with even more flavour and it's teeming with healthy bacteria!
How did you find growing in the Vegepod - any tips you can recommend for growing cucumbers?
The Vegepod made growing super easy, it was the best-growing result I have ever had, no bugs, no critters, no possums to eat my entire crop, time after time! My tip for growing the cucumbers is to make sure you buy seed or plants for gherkin-type cucumbers - that's what gets you a brilliant crop.
Where can we find you!
You can find me on Instagram or Facebook @mandyhallfood - I have a website that is due for a little revamp but I am still reachable there - www.lovefermentsandfood.com.au
Thanks again to Mandy Hall and her team for allowing us to chat with them about fermentation and how easy it is for podders to give it a go. Happy fermenting!