The speaker at the Carp Dinner and Talk on Sunday, Sept. 21 had many people asking for recipes–and no wonder: who knew how good for you homemade pickles were!

Sylvia Mcgee - Speaks about the benefits of Pickles and Fermented Food.

Sylvia Mcgee – Speaks about the benefits of Pickles and Fermented Food.

Retired local teacher Sylvia McGee began her talk with stories about how fermented foods probably came as a result of needing to preserve food. She went on to describe the difference between pickling and fermentation, the latter creating its own acidic liquid, lactic acid, thanks to the help of the Lactobacillus bacteria which just happens to be around everywhere.

This same lactic acid helps maintain the bacteria we need for good absorption and helps food become more nutritious and bioavailable. For example, properly made sauerkraut has twenty times the amount of vitamin C than in fresh cabbage! The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods also help to keep bad bacteria at bay, strengthening our immunity. They can even slow or reverse some diseases such as bowel conditions. Finally, fermented foods are easy on the pocketbook.

Sylvia also regaled us with anecdotes from her childhood when she learned to make fermented foods herself, pointing out that almost everything can be fermented. At the dinner we were treated to the usual fermented cabbage as sauerkraut and cucumbers as pickles, but there were also spicy fermented green beans and carrots as well as tasty fermented radishes and green tomato chutney. A lovely fermented drink was homemade ginger ale!

The other parts of the dinner included a variety of sausages and wieners from local Bearbrook Farm just east of Ottawa, who generously donated a portion of the meal; sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions; millet grain; and a lentil dish. Dessert was an apple crisp made from local apples with yogurt topping. Kudos to Kim Trott for another great meal.

Jessica Spirak demonstrates the art of making leaf rubbings to Simaren and Devinder Serai.

Jessica Spirak demonstrates the art of making leaf rubbings to Simaren and Devinder Serai.

Tanya and daughter Jessica Spirak helped youngsters make paper rubbings of leaves and parents took home enough to wallpaper a spare room and then stayed to wash the dishes.

Music was again provided by volunteers from the Carp Celtic Music Jam and we even had two brave souls dance to one of the waltzes.

Our next Dinner and Talk will be Sunday, October 19 (always the third Sunday) at the Carp Memorial Hall from 4:30 to 6pm. The evening is free with a donation to the local food bank and volunteers are always welcome to set and clean up.

 

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New volunteers from West Carleton Secondary School: ninth graders Alex Jordan and Vicki Turner.

Next month’s talk will be about how to undertake a fall cleanse, given by local naturopathic doctor Katherine Willow. RSVP: carpdinnerRSVP@gmail.com or call Lori at 613-839-1198 ext 232. All ages are welcome and we hope to see you!