Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin

Real Food Fermentation is a great book for anyone interested in the preservation of food at home. Sure you can throw your groceries in the fridge when you get home from the store, but why not take it a step further?

Mr. Lewin runs the gauntlet in this book, helping up to get our feet wet with lactofermentation in his sauerkraut making, then moves right into yogurts and kefirs. Once you’ve gotten a handle on the magic that is using whey as a starter to ferment fruits and vegetables, he takes us to vinegar production and kombuchas. If all the healthy eating is not your thing, don’t despair! The next few chapters talk about yeast fermentation to make the hard-core stuff: hard-ciders and mead, a fermented honey drink invented by the Romans–and we all know how those Romans could party!

Rounding out the experience in the final chapter, he guides us through fermenting meat. Now that you’ve figured out how to ferment everything in the refrigerator, Mr. Lewin suggests a recipe for fermented corned beef.  Pickling spices, whey, sugar, and brisket in a jar in the fridge for a couple of days.  Interesting…  I’m still working on the ginger ale.   Luckily, having read this book, you can prepare these foods with the food safety procedures that are throughout this pleasant read.

This book has a lot of discussion in every chapter about real food as compared to processed food.  He makes a compelling argument for finding a local farmer or trusted source of unprocessed food.  For example, the US government has regulated the food industry in this country to the extent that everything is processed.  Whole milk is pasteurized which kills all the enzymes that help us digest it.  Cows are feed corn which makes them more susceptible to disease, so the farmers dose them with more antibiotics, which are then found in the milk.  Fruits and vegetables are genetically modified so farmers can make more money to be able to pay to stay in compliance with the USDA.  Where does it stop?

The pictures and instructions are simple and clear enough for the most rank-beginner to pull off some amazing new deliciousness. Click the book to grab a copy!

About John MacDowall

I was born in Poughkeepsie, NY. We moved to a farm during middle school where I learned about raising animals and growing food. Now, I live in the affluent suburbs of Washington, DC and wonder why people eat the way they do.


  1. Thank you for the lovely review! If anyone wants to ask questions here, please ask, and I’ll answer.


    • Alex,
      I made the ginger ale as described in the book. It’s been a week and I’ve got no carbonation. I used my own fresh whey from the latest batch of yogurt and the mixture still smells great, but no tiny bubbles. I’m keeping it in my kitchen on the counter near the range, so it’s not too cold (71 degrees F) and it’s way in the corner so it’s not too bright. Maybe the antiseptic properties of the ginger killed the bacteria?


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