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Fermentation is coming of age. Sheila Dillon investigates how this ancient way of preparing food is inspiring a new generation of cooks.

Fermentation is one of our oldest methods for preserving food. All around the world people have been transforming food with the help of microbes for thousands of years. The problem is, this simple method has had an identity crisis. We tend either see it as a fashionable fad, or a strange science. But there are people who want things to change. So in this programme Sheila Dillon meets 'The fermenters'. Ukranian food writer and chef Olia Hercules, who grew up with fermented foods; Roopa Gulati, using fermentation to explore her Indian heritage; entrepreneur Deborah Carr, whose fermentation business is going from strength to strength; and seasonal chef Tom Hunt who is putting seasonal ferments back on his restaurant menu. In 2016, It's time to rethink fermentation.

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30 minutes

Last on

Mon 14 Mar 2016 15:30

Olia Hercules' Fermented tomatoes

Olia Hercules' Fermented tomatoes

Makes a 2 x 1 litre

(1 ¾  pint) jars

35g (1 ¼ oz) fine sea salt

25g (1oz) caster sugar

½  tablespoon allspice

berries, bruised

½ tablespoon black


1 litre (1 ¾ pints) water

500g (1lb) Tumbling Tiger

tomatoes or other


flavourful tomatoes

2 dill heads or dill

stalks (fresh or dry)

1 bay leaf

50g (2oz) celery sticks and

leaves, chopped


1 Mix the salt, sugar, allspice and peppercorns into the

measurement water in a saucepan and bring to the

boil. Let the liquid cool down completely and infuse.


2 Place the tomatoes and the other flavourings in a

sterilized 2.5 litre (4 pint) preserving jar and pour over

the cool infused brine.


3 Seal the jar and leave in a warm place in your

kitchen (25°C/77°F) for 1 week until the tomatoes start

fermenting. Transfer to the refrigerator or a cellar,

where they can be kept unopened all winter.

Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine & beyond by Olia Hercules, Photography by Kris Kirkham, published by Mitchell Beazley


Role Contributor
Presenter Sheila Dillon
Producer Clare Salisbury
Interviewed Guest Olia Hercules
Interviewed Guest Roopa Gulati
Interviewed Guest Deborah Carr
Interviewed Guest Tom Hunt


  • Sun 13 Mar 2016 12:32
  • Mon 14 Mar 2016 15:30

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