Learning The Art of Herbal Fermentation Through Herbal Academy of New England

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It's funny, I grew up with a dad who loves to brew beer and ended up marrying a man who also is obsessed with brewing as well. As a child, I always enjoyed watching my dad brew beer. He would give me the chance to choose recipes or ingredients for him, even though I wasn't old enough to drink the end result. I have always been fascinated with art and science of fermentation. In human history, fermentation has played a huge role in society, bringing ancient people medicine, nutrients, and food. Learning more about fermentation has always been on my list of things-to-do. I've explored kombucha before, but that has really been the extent of my own fermenting journey so far. It wasn't until the herbal school that I attend, The Herbal Academy of New England, opened enrollment to their new class, The Craft of Herbal Fermentation, that I realized just how excited I was to delve into the intricacies of brewing these living bubbly herbal fermentations!

Fermentation, the hottest trend dating back to ancient times

It may seem like all these amazing trendy fermented drinks that you see at your local health food's store are a new craze, but the art and craft of fermentation dates back to 6,000 BC, a time when water was not always potable and food needed a way to stay preserved without the common comforts of refrigeration. Since its conception, nearly every civilization around the globe has included fermented foods and beverages in their culinary heritage. Fermentation has cultured unique flavors and traditions around the the world; everything from Korean kimchi and Indian chutneys, to German sauerkraut, yogurt, and cheese.

“In some cases, fermentation is a critical component to food safety beyond preservation. In West African countries, garri is an important food source. It is made from the root vegetable cassava, which contains natural cyanides and, if not properly fermented, can be poisonous. Other foods, such as the Tanzanian fermented gruel togwa, have been found to protect against foodborne illnesses in regions that have poor sanitation.

Asian civilizations in particular have a history of fermenting a wide variety of foods—Japanese natto (soybeans), Vietnamese mám (seafood), Chinese douchi (black beans), Lao pa daek (fish sauce), Korean banchan (side dishes)—that remain essential components of their everyday cuisine. Fermented foods are also used in Eastern cultures for medicinal purposes, which may be of particular interest to registered dietitians who practice “food as medicine.” Links between fermented foods and health can be traced as far back as ancient Rome and China, and remain an area of great interest for researchers in modern times.” (Food & Nutrition, 2012)

HANE's herbal fermentation course has got it all

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course offers a unique opportunity to take our relationships with plants even further through the art and science of herbal fermentation. Discover the excitement and liberation that comes from creating herbal fermentations including herbal beer, herbal mead, herbal kombucha, herbal water kefir, and herbal lacto-fermented foods through both written instruction and video tutorials. You will also be introduced to exclusive recipes and techniques and supplied with the resource and supply lists that you will need to get started on your own herbal fermentation journey.

Seasoned homebrewer, fermented foods enthusiast, or beginner – this course has something to offer everyone. With a specific focus on incorporating herbs into your fermentations, these lessons are loaded with inspiration, new techniques, and considerations specific to the beauty and complexity that healing herbs can bring to any fermentation process.

Don't forget to get the laminated recipe cards

If you are like me, the process of brewing can be very messy. In fact, the DIY process with anything can really mess up a kitchen in no time flat! Things get even messier when you are specifically trying to keep things sanitized for the sake of avoiding contamination. I have seriously dropped tablets into bowls of steeping tea, splashed herbs and oil onto laptop keyboards, and totally destroyed pieces of paper that had recipes hand-written on. Don't be like me. HANE has so ingeniously created durable, laminated instructions that you can take into the kitchen with you while you prepare your herbal ferments! These awesome waterproof guides will help guide you through the process and inspire you with exclusive recipes! I am dying to try the Blueberry Basil Mead! Not only do the awesome recipe cards stand up to the test of all the messy spills that go into crafting any such herbal fermentations, these cards also contain the basic instructions as well as tips to get you through the entire process, from start to finish, without any hitches. The best part is wiping them clean to use for next time!

Crafting an herbal beer with my favorite herbal tea blend

The first unit in this course is herbal beer! Not the kid-friendly kind that you are thinking, the adult fun-time kind that contains alcohol! After watching my dad and hubby both brew many gallons of beer, I was surprised to find that herbal beer brewing is extremely simple and took very little effort to complete. I was intrigued by all the different herbal beer recipes that were given, but being the creative person that I am, I just knew I had to use one of my own favorite tea blends for this first bubbly concoction, my Flowerchild Refreshment Tea. One of my favorite tea blends, it's a combination of raspberry leaf, hibiscus, orange/lemon peel, rosehips, and lemongrass. I was dying to see how it would taste in its fermented form! It is currently sitting at the end of its primary fermentation process, so I still have a little while longer to wait before I will get to taste my very first bubbly brew. Over the last 4 days, I have excitedly run to my front closet in the morning, checking to see if my herbal baby has completed its fermentation. The only downside to the fermentation process is having to wait for it to finish its magic before you can actually enjoy the finished product!

Join me on my journey to learn more about herbal fermentation

If you are interested in herbs, fermentation, brewing beer and mead, probiotics, and/or lacto-fermented foods, this course is for you! For $119 ($149 with the laminated recipe cards) you will gain access to a wealth of fermenting information and videos from leading herbal experts and educators. As a HANE student, you will also get access to the student facebook group and forums, where you can ask questions, help others, and become a part of a larger herbal community! Join me on my herbal fermentation journey and together we will learn the secrets of our ancestors before us, and maybe enjoy a brew or two!

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