Wild Fermentation 101

The High Country’s Fermentation Queen: Rashell Fall

Today was another Wild Blessings class here on my mountain top.  Rashell Fall, a veteran wild foodie and fermentation expert, was our teacher.  Rashell’s meads are reknown in these parts!  In no time at all Rashell had turned my kitchen into a chemistry lab.  Siphons and corks, and bottles, and fizzing bubbling brews danced in their jars.

The first hour was spent listening to Rashell regale the mystical history of fermentation.  A miraculous discovery that preserved foods without refrigeration, balanced gut dysbiosis with good microflora, and created spirit libations.  She told her own story of how fermentation literally saved her life after a close call with a Mersa infection that she contracted in Thailand.  Incredible!

Skipper guarding the brew

Listening to Rashell talk made be yearn to be better connected with the earth for true well being.  Our germ conscious society is literally making us sick to the core.

Upon being deeply impressed with the importance of regaining this time honored tradition of fermenting we moved to the kitchen where Rashell demonstrated a variety of fermentation skills: how to make a brine, how to use yeast from raw blueberries and grapes as starters, how to make a sourdough starter, how to make kumbucha….kimchi….  She showed the many wild fermented creations that I had made to preserve last Summer’s wild harvest: Nettle kraut, Milkweed bud pickles, Milkweed pod pickles, Lambs Quarter kimchi….  Here is a post I wrote about my fermenting frenzy last Summer in an attempts to preserve my wild harvest:


Rashell gets excited about pickled Milkweed

While Rashell demonstrated how to brine Jerusalem Artichokes we all drank a healthy mug of Wild root chai with heated raw milk and honey, and snacked on wild energy balls.

For a break and a very special treat, one of my teachers, Serene Dae took everyone on a wild plant walk.  Being February, not much was above ground but there was still much life to be seen and Serene can make plants ‘talk’.  With a bag full of some early Spring greens: wild Onion, Chickweed, Mustard, Ground Ivy greens Serene whipped up a spicy batch of Wild Hummus to eat with our lunch.

A Winter plant walk with Serene Dae

While lunch cooked everyone chose a work station: soda and wine making in the kitchen and kraut and kimchi veggie chopping on the back porch.

Kimchi and Kraut Station

Station two: making wild sodas

Rashell opens the Sassafras soda with caution OUTSIDE

Lorien sampling the Sassafras soda

Rashell had soaked flour to make sourdough bread for us and I had pulled out 3 different types of wild jams that I had made from last Summer’s berry harvest: Blackberry Peach, Crabapple and Stone Cherry, and Autumn Olive berry jam.

Rashell’s Sourdough Bread and Chocolate Mate Mead

A few Wild Jams

She had also made Sassafras soda, Chocolate Mate mead, Blueberry mead for us to sample.

Mark, Steven, Rashell, Mason, Samantha, Lorien, Loretta, Serene, Mariyah, Jennifer


Here was the menu (the hyperlinks will take you to the recipe)

Sassafras soda, Bee Balm tea, Spearmint tea

Wild Meads: Blueberry, Chocolate Mate

Wild Hummus & Chips

Wild Kimchi and Wild Krauts

Sourdough Bread

Autumn Olive Berry Jam

Sumac Berry Jello

Cream of Nettle Soup w/ Sweet and Sour Burdock Root

Sumac Rosemary Grilled Chicken / Elderberry Plum & Pine Grilled Chicken

Blackberry Balm Crunch


Pine Needle Popsicles

February 18th is a bit early to be eating outside in short sleeves but the weather was in the 60’s and delightful.

Wild Friends

 Lorien samples her first ever Pine Needle popsicle!

 Rashell recommends Sandor Katz’s book, Wild Fermentation for anyone serious about reclaiming this magical healing art.

I am confident that Rashell will be teaching this class again.  It is too important for people to miss.  I’ll keep you all advised via eVite for the next class or you can check my Wild Blessings Events page for a heads up.  She will also be teaching a Wild Fermentation 102 where she will teach us dairy fermentation with yogurts, kefir and a variety of healthful cheeses made from raw milk from healthy cows.

Thank you Rashell for all your energy, effort and wisdom you put into this class.  We all loved it!

Sassafras Rootbeer Bubbling with LIFE

What students had to say:

Holly & Rashell,
I learned in Fermentation 101 that fermented foods are absolutely vital in keeping the gut flora at optimum level.  It is a lot cheaper to make kompucha, kraut, kimchi, sourdough, meade or soda than buy a forty dollar bottle of probiotics!   This class has challenged me to get in the “game” and develop the habit of making a wide array of fermented foods.  I will incorporate these recipes in my own nutritional therapy classes.
Thank you,
Loretta Sable, NTP




  1. I always enjoy gathering around plants and people and chatting about what we share with each other. Fermentation is such an exciting exchange of energy between the people and the animals and plants around them. Through fermentation each of us is altered to a new living state; literally! The spirit of this group, the teachers and the foods where truly a high one! I enjoyed everything Rachell shared and she really had a great depth and flow. Clearly this woman is receiving and giving when playing with fermentation! I am looking forward to 102 on fermented dairy 😉 Mariyah also loved every minute and after returning home i discover she had taken very detailed notes, as well as a few horse pics 🙂 It was very settling to have 2 young ladies join us by their own interest. Very cool. Holly of course is a pleasure to watch and learn from. She has humbled me with the drive and successes she has earned in such a few short years. I truly am honored to share with such a passionate authentic teacher. The community is bound to benefit greatly for what these two women are bringing to the people. Give Thanks! Another treat was getting to see Coltsfoot ‘Tussilago Farfara’ in full bloom with her leave buds tucked safely under the winter ground cover. I had just said out loud, the day before, how nice it would be to witness this unique oddity in action…Give Thanks. What a blessed day indeed.

  2. Really glad to see your season opener,Holly. What a great subject to open in this time of year. I’m just getting into the fermentation thinking. We made sourdough from scratch 3 years ago and sell 5 different sourdough offerings amoung our other baked goods, at our Farmer’s Market.
    Keeping a sourdough starter has been a very interesting experience. I liken it to part plant and part pet. It’s care and feeding is an intrigueing process.
    It was so good to see folks from your community lending their insights and experiences to the day. Seems you are very blessed to have such accomplished folks as neighbors.
    Can’t wait to move on into the other fermenations and checking out Sandor Katz’s book. Thanks for sharing the energy and excitement of these Wild Blessings!

    • I like your comment about sourdough starter being part plant part pet!

      fermented foods are saving my digestive tract! I brought my fermented Milkweed kimchi with me to San Diego for the two weeks I am here rather than my bottle of probiotics.

      So glad to be relearning these time honored healthy traditions!

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  1. […] Gut health is one of my fixations.  For without a healthy working digestive tract it doesn’t really matter how clean one eats because the body will not assimilate the nutrients effectively.  Of all the herbs, supplements, household remedies, exercise etc…that I have pursued to heal my gut the one that stands out as most effective is simply eating fermented foods to balance the gut flora.  I use Sally Fallon’s fermentation recipes in her book Nourishing Traditions only I add in wild edibles to add to the nutritive value.  Cattail shoots taste like cucumbers, Milkweed shoots like green beans, Milkweed buds like broccoli, Milkweed pods like potatoes, Ramps (garlic), Queen Anne’s Lace (wild carrot), Thistle stem like celery, edible stems and shoots and flower buds, wild greens…. the choices are endless.  Just substitute wild for store bought veggies or add in with the mix and follow the recipes.  A local fermentation expert taught a class at my house on how to ferment veggies, breads, sodas and meads.  You can read about that here:   https://wildblessings.com/2012/02/19/wild-fermentation-101/ […]

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