BDN interviews Savoie about safely fermenting food at home

Kathy Savoie, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and professor, spoke with the Bangor Daily News about how to safely ferment food at home. As products like kimchi, kombucha and kefir gain in popularity, more people are looking to try fermentation — an age old method of food preservation ― in their home kitchens, according to Savoie. “With any home preservation there is always a concern around workspace cleanliness. There [are] just less safety steps or controls in place at home than there are at a production facility,” said Savoie, a local food preservation specialist. “People need to understand what is going on with fermentations and that salt, moisture, oxygen levels and temperature are all a part of the equations that needs to be followed closely to make sure in the end you have a safe product.” If at any point during the fermentation process off odors or colors develop, Savoie said not to chance it by tasting it. “A lot of things have advanced in the realm of food safety, but one of the things that hasn’t is the old adage, ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’”