Dec 19 2014

Episode 18 – Jane Campbell of Fermenters Kitchen

Episode 18 - Jane Campbell of Fermenters Kitchen

Today I have the pleasure of having Jane Campbell on the show who is the founder of Fermenters Kitchen.

It’s amazing to talk to someone who when you ask the question, “What would you like to ferment next that you haven’t tried?” actually gets stumped because there’s not much she hasn’t tried. In this episode, I also asked the members of the Fermenters Kitchen Facebook group for their questions for Jane Campbell and they supplied them readily!

I hope you enjoy the show and also want to mention that I’ll be closing down for the holidays, but I’ll be back at the beginning of the year to bring you fermentation recipes and ideas to get you healthy into the near year.

Thank you so much for listening and I appreciate every one of you!


  • How Jane got started in fermentation over 30 years ago and what her first starter is that she still has to this day!
  • How many sourdough starters does just have that she works with (hint, it’s over 15), how often does she bake in the winter time, and what all does she make with these sourdough starters?
  • Before the internet and popular fermenting books came out, how did Jane learn the art of fermentation and how did she get started along her path and becoming a collector of fermented starters?
  • Talking about the “culture” in the Fermenters Kitchen Facebook Group and how it is to run a large Facebook group
  • How a successful Facebook group depends on good admins who are passionate about the group and who love fermentation
  • Over Jane’s 30 years, she talks about how fermentation has really started to pick up interest in the country and how her classes now sell out regularly
  • What does a normal day in fermenting look like for Jane?
  • Jane describes rice koji and the process to make it including using a high temperature high humidity, high temperature cabinet called a koji muro, and also the rice drink amazake
  • She goes on to talk about yogurt and how many different yogurt starters (heated and non-heated)
  • I ask Jane whether or not she uses a spreadsheet to keep track of all of her ferments or if it’s more of a way of life
  • Jane describes what a normal day of food is like for her along with several ferments that she likes to include such as yogurt, jam, sauerkraut and sourdough bread
  • She talks about what she likes to include when she’s not quite feeling herself such as things like fire water or miso soup and how many years it’s been since she’s had a cold or the flu
  • The topic of miso comes up and she talks a bit about how long (and short) it can take to make different batches of miso and what short and long miso ferments taste like along with making tempeh from chickpeas instead of soybeans
  • How you don’t realize how many different things are fermented
  • Some of Jane’s interesting ferments including hot sauce and a whole apple ferments that’s turns into an adult ferment because of the alcohol and also her struggle with fish sauce
  • She goes into commercial and wild yeasts and talks about wine, mead, beer, and cider and where she gets her all-time favorite honey to make her meads with
  • Jane starts listing out some of her favorite ferments throughout the year that she makes including hot sauce, chipotle carrots, mead, sauerkraut, kombucha, black bean paste, fermented garlic, milk kefir ice cream, kombucha freezer pops
  • She talks a bit on how long she likes to brew her kombucha and water kefir
  • Jane also talks a bit about what she grows in the small amount of growing space she has and what she uses them for in ferments
  • For new fermenters, Jane has some advice for you to calm your fears on fermentation on some advice on common mistakes you can make
  • Jane talks about explosions she’s had in the kitchen and has advice for being careful with pressurized ferments like kombucha and especially water kefir
  • The magic of fermentation and how it can actually deactivate harmful things that would normally make people sick like when you hear about people getting poisoned from a bag of spinach etc.
  • What Jane would like to ferment in the future and finally tackle (which after 30 years makes you think, what’s left?!?)
  • Jane’s new ideas for events for the Fermenters Kitchen in the St. Louis area including a potluck in April where everyone from the Facebook groups and the website are invited and where they will have demos
  • Members from the Fermenters Kitchen Facebook group sent in their questions (with my extra ones mixed in with italics) including:
    • How many crocks and ferments do you have going right now? (the answer blew my mind!)
    • What size crocks does Jane like and does she prefer crocks versus jars?
    • How did you get started fermenting and what’s your motivation for continuing?
    • What are some innovative uses for cultures like ginger bug, water kefir grains, etc.?
    • Do you have any other passions or hobbies?
    • Do non-fermenters notice an odor in your home and how much space is devoted to fermentation and storing your products?
    • What distance is sufficient for keeping ferments from cross-over?
    • How do you control fruit flies & gnats?
    • Can I reuse my brine for carrots, garlic, jalapenos, and such?
    • Has fermenting changed your health or anyone that you share your ferments with?
    • I think Jane shares the answers of anything she is asked. She is more generous and energetic about mentoring than anyone else I have met in my very fortunate life and career. Ask her where she finds time. She’s a dynamo!
    • What’s the craziest fermenting experience you’ve ever had?
    • Where do you find the most delicious recipes?
    • How do you best prevent dangerous explosions?
    • What are your best tips for fermenting?




I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s show so be sure to comment below or if you have an idea for the show, email me at paul at fermentationpodcast.com or just click on the Contact button on top of this page and fill out the form. I look forward to hearing from you!



    TY for inviting and hosting the show with Jane Campbell. It was terrific!

    1. Paul Bates

      No problem Bev! It was a fun conversation and I’m so happy so many people enjoyed it. I think there’s a ton to be learned from Jane Campbell.

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