"Hi, my name is Stephanie and I have a problem. I'm addicted to fermenting, culturing and soaking foods and they're taking over my kitchen! Help!"
Having a lot of cultured, soaked, sprouted and lacto-fermented foods around is a wonderful problem to have since these are incredibly nutritious and beneficial to consume. Sometimes, though, it can get a little bit challenging to find a place for everything that I want to store in my kitchen.
Two things to consider when deciding what to do with all of the various things that you've got fermenting/culturing are:
1) Keeping those items with live bacterial cultures a little distance away from each other. I've read that the different bacteria cultures can actually begin to intermingle and over time, weaken, when they are allowed to sit close to one another.
2) These foods do best in a slightly warmer part of your kitchen. If you're anything like me, it doesn't take long before all of the best counter real-estate has already been accounted for and then it's time to get more creative.
This is the most common place where you'll find things "growing" in my kitchen. It's just to the right of my stove (so it's on the warmer side), and it's a corner area under some cabinets. It's not the most ideal space for doing cooking prep, so I have declared it to be my fermenting corner.
In this picture you can see some kefir with a cloth over the jar, and to the right of it, a lidded jar of creme fraiche. I allowed these to be beside each other because the creme fraiche works great with a lid on, and I am assuming that this helps to prevent the mixing of bacterial cultures. In case you're wondering, the other two containers have butter and coconut oil in them.
This is also the corner I like to use for soaking grains, nuts and seeds, etc. This was taken the night before a baking day, so one bowl has oats soaking for making soaked granola. Another bowl has oats soaking for granola bars, and a third has the nuts/seeds for those same granola bars. The large brown crock on the left hand side holds my sourdough starter. Sometimes I keep it down in the corner, but other times it starts to get too crowded down there so...
I move it up to the top of my fridge (another warm and out-of-the-way spot), to keep my chicken company. My husband and I have an ongoing argument about this little hen. I think it's adorable, and he thinks it is downright ugly. Fortunately, the kitchen is my domain so this is one area where I get to have the final say in home decor. And no, baby Jesus (to the right of the hen) is not a regular part of my kitchen decor, except when we're trying to locate all of the missing pieces of our children's nativity set and he needs a safe place to stay, far from the reach of chubby toddler hands.
Yet another spot where you might just find something fermenting away in my kitchen. Here's a jar of lacto-fermented salsa up by my toaster oven. This is supposed to be a microwave nook, but we tossed our microwave many years ago. I do make sure to temporarily move my jars away from the heat while the toaster oven is on, then put them back up when I'm finished. This is where you would most likely find me making pickles, berry syrups, sauerkraut, or that sort of thing.
I mentioned yesterday that I like to mark the top of my plastic mason jar lids with wipe-able markers. This salsa was made on a Wednesday, and so I wrote "Friday fridge" to remind me when to put it in the fridge. This simple little reminder system is a life-saver for me some days, when I can barely remember what my own name is!
When I make kombucha, it has it's own special place in my pantry cupboard. Kombucha takes longer than most ferments (anywhere from a week up to a month, depending on how warm my kitchen is). Normally I am too out-of-sight, out-of-mind to be able to store my ferments in a cupboard, but this one is a special case. I do remember reading about how Laura at Heavenly Homemakers stores her culturing buttermilk up in a high cupboard (like the one above the stove), and if you're the sort of person who will remember that you put it there there then it just might be a great way to get some of these jars up and out of your way.
Everyone's kitchen is so different, and so are the ways that we women like to function in our own kitchens. The point of this was just to give you some ideas of what one woman does, and hopefully to help you get creative as you figure out how to make all these fantastic real foods work in your own kitchen!