Ferment! is an interactive workshop where we can explore the process through science, food and art.

British cuisine is uniquely disengaged with this ancient process but we believe it can be a useful tool in developing a new culture. As a simple method of preserving natural seasonal gluts and creating exciting flavours with local produce, knowing how to ferment can help open new dialogues between growers and consumers, the environment and the seasons. We invite you to study fermentation on its microbial scale, to taste and create your own ferments and explore the sound and art of this wonderful process!

The process of fermentation is driven by microbes and as the foods ferment the microbes change as well. In this residency we will be using new technology to read the DNA of the microbes using a hand-held device. The device uses nanotechnology to read a stretch of DNA as it passes through a nano-sized hole. This way, we can work out which microbes are present in the fermentation process and how the number of microbes changes. Alongside the DNA sequencing we will measure traditional indicators of the fermentation process like gas production and pH. Together these measurements will help show how bacteria are creating our fermented foods.

Kimchi demonstrations

Drop by the Lab in the Core to watch Hoon Kim, a chef of Korean heritage, making kimchi, a Korean fermented vegetable dish, and have a taste! 

Hoon will show you the whole process, from salting the vegetables to seasoning to storing. He’ll introduce you to the hundreds of varieties of kimchi and the different ways they can be cooked. Hoon will be using the traditional napa cabbage (baechu kimchi) as well as a selection of vegetables from our own gardens. 

Come and have a taste of fresh kimchi, fermented soya beans (natto), and citrus kosho dressing (fermented chillies in a soy and sesame dressing).

  • Thu 4 – Fri 5 Oct: 11am – 12pm
  • Sat 6 – Sun 7 Oct: 11am – 12pm; 2pm – 3pm
  • Tue 9 – Fri 12 Oct: 11am – 12pm
  • Sat 13 Oct: 11am – 12pm; 2pm – 3pm

You can also have a chat to microbiologist Sean Meaden and artist Elizabeth Fortnum, who together are working here at Eden for several weeks to bring fermentation to life for the public. Sean is working with new technology to isolate and sequence DNA to get exact data on the microbial populations of our ferment samples. And Elizabeth, a tactile, collage and print illustrator, is responding and interpreting the findings. 

This project is one of several sci-art residencies co-curated by FoAM, which bring different parts of our Invisible World into focus. 

The DNA sequencing aspect of the Ferment! residency is additionally sponsored by Oxford Nanopore Technologies and the Society for Applied Microbiology.

Other art exhibitions and residencies

We are hosting a range of temporary exhibitions and art installations – throughout the year there'll be live events, stories, workshops and sci-art residencies bringing different parts of our Invisible Worlds into focus. Other art residencies include the opportunity for visitors to discover the incredible world of rocks this summer, or to get involved in an experimental sound workshop in September.

See our 'breathing' sculpture

While you're here, come and see our huge ceramic sculpture, rising almost to the roof of the Core building. Known as Infinity Blue, it pays homage to one of the world's smallest but most important organisms: cynobacteria.

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