Community Interest

A Celebration of Fermentation

St. Charles City-County Library

Have you ever gotten to know someone who has a really interesting hobby? Maybe your uncle dabbles in taxidermy, or your grandma’s friend carves butter sculptures. Or maybe your unassuming neighbor with the standard front yard has a backyard that looks like something right out of Wonderland! It’s always delightful to discover something new about someone, and even better to hear stories and secrets from an insider about a world you probably never would have encountered on your own.

It’s probably been awhile since you’ve had the chance to talk to someone new. Or maybe you’ve never had a fascinating conversation with an enthusiast. Either way, why not consider the Library to be your curious uncle or creative neighbor? You never know what kinds of interesting things you’ll learn when you get to know it.

Case in point: the Collection Spotlight. Each month our Collection Development team decides on a special topic and showcases some of the resources the Library has available about that topic. In the past, our Collection Spotlight has highlighted topics like “Starting a Business”, “the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day”, and “Pandemics” (strangely prophetic). The Collection Spotlight is always worth your time, but this month it’s got an interesting twist. This month, it’s all about…Fermentation.

fer·men·ta·tion (fərmənˈtāSH(ə)n) - noun: the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat. 

Fermentation is the science word that describes the process used to make sour foods like pickles and yogurt, as well as produce alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer. Curious? We knew it! Whether you want the history of fermentation, the health benefits of preserving through fermentation, or tips for fermenting at home, the Library is here to help. We’re sharing recipes for krauts, pickles, kimchi, fermented vegetables, hot sauces, fruits, jams, kombucha, hard ciders, beer, and more. (Yes, more!) 

Here is a selection of some of what the Library has to offer about fermentation: 

  •  The Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting: Crafting Live-Cultured Foods and Drinks with 100 Recipes from Kimchi to Kombucha by Kathryn Lukas & Shane Peterson; photographs by Eric Wolfinger.

 •  “5 Steps to Successful Fermentation” by Lisa Turner, Better Nutrition Magazine

 •   “Salt-Rising Bread” by Michelle Branco, Natural Life Magazine

 •   The Fermented Man: a Year on the Front Lines of a Food Revolution by Derek Dellinger.

 •   New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads with Recipes for Birote, Bagels, Pan de Coco, Beignets, and More by Bryan Ford, founder of

 •  “Beer, Mead, and the Fun of Fermentation”, Episode 16 of Food, Science, and the Human Body (available for streaming on Kanopy)

Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to meet a lot of new people with interesting hobbies, but the Library is always available. Whether you’re looking for the latest romance novel or a comprehensive guide to fermentation, we’ve got what you need! Get the details about this month’s Collection Spotlight at The topic changes monthly, so you’ll want to visit often for great information about - all kinds of things! It’s kind of like having a curious uncle… 

All Library facilities are open to the public for limited hours and offer curbside/drive-up services (except the Kathryn Linnemann Branch). Room reservations, passport services, and in-person classes & events are temporarily cancelled, but virtual programming is happening now. Get the details here: