Fermented foods don’t scare people. As much.

Kimchee.Kimchi.Photo: Julia FrostOn my watch, DIY food preservation has been making its way back into the American kitchen for around half a decade now. And while homemade jam and tomato sauce are easy for most people to love, fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are a much harder sell. But here in the Bay Area that appears to be changing rapidly. For one, it seems like a new brand of sauerkraut or kombucha pops up monthly, and one could probably find a fermentation class or workshop to attend nearly weekly (there’s one with fermentation demigod Sandor Katz, aka Sandorkraut, in March, that is probably already close to selling out). Don’t believe me? Well, let’s just say I was just invited to my first holiday kimchi-making party (guests were asked to bring cutting board, a big knife, and a mason jar). Would that have happened even two years ago? Unlikely.

Up later this week: a list of the year’s top stories in food politics.