Fermenting Foods: how I’ve come to embrace the lactic bacteria
Okay, or I’m working on it. A few girlfriends who are experts in the field of fermentation gave a presentation to a larger group that I hosted the other weekend. I was a mere bystander (taster?) of the goodness and have vowed now to eat only things that are fermented. I jest. Well, actually, one of the presenters does practically this and I swear she & her kids are so super healthy! Moral is: get over your fear of bacteria and get on the fermenting bandwagon.
Molly laughed at me when I said what I was hosting, You, Nell? You hate sauerkraut and the like. Her hurled accusations are true! But, in my defense, I did learn to love kombucha tea in law school under the tutelage of dear Ukrainian family friends. So I was half way there years ago.
The ladies focused their presentation on the history, science, & whys, and then demonstrated a little for us. Everyone walked away with their own fermenting jar of green beans, and a full belly of flavor filled kimchi. If you want to start checking all this out, go to the bible of it: Nourishing Traditions. My BFF Sarah gave it to me years ago and after paging through and earnestly deciding to cook liver constantly, I gave up years back. Sarah, I’m trying again!
Sprouting your grains, fermenting your veggies, all of these are excellent for your health and how we used to eat for centuries. This isn’t a fad diet. This is traditional cooking techniques. This is different than canning, or pickling in that you’re actually encouraging the enzymes to grow over time.
Here are a few reasons the ladies gave as to why to eat fermented foods:
1) They improve digestion because they increase the vitamin & enzyme levels of the food that you’ve just fermented, creating a healthier version of your food and helping absorb nutrients from that food.
2) Fermented foods restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut–think of lactose intolerance, IBS, yeast infections, allergies, etc. Think of feeding your body little warriors to deal with the other food you eat.
3) Preserve & save! Fermenting your food makes it last longer and it’s very inexpensive.
And, if you can acquire the taste, which I strongly believe is an acquired taste, you’ll fall in love with all the jam-packed flavor. Remember the first time you ate a fresh strawberry right out of the patch? It tasted nothing like the bought-in-bulk-in-Minnesota-January-from-somewhere-way-warmer. Fermenting pumps up the flavor. Be brave. You can harvest the wild bacteria in your house & eat it. And be healthier for it!
Check out this website for recipes: Cultures For Health. And let me know what you make!