I am having so much fun learning how to preserve food. Canning food just seriously makes my heart smile and now I am learning the world of fermentation and I gotta say, I’m a diggin’. So my husband introduced me to the world of fermentation a while back. I was not so sure about the whole processed. What would it taste like? Sauerkraut? Um no thank you. Then I learned what eating fermented foods actually do for your gut.
I have so many issues with my stomach. I have acid reflux, (or had?! Who knows) I was constantly fighting my gut, I have severe allergies and really the list can go on. My dear sweet husband is constantly trying to find anything and everything that will make me feel better. He also wants to better our life by trying new things. I am or was, someone who never tried new things. My life consisted of bean and cheese burritos, grilled cheese and being a “vegetarian.” I put those in quotes because let’s be honest I just ate bean and cheese burritos all the time. I never went to the doctors to get anything fixed or checked out. And let me tell ya, the list was long. Then entered my husband, someone who thrives off of trying new foods and things. Well, in 9 years I must say, I have traveled a path of new things. Now I am not saying I’ll go sky diving or anything but sauerkraut, sure I’ll give it a try. So anyway, back to fermented foods, it’s all about how we have stripped our guts from the good bacteria that is needed in order to fight off all the bad bacteria and negativity that can live in the body. Fermented foods have strains of probiotics that give your body back good bacteria, leading to a much happier tummy and overall being. Shall we dive into the nitty gritty of fermentation.
What in the world does fermented mean?
“Fermentation in food processing is the process of converting carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms—yeasts or bacteria—under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desired.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermentation_in_food_processing
Fermented foods are processed through lacto-fermentation, which means that good bacteria, like lactic acid bacteria, lactobacillus, and bifidobacterium will grow. These bacterias not only grow but thrive because of its anaerobic environment. An anaerobic environment is an environment which lacks oxygen. Since bad bacterias tend to need oxygen to grow, your food will not spoil using this method of preserving food.
How are fermented foods made?
Well it depends, foods like vegetables are made with salt. Salt draws out the moisture from the food. That moisture turns into liquid which then creates that anaerobic environment we just talked about. For example, let’s take some cabbage, you shred that bad boy real thin, put it in a bowl, add some salt and start massaging the cabbage. In a couple of minutes you will notice liquid at the bottoms of your bowl. After you do this so long more liquid comes out and eventually covers the cabbage. That cabbage, being submerged under the liquid begins to ferment creating all those yummy good for you bacteria.
You also have kefir which is fermented milk or water, that is made with a SCOBY, Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. Kombuch is made with a SCOBY as well it just looks different from the one you make kefir with. All this yummyness takes about two to four weeks for it to reach it’s deliciousness. So patience is challenged but that’s good since we live in a time of instant gratification.
Why in the hell do you want to eat fermented foods?
You want to incorporate these foods for so many reasons. Have you noticed that you always feel bloated after eating. Or that your energy level is always crap. That you can not eat certain foods or your stomach is always upset after eating. You have diarrhea more then you probably should. You have bad allergies. I mean the list can go on. What ever you are feeling, about 90% or more of the time it’s stemmed from your gut. Your gut is your main source to good health. I couldn’t believe it when I started learning about this. I mean how can your gut control your allergies, right? Well the microflora in your gut helps support your immune system, controls unwanted bacteria to grow and helps your body to absorb important vitamins and nutrients from the foods you eat. Which is why eating pure wholesome food is so important. Cutting out processed foods and incorporating more fermented foods like kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut could help reduce that bad bacteria from growing. Incorporating fermented foods or probiotics has been known to help reduce the risks of cancer, eliminate e.coli from the intestinal track and help with chronic mental health conditions.
Fermented foods have been around for centuries but as modern times have taken over, we have lost touch with what’s important and that’s food. Something I am learning still. Food is a direct link to our health and well being. Choosing mindful foods to put in our bodies can only be a good thing right. We live in a society that is filled with instant gratification, why in the world would we wait two to four weeks for some food to be done? Because it will change your world for the better.
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