I know, I know, the title probably sounds a little scary and off putting, but it really isn’t as awful as it may sound. I have been reading a lot recently about fermented foods and the health benefits they can bring and have been experimenting with coleslaw, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. Coincidently in my quest for further knowledge, a great local business, Barra Organics and the most amazing crazy French lady, began running workshops on how to start fermenting foods and after attending a few of them, I am now hooked. I am nowhere near an expert, but just want to highlight it isn’t as scary to start as it seems!
My kitchen and pantry is beginning to resemble a fermented and pickling foods production line and I think I am single-handedly keeping a “well know brand” of jars and pop top bottles in business.
Anyway, back to fermented foods. Why?
In simplistic terms they are a mass of live probiotics- “good bacteria” which helps balance all the other bacteria in our digestive systems. They can also help ward off infections, increase our energy and vitality and help our gut, which in an era of many bowel conditions, diseases and gut disharmony, can only be a good thing. All those little probiotic guys in there sprinkling their glittery gut goodness around.
Fermented foods go through a process of natural lacto-fermentation. The brine you create kills off the harmful bacteria and essentially creates an environment that allows all of the good, gut friendly bacteria to develop.
Over the counter probiotic food stuffs and drinks don’t have anywhere near the same level of probiotics as they are pasteurised, effectively killing off the “active” probiotic.
Natural fermentation preserves more of the nutrients in food and breaks them down in such a way that they are easier on our system to digest, meaning we can absorb more of the good stuff! Fermenting certain foods can also increase iron content and absorption and a bundle load of B vitamins including B12, which is essential in a vegan diet.
What is super important, is not the amount of probiotics we have in our gut, but the varying different types we have, which is where introducing different fermented foods into your diet helps build up a robust good bacteria colony.
If you want to give it a try and introduce some fermentation into your diet, stay tuned, as I will be posting some recipes for kimchi and coleslaw over the next few posts.