Most people eat fermented food without knowing it – sauerkraut, yoghurt, and wine for instance. However, there are health benefits to fermented foods that you may not be aware of, and the fermentation process is easy for anyone to learn.
Fermented foods contain live cultures known as ‘probiotics’ or ‘flora’. These live cultures create a healthy environment in the gut and help maintain the balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria to keep digestive problems away.
If you are not getting sufficient probiotics through your food or by supplements, it is more likely that you will experience bouts of indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation due to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Fermented foods, also known as ‘ferments’ can help with this.
Fermenting is similar to canning in the sense that you will be storing food in jars, but that’s where the similarities end. Unlike canning, fermenting aims to grow bacteria because these organisms enhance the nutritional value of the food.
For equipment, you will need containers for your vegetables, a cutting board, knife, salt, and whatever spices you prefer. Don’t use plastic containers because they can leech chemicals.
If you’re new to fermenting, consider buying a book or two that talks about technique and has recipes. Since it is so simple to prepare fermented foods, you don’t need to worry about having too many ingredients on hand.
When working from a recipe, make sure that you have the necessary spices available that the recipe calls for. The basic ingredients for fermented foods are the vegetables that you will be fermenting, a few spices, salt, and water.
These ingredients are added together and stored at room temperature away from sunlight to allow the healthy bacteria to form. Be sure that all of the vegetables are completely submerged in the liquid or mold will grow on anything sticking out of the fluid.
Don’t make the mistake of buying fermented foods in a can at the grocery store because the sterilization, canning, and pasteurization processes have killed the live cultures. Instead, make your own fermented foods at home, and you will have peace of mind knowing that the live cultures are present.
If you take a little bit of time to research, you can quickly master the art of fermenting your own foods and take advantage of its health benefits. There are numerous benefits to eating ferments, and it‘s easy and beneficial to ferment them at home. Instead of shopping at the grocery store for canned vegetables, ferment you own and enjoy the health benefits of live cultures.
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