Our Healthy Families Network group got together last week and learned a really incredible way to preserve fresh vegetables. My friend, Dorene, not only explained the benefits, but demonstrated the process. It was fun and informative! I obtained her permission to post her information on my blog to help spread the word about this amazing power food. I’m going to split it up into several different posts so I don’t overwhelm you.
Fermented food is rich in microbiodiversity. These practices have been done for hundreds of years all around the world to sustain life before refrigeration. The typical diet is void of digestive enzymes. Lactic acid fermentation refers to pre-digestion of sugars and starches in foods, creating an acid environment which prohibits harmful bacteria and pathogens to live yet retains a healthy alkaline affect on the body. As we age, our body declines in its production of digestive enzymes.
1. Increases bio-availability of vitamins and minerals, and makes vitamins B and C
2. Antioxidant – helps to eliminate free radicals
3. Boosts metabolism with digestive enzymes
4. Contains an anti-bacterial peptide that eliminates disease causing bacteria (E coli and Salmonella)
5. Beneficial to diabetics as it metabolizes sugars and starches, easing the work of the pancreas.
6. Eliminates naturally occurring nitrates and oxalic acids from foods
7. Reintroduces friendly bacteria to the digestive system (lactobacillus, acidophilus) and intestines
8. Lactobacilli create omega 3 fatty acids
9. Beneficial for lactose intolerance and for weak digestive systems (break down lactic acid)
10. Strengthens heart and improves sleep
11. Enzymes encourage acid/alkaline balancing effect on our stomach secretions
It is used as a condiment food or as an ingredient in recipes. You typically would eat a tablespoon or two a day. This stuff is powerful, so you may want to start with 1 tsp a day and work your way up. It can be an acquired taste. The health benefits occur when you eat some every day. You do not want to throw this in a soup or hot dish because if you cook it, you are killing the beneficial enzymes. You can use it as a salad dressing, mix it in with your salad, use as a side dish, add in burritos or tacos, on hamburgers, egg rolls, spread on top of a baked quiche, or just eat as a condiment beside your food.
Dorene encourages us to experiment with our own. She said fermenting batches are always different. So feel free to experiment with different veggies and length of fermentation process. Dorene brought one jar for us to try that was two years old and one that was about 6 weeks old. My husband absolutely loved the two year jar of veggies, but didn’t care for the 6 week jar. I’m thinking of doing some sauerkraut and mixed veggies next year using the fermentation method instead of freezing all the excess veggies that come my way. There is no canning involved if you use this process. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting the process soon (with pictures).
Books of Interest:
“Making Sauerkraut” by Klaus Kaufmann
“Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz