Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Part 1: Fermenting Vegetables - Health Benefits




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.
Why Ferment?
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.
Claimed Benefits:
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
Eating:
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

10 comments:

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Is it sour? I' m not into sour food.

alexis said...

I have a good recipe for fermented green bean pickles that are great tossed in a 3-bean salad. Your group sounds interesting--I'd like to know more about that.

Cat said...

I read your blog with great interest, but I ain't makin' sour stuff! I know its benefits, I'm just don't do sour. AND! I DO look forward to the future blogs you'll do on this topic.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Stacie and Cat,

Yes, it's sour! I'm not a big sour fan either but my Michael loved it. I'm hoping I'll be able to acquire a taste for it. It just sounds so healthy!

Alexis,
Our group is very simple. We are just a bunch of women who meet once a month and learn about some new healthy topic. We've done everything from various healthy eating topics to making homemade cleaners and lotions. We always have such a good time. I wish you lived around here and could join us!

Rachel and Family said...

Will I get drunk?? If I mess up will I get poisoned?? (I just took some classes on canning and am more scared than ready to try at this point.)
Sounds very interesting! I love reading about this kind of stuff! Keep posting!
I like sauerkraut does that have the same benefit?
I just learned about apple-kraut the other day too. Know anything about that?

Marie said...

That is very interesting!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Rachel,
No, you won't get drunk on this and due to the process of natural fermentation, it kills all the bad bacteria. This is really healthy stuff. Dorene has been eating it for years and it has made a difference in her health. I'll try to post more on the process tomorrow.

Marie,
Thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked my whole wheat tortilla recipe.

God Bless, Jackie

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Rachel,
Yes, you can use the same fermentation process to make sauerkraut. Yes, I've heard of apple kraut, it is a German favorite. I'd really like to try it. It might mellow out the sour.

Camille said...

Very interesting! So much to learn in this healthy eating world hey?? :) I am just getting used to soaking grains...maybe I'll try this when I have garden produce (hopefully next year). Thanks for taking the time to educate us!
Blessings,
Camille

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I got this question from Facebook from a friend of mine and I thought I would answer it here. C asks: "I have "Wild Fermentation" & have used it a little bit so far. Please ask Dorene if it's ok to mix batches of fermented veggies into a larger container. I started fermenting some veggies this summer, a batch a week, & have differing amounts. They would take up less space in a few larger containers."

I emailed Dorene and this was her reply, "HI, yes, that is fine, just make sure you pack it all well up to the top so there is little air space with the cabbage leaves at the top and liquid."

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