What Are Fermented Foods
In my opinion Fermented foods are magical foods! Your taking a normal already healthy food like cabbage and turning it into a super food full of beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. In the case of water kefir your adding cultures to sugar (which we all know is NOT a healthy ingredient) and turning it into a healthy non-sugary probiotic-rich drink that actually reduces sugar cravings and improves digestion. It really is food alchemy!
Basically, fermented foods have been through a process, where given the right conditions, good bacteria and yeasts multiply by feeding on the starches and sugars in the food creating either lactic acid or alcohol. Historically, this process was used to preserve the food (sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, cheese,) or even change it’s flavour (coffee, tea, chocolate, wine). But not all fermented foods are created equal and for our purposes we are interested in the ones that produce the most beneficial probiotics (good bacteria and yeasts).
The fermentation process probably first happened by accident and then through generations of culture and tradition, new methods were found and used and the benefits were recorded and passed down. Every culture in the world has some traditional form of fermented food. Sadly many of these traditions have been lost due to modern preservation techniques that often kill a lot of the good stuff in food.
Arguably one of the biggest revivalists of fermented foods is the author of ‘Wild Fermentation’ Sandor Ellix Katz. Katz (AKA Sandor Kraut). In the introduction to his book, he writes:
Wild fermentation is a way of incorporating the wild into your body, becoming one with the natural world. Wild foods, microbial cultures included, possess a great, unmediated life force, which can help us adapt to shifting conditions and lower our susceptibility to disease. These microorganisms are everywhere, and the techniques for fermenting with them are simple and flexible.Wild fermentation involves creating conditions in which naturally occurring organisms thrive and proliferate. Fermentation can be low-tech. These are ancient rituals that humans have been performing for many generations. They are a powerful connection to the magic of the natural world, and to our ancestors, whose clever observations enable us to enjoy the benefits of these transformations.
Throughout this site I will explore different fermentation methods to produce delicious probiotic rich foods. My personal favorites are Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Water Kefir, Milk Kefir, and Kombucha. They all come with unique health benefits that I will discuss.