The last few months, I have started reading more about lacto-fermentation as a way of preserving things. I have the canning down (both pressure and boiling) so a new way of preserving sounds like a challenge!
From Nourishing Days –
Before the advent of modern day canning most of our American fore mothers understood the process of lacto-fermentation. They had crocks of real sauerkraut, lacto-fermented cucumber pickles and other treasures such as beets, onions or garlic waiting out the winter in the root cellar. Those countries with histories deeper than our own also traditionally fermented vegetables with simply salt, water and spices – knowing that the lactic acid produced would prevent the putrefication of these precious nutritional storehouses, keeping them fed through winter. Kimchi from Korea and cortido from Latin America are just two of the flavorful and delicious condiments not native to our own country. When we lost touch with this food preservation technique we also lost touch with the unparalleled health benefits that came with them.
The notion of “fermenting” brings a pained look to my face. I’ve definitely bought into the “fermentation=rotten” idea that’s been put into my brain since childhood. Which is ridiculous. The definition of ferment is “A state of agitation or of turbulent change or development.” Not quite as gross.
The hubby and I tasted our first batch of fermented food this weekend after shopping at the co-op. We bought a commercially produced bottle of kombucha.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been made for millenia. It can be used medicinally or just as a beverage. It involves some black tea, sugar, and a culture of yeast and probiotic bacteria. It ferments for 7-10 days and then can be drunk.
It was…interesting. Very vinegar-y – and I’m not sure there’s any vinegar in there. K thought it tasted yeasty. Well, that makes sense. We bought it unflavored, to get a taste of the true flavor, but I think some sort of flavoring would make it taste better to me. K liked it though.
You can’t see it because I shrink my pics for the blog, but there’s lots of probiotics in this! Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to be healthy for the host organism. Thanks to commercials for Activia, we all know how good probiotics are for us. In here we have 1 BILLION organisms each of Lactobacillus and S. Boulardii. Lactobacillus is a symbiotic bacteria that converts sugar to lactic acid and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. S. Boulardii is the yeast that is also a probiotic. Our ancestors knew what was good for us!
Even though I didn’t love this kombucha, I’m not done trying fermentation yet. I’m going to try making sauerkraut (my half-German husband is in love with the stuff) this weekend, if I have time. And I saw a great recipe for fermented ketchup that I’m going to try soon.
Stay tuned… 🙂