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What Are Fermented Foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics.

Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form. This, along with the bevy of probiotics created during the fermentation process could explain the link between consumption of fermented foods and improved digestion.

Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for years, from Sauerkraut in Germany to Kimichi in Korea and everywhere in between. Studies have even shown the link between probiotic rich foods and overall health (PDF).Sadly, with the advances in technology and food preparation, these time-honored traditional foods have been largely lost in our society.

Where Have All the Fermented Foods Gone?

The amount of probiotics and enzymes available in the average diet has declined sharply over the last few decades as pasteurized milk has replaced raw, pasteurized yogurt has replaced homemade, vinegar based picked and sauerkraut have replaced traditional lacto-fermented versions…the list goes on.

Even the much dreaded grains were safer to eat in earlier times since their preparation included soaking, sprouting and fermenting, which largely reduces the anti-nutrient content and makes them less harmful (I still didn’t say good!)

Instead of the nutrient rich foods full of enzymes and probiotics that our grandparents probably ate, the average diet today consists mainly of sugar laden, lab created dead foods.

Why Eat Fermented Foods?

Besides the fact that they taste great and really grow on you, there are several great reasons to start making and eating fermented foods:

  1. Probiotics– Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion and improve immunity!
  2. Absorb Food Better– Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pair this with your healthy real food diet, and you will absorb many more nutrients from the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods.
  3. Budget Friendly– Incorporating healthy foods into your diet can get expensive, but not so with fermented foods. You can make your own whey at home for a couple of dollars, and using that and sea salt, ferment many foods very inexpensively. Drinks like Water Kefir and Kombucha can be made at home also and cost only pennies per serving. Adding these things to your diet can also cut down on the number of supplements you need, helping the budget further.
  4. Preserves Food Easily– Homemade salsa only lasts a few days in the fridge- Fermented homemade salsa lasts months! The same goes for sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other garden foods. Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients like you would with traditional canning.

source: http://wellnessmama.com/2245/health-benefits-of-fermented-foods/

Fermenting Vegetables with Sandor Katz

For more information visit ~  WildFermentation.com

How To Make Fermented Veggies

Dr. Mercola Interviews Caroline Barringer

Learn more @ The Incredible Health Benefits to You of Traditionally Fermented Foods

Ferments & Cultured Food

Fermented and cultured foods are rich in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals.   Plus they’re exceptionally easy to prepare. Learn more about the benefits of fermented food and lactic acid fermentation or check out this post about dairy-free probiotics.   I use a vegetable fermenter for my probiotic foods as fermentation is much more reliable and less likely to become contaminated, you can buy these kitchen gadgets online (see sources).   For more great probiotic recipes, check out my e-book: Get Cultured!

ferments & cultured foods

Fermented Hot Chili Saucefermented hot chili sauce

Seasoned with fresh garlic this fermented hot chili sauce is rich with flavor, bright and fiery.  Use it in strict moderation to add flavor and heat to your meals.  You’ll notice that the flavor of this sauce is more uniquely complex than vinegary sauces you can purchase at the grocery store.

Fermented Garlic Scapesfermented garlic scapes


Choose just the tenderest and youngest flowers for these pickled garlic scapes, leaving the scape’s woody stem for use in a naturally probiotic, fermented relish or to use fresh.  These pickled scapes are strongly flavored and deeply robust with garlic flavor.  You can always add spices to the mixture as well, dill and bay do nicely, but garlic lovers will revel in the simple combination of scape, salt and starter.

raw milk yogurtraw milk yogurt

Raw milk yogurt is deeply nutritious and deeply satisfying, combining the wholesome nutrients found in fresh milk from grass-fed animals such as conjugated linoleic acid and fat soluble vitamins with the benefits of friendly bacteria and food enzymes.  It is a fresh and simple luxury.

corned beefhome-cured corned beef

Prepared without nitrate or nitrate salts, this recipe for home-cured beef is quite simple to prepare, requiring little preparation – just good, wholesome ingredients.

prepared horseradishhomemade horseradish

A homemade horseradish recipe produced through the time-honored technique of fermentation.

probiotic apple and beetroot relishprobiotic apple & beetroot relish

Seasoned with cloves and star anise, probiotic apple and beetroot relish is a naturally fermented vegetable sidedish that combines fresh apples and beetroot.

milk kefir

A complete ecosystem in and of itself, milk kefir is a nutrient-dense food – rich in beneficial bacteria and B vitamins including folate.

sour pickles

Naturally fermented and richly flavored with pickling spices, garlic and dill, this sour pickles are a delicious summertime treat.

moroccan preserved lemons

Savory, salty and just a bit tangy, these preserved lemons are a Moroccan specialty and are super-rich in vitamin C and probiotics.   You can even eat the rind!

real sauerkraut

Cabbage and unrefined sea salt is all you need to prepare this traditional, naturally fermented real sauerkraut.   Sauerkraut is rich in probiotics and a great source of isothiocyanate which is thought to prevent cancer.

homemade yogurt

Learn the differences between mesophilic and thermophilic homemade yogurts in this easy-to-prepare homemade yogurt recipe.

pickled jalapeños

Explosively hot, and fantastic in Latin American dishes, these pickled jalapeños are naturally fermented through lactic acid fermentation.

labneh

Yogurt cheese or labneh, is an easy to prepare probiotic food featuring strained yogurt.   Store it in seasoned olive oil.

water kefir

Water kefir is a wonderful dairy-free probiotic, rich in beneficial bacteria and great for improving gut flora and digestive health.

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