Monday, January 28, 2013

Why food fermentation?


Why fermented foods?
Probiotics, that’s why!
For the entire history of man, people have been fermenting foods, whether intentionally or not.  Before refrigeration, it was often a matter of survival.  Most fresh foods won’t keep long.  Imagine your life without fridge or freezer…  Winters like this would be hard.  Sure, things would stay cold out there right now (as I write this, there’s a state of emergency in TN for all the ice!) but what about tomorrow, when it gets above freezing.  Well, there goes dinner…
Now, pretty much everyone in the US has a fridge or freezer, and many people have multiples of each.  But we still see fermented products for sale at every grocery store.  They are delicious and nutritious.
We’ve all heard of the benefits of taking probiotics, especially when we take antibiotics.  We have to replenish the “good bacteria” in the gut.  It’s part of our immune system, and helps us to digest.  But the easiest, cheapest, and yummiest probiotics don’t come from a pill.  They come in the form of fermented foods.  One of the most amazing probiotics is called Lactobacilli, and it happily grows on any kitchen counter, or in the back corner of any basement.  You just have to set up the correct conditions.
I talked about home fermentation in another post, but if you want to make your belly happy without getting into your own chemistry experiments, look for these foods at the grocery store:
Yogurt (look for live-cultures)
Sauerkraut (check the label)
Some home-canned pickles, chutneys, and fermented relishes can be found at the farmers’ markets, too.

Get your gut happy again with fermented foods!

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