Fermentation Is Time Well Spent: An Introduction

Used for thousands of years as a means of preserving food, fermentation remains a relevant method to give your health a hefty jumpstart…

At first glance — or smell — fermented foods may not be the most enticing. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha… Though becoming more mainstream, this food group could potentially require a little coaxing for the taking. But, when that coaxing comes in the form of many important wellness benefits, judgement is often cast aside quickly. Here’s a list of some of the biggest reasons why you should consider fermenting:

Restores good bacteria. 

Fermented foods are notorious for their potential in replenishing your gut flora, which results in better overall intestinal health. Added bonus: a stronger digestive tract equals a stronger immune system, WHICH could result in less money being spent on nutritional supplements!

Increases nutrient bioavailability. 

In other words, fermented foods allow your body to better digest, absorb and metabolize those vitamins and minerals contained within it.

Aids in breaking down hard-to-digest foods. 

For some of us, cabbage, beans and milk products are a big no-no, as they can produce some unpleasant side effects. The bacteria created during the fermentation process actually breaks down the sugars, carbs and other components that make those foods seemingly undigestible.

 

To ferment at home, you’ll need only a few key materials. One of the most important for you to consider is the fermentation vessel. For many of us, a tried-and-true Mason jar can and will suffice. However, ceramic or porcelain crocks — for only a few dollars more — may produce a more consistently reliable finished product. Our fermentation consultant, local chef Greg Glowatz, prefers German style crocks with weights for sauerkraut, as they block light, which enables your crock to remain sitting out on a countertop. This style of crock also has a water seal into which you simply pour water and top up every few days. It keeps oxygen out while allowing fermentation gases to be released.

“You will hear your vessel bubbling

in the early stages of fermentation,

which is quite exciting!”

We advise you to refrain from using plastic containers, as they may potentially harbor unwanted bacteria in their surface as well as leach chemicals into your food batches.

In addition, a good knife, cutting board, large mixing bowl, 5Kg digital scale and wooden pounding tool are recommended for prepping your ingredients. Which brings us to…ingredients! Whenever possible, local, seasonal and/or organic is best. Tomorrow, Greg will be bringing you the first of two fermentation recipes — Turmeric Ginger Apple Veggie Kraut!

 

Photos by Mike Persico. More here.

 

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I personally love fermented food – especially kimchi, I’m addicted! I’ve never tried fermenting my own kimchi though, but it sounds so interesting! Thank you for the post!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
http://charmainenyw.com

Maria

Check out the work of Miki Palchik of Clay Kitchen Studio! She’s a local Philly artist and makes beautiful ceramic fermentation crocks!