Using Fermented Foods

Using Fermented Foods

The health benefits of eating fermented foods goes beyond just being healthy. These foods are powerful roadways to overcoming indigestion and improved health. They’re also inexpensive to make.

Inexpensive and Very Healthy

Canning foods is an excellent way to preserve a summer’s harvest, but it certainly isn’t the only way. It’s very inexpensive to divide food preservation into canning and fermentation. Using two methods gives you better health options for preserving your harvest.

Nutrients for Better Health

Fermentation was the common way to preserve foods before canning was invented. Canned foods lack a few of the beneficial ingredients created in fermented foods. These include, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and enzymes that are vital to a healthy body. Canned foods also don’t contain the bacterial strains found in probiotics.

Good Bacteria for Gut Health

Plain yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir contain valuable healthy probiotics. These fermented foods are rich in live bacteria that are good for the human gut. This process is known as Lacto Fermentation. It transforms foods by allowing these natural bacteria to feed on the natural sugars and starches in vegetables. You can ferment any vegetables. Two very popular ones are the Korean kimchi and the German sauerkraut. 

Kimchi

This Korean side dish is easy to make. It takes Napa cabbage, some radishes and various seasoning, such as garlic, ginger, chili powder and scallion. Other vegetables can be added and even salted seafood, such as oysters, clams, shrimp and various fish.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is often used as a relish for hotdogs as well as a side dish. Pairing fermented foods with other foods can enhance the taste and create a memorable meal.  Never heat or cook sauerkraut. This will destroy the good bacteria and health reasons for eating fermented foods.

Introducing Fermented Foods

If you’ve never tried any of these fermented foods, there are plenty of commercial products you can try before setting out to prepare your own. Read the labels and be sure you know what the ingredients. Organic is always my first choice.

Fermented Foods with Meals

Using fermented foods with meals is easy, but fermented foods can be an acquired taste. These foods are stronger tasting than the ones most people eat on a daily basis. If you aren’t experienced in eating fermented foods, start out slowly and start in small portions. Most fermented foods add a nice depth to many meals.

Fermented Condiments

Fermented foods aren’t just possible for cabbages and vegetables. Condiments, such as ketchup, horseradish, mayonnaise, tartar sauce and mustard are just a few of the everyday condiments that can also be enjoyed and used for health benefits when fermented.

Make Your Own

Taste test different fermented foods. Once you know which ones you like, you can create your own. Reserve a portion of your garden harvest for this type of processing.

Freeze-Dried Lactic Bacteria

One of the best and easiest ways to start fermenting vegetables is to use a starter. This is similar to how you would create sour dough bread. You can purchase freeze-dried lactic bacteria from a supplier, such as Homesteader’s Supply.

The freeze-dried lactic bacteria are the same used in making cheeses. The website reminds that the flavor comes from the ingredients you add. It only takes a small amount of the culture to begin the fermenting process. Depending on how tangy you want your food to taste, you can always add more of the culture. 

Fermented Foods for Health

Adding fermented foods to your diet is one of the best ways to improve your health. When you ferment your own foods, you save money. More importantly, you control what is in your food to ensure you and your family are getting only the best nutrients.

Photos: julesccbarrStephen G Pearson and Craig Nagy

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AuthorSally Painter

"Everyone can have a beautiful home decor. It just takes a little creativity," says author and freelance writer Sally Painter. This former commercial and residential designer is also a Feng Shui practitioner and believes that, "Everything you choose to put in your home should resonate with you emotionally. If it doesn't - get rid of it!"