What are fermented, cultured & lacto-fermented foods?
Several things may come to mind when thinking about the word fermentation. The first thing that most people think of is beer, wine, and cider, and they should! There are two main types of fermentation processes: Ethanol (alcoholic) and Lactic acid. To culture or ferment, is to break down a complicated substance into simpler parts, usually with the help of bacteria, yeasts, or fungi. The words ferment and culture are basically the same, just different verb-age.
Lacto-fermentation uses lactobacillus bacteria to convert sugars into lactic acid, not alcohol (like beer, wine & cider). Lactic acid is a natural preservative, maintaining the color, flavor, texture and nutritional values of fermented foods. Vegetables, dairy, and even bread doughs are preserved through the process of fermentation in addition to the widely enjoyed beers, wines, & ciders.
What are the health benefits of ferments?
Fermented foods are loaded with probiotics. Probiotics are the living bacteria and yeasts that are considered good for you. These beneficial bacteria aid in your overall health. These "friendly" bacterias, aid the gut microbiome and digestive system and enhance the immune system.
Why should I make ferments myself?
There are several reasons why I think you should make ferments yourself...
#1 I think that fresher is better. Buying ferments that have been sitting, processed, and then shipped are not as fresh as what you can easily make at home with LOCAL ingredients.
#2 I have saved a lot of mula $, a.k.a. money, enjoying my homemade ferments. Save your pennies where you can and support your local farmers.
#3 Fermenting foods is not as hard as you think it is! Fermentation is an ancient art and tradition that should not be intimidating. Once you try it, you'll see what I mean. I also think it is pretty darn exciting to continue and pass on tradition, especially when they are so healthy.
#4 I learn a lot when I make my own food. I appreciate and value my creations more when I have made the preparations. Its good for your soul.
#5 Fermenting foods is a wonderful way to preserve your gardens bounty. And on the flip side, ferments are a great backup when there are no fresh veggies in the fridge or when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.
#6 Ferments are delicious. Period. Add a healthy flavorful pop to your food. Your mouth and your gut will thank you.
#7 Help eliminate waste. Help save our planet. We should all do our part. I love you Mother Earth.