Fermentation is the ultimate form of slow cooking. In our high speed culture it’s hard to devote time and energy to something that can take weeks or even months to complete. Yet, fermented foods are becoming more popular. Here are the top FIVE benefits of fermented foods and beverages.
1. Amazing flavour
It’s this amazing flavour that makes fermented foods and beverages an essential part of most cuisines. Here are a few examples of fermented foods that really add flavour a meal:
2. Food preservation
Before there was refrigeration, people cultured food to prevent it from going off. Fermentation is still a low cost way to preserve seasonal foods, especially if you are lucky enough to have a cold room. Even without cool storage, making pickles, sauerkraut and hot sauce is a great way to preserve your garden vegetables.
Fermenting milk is handy when you don’t have access to refrigeration, like when you’re traveling or camping. That’s why I always travel with milk kefir grains.
3. Improved digestion
Fermenting foods can help those with food sensitivities. For example, people with lactose intolerance are more likely to be able to tolerate fermented dairy products. The longer the dairy is fermented, the less lactose it has, so well-fermented yogurt and kefir are a delicious source of calcium.
Grains also benefit from fermentation. A lot of people feel bloated and full after eating bread, pasta and other grain-heavy foods. Pre-fermenting grains breaks down a lot of the complex carbs and starches making them easier to digest. So, if grains leave you feeling heavy, try prefermenting with sourdough or buttermilk.
4. Slow Satisfaction
Our lives are full of text, emails, work, fun and chores. We are living in a time of Everythingism, which leaves us with very little time for actual relaxation.
Fermentation is a slow process that forces us to take a break from our fast-paced lives. Catching a sourdough culture. Watching wine bubble. It’s part of the daily rhythms of culturing food. While the individual tasks don’t take much time, they do provide a long-term enjoyment.
Trust me. Opening your first jar of homemade sauerkraut is so much more satisfying then simply dashing off to the store to buy some.
Probiotics is one of the main benefits of fermented foods and beverages. Good gut health and a strong flora is the best way to promote good health.
Bacteria and yeasts are all over our bodies, helping us to digest food, protecting our skin from the sun exposure, and helping our immune system fight off pathogens. All it takes is one dose of antibiotics to mess up with this system.
Of course, you could buy a good probiotic supplement, but eating fermented foods is cheaper and tastier. Best of all, fermenting in your kitchen will improve the natural flora within your home. It’s the best way to get a dose of probiotics on your skin and in your lungs.
The take home message:
Historically fermented foods were part of the way of life and would have been eaten daily. Now we live in a world where everything is pasteurized and antibiotics are everywhere. Who couldn’t use a little more love from some gut-friendly lacto-bacteria?