Phew- we had 26 people attended our most recent Introduction to Fermented Foods Workshop! That’s a record for workshops so far, yet unsurprising considering the growing popularity of fermented foods. So why is interest suddenly brewing? Read on to find out more, and how to make your own…
In short, the process of culturing foods isn’t new at all – it’s an age-old practice which our ancestors used as a means of preserving food before the introduction of refrigerators and industrialisation. But aside from keeping food edible for a long period, eating fermenting foods also has an array of health benefits.
Put simply, fermentation of foods work in an aerobic (oxygen-free) environment, by bacteria feeding on sugar and starch naturally present in items such as veg, fruit and grains. This creates lactic acid (known as lacto-fermentation) and beneficial enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, b-vitamins, vitamin k and a multitude of probiotics. The food in also broken down into a more easily digestible form, which is important if you already suffer from poor digestion.
Our bodies are actually made up of living organisms (AKA bacteria!), with most of them residing in our gut. This is also where 70-80% of our immune system exists and functions from, and is known as our ‘second brain’. When the gut isn’t functioning optimally, we can suffer with low immunity, anaemia, vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, candida, skin conditions and more.
Probiotics (which literally translates as ‘for life’) work to keep our gut flora in balance, so that our body can focus on the important work of keeping us fit and healthy. In turn, this can help to:
- Relieve symptoms of IBS
- Increase energy
- Increase vitamin absorption
- Reduce cholesterol
- Prevent/reduce allergy symptoms
- Increase immune system function
- Protect us from harmful toxins
Lots of people ask us what the difference is between ‘pickled’ veg (such as beetroot and onions you buy in a jar from the store) and cultured veg. Usually, pickles are preserved with vinegar and heated. Along with being highly acidic, this process also destroys the precious microorganisms, which offers little, if any, nutritional value.
So why not have a go at making your own jar of fermented veg (check out the super easy recipe below). Then the next time you fancy some pickled onions or beetroot, you’ll have a delicious healthy version on hand. Lately, we’ve gone mad for sauerkraut and hummus on sourdough toast!
Un-beetable Beetroot Kraut Recipe
½ head red cabbage
½ head green cabbage
Thumb-size chunk fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
2tbsp salt (optional)
Peel skins from beetroot, ginger and garlic. Remove outer leaves from cabbages.
Finely grate or chop everything and add to a large ceramic or glass bowl. Massage and mix together to release natural juices.
Transfer to airtight jar and allow to ferment for minimum 7 days.
If you want to learn more, you can book on to our next workshop through the Events page.