Have You Had Your Lacto-Ferments Today?
|April 8, 2012||Posted by carmen under Lacto-fermented Foods and Drinks|
Basically lacto-fermented foods are probiotic powerhouses. They are packed full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes. They are a definite *must* in a healthy diet, especially for people who are working to improve or regain their health.
And to make lacto-fermented foods even more wonderful, they are cheap and easy to make. A head of organic cabbage and some sea salt can be transformed into the best sauerkraut you’ve ever tasted.
Lacto-fermentation is the traditional method many cultures have used to preserve foods throughout the centuries. Through this fermentation process, lactic acid is produced which protects the food from harmful bacteria and spoilage. In addition, the beneficial bacteria that is produced is an excellent protector of health because is colonizes the gut with its protective probiotic properties. (For an excellent explanation of lacto-fermentation check out this article by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, the authors of Nourishing Traditions).
Like a lot of the “wisdom of the ages”, lacto-fermenting has been all but forgotten in our modern consumer-driven culture. Lacto-fermented foods cannot be mass produced and therefore these types of foods are not commonly part of the Western diet. Instead of real sauerkraut and real pickles with all their health-giving properties, we buy sauerkraut and pickles made with dead distilled vinegar at the grocery store. There is no comparison whatsoever. (Side note: most commercial pickles also contain yellow dye. Be aware.)
There are many ways to make your own lacto-ferments at home using a variety of vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, meats and dairy foods. I found a huge list of fermentation resources here. You can probably find all you ever wanted to know about lacto-fermenting on that page.
For the lacto-ferments that I make, I use the recipes from Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions. But I combine the NT recipes with this method of fermenting described by Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation. The simple reason is that I find his method more simple and less likely to have a mold issue from unsubmerged veggies.
The recipes in Nourishing Traditions use homemade whey as a sort of “starter”. Whey is not necessary for the fermentation process but I like to use it at this point. I plan to experiment with recipes not including whey sometime soon. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
In preparation for my starting of the GAPS diet, I spent some time today stocking my cabinet full of lacto-fermented veggies that are such an important part of the healing diet. I have a good amount going so far…cortido (Latin American sauerkraut), gingered carrots, pickled red and green peppers and pickled beets. I will be adding to my stock as the week goes on. Still on my list are dilly beans, traditional sauerkraut, pickled carrots and bread and butter pickles. I’m definitely going to be well prepared. =-)
Be on the lookout….lots of recipes coming up.