Lucky for me I have been exposed to fermented foods since an early age. We often found home-made Sauerkraut lurking in mum’s cooking, Kombucha was a staple in our house after curing my sister’s shingles and home-made yoghurt was on the dessert menu every night. And of course, being Dutch, we ate our fair share of cheese!
When I tell people about fermenting food, most look at me either blankly or are taken aback. “What? Isn’t fermented food rotten, festering or gross?”
While I like to shock people a bit by saying fermentation is essentially the controlled rot of food, a nicer way of saying it is fermentation is the transformative action of micro-organisms. If you think this sounds disgusting, then you might have to reconsider your next chocolate bar, yogurt, slice of cheese or sausage, and shot of Tabasco sauce, to name a few!
When you think about it, this is also happening on the inside of us when we eat. Our microbes, through a magical process, are transforming food into valuables for our bodies. So you could also say fermenting food is digestion that happens on the outside!
I find it interesting (sad) how disconnected we have become to this traditional process of preserving food. These fermentation methods that date back thousands of years, helped our ancestors survive by extending the shelf-life of food and simultaneously enhancing the food’s nutritional value. While the growth in technology aided in the survival of future generations, it was subsequently the demise of the practice of fermentation, and one could strongly argue the overall decline of our collective gut health.
The unique and interesting flavours, high nutritional value and probiotic sources of naturally preserved, fermented food were replaced by commercially prepared, treated or pasteurized food.
Fortunately, the importance of our gut bacteria (the human microbiome) has influenced modern science to recognize the nutritional and probiotic value of fermented foods for our overall health.
A fermentation revival is brewing, and our tastebuds, bodies and gut bacteria are all going to benefit!
Don’t miss out on the revival and join me for a journey into the fascinating world of microbes and fermenting delicious healthy food. Tassie is fast becoming a hub for fermenting and food in general and I would love you to be a part of it!