I am sure you have heard the recent trend of fermenting foods. It has become an entirely new business. We can get these goods in almost all the stores nowadays.
Where I come from, our tradition is to eat fermented cabbage, known as sauerkraut, and fermented cucumbers, known as pickles. My mum used to make amazing sauerkraut salad with freshly grated apple and olive oil. Delicious!
However, fermenting has existed in most of the cultures for generations as it is one of the oldest methods of preserving food.
People thought of it in the times when there was no fridges and they used fermentation to let their foods last longer.
This process not only prolongs the use by date and enhances the taste of the food, but also has a lot of health benefits for our body.
By consuming produce containing live cultures, we absorb bacteria that helps us digest food. The same bacteria, while going through our system, produces a lot of protecting compounds, enriching our inner ecosystem, guarding us from the harmful pathogens and improving our digestion. It can help with conditions like constipation, diarrhea, reflux, intestinal inflammation, IBS and even vaginal infections.
Live cultures are also awesome to help build back our gut flora that gets destroyed by antibiotics or even by consumption of highly processed foods.
There is a direct link between the health of our digestive system, it’s functioning, and overall immunity of our body. By strengthening our gut we totally enhance our immunity. We get much stronger and are ready to fight different viruses and bacterias.
This is also a great way to have nutritious foods, fruits and veggies, on hand during the cold season when not much fresh produce is available.
Especially during that time of the year, remember to keep your body strong and immune to fight flus and other viruses.
Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and others are a great way of getting vitamins and nutrients into our body and at the same time improving the functioning of our guts.
But fermented foods are not only veggies.
We can enrich our diet also with fermented grains, sourdough bread, yoghurts (made out of dairy but also for example coconut), tempe (fermented tofu), fermented drinks like kombucha and much much more.
Almost every culture has their staple fermented food.
I encourage you to experiment with a wide range of it.
Here is a super easy recipe for fermented Jerusalem artichoke. also known as topinambur, but you can use this method to ferment almost any vegetable: carrots, beets, onions, pumpkin, cucumbers, cauliflower, etc
FERMENTED JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE
around 1/2 kg of Jerusalem artichokes, washed well and sliced
(try to use eco products)
4 pieces of turmeric, chopped roughly
1 l of lukewarm water
3 tbsp of coarse sea salt
1l clean jar
- Pack Jerusalem artichokes and turmeric, firmly, into the jar
- Prepare brine by dissolving 3 tbsp of salt in 1l of lwater (if using fine salt use less)
- Pour brine over the vegetables. Let the water cover the veggies completely.
- Leave 2 cm between the top level of the brine and the top of the jar. You can use a weight to push the veggies down, if necessary (for example you can use baking weights or a smaller jar, filled with water)
- Close the lid and stand on your counter for 3-7 days, burp everyday (open to let the air out and close again)
- From day 3 onwards try the veggies daily and if you decide it is fermented enough to your taste transfer the jar to the fridge, it will slow down the fermentation
- Enjoy on salads, in bowls, on sandwiches etc