OK, so the title of this post may be a little of a contradiction. Considering a lot of ferments pretty much take care of themselves, it really isn’t a valid excuse for having uploaded zero posts in the past 5 months.
But it is the truth I’ve been busy… busy making plans, busy ticking stuff off the bucket list, busy fulfilling dreams… regrettably none of the ‘drafts’ I saved got finished (something not unusual for me), but I’m here right now, and that’s all that matters… right? Man, I’ll deal with the guilt of procrastination later. For now I’m here to share with the world my new found love and fascination… the art of fermentation.
When I used to hear the word ‘ferment’, I’d automatically think of bananas that have turned brown and mushy in the fruit bowl, or gone-off milk that’s been sat in the fridge for weeks, or how my teenage brother’s bedroom might smell, if I had a teenage brother.
When in reality, the process of fermenting food (and drinks) is an age-old practice, utilised by our ancestors as a means of keeping food stored and edible for months on end, especially through winter.
Not only that, the longer food ferments, the more the ‘good bacteria’ grows… good bacteria which when consumed, can actually work wonders for our guts and digestion. Everything from vegetables, fruit, tea, milk and seeds can be fermented. And let’s not forget those of us who regularly consume yogurt – this is simply cultured (fermented) dairy!
Fermentation works by natural bacteria feeding on the sugar and starch in the food, which creates lactic acid. This not only preserves the food, but also creates beneficial enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, b-vitamins and most importantly, a multitude of probiotics. The process also helps break down the food into a more easily digestible form.
We’ve probably all heard of ‘probiotics’, and how they can benefit our health. But most store-bought products and probiotic supplements contain substantially less probiotics than home-made versions (not surprisingly).
Admittedly, I’m really just a noob at all this culturing business. But I’ve been reading a LOT, and have dabbled in a few experiments for the past few months. And I can tell you, I have not been disappointed.
It all started when my yoga teacher gave me a sip of kombucha to try, and I was instantly hooked. My body knew straight away I was giving it something so nourishing, and it wanted more. I won’t go into it too much here (will pend for another post – no procrastination!), but it’s basically black tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Yes, it sounds gross, but the magic happens when they all come together to create a delicious, fizzy, detoxifying beverage. And the benefits are amazing. I call it my elixir of life.
Similarly, the first time I tried sauerkaut (simply shredded cabbage left to ferment in its own juices), my body heaved a sigh of relief, like it finally found what it had been waiting for in food. I could literally feel my gut grabbing and digesting with delight, like a party going off inside there. And it’s super easy to make! Now I have multiple jars of different sauerkraut, along with things like brocolli, kale, asparagus, beetroot and apple, all stewing in their own juicy goodness (my housemates think I’m a bit mental).
There’s no going back for me now; fermented foods are part of my healing path. And I urge anybody who feels they need a health boost, wants to cleanse and re-balance their digestive system or just feel (round about) one-hundred times better in themselves to give it a try.
There’s tons of information out there and I want to reassure you not to feel too overwhelmed by it – it really is a super simple process. Honest – just give it a Google, then give it a go!
Peace and love friends 🙂