What Are Fermented Foods?
First off let’s discuss what they are…
A lot of people have asked what fermented foods actually are. Well, in this post, I am going to explain as much as I can for you and add in a list of my favorite fermented foods as well. Before understanding what fermented foods are, it is important to understand how they came about. Two things that come to mind when people think of fermentation are usually beer and wine. Although they weren’t the first like many think, they do go through a fermentation process. I am not sure of the first fermented food, heck, I am not sure anyone really knows, but the first known use of it was in the Fertile Crescent. Not necessary, but a fun fact! Fermented foods actually derived out of necessity. Back in the day, they didn’t have fridges or electricity to keep their food cold and fresh. They had to figure other ways out to make their ingredients and meals last longer than a few hours. They came up with the process of food fermentation. Now, in order to ferment a food, you need to change some of the elements in the food to ones that will start the process.
That sounds confusing, but in actuality, fermented food is basically the progress of altering carbohydrates and sugars into acids or alcohol by using yeast or bacteria. I know, most of the recipes that you will find online don’t display any “fermenting” ingredients, and that is where a lot of people get confused. Well, many of those recipes are for vegetables, which have probably been grown close to or on the ground, where they get the bacteria Lactobacillus. This is the bacteria that converts the sugars and carbohydrates into lactic acid and starts the fermentation. Other times, recipes are even easier because you will only be supplying minimal additional ingredients to something already fermented with the acids and bacteria. For example, if you look up how to make yogurt without a yogurt machine, you will find that premade yogurt is most likely one of the primary ingredients, because it already contains the “stuff” you need. All you will be doing is adding in more ingredients and using the premade yogurt as the “fermenter.”
As you can see, fermented foods aren’t as confusing as you thought.
Now that you know a little more about them, feel free to look deeper into it and see if making your own is within reach for your lifestyle. Fermented foods are great for you and have tons of benefits, my favorite of which being – probiotics. If you don’t want to make it yourself or don’t have the time, store bought is fine too (no difference). Here are a few of my favorites that are easily accessible at pretty much all grocery stores: Kombucha (trending right now, and for good reason), sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and pickles. Each of these have their own benefits, but remember, everything in moderation!
Just A Few Of My Favorites:
- Pickled Green Tomatoes
- Fermented Ginger
- Pickled Veggies
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed/learned something. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Have a great day!
Kim Shapira MS, RD