Fall is upon us and with it comes harvest and the perfect time to pick up some mason jars and get fermenting.
What is fermentation?
Fermentation is the process of preserving food. There are many methods to preserve food, including: drying & salting, high pressure, vinegar, canning, refrigeration, and freezing. Many of these methods can be easily done in your home.
Unfortunately, we have drifted away from our ancestry of canning, preserving, and fermenting, and have instead become far too dependent on refrigeration and freezing. We’re terrified of leaving food out for fear of it “going bad,” and think that fermenting is just too time-consuming and difficult. We need to get back to the joy of playing with our food.
Fall is the time of year when we put away and preserve foods for the winter. So why not give fermenting a chance this season?
What are the benefits of eating fermented foods?
Fermented foods offer several natural benefits such as:
- It is the most natural way of preserving food.
- They are a great source of natural probiotics that help the human digestive system.
- They help in the better absorption of food in the digestive tract.
- They are also one of the cheapest naturally processed food.
Read further for more info on fermentation.
1) Fermenting supports local agriculture. Stop by that farm stand and pick up some fresh veggies to pickle, or join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and use your weekly farm share to create something special. Using local, homegrown fruits and vegetables in your fermenting projects helps support farmers and gives you a great end result.
2) Fermented foods are a powerful aid to digestion and protect against disease. Did you know that your body is host to a bacterial population of over 100 trillion organisms? We cannot live without bacteria. It helps break down our food and aids digestion. Fermenting promotes the good bacteria we need to survive.
3) It’s quick and easy… and most of all, fun! It took mere minutes for me to chop up some vegetables, salt them, and put them in jars. Best of all, the result was delicious. My favorite part of the entire process was getting to leave out the jars on my counter and watch them each day. It became a conversation piece when friends came over and a countdown for my family.
|Tada! Homemade pickles.|
From coleslaw to pickles to yogurt, creme fraiche, and kefir, fermentation is a fun, easy, healthy process that gives you a stronger connection to your food. I highly recommend you buy yourself some jars and get fermenting! I bet you’ll find it’s addictive.
|My very own Creme Fraiche!|
If you want to know more about the joys of fermenting, take a look at Alex Lewin’s book Real Food Fermentation. Control your own ingredients, techniques, and additives. Learn a practical food-preparation skill you’ll use again and again. And express yourself by making something unique and whole.