You can ferment any type of food from vegetables to grains, nuts and milk. The fermentation of food is an age old practice used traditionally to preserve food long before the invention of refrigeration. Given their powerful health benefits, today pickling remains a “delicious” and inseparable part of the daily medicinal protocol of tribes across the globe.
What are fermented or cultured foods?
In the process of fermentation , beneficial bacteria grow and multiply in an anaerobic environment (without oxygen). These bacteria break down the sugars, creating lactic acid compounds - the substance that actually "conquers" the food and increases its value to a product rich in digestive enzymes, rich in B vitamins and minerals with enhanced protein quality.
Cultured foods are particularly beneficial to healing the digestive system and the immune system, and contain much more friendly and varied pro-biotic bacteria than a dietary supplement capsule.
To understand the mechanism by which pro-biotics works its magic, it would be first necessary to understand what is a human being in the physical sense? You may be surprised to discover that we are more microbial creatures than cellular beings. We have in the body between three to ten times more microbial, fungal and viral organisms than human cells and we can not exist without them. It is called the microbiome - an ecology of trillions of bacteria, most of which are scattered throughout the body: the saliva of the mouth, the nose in the scalp, the skin and armpits. But the vast majority are found in the large intestine.
There are millions of species, varieties and sub-species and each species has its own unique functions. For example, bifidobacterium which supplies the first probiotic strains to newborns specialize in breaking down protein-rich peptides, gluten, and have anti-inflammatory properties. There are bacteria that specialize in attacking and killing pathogenic bacteria even those that are resistant to antibiotics. Lactobacillus ramenus (LGG) improves and works on the lining of the intestine and acidophilus strains have anti-allergic functions and activates the immune system. Two-thirds of the immune system surrounds the digestive system and is directly affected by intestinal bacteria.
Studies in recent years have increasingly revealed the importance of good microbial diversity. And understand that imbalance and variety can cause many diseases including autoimmune diseases, obesity, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and allergies.
Today, the studies prove what Hippocrates and Rambam claimed many hundreds of years ago that health starts in the gut.
Every type of food in the process of fermentation produces its unique bacteria that it sourced from the soil and the environment in which it grew. That is why it is recommended to culture a wide variety of foods. Preparing "homemade pickles" does not have to be a complicated process, as one of the participants to one of my recent workshops concluded.
The following is my family’s homemade favorite: Pickled Dill Pickles
1 packet baby cucumbers well rinsed or regular crispy cucumbers sliced into large pieces.
Atlantic sea salt or grey salt
5 or 6 cloves of garlic
A handful of well rinsed dill
1 tbsp. English pepper corns.
1 red or green chili pepper cut into large slices (optional)
A glass mason jar (washed and sterilized)
What to do:
Prepare a bowl of salt water – consisting roughly of 4 cups of water, depending on the size of the Mason jar to be filled.
Boil water. For every cup of boiling water stir in ½ a tsp. of salt and pour into a sterile bowl. Leave the salt water aside to cool down.
Meanwhile arrange the vegetables in the mason jar in repeated layers. Once the salt water has cooled, pour it into the mason jar. Make sure all the vegetables remain under the water. Close the jar loosely and leave to sit on the kitchen counter away from sunlight for 2 to 3 days. In the summer, the heat ferments the vegetables quicker.
After the fermentation period, you may insert a clean fork and taste. if it has a pleasant sour taste, then it is ready and can be refrigerated.
You can use this method to ferment a variety of vegetables and experiment with various spices such as garlic, pepper, ginger, turmeric, dill, coriander seeds, Nigella seeds, according to desired flavors or health benefits.
About Denise Rubin, Nutritional Health Coach, Eatwise
I am a specialist in the treatment of chronic disease using food, herbs and spices that correspond to your unique needs. My mission is to help clients understand what is going on in the inside them and then teach them how to regain and take control of their health. My goal is to revive the ancient concepts that Hippocrates and Rambam wisely identified: “that the food you eat not only builds the scope of your body but also the quality of it down to on the deepest most cellular level.” Contact me today to arrange an appointment at 052-555 6418 or firstname.lastname@example.org