Are you Canning, Pickling and Preserving?
As traditionally done, its the season for the harvest to come in. We all know that there is much too much to eat during harvest and it’s going to be a cold winter so preserving the extra is needed. Most cultures have persevered foods by various methods to extend the shelf life of the food harvested in the fall. I remember eating sauerkraut, relishes and pickles as a child, but I now know there are many different preservation methods used and one of the most beneficial is fermentation.
Utilized across the world throughout history, lacto-fermentation is a simple method of food preservation. It requires no heat, just a lack of oxygen, and some microbes that can convert sugars into acids, alcohol and gas. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various beneficial strains of probiotics. Natural fermentation of foods also breaks the food down to a more digestible form. This, along with the plethora of probiotics created during the fermentation process, could explain the link between consumption of fermented foods and improved digestion.
There has been a drastic decrease in the amount of fermentation taking place in the last few decades. Fermentation has been replaced with vinegar pickling and processing of foods. But there are several reasons you should consider including “true” fermented foods on your menu.
- Probiotics – Fermentation microbes are often the same as the ones found in your gut, so eating fermented foods can be the most natural way to replenish your microbiome. (Note: This is especially important after taking a round of antibiotics!!)
- Absorption – By adding these marvelous gut bugs to your digestive tract they are helping to break down the food you eat and helping your body absorb more of the nutrient content of those healthy foods! This means less need to rely on supplements as you can get what you need from your food.
- Savings – When I go to the store and look at the fermented products I am shocked at what they cost compared to the cost and ease of making my own at home. I do understand that this is not for everyone but if you are keen to drink kombucha, or down a jar of pickles, with a little research and not much effort you can be consuming your very own ferments at a lower cost. The other savings is the fact that these fermented foods last much longer in the fridge than their raw counterparts. Homemade salsa is delicious but only last a few days. Fermented salsa can last you weeks!
- Cravings – One of the best remedies for strong sugar cravings I have found is fermented foods. The probiotics in the foods start to balance the microbiome of your gut leading to less and less cravings over time but I find the sour flavor really helps kick the sweet cravings.
- Immune – 80% of your immune system is in your gut. By strengthening your microbiome, you are supporting your immune system and just might find yourself getting less colds and flues this winter!
In addition to helping preserve foods, fermentation can leaven dough through gas generation, and produce browning reactions, adding color and flavor. Different methods of fermentation are used in breadmaking, alcoholic drinks and vinegar production. Cheese, yogurt, curing meats and making soy sauces also use fermentation.
There are many on line resources to tell you how to ferment and what foods are best to start with. I have done sauerkraut, kombucha and pickles so far and plan to try even more veggies in the coming weeks.
Want to get even healthier? Do you want to learn more about how fermented foods can improve your health? Are you curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. I work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!