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Make Your Own Fermented Foods for Preservation and Health

Fermentation – a centuries old method for preserving food.

Most gardeners preserve their vegetables by freezing or canning them. The more traditional way of preservation is fermented foods. Long before refrigeration was ever even a seed of an idea, fermentation was the method for preserving food.

Fermentation for preservation is not just for harvest time. We’re fermenting organic cabbage year round for the probiotic benefit for just pennies compared to the price of probiotics typically recommended for gut health.

A great way to save money and preserve food off season, is to buy produce when it’s on sale, then preserve it through drying, pickling and fermenting.

The fermentation method of preserving food actually increases the nutritional value of the vegetables unlike other methods where the nutritional values are often diminished.

Fermentation increases the nutritional value of vegetables.

We began making homemade sauerkraut a couple years ago. Apparently you can’t find better natural probiotics for your gut health than with homemade sauerkraut, and sauerkraut from home grown cabbages just can’t be beat.

Our favorite is to use purple cabbage for making sauerkraut.

After such great benefit and success in making homemade organic sauerkraut we’re ready to try fermenting other veggies. My mouth waters just thinking of it! Not only does the homemade kraut taste awesome, and cost pennies on the dollar compared to store bought, it’s saving significant money in not needing to buy denatured and less effective probiotics off the shelf. AND, it’s saving your health!

Sally Fallon’s book – Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, will direct you in more nutritional ways of preparing and preserving your food, including fermentation.

Meanwhile, here’s an article for specific instructions on how to make your own sauerkraut, should you be interested.

Fermentation: The Easy, Healthy, and Tasty Way to Preserve Vegetables

Excerpted from an article by Brenda Lynn of BeeHappyGarden.com1)http://www.beehappygarden.com/2014/01/fermentation-easy-healthy-and-tasty-way.html

In the course of my master gardener training, I had the privilege of attending a seminar on food preservation. At the time, I was basking in the glow of my new canning skills. Shimmering batches of kiwi-strawberry preserves, jalapeño pepper jam, and other weird combinations lined my pantry shelves. Packed with sugar and boiled to death, canned treats were fun to have around, but much of the foods’ nutritional value was lost.

The seminar on fermentation as a method of preserving fresh foods, led by Monica Corrado, of Simply Being Well, introduced me to an entirely different ball game. I’d eaten plenty of Kimchi and sauerkraut but never gave a thought to how they were made. I just assumed they were “pickled.” Monica explained that fermentation is an ancient and widely overlooked method of “pickling” that involves the breakdown of carbohydrates into lactic acid, or sugar into alcohol. While hot water baths required for canning essentially destroy nutrients, fermentation awakens healthy bacteria that enhance food’s nutritional value.

Fermentation is far easier than canning, since it requires neither the intense sterilization process, nor the dance with danger that ensues when working with enormous cauldrons of boiling water and glass jars. Fermentation simply requires finely chopped vegetables, clean glass containers, and a little countertop space.2)http://www.beehappygarden.com/2014/01/fermentation-easy-healthy-and-tasty-way.html

Fermentation simply requires finely chopped vegetables, clean glass containers, and a little countertop space.

Why Fermented Foods?

By Michelle Shepherd, RD, BSc,  Fraser Valley, HealthCastle.com

Fermented foods have been present in traditional cultures for thousands of years. Today science is catching up to their key role in helping maintain the health of our digestive microbiome (the collection of microorganisms such as bacteria that are key to regulating digestive health, immune function and inflammation in the human body). Fermented foods contain friendly bacteria (probiotics) and contribute to the health of this system in several ways:

  • Boost immune function and help prevent gastrointestinal infections
  • Improve health of the digestive tract
  • Reduce the risk of several cancers
  • May contain digestive enzymes (or certain bacteria that help to break down certain molecules, such as lactose)
  • May contain novel antioxidants and phytochemicals not found elsewhere
  • May increase content of certain nutrients including the B vitamins
  • May contribute to more positive mental health through multiple mechanisms

While exact mechanisms are still under study it is thought that they may modify gut pH, out-compete pathogenic bacteria for nutrients, stimulate immune modulating cells among other possible paths.

If you have any gastrointestinal issues, then fermented foods are key to creating a happy, healthy gut. Aim for at least a serving every day and experiment to see which ones make you feel your best!

When buying fermented foods look for a clean ingredient list to ensure you’re getting only the good stuff.3)http://fraservalley.healthcastle.com/top-5-fermented-foods-beginners

Ready to ferment foods yourself?

Top 5 Fermented Foods For Beginners

  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchee
  • Miso

Unique Fermented Recipes

Lacto-fermented Mustard

By Nishanga Bliss on EatingRules.com

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup whey or pickle brine
  • ½ cup mustard seeds (brown or yellow—the brown are hotter and will make a spicier mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots or ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt (if using whey)

We love mustard, so will definitely be trying this one as well!

For instructions: Eating Rules4)https://eatingrules.com/fermented-mustard/

Fermented Probiotic Lemonade with Whey and Honey

INGREDIENTS

  • 6½ cups filtered water
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed organic lemon juice, (or 100% pure squeezed organic lemon juice
  • ½ cup organic evaporated cane juice (or sucanat)
  • ½ cup liquid whey

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large glass jar or pitcher with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Shake well to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Let stand at room temperature for two days, then refrigerate.

Makes 2 quarts, or 1/2 gallon

YUM! We’re trying this next time we make homemade paneer, which results in a lot of extra liquid whey. Hmm… wonder if we can make a liquid whey using our favorite whey powder…? Not sure but we’ll put that on our list to try too. If you try this, please let us know how it turns out, and we’ll report back here as well.

Recipe adapted from Nourishing Traditions.

Our daughter, Devani, purchased a Kombucha kit, so I need to nudge her to get busy testing it out.

Chile Vinegar Sauce

Recipe by Michael Hung, Faith & Flower

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dried Anaheim chile
  • 1 fresh red Fresno chile, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup finely diced shallot
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salt

For Directions, visit TastingTable.com

You may also enjoy this fermented foods article and recipes.

And here’s an AWESOME fermented probiotic Kohlrabi Slaw RECIPE, from Susan at LearningAndYearning.com

Making Sauerkraut in a Crock

As mentioned, we favor the red or purple cabbage for making sauerkraut as it’s just looks prettier, plus the more darkly colored the vegetables, the more the nutrients. Coleman enjoys making the sauerkraut as part therapy because he can legitimately pound something to a pulp. 😄

We use a 2 Gallon Crock Kit from Ohio Stoneware. Coleman likes to shred it using this cabbage Shredder by Weston (makes fast work of cabbage shredding, BUT, be sure to wear protective gloves)!

Coleman uses these cut resistant safety gloves by ChefsGrade (you need protection for your hands when grating).

For the salt, we use this gourmet Himalayan salt, 1lb Extra-Fine Grain, Sherpa pink.
Please let us know how it goes!

Keep healthy and growing!

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