I LOVE fermenting foods! Let me say it again....
I LOVE FERMENTING FOODS!
One of my earliest memories is of an elderly Hungarian woman that my mother took care of, her name was Suzie, & I remember her making whole foods-- real foods in her kitchen all the time! I remember her making cottage cheese, fermenting sauerkraut, and giving us bread pudding. I specifically remember eating sausage smothered in fermented (not store bought) sauerkraut and belly peppers in her beautiful flower garden.
As I got older, some of those whole foods went away, but I remember my mom always talking about how wine was good for you. She would tell me how it was great for digestion, even though she didn't really know exactly how it worked-- she knew that it was good for you.
Flash forward to when I began attending nutrition school and I started hearing people talking about fermentation... My first thought was, 'fermentation? isn't that like....alcohol?'. As I began to learn more and read further, I began to realize what fermentation really was! I realized that probiotics didn't necessarily need to come from a capsule that I bought at a health food store, that I could actually make probiotic rich foods at home!
My world somewhat exploded! I had been talking about good and friendly bacteria to my family and friends for a while-- but didn't realize it could come from fermented foods-- stuff I could do at home.
As I started researching further, I found that a lot of the foods that I loved were actually not really fermented at all. I love pickles & sauerkraut, but the kind I bought in the store and learned how to make at home, were not fermented like they were meant to be. They were made with vinegar and canned with heat- making them lose all of their awesome enzymes and friendly bacteria. The first thing I fermented on my own was sauerkraut. It was fairly simple- I chopped up a head of cabbage, added some salt, and pounded the hell out of it to release juices. I put it in a jar and let it ferment for a bit & then opened the jar & was AMAZED! It tasted just like the sauerkraut I ate when I was a toddler! I excitedly phoned my mom to tell her about this and she was just as thrilled as I was-- and informed me to make her some as well-- or at least bring her some. When I did, she was just as thrilled as I was!
Before we go much further--- let me explain
Why Fermented Foods are good for you!
Here is a simple break down for you-- not at all as deep as it goes, but a simple break down nonetheless:
Sally Fallon refers to lacto-fermentation in the book, Nourishing Traditions,
“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”
Not long after I discovered how to brew kombucha, I happened upon a recipe from the blog called The Kitchen Rag. The writer of that blog also has a facebook page & her name is Diana! She had a recipe for lacto-fermented pickles that were to die for-- find the recipe here. I went overboard and made 4-5 1/2 gallon jars of lacto-fermented pickles! When it came time for my husband and I to move out of state & live in a hotel for a few weeks... I realized that my beloved ferments could not come with me.. or at least not all of them. I ended up driving up to my school the day before we moved and dropped of scoby's, kombucha, and lacto-fermented pickles... then cried coming home because of all the work I put into them!
To the right you can see one of the massive scoby's I had-- I completely forgot about this brew and the scoby grew to be quite large!
Learn more about Kombucha here.
Did you know that after a round of antibiotics, it can take up to 2 years to regain the proper gut bacteria? 2 YEARS!?? The first time I read that I didn't think it was possibly true... then I kept reading it and it kept coming up. 2 years is a long time!
So I set out to have more fermented foods! When I started attending Naturopathic Medical School, I saw a bunch of my peers drinking this fabulous drink. That fabulous drink turned out to be kombucha! I bought a bottle at a local
Co-op that was within a mile of my school and fell in love. I began spending lots of money on kombucha... At least $3 a bottle. I had at least one bottle per day... $21 per week... $84 per week-- yea my hubby caught on and told me to tone down my habit!
I had mentioned to a co-worker, at the time, how much I loved this drink but hated the price and she laughed and said "I'm shocked you don't make it yourself". What? I can make this amazing drink myself??? I was known by many people and to this day I still am, for making everything myself. I can foods, ferment foods, I have a skin care line (meaning we never ever ever buy soap, lotion, cream, salves, etc), dry my own food, etc. I started looking up recipes online and happened upon one for kombucha... and before you know it I became a kombucha brewing queen!
Once we got into our home I started fermenting once again. My husband handles it quite well-- he understands how good & cheap it is to ferment your own foods! Honestly, to ferment most of my veggies I just collected whey from my yogurt & lacto-fermented most of them. A lot of people are intimidated by fermenting, I would suggest starting with kombucha! It is yummy-- once you get used to the taste... it tastes a bit vinegary.. but once you drink it a couple times you will fall in love! Then you will learn how to do a second fermentation & flavor it! My currently favorite is Elderberry!
To the left you will see a continuous brew of kombucha and some quart sized brews... I'm also doing some sprouting.. and you can see a few jars of kimchi behind the sprouting.. I make as many ferments as possible!
I strongly suggest buying the book, The Art of Fermentation. This was the fifth book on fermentation I read, and I loved it! It was very in depth but easy to understand and relateable! The author talks about fermenting beverages, veggies, fruits, and all the different fermentation styles! I purchased one for my kindle and walk around the house reading it!
At this point I have fermented the following (and they were all extremely simple). You can find tons of other recipes on Pinterest! Oh and you can follow me & find my personal pinterest page here.
Until next time! Peace & Love!! Oh and hey check out some of my other fun ferments!
Disclaimer: Jessica Kellaway is a Naturopathic Practitoner & Nutritionist not a medical doctor. She gives no medical advice, simply suggestions. If you choose to follow these suggestions you are doing so out of your own free will!
Who am I?
My name is Jes! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about! I am the owner of an organic, chemical free skin care product line, called HBC Organics.