Monday, January 24, 2011

Top 5 Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2011! Part 4 of 5

Start Fermenting! Eat some Bacteria!

Before you stop reading consider that many of our basic food staples are fermented included bread, cheese, chocolate, wine, beer, sauerkraut, miso and yogurt!

If you have ever taken a pro-biotic, you have experienced the health benefits of fermentation!

Unfortunately, most of these food staples are no longer  fermented in the traditional way.  In fact most of them are pasteurized, after they are cultured ~ rendering them lifeless and less nutritious.

Many people are petrified of bacteria; we carry around anti-bacterial hand wipes, gels and use soaps and sprays in our homes that kills not only the bad bacteria but also the good. Unfortunately good bacteria is integral to our health, well being and longevity! We have become overzealous with these products - leaving our immune systems inexperienced and therefore less efficient.

Facts on Fermentation
  • Fermentation is was traditionally used as a way to preserve foods;fermentation organisms produce alcohol, lactic acid and acedic acid all natural preservatives.
  • Fermentation makes the nutrients in food more digestible and available for the body to use.  A good example of this is the transformation of soy beans into miso. 
  • The fermenting process actually creates new nutrient as the microbial cultures go through their life cycle.
  • Fermented food supplies the digestive tract with living cultures -good bacteria essential to keeping our immune system in top notch.  Did you know that more than 60% of the immune system is in the digestive system!
  • Contain nutrients that fight off cancer cells and harmful bacteria!
Certain foods cannot contain live cultures. Breads, for instance, must be baked, thereby killing the organisms present in them. However, many fermented foods can be consumed live, especially those involving Lactobacilli, and alive is the most nutritious way to eat them.  Choose non-pasteurized, naturally fermented foods, found mostly at health food stores, farmers market or if you are adventurous ~make your own!

Traditional Caraway Sauerkraut
1 medium head of cabbage, cut thinly with knife
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp caraway rye seeds
1 Tbsp liquid whey (see notes below)
2 500ml mason jars.

1. Place sliced cabbage in a large bowl and toss with salt, caraway seeds and whey. Let rest for about 1/2 hour.
2. Use your hands to begin working the cabbage (massaging it) to break down the cell walls and extract as much liquid as possible.
3.Pack it into the mason jars (use your hands) push fairly hard to pack it in. Continue until the liquid is covering the cabbage. If your cabbage didn’t create enough liquid add a bit of filtered water to cover the cabbage.
4. Place lid on and let rest at room temperature for 3-7 days (see notes).
5. Place in refrigerator. Enjoy


• If you don’t have access to whey, use an additional tablespoon of salt.
• You can make your own whey by taking organic yogurt and straining it through cheesecloth. The liquid that accumulates in the bowl is whey and will help with the fermenting process but not necessary. The yogurt cheese found on top can be used and flavoured like cream cheese.
• The warmer seasons or temperature will create an environment where the fermentation occurs much faster you may only need to leave your containers out for 2 days.
• Any vegetable can be fermented in this manner and any herbs, spices, peppers can be added to your preference.

For more information on making your own click here!

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