What Is Fermentation?
Preserving food from harvest has been performed all over the world for a very long time and includes methods such as pickling, curing, drying, freezing, brining and fermenting. Some methods of preservation involve killing life and bacteria that would cause decay in the food. Fermenting however uses the raw foods environment and unique qualities to preserve it. Additionally, the fermentation develops its own unique flavours and contains living bacteria and enzymes that nutritionally enhance the food. Any pathogenic bacteria cannot survive in the fermentation environment, leaving only desirable populations to preserve the food, typically by converting sugars into lactic acid, alcohol and C02. The role of the fermenter is to facilitate this magical process by creating favourable conditions for the micro-organisms to preserve and enhance the food whilst guarding against putrefying bacteria which would cause spoilage. Fermented food and drinks include: sauerkraut, wine and beer, kombucha, chocolate, cheese, sourdough and soy sauce.
Why Should I Ferment?
Fermentation is a fascinating and wonderful process and introduces a new element of fun, art and science into the kitchen. Many raw and wild fermented foods cannot be made commercially easily so are either unaffordable, unavailable or have taken shortcuts to limit the nutritional benefits of a home-made ferment. The flavours you can create through natural fermentation are great tasting and unique and you will open up new worlds of food to explore. Additionally, you will be consuming healthy, gut healing food which helps balance the bacteria in your stomach.