This is a question I get asked quite frequently. So, what is all the hype about those fermented foods? Why is there so much crazy talk about them? Are they really so healthy? Converting to a self-proclaimed avid home fermenter can feel quite complex, time-consuming and overwhelming if you are new to all of this bacteria cultivation. But is it really? And is it truly worth going through so much fermented trouble to create some healthful bacteria?
My short answer is: Yes, it is so worth it.
Consuming fermented foods on a regular basis can totally transform your well-being and health from average or okay to insanely glowing, radiant, feel-good- and look-even-better-bliss.
Fermented foods possess true superpowers such as the ability to
- Improve your gut health by adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes
- Boost your immune system by strengthening your gut lining and balancing out unhealthy live-bacteria in your digestive tract
- Promote better absorption of nutrients by removing phytic acids found in legumes and seeds which bind to minerals such as iron and zinc
- Better digestion since some sugars and starches which may cause issues in some individuals have already been broken down in the fermentation process
- Revamp the synthesis and availability of certain vitamins such as vitamin B2, B6, B12 and vitamin K
- Refine your detoxification process – glowing skin here we come
- Enhance your mental health and mood – yes happiness does start in the stomach
- Combat inflammation by generally enhancing your gut health
- Fight oxidative damage
So how about the complication factor of all this healthful cultivated goodness? Is it true that the process of fermenting foods is tricky, elaborate and requires lots of expertise?
And here comes the fun part: No, it is not.
Not at all…fermenting foods is super easy or let’s say as easy as you make it. Of course, you can go all out and up the complication and time factor if you wish. But if you are like me crazily busy and are rather looking for a simple and easy way to up your wow-factor then this basic process of chemical change is totally for you. Not much more than an extra 10-15 min on the day of preparation is required to almost no costs. I don’t know about you but in my world, this is a pretty awesome deal!!! And since everything is figure-out-able: There are also a few humble store-bought alternatives with mighty healthful impact that are easily available (but admittedly not always quite as inexpensive as your home-made choice) for those among you who are on a kitchen-strike for life or do not enjoy themselves with those cooking aprons on.
Powerful health-changing ferments that are easily incorporated into your empowered diet include:
- Fermented vegetables
Back to those home-cooks among you who are ready to add some fabu-licious fun to their creative lives in the most undemanding way.
While I do love to once in a while experiment with making my own kefir or kombucha…the easiest way for me to incorporate those health-boosting beautifying microorganisms is definitely in the form of fermented vegetables. Having always a batch of such healthful cultured goodness-in-the-making sitting on my kitchen bench and another in the fridge ready to serve along with all my usual wholesome delicious awesomeness is so delightfully uncomplicated. In fact, I believe what’s most difficult in the entire process is overcoming the mindset of ‘this is going to be too hard to make fit into my life’ and instead welcoming your new re-invented fermenting self and routine with open arms. Once you have made your first batch…it will all just flow gloriously effortless along. But the best way to experience this is to try it out for yourself. Give it a go and find out which form of fermentation works best for you and fits into your healthy-licious, busy life.
To make it even more trouble-free for you, let me share with you my all-too-easy recipe for fermented vegetables which I truly could not do without anymore. As with all my recipes take it as a general guideline and then get creative and recreate it according to your own taste buds, preferences, and lifestyle.
1-quart mason jar with plastic regular or airlocked lid
3-4 cups cut or sliced vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red and white cabbage, radishes, curly kale…)
Additional cabbage leaf or similar to keep vegetables submerged in your brine
Any spices, herbs or other flavourings (such as coarsely ground black pepper corns, caraway seeds, oregano, dill, basil, turmeric, red pepper, slightly crushed garlic cloves, grated ginger, lemon zest…)
2 cups of filtered water
2 tsp of sea salt, dissolved in water
- Start by sterilizing your mason jar (running through a hot dish washer program is the easiest way)
- Make your brine by dissolving 2 tsp of sea salt in filtered water and set aside. Please note that if you are using vegetables that contain a lot of water such as cucumbers, you might have to use more salt.
- Cut, slice or shred your vegetables of choice and press firmly layer by layer into your jar until almost full (leave about 2 cm to top).
- Add your spices, herbs or flavourings of choice.
- Press down tightly with knife or fork again to release any air bubbles again.
- Pour salt-based brine over your vegetables until they are just covered.
- Use cabbage leaf or similar weight to keep vegetables submerged in your brine.
- Close tightly with regular plastic or air locked lid and leave to ferment at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for 5-10 days (the longer you leave them to ferment the tangier they will become).
- If using a regular lid, release gas daily once bubbles start to develop inside your jar (usually from day 4 onwards).
- Once you are happy with the taste of your cultured vegetables, store in fridge. Keeps several months.
It might not come as a surprise to you when I tell you that I add such insane, healthy-licious goodness to whatever I eat…well, maybe not to any of the sweet awesomeness on my plate…but I definitely enjoy them in salads, sandwiches, other cooked vegetables, soups, on crackers, as antipasti…you name it…in my world there are no limits to such tasty creations that do not only equip me with wonderful health and good vibes but also totally up my glow.
Are you in and ready to give your own fermenting experiment a fun and empowering go??? I might leave you to it, with one little word of warning: ferments are pretty addictive…once you start, you might find it impossible to give up feeling wildly and totally amazing