Throughout history, humans have developed how to produce and prepare food. But of all the types of food preparation, few could ever hope to match the efficiency and innovation of fermented food. In many ways, fermenting food is one of the oldest forms of food preservation. It is technically allowing a specific food product to systematically break down.
To be specific, it is the breaking down of carbohydrates into alcohol or organic acids. During this process, the product takes a new flavor, texture, and even chemical composition. The end product becomes even easier to digest and boasts a myriad of health benefits. In many ways, fermented food can be considered a superfood. Here are some great examples:
Kimchi is a much-loved Korean side dish that is made up of vegetables fermented in a mixture of salt, garlic, onion, and chili powder. Kimchi has a unique taste, with a combination of spicy, sour, and tangy. Due to the chili powder mixture, it has a reddish-orange tinge. Like other fermented food, kimchi has a pungent aroma. However, this should not turn first-timers off. Kimchi is considered a staple food in Korean culture, and with its great taste and many health benefits, it is easy to see why.
When you store your kimchi or any fermented food in general, it is important that you store them in a good quality container. Luckily, there are companies such as Roetell that offer custom made and recycled glassware. Take a look at their site and check out their selections.
Nutritional value: Kimchi boasts a variety of health benefits. It contains vitamins A, B, C, and K. It also has probiotics that can help strengthen your gut and digestive system. It also has a lot of antioxidants that can help reduce the chances of developing cancer and other diseases.
Sauerkraut is the German counterpart of Kimchi. Like Kimchi, it is predominantly made up of cabbage. And like kimchi, it is fermented and can last for months if stored properly. The only difference is that sauerkraut only uses salt whereas kimchi uses chili powder. It is usually used as a condiment for bratwursts and other German dishes.
Nutritional value: Like other fermented food, sauerkraut is rich in probiotics that help strengthen the digestive system. It also has a lot of fiber that can help promote heart health. Sauerkraut also has Vitamin K2, which helps strengthen bones.
Achara is technically the Filipino version of kimchi or sauerkraut. It is usually used as a side dish for roasted or barbecued chicken. Achara is made from shredded green papaya, bell pepper, onion, and carrots. It is usually fermented in vinegar, sugar syrup, and salt preserves. It boasts of a sweet and sour taste and counteracts the fatty taste of pork dishes.
Nutritional value: Achara is rich in fiber which can help drain toxins from the body and help indigestion. It can also help lower blood sugar and promote weight loss.
Natto is a Japanese dish. It is a type of fermented soybean and serves as a breakfast food. It has a sticky consistency, and because of its very pungent smell, it is considered an acquired taste. It is usually served with rice, spring onions, karashi mustard, soy sauce, and other Japanese condiments. Natto is known to have a pleasant taste, with a smell like old cheese.
Nutritional value: Natto is a very nutrient-dense food that contains vitamin K2 and probiotics. Vitamin K2 helps lower blood pressure and decreases the chances of a heart attack. The probiotic and fiber help-strengthen your digestive system and promotes efficient bowel movement.
Yogurt is one of the most beloved drinks and confections in the world. Lots of people love their tangy and fresh taste. But very few people know that it is actually fermented milk. It is usually produced by bacterial fermentation and is used in various cultures. You can use yogurt in a variety of dishes that range from desserts to stews.
Nutritional value: Yogurt is a great source of protein and can help protect against osteoporosis. It also has selenium, magnesium, and zinc to help strengthen the immune system. Similar to other fermented food, yogurt is full of probiotics that can help strengthen your digestive system.
Kombucha is a fermented type of black or green tea. It is thought to have originated from Manchuria, China. It has a tart and sweet taste. You can also add other ingredients to change its tastes.
Nutritional value: Kombucha is a fermented tea, which means that it has probiotics that will strengthen your digestive system. It also has most of the health benefits that tea has, such as antioxidants and fiber. Kombucha also has a lot of acetic acids which can be found in most types of vinegar. This gives Kombucha a lot of bacteria-fighting capabilities.
Miso is a Japanese seasoning made of fermented soybeans. Rice, soy sauce, barley, and other ingredients are also added to the mix. It is usually sold in powder form and is used as a seasoning and a soup stock. It is a mainstay in all Japanese meals.
Nutritional Value: There is a reason why miso is a staple Japanese seasoning. It is not only delicious but also offers tons of health benefits. Miso contains B vitamins, K vitamins, and folic acid. It is also a great source of copper, zinc, and manganese. Lastly, miso has probiotics that help in strengthening your gut and aid in proper digestion.
Fermented foods may have a unique texture and taste that takes some getting used to. But once you make them a part of your daily diet, you’ll be surprised at the incredible health benefits that they offer.